Lovers Lane
Copernicus Center

Hello My Name is Andrew W.K.

| September 13, 2018

Andrew W.K.


Like Alexander the Great centuries before him, mega-metaller Andrew W.K. is probably weeping because he has no more worlds to conquer. Justifiably so. After recording 2001’s I Get Wet – a multi-tracked ELO-meets-Sweet-at-Slayer-junction masterpiece so addictive that we guarantee that there will be days you’ll wake up needing to hear it right then, this perpetually white-garbed, five-o’clock-shadowed New Yorker wore hat after cottage-industry hat, becoming: a DJ; a famous Big Apple nightclub owner; a classical pianist; a radio host; a TV reality series host; a deadpan advice columnist; and a surprise hit of a motivational speaker. He was mastering so many diverse genres that the man practically forgot to make music. But now A.W.K. has returned with You’re Not Alone, a colossal rallying cry of a comeback album that combines all of the above skills into an uplifting new style all its own.

ILLINOIS ENTERTAINER: What monumental things have occurred in your life lately?

ANDREW W.K.: Oh. Just this album. Just being able to finally get this album out after so many years. But you have to realize that not only are you not in control but that it’s a wonderful thing to relinquish that control or the illusion of control.

IE: When was the moment that you understood this?

A.W.K.: I think I realized that I had never allowed myself to believe the possibility that I may never make another album, or that maybe it was over; or that I wouldn’t be able to keep doing this. There was always a fear, way deep down inside, that all things will end and could end at any time. But I always felt like I could push back on that and force that not to be the case on a day to day basis. But I was humbled to realize that – no matter how hard you try and how unfair it might feel – life doesn’t always go the way that you want it to go. And oftentimes – not always – it’s for the best because it will go in a way that you could never have orchestrated for yourself. You would never have had the thoughtfulness to dream it up on your own. And once I had accepted it – like, wow – maybe things aren’t going to go the way I thought they were on my own – it was horrifying, and very, very frustrating, but also liberating in a sense. So I kind of exhaled through the blowhole of my soul, and when I inhaled, something came in and took over in a good way, and this time I didn’t fight it. That was about three years ago.

IE: Another viewpoint:  You made I Get Wet – you don’t have to do another fucking thing in your life.

A.W.K: That’s very complimentary and very flattering. Thank you. I have really similar feelings about it in a way. More similar than one might think, in that I’m a fan of it, too  I mean, it happened to me. It made me.

IE: They say that if you step blindly off into the universe will reward you.

A.W.K.: It’ll reward you in as much as it’ll surprise you. So it’s a combination of being extraordinarily open and susceptible, and also extremely strong and determined. And it’s a blind strength. Because, so much of how I’d thought about life for so long had been learning that point of pride, that I’m in control of life, and I use my strength to then bend life to my will. But really, it’s about using those strengths to align yourself to live with as much strength as you can.

IE: But if you cede your stylistic tools, where do the songs come from, then?

A.W.K: That’s a good question. And I suppose that’s what someone would call each person’s personality, or their individual character, or their spirit. It’s just the gift that each person has – it’s how they manage this shared struggle called being a human being, and it defines them. So what makes me, me, is this toolbox of party supplies that I use to manage my interpretation of life.

IE: Another old saying is Don’t be sad that it’s over – be glad that it happened.  I Get Wet opened up your life to all these new skills

A.W.K.: In some small way, it gave me a chance to exist – to begin to exist. It was the rocket fuel that launched this rocket. And as anyone who’s ever witnessed a rocket launch can tell you, a launch is a tremendous achievement in and of itself.  And it’s supposed to be the beginning of something else, even though it’s actually the culmination of tons of work spent elsewhere.

IE: Speaking of methodology, Einstein had a closet full of the same suits, same shoes. Do you have a closet packed with white jeans?

A.W.K.: Well, there is no closet at the moment, There’s just a garbage bag or a duffel bag on the floor since I’m touring and living this more nomadic lifestyle. But sure, yeah. And I don’t believe was neither the first nor last to approach things like that, because it is a uniform in the truest sense because it’s a consistency that allows for energy to be put into other endeavors. And I relate to it to some extent in that regard, but also as like Santa Claus or something, where this is how this person looks, and this is how you can locate what that person offers in the midst of all the offering coming from all these different figures or people. So Andrew W.K. was supposed to look this way for whatever reason, and I don’t think you can understand it or explain it. But at least you can identify it enough that the guy wearing the white T-shirt and jeans, with the bloody nose and the hair flailing about, that that’s where you go to get this particular party. But – and I’m sure Einstein understood this — there’s a great joy in accepting that that’s just what I’m doing, and that’s just how I look so that I don’t need to wrestle with that anymore. My goal in these efforts is so specific in terms of trying to get to this euphoric feeling of celebratory energy, this excitement; I’m trying to hit this bullseye. And until I can nail that bullseye perfectly, I’m not interested in evolving or reinvention because I haven’t even completed this invention yet!

Andrew W.K. appears at Riot Fest, Saturday, September 15th on the Riot Stage

– Tom Lanham

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Category: Columns, Features, Stage Buzz

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