Interview With Andrew W.K.: Leader Of The Pack

Do you remember the first time you listened to I Get Wet by Andrew W.K.? Whether or not you can, Andrew W.K. is giving audiences one more chance to relive or maybe have that first time hearing his album that is celebrating its 10-year anniversary. Venturing out on his first headlining world tour in more than seven years, Andrew W.K. sounds more than grateful to be back in this position and promises that fans can look forward to a lot more than hearing I Get Wet played in its entirety.

No matter the topic, Andrew W.K. spoke as though he had just been bestowed a gift from God with an enormous amount of gratitude or was a master chef talking about his latest menu offerings. Shrouded in mystery and thoughts of the future by bringing back the past, below, Andrew W.K. talked about the headlining tour, new music and the death of Andrew W.K.

You’ve just started the tour. How does it feel to be back on the road as a headliner?

The level of pleasure, enjoyment, gratitude, thankfulness and appreciation is almost overwhelming, but not so overwhelming that I can’t deliver the goods. It’s kind of that feeling you get when you know what you’re doing is what you’re meant to do. I wish that every person gets to feel that as often as possible and that’s the goal of this, to be with my band on the road. To be honest, we’ve been touring on and off over the last five to six years, but we hadn’t [done] our own proper headlining world tour in about eight years. I’ve spent more time with these people than anyone else in the world besides my mom and dad and brother, so it’s a really tremendous privilege to get to being around your best friends as much.

Everyone’s excited for you to be back on the road. What do you suggest fans do before coming out to your shows to celebrate this momentous occasion?

It’s a momentous night, it’s a momentous occasion for everybody and most of all for me and the band included, we’re excited. So, first of all, I want you to realize that people are showing up to see and to participate in an event where everyone involved on our side is just as excited and thankful for it happening as hopefully the folks coming to be with us are. I also recommend massaging the calves. You might be bouncing a lot, maybe even tapping your toes, jumping, moshing, running about, slam dancing, so massage your calves before you come out.

Good advice. Recently, you and the band were in Norway. How was it being in a winter seeing as how you live in New York?

This winter has been mild and we didn’t get a full blown blizzard while I was in New York—I did travel quite a bit. It was good to go into the truly deep Arctic winter and to be around top-level athletes and top-level musicians like Turbonegro and Dropkick Murphys, it was a pleasure. It was a way for me to participate in a very special and upcoming sport which is snowboarding. What these athletes do is really over the top and it inspires me to do the best I can and take on the same kind of risks on stage. Myself, I aspire to be as great as these guys are at partying. No, wait—reverse that.

You went over there and set up a Santos Party House on the grounds. How did that change the vibe of performing as opposed to just playing a regular stage?

Santos Party House, for those of you that may not be familiar with it, is a two-floor nightclub and venue in Manhattan that me and my friends opened in 2008. The spirit of Santo himself is the non-physical entity that represents this level of human joy and revelry. We were able to transport that spirit all the way around the globe to Oslo, Norway. The World Snowboarding Championship was kind enough to let the spirit of Santos Party House set up shop right there in Oslo and that’s what we hosted every night—a celebration after these incredible Arctic events.

The big news is your tour. Why did you decide to hit the road playing this album instead of waiting for new material to take with you?

This tour had us realize that we’ve exceeded that 10-year mark. This celebration opportunity duck tailed with the revolution, the repair of many problems, many broken situations that were really my fault by the contracts that I signed and with a lot of folks that I decided to work with that had alternative motives. But fortunately since 2005, I’ve been working with my team to resolve all these issues and we found ourselves once again with pure and total freedom. We haven’t done a full headlining world tour in almost eight years. So we’re thankful and excited that this just happened to coincide with the anniversary here.

So does this feel like a whole new chapter opening up in your career?

I hope it’s not closing. But it’ll always opening and always be coming. You always have the road in front of you and new ways to grow and new ways to find that joy. You want to be close to that joy and that’s what our focus is every day. I’m extremely grateful that we get to keep doing this so at best, it’s a new chapter. At worst, we’re just continuing to lead the same chapter in perpetuity, but it’s a very good chapter. I’m very excited. My whole life and Andrew W.K. in general and all the work we’ve done, it could just be one very small footnote of the human race in general. You know, everything we contribute to further the cause here is our noble effort.

Can you look into the future and make any predictions for the 20th anniversary?

(Whistles) Wow, holy cow, gee whiz. All I know now is that we’ll be touring around the world till June and then I’ll get back to New York City to continue work on the new rock and roll album and then go back out on the road. So all I can say is that we’re not stopping and I don’t expect anyone else to be stopping either.

What do you have planned for the upcoming album?

I want it to be spicy, I want it to be very, very, very hot and spicy, flavorful, tantalizing music, the kind of music that just thinking of the melody of the song can satisfy the most extreme palette and the biggest appetite. And if you swallow down one of these recordings, one of these songs on this new album, when you swallow that down, it will fill you up in a way that you’ve never been filled up before, man or woman.

How do you feel the Andrew W.K. of 10 years ago would respond to the new music you have planned?

He would probably kill himself and quit but he might as well because I have taken over. Firstly, I was assigned to continue this work because other people, it wasn’t their time. I was brought in to do what they couldn’t do and that’s between them and their own conscience.

That sounds cryptic. Why do you say the Andrew W.K. of the past couldn’t handle what you’re doing now?

I didn’t mean it like that except that you know, I’m happy to have this opportunity and to bypass and hold up my end of the deal. Anyone else that’s their business, I can’t speak for them. Obviously if they had done a good job, I wouldn’t be here, so in that way I’m thankful that they did fuck up because now that gave me my chance. I’ve been going now for seven years and I don’t intend to mess up, so “phase two,” thank you very much, it’s been going great.

You’re playing the album from start to finish. Do any songs feel they should be moved around in the setlist?

Well, we’ve never played any of our albums in order, which is an interesting way to approach a concert performance. Normally at a concert you pick and choose and play songs you think works for the show, but if you are someone that has listened to an album many times, you’ve learned that album [is] almost like one long song. I’d like to think the I Get Wet album has that potential to be one big long song. It is strange to me at least. “Party Hard” we normally leave that towards the end of our show, but here it’s the second song. But we’ve been enjoying that. Anything that’s different than we’ve normally done and takes us out of our comfort zone it makes the party way better. We’re playing not only the I Get Wet album, but we’re also playing songs from all previous releases.

Do you feel people need more of an escape and reason to party nowadays then when you first started?

I’ve noticed actually the opposite. I’ve noticed a deeper level of day-to-day partying and celebration. The human race continues to embrace its destiny here in the new eon and it’s our chosen path to celebrate not being dead. I’m pleased to be a small piece of machinery preserving that cause because it’s time for the human race to enjoy itself and have some fun and do what’s meant to be done.


You can catch Andrew W.K. at Santos Party House on March 29, Theatre Of Living Arts in Philadelphia on March 30 and Webster Hall on April 2. For more information, go to