This is an article that orginally appeared on lifeabove11.com MArch 2012.
There are no real words to describe Andrew W K’s show. His shows are one of those things that you need to see in order to fully appreciate the art, talent, songs, and anything else you can think of that describes a great show. I will do my best to give this show the justice it deserves. He had come out with full energy playing the song It’s Time to Party quickly followed by Party Hard. This was the best way to start off the show. There is nothing-but pure positive energy flowing from his band to the audience. Every single person was using that energy to really enjoy the show. Some of the fans were even allowed to stay on stage and rock out with the band, which is not something that you ever see. In between songs, Andrew W K would say something’s that were very inspirational to any person, one of those things was “Music is proof God wants us to be happy.” This isn’t just because he is a motivational speaker, but all that he does is enhance his stage presence.
During the performance, it is interesting to see all of the band member’s head bang at once, and for the most part throwing their fist out to get pumped up. At some point in time, W K had gotten his cord to his mic stuck around the stand and was fighting with it to get it free. This did not in any way affect his singing; although, he has a great stage presence I have never seen someone stick so much stuff down their pants. It was entertaining to see were he not only would put the mic, but also the jacket that he acquired from a fan. That of course was only a part of the true essence of what the band was like on stage. Every single person was everywhere and they did not allow the fans that were on stage to interfere with their performance. W K was all over the key board and I have never seen someone play an instrument so erotically that still sounded better than on the tracks he had recorder. This was definitely one of those shows that if you missed it, you would be missing out on something epic. Each song had more energy than the next; it was great to see a band that really wanted to be there. They wanted to play and it didn’t matter that it was small; they just cared about what they were doing. WK had managed to get one of the biggest pits I have ever seen at the Glass House. I was amazed that he was able to accomplish pretty much the whole floor. Not even Gwar had done that. That alone describe the impact that he has on his fans.
It is impossible to go into that show and not come out a fan. Even if you have never heard of their music, you can’t come out feeling anything but pumped. There is something to say about a band that makes you want to hear more music. Each member had kept up the energy the whole time. Cherie did not have to front; she wore a cute spandex suit with some tennis shoes because she was jumping all over the place. I would have worn those shoes if I were her too. Every song down to We Want Fun had made the performance better and better. It was definitely one of the best concerts I have ever seen. There is something about his presence that gets a person pumped and even after our interview I had so much energy I just wanted to go and rock out. It was the same way with the show, when the band comes back again I have to go see them perform and I would be privileged to be able to sit down and interview him again. I had to buy a shirt while I was at that concert, because they are the band I want to fully support. I want to wear one of their shirts because they are the band that deserves it. You can see why they have such loyal fans, and they treat their fans amazingly.
During his interview we really did talk about a wide range of things and it was nice to talk to someone who had a real opinion of what is going on and to be interested in learning something new.
L11- I was watching Destroy Build Destroy, this morning what made you want to host a show like that?
AWK- I liked game shows quite a bit growing up, I still do, but especially children’s game shows, like Double Dare, a show called Fun House. Those were really amazing, I always like those and I liked the host and how they sort of ran the show like a circus leader and getting to do what I have with music has given me some skills that go beyond just singing that I can entertain or host; to be able to use those announcers skills. When Cartoon Network asked me to be apart of the show I asked them what it was about. They had said, well its two teams of teenagers and a lot of explosives and I said well that sounds good to me. I realized that 1. It was a continuation of this great tradition of young people game shows and 2. It was completely unprecedented. It’s never happened before and I don’t think it’s happened since. To allow young people to be close to massive weapons and WWII tanks and TNT. I thought to be able to have this chance to be just around that just to get to see it was fun enough and to be in the middle of it, you know hosting and pepping it up, and acting as the ringleader, would be fun and it was. There are moments were I need to not pinch myself but scratch myself a little bit and say this is not a dream this is really happening. It was one of the great experiences of my life this far. I am very very thankful that I have been able to do all of this stuff so far.
L11- You also do motivation speaking, how do you feel about the it gets better movement that has been going on?
AWK- It’s fantastic actually my wife and band member Cherie Lily recorder one of those, when I first heard about it Perez Hilton I think had told her about it, and she could relate to it in terms of being bulled I think like anyone, she was a very staunch independent girl in her high school days and even before. I think she was one of the first competive female snow boarders in the world and not that she became hugely successful but she dealt with a lot of bulling from being a girl and doing things that girls weren’t suppose to do. So just the idea that life getting better in general I think is something all people can relate to whether it is from your own personal experience or life style. You want to understand you are always on the up and your building strength and composites that are always making you stronger. Life gets better and you become better with life. So yeah she made one of those videos, you can find it on you tube.
L11- Have you filmed one yet?
AWK- No, I haven’t yet that’s a great idea I don’t know why I haven’t yet but I will.
L11- I was thinking about filming one too, I was made fun of for being Goth and in theatre.
AWK- Of course it’s the classic things, wearing black and you know having long hair, I was made fun of for a lot for hairstyle choices. I grew up in a college town and there was a lot of frat boys sort of rowdy troublemakers that gave everyone a hard time and it really made me very angry and very motivated. I really needed to twist that motivation to get back at them and that was my initial reaction, to try and make them feel bad but in the end I tried to find ways to get along with them. But not just get along but to find some common ground as them and that was a big motivation to do this music. It was really to make music that would bring people together when we would think that we wouldn’t even like each other. I was also very influenced in that way by Kurt Cobain. He had the opposite reaction, he was very dismayed and upset that the people that bullied him growing up were now fans and he didn’t want them to be fans. I was very fascinated by that kind of out look. I could understand it but I wanted to do the opposite of that I wanted to make music that the people who bullied me would like. It worked.
L11- Do you think now because of the economic crisis as a country it is a good time to really be giving motivational speeches to college kids, with the student loans debts and such.
AWK- Oh yeah. Did you go to college?
L11- I am in college now.
AWK- Oh awesome, I haven’t gone yet but it is never to late to go. But I didn’t think about that till later. I remember my mom and dad worked to put themselves through college their parents hadn’t the money to pay for it and I was always impressed by their determination to make it happen. When there is will there is a way. Even if you get into a lot of debt the idea of course is to be able to pay for it through your great skills and to pay off the debt. But there is always a time and a place for some kind of motivation. It is great to be able to conjure up some energy for others and yourself as well. It can come from music or even talking like this and it is something that I have noticed over the years. I have meet people who said that they never really listened to rock music but they had read something an interview that had given them, something of value something uplifting, and empowering with it. And it encouraged me to think well I don’t want to limit myself to just one technique I want to get this energy, this possibility, this joy, using whatever methods I can. Talking is a very effected method.
L11- So they still use the cover for I Get Wet, it was very controversial when it came out. As the years go on, it’s not really that big of a deal anymore.
AWK- I would hope it would I don’t want people to be upset, it’s my logo at this point. I wanted to be the bloody nose guy, and in order to do that and be that I continued to use that picture and I want to use that picture and I think its identifiable and easy to remember for better or worse. I never wanted it to be upsetting, and it was upsetting to me when I found out people were. Everybody has had bloody nose, whether you were hit with a basketball, or the whether was to dry or even if you stuck your finger to far up your nose. I never meant for it to be a violent or disturbing intense image. I am real happy with it; it was one photo that happened to work out. It was all meant to be. People are defiantly more tolerant and less offended. As time goes on young people are taking over the world we spend less time worrying about a photograph, a drawing, a painting, a lyric. It is always good to keep moving past those kinds of offense. Because they are so many other things that are worth more energy rather then bickering about if you like someone’s painting.
L11- It seems like today we are more worried about a woman’s right to choose instead of worrying about the issues like the oil crisis, or how we could switch to ethanol.
AWK- Exactly. Not that those aren’t worthwhile discussions, people are obviously passionate but we should make a list of priorities, is this really the number one thing that we should be putting time and energy into. For some folks I’m sure it is to get a different perspective. It would be like donating a bunch of money to, no offense to animals, but an animal shelter and there’s some person or kids down the street from you that have no food at all. It’s good to be able to think and priorities when it comes to that and to really take care of what matters to you the most. But that’s the thing everyone has their own cares and their own passions. I figure if everyone does what they are meant to do things will be harmonies. Unfortunately people don’t do what they are born to do and that’s when conflict come out and they feel very depressed.
L11- It seems like sometimes the media will take something small and blow it up out of proportion so that people don’t really know what is going on. Kim Kardasions divorce is a perfect example of that. You have to think well what is really going on in the world if this is such a big deal.
AWK- There’s entertainment and then there’s the world events. There’s all kinds of different stuff and sometimes I think that it is a good stress reliever for people to think about a wedding or a divorce or something because it’s not these other stressful topics. Whether it’s good or bad I don’t know but I understand it. It’s like music, yes I could be going out and doing work all over the world but I like music. Does that make me a bad person because I am not using all of my time and resources to build houses where there are none and help get clean water and places where there isn’t any? That’s not my passion; I’m not motivated by it. I have met many people that are and that is what they are doing with their lives. I am thankful for them and everyone has their purpose in life. You can tell because it stirs their soul and if your not stirred by a particular cause, no matter how noble it is, it doesn’t mean you don’t believe in it. You can’t force yourself to follow someone else’s heart you have to follow your own path. Meaning, you should never do charitable work it you don’t believe in it. It’s the hypocrite do gooder and then those conflicts arise. Your pretty much better off just doing what makes you feel good and letting those people who have that dream or passion do that. That is usually how it goes. Sometimes though people get other people to do what they like because they like it and that’s what they like to do.
L11- But even in books like Brave New World, 1984, or even Watchmen, they try and make everyone think the same way. In Brave New World they give out soma pills, in 1984 they have people who watch you in your own house. It is just how society is sometimes. It seems that a lot of people want us all to think the same way. Galileo was thrown into a house because he said that we were not the center of the world and the Catholic Church didn’t pardon him to what the 2000s?
AWK- That’s very true. And while were addressing this, there has never been a formal apology to the Native Americans for what they have done; for anything that has happened. A lot of those issues come from the advancement of the human race it is very hard to see what that entails and whether it is a good thing for the human race to advance. How do you define progress? Is progress constantly expanding or is progress the opposite where it is shrieking down. You just hope that it is made my the human race as a group and not just by other people trying to tell others that they know better then them and that’s what I really don’t like. I like authority that’s fine; we need some people in authority. It’s when you have those people in authority that abuse it to further their own personal things and prejudice, in the worst case, they inflict them and impose them on other people. In the end it never works it has never worked in the history of the human race but they just want to keep trying.
L11- The senate alone is allowed to do insider trading. But if by some chance the secretary bought or sold some stock on that same day and they had no clue what was going on, they would be investigated for insider trading. We can only really change when we get the people in charge to change.
AWK- It’s true and you hope that you can rely on people’s personally integrity and there’s usually been those one or two individuals that ruin it for everybody. You have to trust people and if you set up systems that assume that people can’t be trusted, then you get what you wish for. The only way that I can figure out how to live is to hold myself to the highest standards and never expect people to be above that or below it. This is the way that I operate and learn from other people’s behavior for better or worse.
L11- What are some of the things you do to prepare for going on stage?
AWK- I do a lot of stretching. Especially of the neck because there is a lot of head banging and you don’t want to be all sore and stiff the next day. And no definitely eating at before a performance. At least not four hours before, because I might vomit, I can’t eat right after a performance either I might vomit then to. There has been a lot of vomiting and finding out when it is a good time to eat.
L11-Which do you prefer to play in a large arena or a small venue such as the Glasshouse?
AWK- I like playing in both. They are both different. I went on tour with Aerosmith and we were playing in big arenas, and I like to participate with the audience. It’s what I do and it’s hard to do that at an arena. I think about what Neil Young said and it was that if you play on big stages like that you need to be playing for yourself and that is very true. If you try and be active with the audience, it’s like singing to a big vacuum. Yeah it’s great to hear all of the screaming fans and knowing that they are there for you is also great but it’s just like singing to a giant vacuum.
L11- Are you a big Neil Young fan?
AWK- Oh yeah I think he’s great.
L11- How do you feel about his occupy music movement?
AWK- I’m not too familiar with it can you tell me about it?
L11- Well what it is is that we only hear about 5% of music now and he is trying to fix that because on vinyl you have almost absolute resolution and now we are changing what we think music sounds like. I guess he was working with Steve Jobs before he died to try and come out with an mp3 player that would only hold 30 cds but it had the best sound since records.
AWK- You know what I do know a little about that. And I know that he is re-releasing all of his albums onto a HD cd that is supposed to be of great sound. For me I can’t tell the difference, I can hear that song as clear as day in my head and be just as happy as hearing it on the radio or on my mp3 player. I just like to know I can hear that song because that is all that matters. It’s like I can look at a photograph of the sky and be just as happy as seeing the sky because I remember what it looks like and how it makes me feel and those happy thoughts are what stick around. I just like knowing that in my head I can still hear the song.
L11- Honestly I thought that too till I heard Yellow Card play at Musink. I thought that their sound was shit and they sounded terrible. I was going to give them a shitty review. Then I went to a party that night and I was talking about this same topic with my friend and I thought well I have only heard them on mp3 so I don’t actually know what they sound like. That isn’t their fault that I thought they sounded like shit, it’s my fault for not knowing how the band actually sounds. I only heard 5% of them and hearing it in person is a lot different then only hearing them on my ipod.
AWK- That’s a good example I haven’t had that example yet.