Continuing on with our old interview theme while we set up, here’s one from the most positive human being to exist, the party god himself – Andrew W.K.
This interview took place in the early days of 2009, unfortunately over the years the names behind certain questions have vanished, though many were from yours truly in this case. The man just completed a 24 drumathon and will be touring with Marky Ramone this year singing classic Ramones songs.
How are you today?
I am fine. Thank you very much for including me as the other person in this interview. It takes two at least to make an interview unless you’re going to talk to yourself or your going to ask yourself questions and be both people. But I appreciate you being you and me being me and we can both do this talk. I feel very nice right now; I’m on the 39th floor of a skyscraper approximately four blocks away from Times Square, Manhattan, New York City.
What have you got planned for 2009?
Well, I’ll start by walking forward, I’ve been taking steps but those steps are behind me now and I don’t want to go backwards, I want to put one foot in front of the other moving forward as the months of 2009 unfold. They have been unfolding quite beautifully so far, I’m very grateful for the things that have happened and these feet inside of shoes are going to be hitting down on the floors and on the sidewalks and on the streets and there going to be moving forward at a nice pace and taking us exactly where we want to go.
How did you first get into music and what led you to become the musician you are today?
Well looking at the past I can see many different activities and actions, decisions, choices and experiences that led to what happened and led to what happens on a daily basis now but at the same time the biggest part of what I’ve done to get where I am and to do what I have done was to believe what I could and to think about it a lot. And when you think about something a lot and then make the things you think about happen then what you want to do comes into being and I really believe that if you see yourself doing something and want to have it happen it will. I took piano lessons, that’s how I first learned music then after that I started playing other instruments, playing in bands then I decided to really focus on making music by myself and then Andrew W.K. started and I’m very grateful to have had a lot of amazing friends, people that influenced and inspired me and impacted me in many ways. Most of which had to do with just going out and doing something, just taking the action necessary in order to actually begin doing what you want to do, and having the courage to believe that you can, having the guts, crazy people I’ve seen do what they really want to do in life whilst other people said you cant really do what you want. These people did and that always inspired me so I say that my whole life is based on having great people to look at as models for doing what you want and I hope I can provide that for other people to.
What was the reason behind becoming a motivational speaker?
I began speaking and doing lectures when NYU invited me to do one. This was around 2005, early 2006, when in my career several incidents took place that forced me to basically change what I was doing or at least add something new or to begin to work on an additional new side of what Andrew W.K was and this type of performance worked within that plan, that necessary frame work. Going out and giving talks and speaking engagements was a way of performing I could do at that time and still can and I’ve been working within this and really enjoying it because I’m able to go and be able to talk with people who want to talk about ideas that I want to talk about and I want to hear what they have to say about ideas they have been thinking about and to me its amazing that we can come together and have a opportunity to clear aside time where we can truly speak about what’s on our minds and I enjoy that and feel very very strongly that its just as important as music. its connecting with people and energetic and enthusiastic way and it creates a feeling of excitement, of possibility, of optimism and I want people to feel like they can do anything in the world and then go out and take that energy and put it towards their dreams, that’s really what this is about, that’s really what my focus is, for myself as well and the fact that I get to do that for a living is a real privilege.
Are there any plans for a DVD release of one of these talks?
Yeah, that’s a great idea. I would love to release one of these on DVD. We have a lot of footage, I’ve been filming just about everything we’ve been doing for the last three years so there’s a great amount of existing film and I would like to put together something. I have been talking to someone about doing another DVD, we have one DVD out called ‘Who Knows’ that’s a live concert DVD and I like the idea of doing a lecture DVD. Thanks for suggesting it.
Last year you opened a nightclub, How is that going?
Oh its going very well, thank you for asking. The nightclub is a dance club and a music venue, live concert venue, called Santos Party House. Its located downtown Manhattan, China Town, and its two floors, eight thousand square feet, massive sound system, literally hundreds of speakers, a gymnasium dance floor, amazing, amazing amazing light show, the most mind-blowing structure you ever seen, at least for me and I’m just one of many people involved. I’m one of several owners, there’s a bunch of investors, there’s a huge crew, there’s a huge bunch of DJs , there’s a huge bunch of dancers, it takes all kinds. Santos Party House is a massive, massive MASSIVE result of energy coming together in New York City and New York Cities a global stage so we’re dancing to the world. I’m actually going there in a couple of hours tonight, its Saturday night and there’s a big party. I’m gonna dance.
Are there any plans to return to the UK after last years talk and performance in London?
Yes, absolutely. I was very very pleased with that experience. To be able to come back to London and have such an enthusiastic reception, I’m very grateful. Thank you everybody who came out to both the concert and to the talk. It was very powerful for me and I was humbled and just overblown by the whole experience. And yes, I have actually been very excited about London and England and have been there more recently than other places, I’ve put more time there and we’re forming a new company in England, we’re beginning a new record label in England and it’s called ‘Skyscraper Music Maker’ and we’re going to release music on this so this is very exciting to have a knew U.K. based business forming and be able to release music to the world on CD and vinyl. Get ready to be sky scraped!
Who are your favourite artists around right now?
I feel very fortunate to be friends with all my favourite artists and I mean that in a very literal way. A lot of the music that I love the most happens to be made by people who I am in contact with and if I think back through all my life it’s been like that for a long time. Its tricky for me to say if I like their music because I’m friends with them or if I’m friends with them because I like their music so much. It’s happened both ways and sometimes the chicken comes out of the egg in advance like a sideways birth so both the chicken and the egg has merged as a one and that’s how I feel about music. One of those artists is named Aleister X and another one of those artists is named bad brilliance and both of these artists are on sky scraper music maker. We’re going to release these, we’re making a mixtape called ‘damn! the mixtape’ and this mixtape has a selection of artists including bad brilliance and Aleister and many many more. I’m creating it with another DJ name B roc. and its an amazing collection of songs that I have produced, that I’ve been involved with and other people have made and we put it all together into a slam jam damn mixtape. So yeah, that’s the artists that I’m pumped out on now. I work on it
Your famous for your songs about partying and having a good time. Do you still like to party or are you taking a more laid back life style these days?
I feel like a fool forward tilt, the complete opposite of laid back, its like an iron cue leaning on its side, The cutting edge, razor sharp leaning out. More energy than ever have I been expending and I feel like I have been going more all out than ever. Doing more things all at once and spreading myself over in a vast way. Enlarging myself and diversifying and spreading out, I’ve tried and I’ve done it and I am and I’m thankful.
What’s the best gig you have played since you started performing live?
Well if I had to pick a recent favourite it would be actually be a private performance performed by myself, for myself at holly hawks humble home, Its her house in Cleveland and she allowed me to play my own piano which was encased within their house. Its a Steinway concert grand double d and that’s the way its sits on the floor, three legs I on the bench, I played this piano and I worked up a stench because the sweat was pouring down, this was the recording for ‘’55 Cadillac’, my first ever instrumental piano album. Its to be released soon, ’55 Cadillac’. That was performance captured that made me swoon. I hope you like it.
The now famous, iconic bloody nose album cover is a great image. How did the picture come about
We wanted to be like that. We wanted it to just look like it looked like a bloody nose. A two fisted image basically. Pow Pow, people get a couple of black eyes from looking at it that’s their own choice. There’s a sticker on the release to cover up the blood. We pounded it out, I remember having a big conference at the record label where just about every body at the record label gathered into the biggest conference room, and I’m on def jam, and they said, “Andrew, we have to release the album with a sticker on the cover” and I said “don’t you remember that was the plan all along?” and they said ‘oh ok, so your alright with that?”. I said “that’s what we talked about when we submitted the designs before we even had signed the contract.” So it was very exciting to see the picture actually come out, have it be reacted to and people seem to really feel strongly about it and for that I’m grateful. He bottle nosed me, what else can I say and the image speaks for itself.
Finally, Is there anything you want to say to the people reading this?
Yeah! lets have a pow wow, lets do this, I appreciate you, thank you for reading this, if this is the first time you’ve ever read an interview with me I hope you enjoyed it ok? and if its not your first time, welcome back to this kind of reading. And thank you to you Sit and Spin, for talking to me and interviewing me. I really have a very intense and very strong feeling about the United Kingdom because that’s were Andrew W.K. first began and that’s where the album first came out and that’s where we played our first ever concert. There’s a lot of very powerful memories, very powerful experiences still resonating there for me and to complete those circles and have it still going and developing forward to the future is very exciting