He came. He pizza’d. He partied. Andrew W.K. helped make the inaugural Chicago Pizza Summit at Chop Shop one of the best celebrations of cheese, sauce and dough the city has ever seen. As keynote speaker for the event, Andrew delivered some inspired thoughts about the magical and mysterious powers of pizza to two sessions of sold-out crowds.
In between sessions, Do312 caught up with the pizza party king to talk more in depth about the power of the ‘za.
Do312: Hey, Andrew! How’d the first session go? Did you have a blast?
Oh yeah. I came straight here from the airport and just made it in time. The good thing was people had eaten and gotten to enjoy the atmosphere of the summit. Of course the lifetime achievement award was given to a wonderful woman named Rose [George, owner] from Vito and Nick’s which I understand has been creating pizza for 95 years. Anyone doing anything for 95 years is incredible, let alone pizza.
Do312: Did you get a chance to try a slice from Vito and Nick’s?
Andrew W.K.: I believe so and Rose actually came up and introduced herself which meant a lot to me considering I don’t know how to make a pizza. I rely on people like her to provide us with this incredible food. It’s more than food. It’s a service to humanity.
Do312: What do you think it is about pizza that brings people together? Not so much why it’s awesome, but why people love coming together over it like today.
Andrew W.K.: It’s a centerpiece of sorts that people can surround. You just see arms and hands reaching towards this focal point of food fun and festivity. And it is one of the few foods that the odds are most people will be pleased with it. It’s a safe bet, and that’s quite rare. I can’t really think of many other things that come in a large quantity….You can order a bunch of sandwiches, but that’s not shared. The fact that you’re all reaching into one piece of food that’s been divided and sharing it [when eating pizza], that’s a big part of it.
As far as the specifics, it does get a bit mysterious. I think that’s important thing to acknowledge, and not in a frustrating or confounding way, but in a way that says there’s something special about pizza that we might not ever be able to pinpoint. If people could, there would be a lot of other things exactly like pizza, and there aren’t. So, it’s almost sort of alien.
I always use music as the best comparison. We didn’t invent music, but we accessed this thing that we call music through instruments, through arrangements. We took this kind of sound and extracted a higher level of value and power out of it. Same with pizza. We took food or sustenance or molecular value and accessed it through this new interpretation and got something that goes completely beyond other kinds of food.