I Went On A Date With Andrew W.K. | Noisey by Vice Music | By Hannah Ewens
I’ve been fascinated with Andrew WK since 2003. It all began when I clicked onto someone’s Myspace profile and, through the family computer speakers, came a tinny version of his 2001 beer can-crushing anthem “Party Hard”. Shortly after, I would buy Get Wet on CD from HMV and thrust around the house grunting “She Is Beautiful” at my mum.
The obsession grew when I read the weird conspiracy theories that he’s a corporate product; that he’s not the original Andrew WK and that Dave Grohl is behind it all. His bizarre side ventures – like writing the jingle for Kit Kat, designing the pizza axe and speaking at a My Little Pony convention – only made me fall deeper under his spell. As soon as I started reading his touching and life affirming column for the Village Voice, I knew it. He was the one. I mean apart from the fact he’s happily married, he’s definitely the one.
We arranged to meet at Ace Hotel, possibly the most sterile, air-coned setting imaginable. Ten minutes in and I could only find his publicist. She was lovely, but not the love of my life. But it was a Thursday and “party hard”, right? So I ordered a margarita and him a Diet Coke because he doesn’t drink, and waited.
Eventually, he turned up; a little on edge, bringing a strange energy with him, but spilling out eloquent, exhaustingly lengthy answers from the outset.
Noisey: Hey, Andrew. This is a first date, not an interview, okay? Just in case you find the latter fatiguing.
Andrew WK: No, quite the opposite. They’re this official space set aside with a professional person there to speak with you. It’s like a therapist or psychologist. Someone whose whole purpose is to have a conversation with you. It’s always really excited me to speak with a professional talker or writer. Even if they didn’t really like me or were just assigned to do it or whatever, it’s still a chance for me to talk to someone without them being able to get away.
Yeah, I’m literally not going anywhere. Forget the music, let’s do therapy.
People have never been interested in talking about the music with me which is fine. I’ll always try and open conversation out. I’ll never say, “We can’t speak about that.” I’ll talk about anything at all.
Anything at all?
What’s the craziest thing someone’s asked you?
People ask me to punch them. They think it would be fun to get the bloody nose and possibly believe it would be an intense experience for them – and I’m sure it would
Since I’m a fun gal, I’m going to put a dampener on our date and ask you about depression. It’s great that you’re so open about it, by the way. Was there an incident that made you decide you would “come out”?
There’s an American football ex-player personality who is now a commentator called Terry Bradshaw. He’s very animated and amped up; very likeable on camera. I remember him coming out with this testimonial about 10 years ago; coming clean about suffering with depression. I met musicians all the time that had it – and I was actually really exhausted of thinking of myself as just another person in the creative field who has these moods. Seeing someone who had nothing to do with that: it was very liberating and exciting to think this is a human situation. And him having courage in his field where it’s more unacceptable – not manly, for example – to have these feelings. I think when you’re in the arts, it’s about sensitivity, these feelings are almost encouraged.
Since then it’s seemed like part of the thing I am supposed to do. It’s always been part of the motivation for my work; to cheer myself up so maybe someone else can feel like that too. [Pause] I don’t think I’ve ever told anyone that story.