Andrew W.K. Is Half Man, Half Bull
The bull is a fitting symbol for rah-rah muscle-throated rock entrepreneur Andrew W.K. A horned, drooling animal charging and breeding with virulence and strength. For the Greeks, the bull was associated with the impassioned and virulent Zeus, father of gods and men but the Minotaur of ancient Crete, a half man/half bull, might be even more fitting, for Andrew W.K. could be half bull. Rumors of there being multiple Andrew W.K.s who are created and controlled by a group of mainstream corporate schemers (the same people supposedly behind Lady Gaga) have circulated. The name of mystery producer Steev Mike arises in AWK credits and lore. Is this actually Dave Grohl? Is Mike AWK's real songwriter? Is it AWK himself playing out a trumped-up controversy campaign? None of this matters to his legions of rabid fans. The music and the live, frenzied shows are what they want. The fans want the high-energy Minotaur, and they want it to charge them.
Andrew W.K. (Andrew Wilkes-Krier), self-help crusader of the Y generation, is a multi-face(ted) jack-of-all-trades. He's a singer, songwriter, guitar player, drummer, and classically trained pianist with ties to the Michigan/Wolf Eyes noise scene. Now he's often found acting, giving self-help/motivational speeches, and hosting a TV show on the Cartoon Network called Destroy Build Destroy. He's branded himself effectively, and his feel-good, punk-minded, and orchestrated metal is meticulously produced. The message of it all: Do your homework, then let's party, rock out, and live to the fullest. His famed party tips resound with positivism—he wants everyone to love themselves, love others, aim high, do well, and party. For the current I Get Wet Tour, he's playing the entire debut album of the same name. He spoke via telephone from New York City. At least I think it was him.
Is this the real Andrew W.K.?
Yes. It's me. It is I.
Are you wet right now?
Nothing that most people would notice. Sometimes when you get excited, whether you're a boy or a girl, you can experience lubrication. My nose has been running a bit. My eyes, fortunately, are nice and moist, not too teary.
Give me a party tip involving cabbage.
For that, we are going to have to move into the brussels sprouts. They are fantastic mini cabbages. When I think of sprouts, I think of those long green things that look like sperm. You cannot get more succulent than cabbage. It's like lettuce times a hundred. It's heartier, more leathery, more flavorful. So my party tip would be to never discount the power and heartiness of a baby cabbage.
The way you parlayed that into sperm was amazing.
Thank you. Sperm is an elemental archetype that you keep in your head at all times. At least I do. It's how I—we—came into this existence. If you think long enough about things, chances are you're going to end up thinking about sperm, or the sun.
The sun is the biggest sperm.
It's life giving, but it doesn't have a tail.
Your TV show Destroy Build Destroy deals with life-giving forces.
Yes, it does. The elemental forces of nature. In order to create something, something must be destroyed. Even if it's something as simple as making pants. The show puts this destructive power into the hands of teenagers. Usually on major shows, kids aren't given TNT or bazookas. So it's nice to see. We had an extraordinarily powerful Russian WWII-era tank that I got to drive around. It's a privilege to be part of a groundbreaking entertainment project. We're using weaponry for fun and joy, and not to kill somebody.
What's the most interesting thing you've blown up on the show?
School buses. That was a real high point. Because I rode the bus quite a bit growing up. The smell of those Naugahyde leather seats is very much like urine [laughs]. The long rides were unpleasant. Blowing up school buses was satisfying.
Have you seen the show about people with fetishes? One is about a guy who's in love with his car. He's fully amorous.
People are capable of having romantic and erotic feelings for automobiles. There's J. G. Ballard's book Crash, and the movie, which explores that to some degree. Although it's not quite as literal as people wanting to have intercourse with the car. That's an amazing passion to have.
There's another episode about a guy who's sexually into balloons. He blows them up and has mini orgasms when they pop. Do you think these people are real or is the show staged? You should see the guy into cars kiss his front bumper like it's a mouth. It was like a Civic hatchback.
I think they're real. Human beings are pretty limitless.
What's your fetish?
I've been trying to get one [laughs]. It seems like so much fun. A natural attraction to what some might say is an unnatural thing. I guess I'd say my fetish is partying. Or entertainment. It definitely turns me on. Either that or breathing.
Breathing and brussels sprouts. You love brussels sprouts the way the guy loves his car.
Yes. The leaves are so tender and chewy. They're like flesh.
If you had been present when humans discovered fire, what would you have done?
Well, there was lightning. And sparks from rocks. And all that rubbing with sticks. I probably would have just used a lighter. Or a match. Same thing goes for the wheel. Why wouldn't they have just used a tire from the very beginning? Stone seems wrong there.
Do you remember your dreams?
There was one a couple days ago. I was with my wife, Cherie Lily, working on something [involving] trying to contain and organize different lizards and snakes. We were in over our heads trying to keep track of all of them. Just when I thought we had it under control, Cherie screamed, and I saw all the snakes and lizards crawling up the wall behind me. There were black salamanders, black as night. I was calm and started to get them off the wall, then one of the salamanders affixed itself to my hand and arm. It had claws and was digging in deeper and deeper until I was flinging my arm around trying to get it off. Then I woke up. The craziest thing was that I had scratches on my arm.
You were recently in Oslo, Norway. What were you doing there?
I was the rock 'n' roll ambassador for the World Snowboarding Championships. I recorded music for it. I was the master of ceremonies for various events and did some broadcasting. I curated and hosted nightly parties. It was tremendous for me to get to participate in athletics without necessarily having to be athletic. Athletics for me is a high-energy performance. I did get into weight training for a while.
What could you bench-press?
I think I got it up to 215 pounds. I had always felt skinny and scrawny growing up, and I wanted to transform. When I moved to New York and started doing Andrew W.K., I subconsciously wanted to feel more powerful and confident. I went from weighing 173 pounds to 212. It could also have had something to do with all that cabbage I ate.