Long Live the Party
This week party-rocker Andrew W.K. returns to Houston for what is sure to be one of the most raucous shows at Fitzgerald's since, well, maybe when Elvis Presley played the venue back in the '50s. His current "10 Years of Partying" tour celebrates the past decade in W.K.'s world.
W.K.'s debut album, I Get Wet, turns ten this year. The record and its first single, "Party Hard," hit the music industry just as the nation was still feeling the effects of the 9/11 terrorist attacks, something that the NYC-based musician and public speaker knew about all too well.
I Get Wet was an unabashed tribute to having fun, and would become the audio shorthand for doing things that normal people would advise against. No wonder W.K. wound up writing a song for the Jackass crew's first big-screen effort.
Chatter talked to W.K. about the impact of I Get Wet, his religious devotion to the act of partying and whether or not he will be partying until he is nursing-home age. Hint: Duh.
Chatter: The I Get Wet album is a decade old. It came out at a time when people were still very much reeling from 9/11. Would you like to think that the album at least helped alleviate some of that stress?
Andrew W.K.: Every person who kept on going alleviated that stress. Every person who sent love and power and prayers alleviated that stress. Every person who refused to [get] let down or stop pursuing joy and human happiness alleviated that stress. I was living in New York City on 9/11. It was the scariest and least party day of my life, but still, it didn't stop the party. They can't stop what they can't end.
Chatter: I remember when the album came out that you stuck out as a positive voice among a lot of negative rock acts. You may have hastened the end of nu-metal.
AWK: Every kind of music is valid and has its place. I have strong love for all sorts of musical feelings, including music that might seem negative. But even the most angry music manifests as joy in the right listener. That's the same as my musical goal. Pure joy is the truth of all music.
Chatter: I Get Wet is sort of like a catalog essential at this point, next to things like Licensed to Ill, The Chronic and Reign in Blood. When you were making it, would you have guessed that?
AWK: It's humbling and extremely flattering to hear you put it up there with such massive and phenomenal recordings. I'm amazed that you feel that way. It's up to you and the other folks out there to make this album special like that. You make it last and you make it important.
Once I make the music and put it out there, it's really out of my control. I bow down in gratitude to everything and everyone that's made this adventure into my dream come true. My true will is to do this. All I hope is to give people raw energy and enthusiasm, so they can use it to make their dreams come true, too.
Chatter: When the album hit and I first saw the "Party Hard" video, the imagery and sound hit me as extremely industrial. The hair, the blood, that crazy, almost Rammstein-like grind coupled with the freewheeling, almost nihilistic, message.
AWK: Rammstein is one of my favorite music groups, so that comparison really means a lot. I've also been a fan of Throbbing Gristle and the other related artists from Monte Cazazza's industrial music, all that mind-blowing work.
I got hooked on having my mind blown and want to keep blowing other people's minds. I don't want to make soothing stuff. That's what blankets, bubble baths and lotion are for.
Chatter: Will you be doing this when you are wearing white orthopedic shoes and banging your gray hair against an amp?
AWK: First of all, I will never have gray hair. My mom is in her '60s and still has rich, dark hair, and that's because she parties. My own body and soul will remain in this state of perpetual party youth. Partying not only keeps you young, it keeps you childlike.
When you do what you love — what you were born to do — it's like swimming in your own fluid. A fountain of youth. When I started doing this, I was taught a lot of cool tricks from one guy. He said, "I eat a spoonful of [pasteurized] cow's blood once a month," which is supposed to help keep your skin healthy.
Chatter: Which presidential candidate this year is the most party and who is the least party?
AWK: None of them are party.
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