A/V Room









A conversation with the Handsome Boy Modeling School

Compiled: Jack Foley

THE Handsome Boy Modeling School's Chest Rockwell and Nathaniel Meriwether took time out from a handsome week of tastings, trunk shows, after-parties and ignoring text messages from Britney Spears and Michael Jackson to answer some unhandsome questions about their handsome new album, White People.

Q. So how did you two gentlemen first meet?
Pretty much traveling the world.

Chest Rockwell (CR): When you travel the world extensively like we do, you're bound to come across like minds, and like ways. You see somebody wearing that really nice $5,000 blazer that I thought I was the only one who owned - you have to go over and talk to that person. We share the same taste, the same vibe. It's kind of a handsome thing.
Nathaniel Meriwether (NM): The handsome people attract the other handsome people.

Q. But the people on the record needed help?
It's more like taking a car, adding little things. An exhaust pipe, to make it a little quicker. Maybe work on the cam. It's a nice vehicle, but you want to take it to the next level. That's how we see the people in the Handsome Boy Modeling School.
NM: The people on the record, they probably went through the course years ago, or just experienced life in the same way we have. But the people who are reading this, they might be thinking, 'I need the Handsome Boy Modeling School's help.'
CR: And all they have to do is give us $60. I might add, we take Visa, MasterCard, Discover, Diner's Club, PayPal. But preferably cash. And no personal checks.
NM: People go, $60, are you kidding?! They can't believe they get so much value for their money.

Q. What have you been up to in the five years since your first record?
There's a lot that goes on in five years. The book tour. Developing the five part DVD series, Handsomeness of Steel. The Handsomian Institute. The music is just a little sprinkle of what we do as part of the whole Handsome Boy Modeling School thing.
NM: We're gonna knock that fraud Tony Robbins right off the charts.

Q: Have you thought about getting your own show, like Donald Trump?
I just gotta say it - money doesn't buy handsomeness.
CR: He needs a moustache to match his coiffure.

Q. P Diddy, is he a graduate?
What's the best way I can put this? There's new money, and there's old money. We're old money.

Q. So why White People?
We think it's pretty self-explanatory.
CR: Once the artwork and the music and the video combine, you won't need to ask that question. It's like Kill Bill 2 - it all comes together. 'Oh. She really did kill Bill.'

Q. How did you do some of the matchmaking on the record?
People just knew that the record was coming. They came out of the woodwork to be involved. You could mix it around in a lot of different directions and it would still come out handsome.
CR: A lot of it is just getting the artists together. People have their schedules.

Q. Are you plugging them into musical ideas you already had?
Every part is made for a person. We just create something that's really handsome and work with them to make it fit. When you're really rolling in the handsome world, you don't buy off the rack.

Q. So no samples, then?
That's like going to Macy's, picking out your beat and rhyming over it. That's not what we do. Everything is customized. If you want a good shoe, you go to a cobbler. If you want a good suit, you go to Savile Row. If you want a good beat you go to the Handsome Boy Modeling School.
CR: Has to be tailor-made.

Q. Let's talk about some people on the record. Is it true you taught the Ladies Man everything he knows?
Here's the thing. We did not invent handsomeness. We just carry the torch for handsomeness.
CR: We attend the same functions. It's like, 'hey, very handsome of you! Very nice paper mache jacket you have! I have one just like it!'

Q. Father Guido Sarducci?
Another handsome man. He's a proponent of wearing black, which is usually a sign of someone who understands handsomeness. Though not always.
CR: In that SNL era, he was definitely rocking the moustache, which is a key sign of handsomeness.
NM: By the way, just so people know, for any ladies who want to send in the $60 dollars, we also work with women. We don't influence them to have the moustache though.

Q. Mars Volta?
The hair. And they're very fashionable.
CR: [with his mouth full] It's all about style. Sorry, I'm eating some Wheaties.

Q. Grand Wizard Theodore?
What's more handsome than inventing the scratch?
NM: Although – only certain kind of scratches are handsome. Definitely avoid the crotch area.
CR: Especially if you're female.

Q. De La Soul?
They're a handsome work in progress.
We had to go back and cut out the Day-Glo, then reapply it in the places where it worked. You can't have a whole outfit of it.
NM: They've been rocking the Dashiki for so long we had to let them come out.
CR: We took their old style of Dashiki and upgraded it with our Seersucker collection. Plus the paper mache.

Q. I guess we know the answer to this one, but why John Oates with Jamie Cullum and Paula Frazer?
Yeah, you know the answer. Next to 'The Selleck', that's probably one of the most incredible moustaches of all time.
CR: It almost makes you ask
the question, why not?
He's been holding down that mustache since before the Village People existed.

Q. How about the single, The World’s Gone Mad? You've got Alex Kapranos of Franz Ferdinand, Del The Funky Homosapien and Barrington Levy.
You combine that much handsomeness in one room and things tend to go awry. That can be evidenced in a lot of ways - like when you see the video, perhaps.
The thing about that song is what it represents in the world of handsomeness. Different people from different parts of the world, different kinds of music, different everything. All coming together because it's handsome.
If one of those people wasn't - if we had replaced, Barrington, with, say, Rob Zombie - it wouldn't be as good.

Q. So really, it isn't hip-hop or rock or blues or soul or dub - it's all just handsome?
I'm glad you noticed that. See, you've come a long way.
CR: Just took a little conversation. But it would still be good for you to pay the 60 dollars.

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