Andrew was interviewed by ReviewedMusic while he was driving and checking into a hotel in London during his “I Get Wet” 10th Anniversary Tour. Enjoy the full and unedited interview below!
Andrew W.K.: Hello?
Nils Hay: Hi, is this Mr. Andrew W.K.?
NH: Hi, this is Nils from Rave Magazine in Queensland Australia. How are you?
A.W.K.: I’m well thanks, how are you?
NH: Really well. Thanks for taking the time out to talk this morning.
A.W.K.: Thank you.
NH: Where have I caught you? You still in Dublin?
A.W.K.: No, I’m in London now.
NH: Cool. How’s the tour going so far? What’s it like playing I Get Wet in full again?
A.W.K.: Very good. Those are songs that gave birth to the first Andrew WK and I’ve been very glad to follow in his footsteps and keep this thing going. You wear those whites, you put those jeans on and what-not, you have a good time. It’s very fun.
Just hold on, I’m in a petrol station right now. Just give me one moment.
A.W.K.: (Buys a packet of Lucky Strikes)
NH: Hey. You know those things will kill you right?
A.W.K.: What? The Cadbury eggs?
NH: Yeah, probably them too when you think about it…
A.W.K.: Now, you wouldn’t be telling me what to do, right?
NH: I wouldn’t dream of it. There is nothing wrong with Cadbury eggs.
A.W.K.: That is good fudge, that is good chocolate, you know that.
NH: Coming back to your tour, is it weird playing a set where the crowd know what they’re going to hear next?
A.W.K.: You know, part of the show is that it’s a lot of surprises. Who knows what songs we’re going to play, who knows how they’re going to play it, who knows what kind of instrumentation, what kind of sonic differences there’s going to be. Here is a situation where we’re going to deliver on a promise; that promise is the promise of the album itself. How about that? That’s the beauty of this tour.
NH: Talking of albums and promise, I understand that once the tour is over, you’re going to be working on a new record – what can you tell me about that? I read the word ‘spicy’ used in a recent interview somewhere to describe…
A.W.K.: I like black pepper. I like white pepper, red pepper, yellow pepper, green curry powder, yellow curry powder, red curry powder, so I’m going to make it as flavourful as possible. You know how I do it!
Have you heard of an artist named Birdman?
NH: I’ve heard the name, I don’t know his music.
A.W.K.: That’s basically what I’m trying to dial into here; that level of excitement, that pure joy, energy, celebration, fun and profit.
NH: It’s been three years since 55 Cadillac, and I got the impression from what I read that a large part of its release was just to satisfy contractual obligations.
A.W.K.: That’s correct.
NH: I also believe that is very much not the case with this record you have coming up, is that true?
A.W.K.: The new album is a rock and roll album and I’ve very fortunate, very grateful, very thankful, very blessed, not taking anything for granted when it comes to this next album. We’re going to rock it out, have some fun, do the deal, do the damn thing.
We make rock and roll music so that folks can have fun, including – and first and foremost – me. Me. Me. Me. I want to have fun, okay? So, that piano album… You know the piano is a rinky-dink terrible instrument. Anyone who’s played piano knows that it’s a piece of shit, terrible instrument.
NH: I played the piano for a long time…
A.W.K.: So you know it’s a terrible instrument, very bad, very low quality, you can’t do anything on it. You can barely get a melody out of that thing. I’m just kidding and you know it.
NH: I do, I’ve read up on you. I know about your love of the piano. I was kind of wondering – I know it won’t be this next ablum – but have you given much thought to doing another album like 55 Caddilac?
A.W.K.: Yes, I would like to. I would like to redeem myself because the 55 Cadillac album, as you already pointed out, that was sort of a circumstantial album. A lot of certain conditions and restrictions and different complications applied there, but we had some fun. I would do that album, I really would.
I’m sorry, you’ll have to forgive me, I’m driving at the moment.
NH: I hope you’re on hands-free, I’d hate for you to have an accident.
A.W.K.: I’m fine, I’ve got one foot on the gas, one foot on the brake, one foot on the clutch and one foot on the emergency brake just in case.
NH: Excellent. You touched a little on the difficulties you had in the 2005-2009 period – are you free and clear of those now?
A.W.K.: Yes. The best thing about the last, at this point, almost like four years, is that we’ve been working, we’ve been having meetings, mediation-style meetings, legal meetings, fortunately we never went to court; we have just been sitting in warm chairs in a warm around a warm conference table hashing out the details.
All the folks that I’ve been working with – and some of them that I’ve been battling with – they want the best for me. They really do. I admit that I didn’t appreciate what they offered me; these folks, they made my dreams come true, I signed up with them, I didn’t fully understand the fine print there, the ramifications or the obligations that I had for the agreements I made, but they explained a lot of it to me, they sat me down, they showed me a couple of different movies and gave me some leaflets and books and literature to read.
I understand now; it’s a very good cause we’re working for, we’re all on the same page and – lo and behold – life is good. It really is.
NH: That is good.
A.W.K.: It really is; there’s no reason that the human race should be battling out about ridiculous things like ideas, ridiculous things like property, resources, holy land, things like that. Join up. Rock and roll music, western culture, that’s the way we’re going to do it. You’ve already seen it, the last hundred years – lo and behold – it’s already proven itself. I’m pleased, proud and, even if I am .00001% of that force that helps to move civilization into that next realm, I really want to . I don’t want to be a zero civilization, I want to be a one civilization. Michio Kaku, Michio Kaku, Michio Kaku. You know him right?
NH: Man, I don’t. I’m not getting any of these references today. I feel really dumb.
A.W.K.: Leave all that out, just ignore all that and let it be. Just say ‘Party, party, party’ that’s all you need to know.
I shouldn’t mention that anyway. I’m working with some folks that would rather I don’t mention any of this but sometimes I can’t help it. I know there are some folks out there who do know what I’m talking about, who do know about Wittgenstien and Legardie and Edgar Allen Poe; we gotta go to the next level man. That’s what it’s all about. Philip K Dick had nothing; he hated The Carpenters. Philip K Dick hated Burt Bacharach.
NH: Bacharach strikes me as a hard man to hate…
A.W.K.: Well he didn’t like Burt Bacharach.
Hold on one second, I’m getting out the car here; give me one moment please.
A.W.K.: I’m sorry, I’m removing myself from a vehicle and my foot is caught behind the driver’s side seat. It’ll be a few more minutes here, okay?
NH: No worries. Don’t hurt yourself.
A.W.K.: I’m trying to hurt myself, I’ll just gently remove myself from this very warm chair.
(Under his breath) Fucking hell!
So, you’ve heard of Wittgenstein.
NH: Yeah, I have. I’ve heard of Wittegenstein.
AWK: Just a minute, I’ve gotta put the phone down.
(Andrew checks into a hotel room)
Sorry about that, just hold one more second. I’m checking into this hotel. I’m sorry about this, they told me you’d be calling like an hour ago, so now I’m kinda like doing the whole deal here. Going to make my way.
Alright, here we go. Now I’m talking. (Mumbles something)
And that’s what I’m talking about (laughs)
NH: I don’t know what you were talking about there. One thing I wanted to touch on – if I could – while all the difficulties were going on, you established yourself as a motivational speaker – has adding that string to your bow strengthened your live musical performances as well?
NH: What’s harder, giving a motivational talk or putting on a rock show?
A.W.K.: Well the rock show’s more physically demanding and the motivational speaking is more intellectually brain-power demanding.
NH: That makes sense. The other thing you did, you were involved in the opening a club, Santos Party House, which briefly popped up in Oslo…
A.W.K.: Involved? I was one of the founding owners!
NH: I used ‘involved’ because I know there were multiple owners…
A.W.K.: Everyone at the place was involved, so are the folks that go there, the bartenders, the people that perform, the DJs that perform, microphone controllers – also known as MCs – we also involved, but I opened the place with my friend.
NH: OK, and you opened it briefly in Oslo when you were there. Are there any plans to take it on the road, for example when you come down to Australia?
A.W.K.: We’ve been trying to open a West Coast location, in Los Angeles, for quite some time. We’ve also been looking into a Japanese location. We’ve also been looking into trying to open a location in Los Angeles. As far as Australia, no, no no. But no offense, I’d love to do one there; we’d love to do one there. All the owners and I would love to open a place there in Australia.
NH: If you’re not bringing the Party House with you, what are you bringing down here?
A.W.K.: Well, I’ve got a pack of Wrigley’s gum. Like, six slices…
NH: What flavour?
NH: Ok. Nice.
A.W.K.: I have, obviously, toothpaste, toothbrush… No shampoo – but I do have body wash, a soap you can use on your whole body. I have cotton balls, I’ll be bringing those. I have a cold chisel, I’ll be bringing that as well. Gee whiz, that’ll probably be enough.
NH: And I would imagine a whole lot of partying and good times?
A.W.K.: Rock and roll.
NH: Fantastic. Alright, that’s my time; I should let you go and settle down in a nice warm chair…
A.W.K.: You’ve been a good sport; thanks much. I’m really sorry we did this interview as I was checking into a hotel. I really do apologise. Thanks so much.
NH: That’s OK. Thanks for taking the time in the first place. I appreciate it. You have a great day.