INTERVIEW: Backstage In Ottawa

Andrew W.K. Brings The Party To Ottawa | The Scene Magazine | By Griffin Elliot

Thursday March 24th was all about energy, crowd interaction, and genuine enthusiasm. A night of sing-a-longs and a massive musical reminder that the absolute best feeling in the world is to “Party!” Andrew W.K. reminded us several times through this party boy’s dream of a night, “This isn’t a show, it’s a party!!” The night was hosted by Spectrasonic and we were also graced with excellent selections of opening acts.

Robots!! Everywhere! Kicked off the evening. Phil Castiglione exudes energy and his personality draws in the crowd like he’s your best drinking buddy, telling fun stories through pop-punk glory. You can tell that he’s having a lot of fun on the stage. Castiglione uses a unique style of getting the crowd to sing with him on songs that he even admitted hadn’t been done live a lot. That said, the crowd seemed to dig “Ottawa My Heart Explodes”, and I personally loved “Red Hair, Blonde Hair”. If you’re feeling awesome check him out on April 17th at Babylon Nightclub.

Next up was We Were Sharks. Unquestionable energy derived from these local pop-punk favourites. With vibrant anthems like “Glory Days” and “With $10,000 We’d Be Millionaires” the crowd was getting seriously pumped up. If 2000’s pop-punk is your flavour of ice cream like it is mine, these wonderful dudes do not disappoint.

As the equipment moved off the stage a keyboard was placed in the centre and excitement in the room grew. With several tall boys in my system, thunderous chants of “Party! Party! Party!” echoed aggressively through the crowd. When Andrew W.K. made his way to the stage with his next level hype man in tow you knew you were in for a treat.

Whether it was a piano solo reminiscent of his improvised instrumental album 55 Cadillac or taking shots with his choir/mosh pit, Andrew W.K. was facilitating the party as promised. He filled the room with demands of living your life to its fullest and celebrating the little things. Andrew bravely encouraged the crowd to join him on stage culminating in his massive hit “Party Hard”. From the back of the room or on the stage, you were a part of a wicked sweet party. If you’ve never performed live this was a unique experience to give you that high from being on stage with like-minded partiers. After the show Andrew W.K. was gracious enough to answer a few of my fandom questions.

Photo by Christopher Vachon

You picked five intimate venues for this tour through Canada. What drew you to Mavericks?

I was here last time and I’ve been to Ottawa quite a bit. I think Canada in general, it makes sense, it’s right there. I’ve been here more than most other places. It’s possible more than most places in the U.S. I think that it also connects to growing up in Michigan and also living in New York. I’ve spent more time in that area that borders Canada. I love the cold. I like the sensibilities of the people here who like to party.

The partying is getting us through the winter for sure. The two opening acts definitely had lots of energy, which was a great lead in. If you could pick anyone at all to be your opening act, who would it be?

Tonight as an example, I like that cheerful spirit, things that make people feel happy or pumped up. There’s times when I’m the opening act and that’s what I’d like to offer to the headliner, warm them up. Gosh if I could pick one opening act. Its funny cause the people I’d want to pick I’d feel like I should be the one opening for them. I was gonna say Nardwar but, we played quite a bit with The Evaporators. He’s the best but, tonight being in Ottawa with Dave Brockie, and his passing, we had talked about touring next year with Gwar. We had been talking about touring for a few years and we were thinking that next summer since I’d have a new album to tour on. We were saying the dilemma is who opens for who? I said we have to open, we can’t play after Gwar.. Who could?

We all see what you achieved professionally. Anything you’ve achieved non-professionally in the last year that you’re particularly proud of?

Well, not dying, though you could say that is part of my profession. I for better or worse don’t separate myself from what I do. I make that effort to do that and choose to do that.

I’m having fun and that’s most that you can ask for in life and I’m very thankful for all these crazy things.


What’s more party? Point Break or Road House?

Point Break.

Party food of choice?

Canada late night for a touring performer has great downtown foods. Even New York, with all due respect, can’t compete with this late night food at 4am. Great 24hr Pizza! Party food.

Review interview and by Christopher Vachon

Photos by Jess Rose and Rose Photography