IN-DEPTH DISCUSSION: Andrew Talks About Everything And Nothing

Rise of the Party-an; An Interview with Andrew W.K.

2013 has been shaping up to be a legendary year for the King of Partying. Already this year, Andrew W.K. set a world drumming record after manning a kit in Times Square, NYC for 24 hours. The mega-drumming session was live-streamed in its entirety by MTV during its O Music Awards and saw W.K. joined by high-caliber guest drummers such as ?uestlove (The Roots), Nick Jonas (The Jonas Brothers), and Chad Smith (The Red hot Chili Peppers), as well as an impromptu appearance from Oscan winning actor, Cuba Gooding Jr., and celebri-cat Lil Bub.

In addition, W.K. will be a playable character in the brand-new video game app, Eternal Descent: Heavy Metal Heroes. Armed with his signature pizza guitar, fans can now play as W.K. and face off against guitar wizards like Joe Satriani, Gus G., Wayne Static, and more in the game version of the cult comic series (available now on iTunes).

But, the most current Andrew W.K. news is that he has announced dates for the Party Messiah solo tour. Due to popular demand after the success of his Human Party Machine solo tour this past spring, W.K. will once again bring the party to hand-picked intimate club settings throughout the U.S. this autumn, bearing only a microphone, a keyboard, with his unstoppable party songs and urge to celebrate with everyone. A complete rundown of dates for the Party Messiah tour can be found below.

Last week Ghettoblaster had the pleasure of chatting with Andrew W.K. about some heavy topics, like destiny, as well as some lighter items including bronies and being Fresh + Sexy. This is what he shared during our phone party.

This week is The Wolf’s 10th birthday. Are you doing anything to celebrate that milestone?

You know, I didn’t even realize that it was until another band tweeted about it on the computer. I was like, “Holy smokes!” It just completely snuck up on me. I have been working on putting out a special, rerelease version of it, but I guess I missed the 10th anniversary. But that’s OK…

Earlier this year you had the opportunity to tour with Blitzkrieg. Do experiences like that still blow your mind or is it par for the course now?

No, no, it is completely mind blowing. That’s what makes it very exciting to do, and also sort of necessary to do. I’m still blown away that the opportunity was even arising. I didn’t even debate on whether to do it or not. It was a complete no brainer and a once in a lifetime adventure. The more I have the opportunity to do what I’ve been doing, the more I’m amazed that any of it is happening. I feel very lucky and never want to take any of it for granted. It helps me stay very attracted to that excitement and doesn’t allow me to get bored or used to what I’m doing. It always feels exciting and new and scary and thrilling and completely dream-like. That’s a good way to feel.

Do you feel like you are at a point in your life and career that you can do something creatively without having to worry about outside pressures like paying bills or how people will respond to whatever it is?

That’s a great question. I’m not sure I’ve ever thought about that ever. It feels more like, and I kind of feel like it has always been this way, but the situation seems to be that I’m not really in control of anything. There’s a path that I’m meant to go on that I didn’t choose necessarily. It feels like this is what I was born to do, but you don’t choose or decide what you are born to do, it just sort of happens. And that’s what it feels like more and more, like I’m being pushed and pulled along my own road – and we each have our own roads that are beyond any concern on any side. The only concern I guess you’d have are the concerns that you’d have on a scary rollercoaster. There are ups and downs and twists and turns, but you are also sort of locked onto the track. My feeling is that it is a well -built rollercoaster that takes you on the ride and it is supposed to be thrilling. So that’s what I feel like, this is all just happening to me. I just have to show up and stay here so that it can happen.

Is it intimidating to be in these kinds of situations, or is it the presence of confidence that allows you to do this with some success?

I don’t feel anymore confident or brave than anyone else I’ve ever met, in fact, in some cases I feel much less so and sort of frightened of the world. Maybe I just decide to respond to that fright, fear, feeling of being overwhelmed or nervousness by just pushing into it even harder just for the sake of it. I’m not sure where that comes from. Again, I think there is that feeling that this is my own destiny and it is going to happen whether I like it or not, or whether it is scary or not. It’s out of your control and out of your power. You are almost being propelled by a supernatural kind of force or something that comes from beyond you. I’ve heard people talk about that a lot and often they say it is God’s will or that God is leading you along the path of life. There is a very undeniable sense that I could never take responsibility for this. It is just too amazing. It is the result or many forces, many people and many efforts on all sides. I just try to do the best I can not to let people down.

I just don’t want to blow it. That’s the pressure I feel. It isn’t the pressure to live up to anything, but the pressure to live up to my own sense that I gave my best effort. I don’t always feel like I do, but that has a motivating quality unto itself. I always try to improve and always get better and stronger.

I’m sure that you are often approached by fans who say that you’ve changed their lives or provided a needed pick me up, but who is your go-to person when you are feeling down in the dumps?

Definitely my parents, my family, my friends, my band, people that I’ve been close to for a long time. But when I’ve felt that real crushing exhaustion or depression or just a lack of motivation, it has been doing this stuff that changes that feeling. It’s not a mindset necessarily, but it is more like a physical feeling that will wash over you. Music has done that more reliably and more thoroughly than anything else I can think of, with all due respect to friends and family. There is something magical about the way that your whole body can feel different or feel better. It just feels all of a sudden better to be alive when you’re connected to that kind of energy that to me music can give. Just doing Andrew W.K. makes me feel better. It feels good to not have to be in control, but just to do what you’ve been asked to do or serve that higher cause, even if the cause is your own destiny or your own life. When you give yourself to something with all your heart that can really be a healing or energizing feeling.

I understand the “Party Messiah” tour is going to be a more intimate club and bar tour. I imagine that performing in a more intimate setting gives you that energy from the crowd where you can see and interact with those people more readily. Was that the energizing purpose behind this?

You’re exactly right. Absolutely. You really nailed that on the head. That’s so funny. I couldn’t have said it better than you just did there. The last interview I was talking to that is what I said specifically. There are all different kinds of ways to have shows and there are all different kinds of places to have them and different atmospheres that have their own special quality and aspects, but for the “Party Messiah” tour and these kinds of shows, it really is selfish of me because this is what I want to refuel me. To even just be in a bar. Everything is set up to facilitate this party feeling. All my efforts are really to get to that party place, but when you can reach out and touch the other person that’s there and they can be a part of you, it feels like a group effort. We’re all in this room, giving all that we have, we all chose to be here, and to have as much fun as we can. I want people to feel like they made the show what it was as much as anything else. That is definitely the idea with these shows. I like all kinds of shows, but you can’t really get more intense than that feeling of being with your friends and celebrating life. And that’s what I hope we get out of each one of these nights.

Speaking of intimate audiences, you’ve been active in collaborating with experimental and noise scenes too with Wolf Eyes and To Live and Shave in L.A. Are you still working with any of them?

These are all my childhood friends so I never really thought of it as collaborating or not collaborating. These are just people who have been in my life for a really long time. Those are the kind of people you just feel like you are always with and in all of the stuff you are doing, even if they aren’t physically there, it is something you are doing together.

With them being able to be more outside the box than in that rock mold do you ever feel like Andrew W.K. is a limiting situation or does it come from the same place and catalyst as being in a more experimental scene?

I don’t know. That’s a great question. Trying to come up with definitions for a lot of these feelings is hard to do for me, maybe it is almost futile. These are all different ways to get to a good feeling or a feeling of excitement or energy that makes you glad you’re not dead. It is all about trying to have an intense experience. I feel like we each have what we are meant to do, and this is what I’m meant to do for whatever reason. I couldn’t have designed it, it’s just how…you’re true will reveal itself to you and you just have to then follow through with it. This is just what I was meant to do. Everyone has their own path and style and tone to represent as well. It is all just related in that we are trying to do the best we can and have the most fun that we can.

I’m based in Ohio so I have to ask you about the 2012 “Party Like Pinkie Pie” speech you gave at Canterlot Gardens. Is there something about that outsider, brony culture that resonated with you?

For sure. It was completely intense, unique, very cheerful, and very friendly. That’s how I got to go to that in the first place because they invited me to take part in being a part of their world and invited me into their realm. I was just fascinated and moved by the outpouring of kindness and that they saw something that I could offer them that was of value. It was a completely unforgettable and brand new experience.

Cartoons are something that you’re passionate about. Is that an area of media that you plan to stay involved in?

Again I’ve just been so lucky to have been asked and to be invited to the cartoon party. I like television in general and the opportunities provided with animation are limitless. Anything you can dream up can make its way to the screen. I’m very fascinated by the process of creating these moving drawings, especially with computers now, which has taken things to the next level. I like the energy of images and sounds and how TV and film have the ability to entertain, tell stories, and provide sensations.

Speaking of relating to people as human beings even though you may be different, I loved the Crashing With Andrew WK show. Do you still keep in touch with the girls that you stayed with?

I tried to. It was a little harder than I’d expected. We exchanged e-mails and phone numbers and all that and I was just talking about it. It comes up quite a lot, even for just a one-off TV special like that. It was one of those brand new experiences and I was very happy with the whole adventure and how it turned out. Getting to play with the marching band was amazing, and they learned parts of my songs. I never went to college so the whole thing was really new, to be on a college campus like that.

Having been in a touring act you must know well how tough it is to keep up cleanliness after being in a van all day and performing. Can you tell me about being Fresh + Sexy and can they double as a tour shower?

Absolutely. The product is fantastic for anyone who is travelling and doesn’t have access to showers as frequently as they like. Even just the grime and muck and build up that can occur over the course of a single day of intense living can be uncomfortable. And it is great to have a handy product that is specifically designed for the area that I would most like to be fresh and sexy. If you can’t clean your whole body, at least those most intimate, delicate and special areas can be clean.

Written by Timothy Anderl | Ghettoblaster