Andrew WK’s I Get Wet was released in 2001. Metalheads recommended it because the drummer was in Obituary. In 2014 Andrew WK hosted a children’s television show. And wrote an advice column for The Village Voice. In addition to releasing a highly influential metal/party album and working with kids and giving sound advice he’s also opened a successful venue in Manhattan, put out a record of piano instrumentals, lectured at Yale and irked negative people around the world.
Next month, Andrew WK will do something he’s never done: perform on a cruise. Andrew WK will be on 2015’s Shiprocked. We’ll be there too. So we began with an obvious question…
What are you currently wearing?
Boxer shorts, socks and a white t-shirt.
This is correct.
How often do you two have to do laundry?
She’s more vigilant about, like, washing in general. Washing her clothes, washing her hair, washing her teeth. washing the dishes. I do not have a very good washing track record. I just washed my teeth for the first time in like two weeks. I’m not proud of this, it’s rather disgusting. I haven’t washed my body in three weeks, which is not something I’m proud of. I haven’t washed laundry or dishes in ages. Again, I’m ashamed by these things. Not deeply ashamed, but I’d like to wash myself and the world around me a bit better.
Are you more worried about picking up a disease due to filth or activity on stage?
I’ve never been worried about picking up a disease. I actually find the filth has bolstered my immune system. I think wallowing in bacteria has actually increased my ability to withstand more threats to my health. I guess I am proud of that. I’m very proud of that. I’ve traveled around the world, knock on wood, and am pretty hearty due to the amount of filth I have or I’m just riddled with it and the bacteria can’t get a foothold.
I have had some injuries on a stage but I’m not worried about it. You heal up.
We’re talking right now because we’re both going to be on Shiprocked. How often do you say no to things?
From time to time. It has happened. It’s not my usual go-to. You have to trust your instincts. You also have to learn when not to trust them and that’s much harder.
What is something you’ve said no to that you regret? You willingly played The Gathering and that didn’t go well but you don’t seem to regret that.
No, that was one of the high points for me in terms of an intense and memorable performing experience.
That’s exactly why I’m glad I say yes to things. Those are the life experiences that change you. That was a tremendous experience.
(Long pause) I try to block them out so I don’t have to remember them.
One time this girl at a venue, actually at the venue my friends and I opened, Santo’s Party House, I was DJing and this woman asked to give me oral sex and I said no. I guess I don’t really regret it because she looks like she could have had a disease. But again I’m so bolstered by the bacteria I might have been fine.
I don’t know how you’ve managed to stay so relevant and loveable for the last 15 years. I remember going to the 2002 Warped Tour in Cincinnati just to see you and I couldn’t tell you one other band on that bill.
That’s very kind of you although you have a selective memory…
Of course! That’s not a knock on any other act and I’m sure they’re all very nice people but none of them have a Village Voice column or TV shows…
In your eyes, and I appreciate that very much, but there are other people that would say these are signs of pure failure. I’m glad you interpret those as a good thing.
I have no answer for you. The only reason why I’m still here is because of partying. That’s the only logical explanation. Every other explanation falls flat.
Yes, it’s partying, but it’s also a very reasonable approach to humanity. You seem like a realistic humanist.
I have heard that word before. Is being a humanist just liking humans and supporting their efforts not to die?
Hey, how can I not support that? Take care of your own. I guess I always thought it was good to help humans not die.
But it’s also weird because you’re aging well. You don’t look like shit and you have a growing fan base and the more they know about you, the more they like you. You’re no longer just a kid from the hardcore scene in Michigan or a New York artist. How do you view yourself? When you think of Andrew WK, what comes to mind?
Sometimes I think about it, how I exist in the world, but there’s too much to do most of the time. I think about my tasks. Right now I’m thinking about this interview. Tasks. Doing what I’m told to show. Showing up and doing the best I can.
After a month or so you look back but most of the time it really does feel like I’m being pulled along by a per-ordained destiny or plan that I don’t know about.
I used to think I had control. I had my vision and all that, going way, way back, going 17, 18 years ago, when I started working on this.
But the more I do it, there’s no way I can plan these things. More amazing things are happening, things I’m really excited about, that I never even had the nerve to dreamed about. I wouldn’t have said those things are possible but they’re happening. I’m a big believer of showing up to the party and the party will throw me where it’s supposed to go.
I believe that destiny is not in my power.
When did you change your idea about that?
At times it would be like flukes. I can’t give one example, it’s the entire thing. At first it was just, “Oh, that’s just a fluke,” or “Oh, it was just luck.” Once that happens hundreds or thousands of time, you start to think maybe there really is something to this idea.
You think you’re pushing towards your dream but what if your dream is pulling you to it? I just have to go where I’m being pulled. It can be a bit scary, I feel like I’m in the dark sometimes, but I have faith at this point. There are times and moments of doubt but I can’t deny where it’s taking me. It’s not me, it’s the total culmination of people around me, supporting me, like yourself, maybe that’s what’s pulling me.
Sometimes I think I should be pushing and I push and nothing That’s the craziest thing, nothing happens and I feel really pathetic and I can’t make one thing I wanted to do happen and then, without wanting to do anything, a bunch of other stuff will happen and it’ll be much better than what I wanted to happen.
It’s very bizarre, to me at least, maybe this is a shared experience, but it’s very humbling to accept this, that there are party gods and there is a plan for me. I’m not going to battle with them. It’s a losing battle.
You have a very loyal following on Twitter, what drew you to that platform?
PARTY TIP: Think about what you love. Forget about what you hate.
— ANDREW W.K. (@AndrewWK) January 9, 2015
I always liked the computer. I remember my first computer and when one of my friends first got the Internet and that was really mind blowing to us. I was really excited when you could start recording with a computer. Once we started our website, I felt I could say things, I can say these things and the writing on this thing, was like always, a way to motivate myself and feel good. That’s why I wanted to dedicate my life to partying, I just wanted not to feel so depressed.
Even the first version of the site we launched in 2002, we had a questions and answers section. People would write me questions about life, which I was amazed people would turn to me, and I would answer and I would answer in the most capable way I could.
That was before social media, we were just doing it because we felt we could party with people around the world.
The computer, the feeling that I can be partying with people around the world, it counted! It still counts as some kind of communication. It’s the same with Facebook and Twitter. I see where people don’t aesthetically like it but it’s what I’m about. You’re not alone. You’re in this with a team of people. We’re trying to cheer each other up and party as much as possible before we die.