Andrew W.K. On His Speaking Tour, New Music and Finding ‘Clarity in Confusion’ | AXS | By Mark Schiff
For someone who describes his public image as “a professional partier with a bloody nose,” Andrew W.K. is a deeply thoughtful person.
“I enjoy the contrast I’ve been able to inhabit,” W.K. told AXS.com as his tour bus rolled through rural Oregon en route to the next stop on The Power of Partying 50 State Speaking Tour, which will be hitting the Gothic Theatre in Englewood on Tuesday, October 11 (click here for tickets). Indeed, there is something curious about the man responsible for songs like “Party Til You Puke” dispensing lucid, penetrating insights into the human condition. Still, those who have been paying attention to his work over the past decade could hardly be surprised by the latest turn in W.K.’s fascinating and unpredictable career. Read on as W.K. discusses the heavy emotions brought on by the speaking tour, looks back on I Get Wet as it nears its 15th anniversary and reflects back on the night 10 years ago that “changed everything.”
How is the speaking tour going?
It has been a completely new experience much to my surprise. I’ve done speaking events over the past 10 years but this, for whatever reason, has a completely different feeling. I’ve been trying to explain it to others, people I’m working with as it’s been going, but I can’t even explain it to myself. It’s like a new flavor, a new taste. I can’t really extend any previous experience to reach or describe what’s going on here.
It’s been the most rewarding and also challenging tour, in many ways, that I’ve ever engaged in. And again, to my surprise. I thought, ‘oh, this is easy, all you have to do is just talk. I can do that.’ It’s been the most uplifting and also crushing tour that I’ve ever been on. But in the best way. These in fact are the themes that we’re discussing during these pep rallies for the human spirit. And I’m experiencing them….you know, living examples of what we’re going over. These incredible highs and incredible lows. But I can definitely tell I’m alive so that’s probably for the best.
What did you take away from the original NYU lecture ten years ago and how did that set in motion these events now?
Well, I gotta really hand it to New York University because not only did they invite me to give a speech or participate in this lecture, but they specifically requested – almost demanded – that I not talk about the music industry or my work, essentially, but talk about life in a very open-ended, free-wheeling yet relatable way. And I just….It was very hard for me to believe that, one, I could get away with that but even moreso, that people would be interested in talking about these rather elusive yet fundamental experiences. But of course, we’re all going through them and just to have carved out a special time to be in the room with people and just tear into it – tear into the core of what’s going on. I don’t mean what’s going on in politics or in culture or in society even, but what is going on at the heart of all things. What is the truth of life? It’s just a great privilege to be able to dive into that with a group of people who are interested in the mystery of all mysteries. And it never occurred to me that you could even really do that. So that’s what started that night. We talked for four hours about just life and this thing called being alive. And that sort of changed everything.