Tag Archives: Andrew WK

Riot Fest 2016: I Remember Halloween

I was never a punk. In high school I was a trendy little femme who liked the Smiths and sixties music. Duckie was my fashion icon. The only punk rock I listened to was the Dead Milkmen.

The king of the punks at my school was a senior named Alex who came to class one morning with perfectly spiked hair. Multiple four-inch spikes of Ziggy-red hair held up with egg whites or Elmer’s or some other gravity defying concoction. While he was walking down the hall some big dumb jock took a donut and placed it on one of those epic spikes.

Alex left the donut on his head for the rest of the day.

To me, that epitomizes punk rock. You make a personal statement that goes against the grain, you get hassled for it, but ultimately you subvert that mockery by reclaiming it and making it your own.

I didn’t see any donuts at Riot Fest this year but there was no shortage of that same punk rock attitude.

Continue reading Riot Fest 2016: I Remember Halloween

Cool Podcast Alert: Buddyhead Radio

BuddyheadI hate podcasts. Transcribe that shit, you lazy motherfucker. Don’t make me spend 45 minutes listening in real time. I like to blare my own music and just skim your stupid little interview in between battles on Clash of Clans.

That said, sometimes it’s cool to hear people’s voices. Talking to each other. Shooting the shit. Personality comes across a lot clearer than on the page. I say I hate podcasts, but the truth is that pretty much every time I listen to one I like it. Marc Maron does great interviews and I can’t imagine that edited transcriptions would convey the enthusiasm he brings to the table.

And now our pals at Buddyhead have jumped into the podcast scene with Buddyhead Radio.

Welcome to Buddyhead Radio! Our new, sometimes-weekly, radio show / podcast hosted by Travis Keller that focuses on art, music, film and the internet.

In this third episode, Travis gets over the fear of hearing his own voice played back to him and gets to talk with the always interesting, and always charming, Duane Denison. Their talk covers if there’s ever going to be a new album from The Jesus Lizard, life in Nashville, giving guitar lessons, Kurt Cobain and a whole lot more in between all that! We think you’ll enjoy listening…

And that’s true. I did enjoy listening. You might too.

Previous episodes:

Buddyhead Radio #1: Blag Dahlia of The Dwarves Interview

Buddyhead Radio #2: Ariel Pink Interview

Subscribe: iTunes | Android | RSS

Andrew WK Live in Chicago: Ten Years After

Andrew WK at Riviera Theatre
Chicago, March 25, 2012

All of the dudes were there, and that was just on stage. Flanked by four wild-haired guitarists, plus a drummer and his black leotard-clad wife, Andrew WK stood in a party line of his own making and flailed, writhed, pumped his fists to the rager soundtrack of ten years ago. This was the I Get Wet tour, featuring WK in all of his lank white denim glory ripping through the record that made him a star with the same heaping helping of gusto he’d brought out on the road in 2002. Clod-stomping metal riffs were kicked up against WK’s own keyboard flurries and supported with double-bass kicks that kept a hard and fast rhythm on two drum heads, each emblazoned with the maestro’s bloodied face. It was the same iconic shot from the I Get Wet cover art and the one that hung over the proceedings like the visage of a master propagandist. This was WK for Vendetta, and the crowd was eating it up.

“We are fortunate to be here tonight, to live here and be alive,” WK enthused to raucous cheers. And later, “Never forget the power of musical joy.” It was the same metal-vational speech he’d spouted between (too long) pauses back at Metro in 2002, and this time around he couldn’t resist playing a bloodied Tony Robbins once again. It was too much talk, not enough rock. The crowd was eating it up, sure, the same way the pit surged to the left and right during highlights like “Party til You Puke,” “Party Hard,” and the title track, hundreds of kids pushing at the stage in a tangled mess of frenzied limbs, following along with every hair whip and judo chop of their fair leader, who seemingly hasn’t aged in the interim. But WK’s shtick, fully invested as he is, still seems like shtick at heart. There’s a gear missing, that extra rev into crazed that turns a rock and roll show into a mirthful murder spree. He had so many guitars at his disposal, and so much hair whip back and forth. He had the ears and fists of the crowd in his hands. So why was the Riviera a stolid line of folks with their arms folded once you reached the sound board level? And why wasn’t that sound ripping hearts out of chests? It felt like an act, not an act of the party gods.

The post-9/11 fatalism that I Get Wet embraced and espoused in 2001 and 02 has its partner in the fuck-it-all, glittered-up party ethos of LMFAO and Ke$ha, and WK has savvily brought the record back to not only celebrate its birth, but indoctrinate a new flock to his projectile rock. And they were down there, eating it up. But just like his strange question-and-answer sessions of a few years ago, or his incessant web cam party patrolling on Twitter, WK’s rings of egoism before it does altruism. No one can question the stripped-to-its-core genius of “Party Hard”; it’s an anthem that wears the animal skins of a thousand other anthems into a battle against boredom. But why does the whole thing still feel like self-righteous zealotry and not visceral release? Why does it ultimately feel as shallow and rootless as LMFAO’s “Party Rock Anthem”? Maybe that’s the populism innate to the I Get Wet material, though. Like a beer bong or box of fireworks, WK offers a necessary tool kit with which to party, but doesn’t do the real puking or exploding until your neighbor calls the cops. It’s always up to us to never stop living in the red.


More on Andrew W.K.

(At the risk of GloNo becoming “The Internet’s 2nd Biggest Andrew W.K. Site”)

Because I’m sure that some of you haven’t actually read it, the following is taken verbatim from Andrew W.K.’s web site:

“The future is so bright – at times I feel the need to cover my eyes with my hands for fear of being blinded. But, as quickly as I can cover them, something will tear them away, and I’m forced to momentarily gaze into the explosion. What I see is almost too much to bare – I see the absolute truth. That there is nothing to be afraid of. There is nothing that can hurt me or anyone else. That my place in this room is the same as my place in the universe. That these things are not to be looked down upon, but to be looked up to. And suddenly, all that ever once was is not any more. And all the stuff that I was worried about is no longer upsetting, and all the things that I was afraid of seem safe and warm. The truth has everything inside of it – EVERYTHING. And it is O.K. and it is good.

I will work everyday to feel O.K. To truly feel O.K. is to accept everything as such and that you have a place inside of it all. And that place is a miracle, not something small. We can do so much, so easily, so fast. We have so much power, and so much ability. Human beings are one of the greatest achievements in the history of the world. We are our own achievement. So many people have dedicated their lives to working for our benefit. So many things that we have now came from people before us. We owe to them to make the most of our times now. We can create things of such beauty and magnificent dimensions, and we have the potential to destroy and tear down and deplete as well. This is so simple and so clear. The future holds everything. In my life I want to feel as good as possible and help as many people as I can to feel the same. I want to do everything and I want to help as many people do everything too. Everyone is invited. No one is turned away here. This music is about freedom and this music is much bigger than just me. I don’t own it – I couldn’t try to keep it all to myself even if I wanted to. It belongs to human beings. It belongs to you. The music is perfect. All it wants is for people to be happy. It doesn’t even exist except as a moment of time. The more you believe in it, the stronger it gets and the stronger you get. The music is your best friend, and it will never turn its back on you or let you down. It loves you unconditionally and thinks that you’re great. It wants to do whatever it can to make you smile and feel good. You can do no wrong. There is nothing you could ever do or say or feel or think that would make it leave you. It will always be there for you – from the first time that you hear it to the last time before you die. In the morning when you wake up, and right before you go to sleep. And it will visit you in the dark, in your dreams and it will make you’re happiest wishes come true, and in your nightmares it will protect you and fight for you and keep you safe. The only thing happening here is acceptance and excitement. This is real and true. It is the truth. I will work everyday, and be patient, and have endurance, so that I can give to others what has been given to me. It is not instant. It will take time, and when I’m dead it will continue on without me. This is not mine alone, and I did not begin it. It was begun when the first baby smiled and it will NEVER END. NO ONE CAN STOP THIS – this is still just the beginning. The start of the beginning. This has never happened before. We have never happened before. You have never happened before. There are new horizons and new frontiers that belong to us. These are our trails to blaze. THIS IS OUR TIME. I LOVE YOU.”

Whew. Now if you can actually read through this entire, inane rant (Which you should if you’ve been looking at this site for any amount of time; I hope if we’ve done nothing else, we’ve trained you to suffer through inane ranting.), it should be clear that it is impossible to take Andrew W.K.’s, uh, “art” seriously. Which is fine. Go ahead and like him, hate him, mock him, whatever. Enjoy his music even. (The music isn’t really that bad, at least as good as Slaughter, but a far cry from the metal act created for the movie “Rock Star.”) Go ahead and have an honest reaction to him. But, the original point of the article below still stands: The guy is an idiot.

It is important to draw a distinction between Andrew and someone who has, say, an ounce of sense. One of the key failings of our modern society is the substitution of democratic opinion for truth. The way this gets reflected in the artistic world is when people purport that making and creating are one in the same. But, as we can all hear, making noise is not composing music. Nor are typing and writing equivalent. Go look “art” up in the dictionary if you don’t get this point.

I am a critic, and thus call W.K. out for what he is: A competent musician who should shut the fuck up. His music is not the issue, it’s the gobbledygook that he’s passing off for deep thinking. He thinks his party music somehow transcends the genre, which it clearly doesn’t. Worse, his ridiculous “philosophy” is nothing more than nonsensical mantras gleaned from TV and tabloids. (“The future holds everything.” What?) While W.K. has every right to his worldview, he comes from a long line of modern day mystics who think that spouting their garbage—and that’s what the screed above is—is as justified as espousing enlightenment. But having an opinion is not the same as having an informed opinion; concepts like truth and quality (read Pirsig if you don’t understand) make this so. The world is not flat, no matter how many fake blood-covered rockers might pretend that it is.

Andrew WK: Crazy in the Coconut

Andrew WK’s Joke Won’t Last

You’re nuts. Have you seen the video for “Party Hard?” It’s insane. Are you driving a Camaro? Do you have your white leather high-tops and acid-washed jeans? Better have a fresh can of Skoal on you too as I’m sure it’ll be a long night. — Phil Wise, via e-mail, 4/2/02

I didn’t drive my Camaro to the show. And I couldn’t find the large-tongued Reeboks under my bed. But acid-washed? Come on. You know I only wear three-legged jeans. Besides, Converse All Stars and unfortunately-washed jeans are Andrew WK’s shtick. And who wants to look like a long-haired kook with a Glenn Danzig complex?

Tuesday night’s Andrew WK “performance” at Chicago’s Metro played out like a car accident: Despite the onstage carnage, you just couldn’t tear your eyes away. There was a perverse pleasure in watching WK’s pre-teen (and curiously overweight) all-ages audience snicker and point at the lousy longhair on stage, hooting and clapping with exaggerated praise after each screed of synthesized party metal was mercifully ended. Performing in front of a comically enormous A W K tapestry, and flanked by no less than three doom metal guitarists, Andrew Wilkes-Krier’s crystal gravy talent couldn’t have been more obvious. But he must have felt the need to drive that point home. At the end of his set, WK attempted a triumphant leap from the drum riser. But no one told him that only real rock stars are allowed to do that, and he slipped, collapsing into a heap of glacier-wash and stained white T. At that point, Andrew WK received his only genuine applause of the night.

You can’t pick up the conch and simply declare yourself Keeper of the Party Rock Platter. If you could, David Lee Roth would be a millionaire solo artist. Everyone likes to drink beer, get laid, and listen to a bitchin’ party record. And normally, we don’t ask for any substance from that music, other than its inclination to jam. But don’t punch me in the face and tell me I love it. Andrew WK is trading his ballsweat riffs and party hard lyrics on a platform of insipid passion. Between songs, lank hair hanging across his face, WK waxes about the sanctity of his performance, and the release felt when real rock and roll happens. But there are two things wrong with that speech. First, there’s nothing sacred about WK’s bit. It’s by-the-numbers hair metal indebted to Anthrax, with too much reliance on keyboard loops. And second, if Wilkes-Krier really wanted us to party ’til we puke, he’d just shut up and rock it. The great thing about a party band like Motley Crue was their abhorrence of pretense. They didn’t wrap up the riff to “Girls, Girls, Girls” in anything other than a pile of their groupies’ torn undergarments. The walking sight gag that is Andrew WK hasn’t learned this lesson.

Andrew WK has deployed upon the public a postmodern shell game, in which his trailer park garb, metal sensibilities and ostensibly vacuous lyrics are supposed to be perceived as a critique of Rock itself. And that’s annoying. Party music doesn’t deserve to be sullied by such a villain. Would you ever want Kid Rock to tell you that “Cowboy” was about much more than garnering west coast pussy for his Detroit playas?