The phrase “hometown heroes” is often bandied about, to the point where it ceases to have meaning. This is one of those times.
Hometown heroes Adam Switzer and Brandon Squyres are our ambassadors to the world at large, representing the very best of Chico: unbridled enthusiasm, humor, charisma, and glorious, glorious facial hair. Whether or not they take first in this season of The Race (as we in the ‘biz call it), they will undoubtedly take TV-land by storm.
I was privileged to enter the cone of silence for a supervised phone interview; a chaperone at the ready to cut the call should any whiff of show secrets drift through the line. I assume they also had agents training guns on me through the window, though I have no proof.
Tell me some things about yourselves that people might not know.
Adam: I’m a pretty open book; I think anybody who knows me knows pretty much everything about me.
What about people who don’t know you?
Adam: Then they don’t know anything about me.
Um…how about some things that people already know?
Adam: Well, people know that I’m pretty spazzy, and that I’m pretty high energy and I can tend to accidentally break their stuff or bleed on their couch.
Brandon: Say what you do!
Adam: Oh, um, yeah. Now I’m working on a project where I bought some land out in the woods and I’m basically building a farm with my wife.
Brandon: I’m a contractor, and I install fire sprinkler systems. We’re both building our own houses—I’m actually adding on and he’s starting new—and um, I am the singer in three different metal bands: Amarok, Cold Blue Mountain, and The Makai.
Are you helping each other with your houses?
Adam: I’ve helped Brandon plenty with his house, he hasn’t done jack shit on my house. He hasn’t even driven a single nail on my house. I WOUNDED myself and almost fell off a ladder, THEN got hit by a chunk of 2×4 that HE THREW AT ME while working on his house. This is before we went for interviews for The Amazing Race. I showed up with a giant, big, gross shanker on my arm from a drill bit. But no, Brandon hasn’t done anything on my house.
Brandon: No. I’m not going to either, now.
Did you play the field and try out for a bunch of different reality shows, or were you saving yourselves for The Amazing Race?
Adam: Absolutely not, there’s no other reality show that we would even consider being on. I actually am not a big fan of TV; The Amazing Race is one of the few shows that I’ve watched in the last decade or so that I was like ‘actually that’s a pretty cool show.’ And Brandon’s been wanting to get on it for years and he’s been pestering me, and so we finally got our shit together. Brandon and I made a video the day before or the day of videos being due, and we got a call a day or two days later.
Oh wow, that happened fast! How long was it before you actually had to leave?
Adam: I can’t answer that. It was a while.
Brandon: Long enough to lose some sleep.
Did you prepare by taking taxis all over the place and running ziplines and milking goats at petting zoos?
Adam (laughing): I don’t have the money for taxis!
How about putting your hands in gross stuff while yelling at each other?
Brandon: Oh, we do that on a daily basis. We’ve always been into just doing things that other people might consider gross, and goofing around scantily-clad or not clad at all, and just doing wild things and jumping off buildings, climbing up buildings, running through the woods. We like activities.
Adam: Basically we’re doing half the stuff—well not half the stuff—some of the stuff that you would see on the race, only just on a really low budget and very unsafely. Without as many cool costumes.
Do you feel the need to start wearing cool costumes now?
Brandon: We always felt the need to wear cool costumes! Just more-ghetto versions. One thing you can see in our promo video: we like wearing Speedos.
Adam: That’s something I just discovered about myself. I bought my first Speedo for The Race! And man, do I look good in a Speedo.
Brandon: It really changed the way you look at swimsuit apparel.
That’s kind of an epiphany in life, that’ll change everything!
Adam: I don’t know why, but it took until I’m almost 35 to find out how cool Speedos are!
Do you feel like you go faster when you’re wearing a Speedo?
Adam: Oh man, I am f-lyin’.
Brandon: Yeah, if you’re jumping off a cliff and you’re in a Speedo, you look way cooler.
Adam: You know, you may not actually be faster, but it sure feels faster.
That’s the key really—time is just perception.
What’s better: Donkeys or Camels? Explain.
Brandon: I want a camel so bad.
Adam: That’s actually one of the things we’re gonna do if/when we win the million bucks: I’m buying Brandon a camel.
Brandon: I’m gonna ride it through the park.
Adam: Well, I think you’re going to get ticketed if you ride it in lower park; I think you can only ride it in upper park, dude.
Brandon: Well, you can ride horses in lower park.
Adam: Yeah, but the horses… Conan doesn’t punch horses—oh wait Conan does punch horses too.
(I make a confused face but they can’t see it because we’re on the phone)
Brandon: Yeah, we’re going to have to look it up.
Adam: Yeah, we’ll have to look up the park rules on camels.
Huhhh, yeah, that’s worth taking to the city council; they don’t really have much going on.
Adam: Yeah, and if not we’ll get all the camel owners and protest on the city hall lawn.
Do you feel like single hump camels are better than double hump camels?
Adam: Uh, no. I’m gonna go double hump.
Brandon: I would take any camel, but a double hump is definitely cooler.
It’s twice the hump, totally!
Adam: Well, you’ve got a place for somebody else!
Oh, that’s true! Or you could get in between them for more stability when you’re riding drunk.
Brandon: Or a person on each hump and one in the middle!
Adam: He’s only a sober camel operator.
Brandon: I’ll pick people up on my camel!
Adam: I’m often drunk and need a ride home.
That’s so green.
How did you cultivate such fantastic beards? Tell me the truth; were there performance-enhancing drugs involved, like face-Rogaine?
Adam: Healthy homegrown food, and sweat.
Brandon: But I am not opposed to saying I used any of that, if someone wants to give me a beard-endorsement deal. I’ll lie, I don’t care. Or I’ll start using it!
Adam: Maybe your beard’ll get bigger!
Brandon: I’ll try it just on a half [of my face].
Yes! it’ll be like that half-man/half-woman thing, but all man.
Adam: I actually just recently had that going on because I split my lip with a sledgehammer, and I had to shave a big swath of my mustache out so I could try to bandage it shut. But it’s lovely, it’s growing back ok.
Good! That was going to be my follow up—is your beard OK!?
Adam: The beard’s fine. I was rockin the half-stache for a while, but I left the long curly tips, so the middle’s just filling in again.
Will you be getting your own spinoff called The Amazing Face where regular people try to out-beard you?
Adam: Let’s talk to Christine to make that happen!
Brandon: If Christine can make that happen, we’re all about it!
Christine (in the background): If I can have all the power in the world, you guys, it’s on. Alright?
Adam: Then yeah! We’re going to be doing that!
Brandon: According to Christine we will be doing that.
That’s an oral contract!
Adam: You know, it’s funny, people think we’re just a couple of really hot dudes with beards, but we’re more than that. You know, we often don’t have beards at all… sometimes it’s just a mustache!
Brandon: We’re not just a beard
Adam: Yeah, we’re not just a hairy face.
Brandon: We have personalities, and we’re more than that.
Adam: We’re not just brawny bearded super-studs.
What more could there even need to be?
Adam: Wait till you see us in a Speedo.
Now that you’re home, have you had a hard time adjusting to things being less Amazing and Racy?
Adam: No, I had a bunch of shit to get to.
Brandon: It was actually timed kind of badly for us, we were just in the middle of like… him starting his house, me finishing my addition, Cold Blue Mountain is recording an album.. so it was kind of a bad time for me to leave that stuff, but it was totally worth it.
Adam: We tried to tell Phil [Keoghan] that. “Phil, if we could postpone this a little? The beardos aren’t quite ready, maybe another month? Just have everybody wait at the starting line, we’ll be there.”
How do you feel about the state of Race relations in modern American society?
Yeah, mm-hmm. I know.
Adam: Um, could that mean “Amazing Race” relations? Um, my wife is really awesome… and Brandon—while quite a sexy beast and quite the catch—is not exactly my type, so I didn’t have any relations on the Race.
Brandon: Me neither. There were members of The Race that may have wanted to have relations with me, but I shut them down.
Like you could just sense it?
Brandon: Oh no, it was clearly stated! It was definitely put out there.
The Amazing Race premieres Sunday, Sept. 29 at 8pm on CBS