Andrew W.K.
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Andrew W.K.

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Andrew W.K. @ Warehouse Live

Houston, TX

Houston, TX

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The best kept secret in music


When Andrew W.K. was on the cover of Pollstar five years ago, he was known for anthems like “Party Hard,” “It’s Time to Party,” and “Party Til You Puke” and his high-energy, unpredictable stage show. He’s still spreading the same message – have fun doing what you want – but in a slightly different outlet as an in-demand motivational speaker that’s inspired a new tour.

The seed for the speaking engagements was actually planted during previous tours, Andrew W.K. (Wilkes-Krier) told Pollstar. Media interviews and meet-and-greets that turned into marathon conversations with fans gave him a new perspective.

“I had clearly been, since the beginning of Andrew W.K., in a position to converse with people.

“Trying to explain and analyze myself and this music through those kinds of interviews was a new experience for me that I never really anticipated enjoying that much,” he said. “It certainly wasn’t the same as listening to a song or going to a concert, but there was a consistency in the feeling.

“I was able to still focus on the ideas of having fun, doing what one wants and living life in a full, enjoyable way that the music was focused on [but] using words outside of music.”

It was a recent invitation to speak at New York University in a free-form, stream-of-consciousness format that opened the door even further. The topic proposed by the organizers: “Andrew W.K. Talks About Whatever the Hell He Wants.”

“When the lecture opportunity came up, it was exciting because it doesn’t fit into what I’ve done. It’s an interesting contrast,” he explained. “To have the confidence to go with these things even when they seemed absurd or out of the realm of what was familiar to me, that’s what was thrilling about it.

“That’s a really collaboration between an audience and performer when the line between who’s making it up is blurred.”

Andrew’s recent three-show stint titled “The Joy Trilogy” at NYC’s The Pit featured the performer talking about whatever was on his mind at the moment followed by a question-and-answer period. All three shows were sellouts. That led to an invitation to discuss “Pure Fun and Total Love” at South by Southwest in Austin March 16, among other requests.

The success of those events, and invitations to host discussions and parties in Boston and New York City, are what Andrew said led up to his nine-date High-Way Party Cruiser Tour set to kick off April 3 in Los Angeles.

“It’s always been about connecting, about having this party and celebration and inviting people so they would feel loved, “ Andrew said. “The whole idea behind the tour is anyone should be able to go out under no specific pretense and just spend time together.

“That’s taking the definition of a party down to its very core, which creating the music has been heavily focused on. It’s an organic evolution to say, ‘Why not take this on the road?’”

The road trip also makes stop in Seattle, Portland, Winnipeg, Regina, Saskatoon, Edmonton and Calgary, where it wraps up April 15.

The new direction has led to creating more music, which Andrew said will soon be released.

He’s also invested in opening a two-story, approximately 1,000-capacity nightclub in NYC and is filming “Smokeshow,” a reality show based on the no-rules, anything-goes concept of Andrew’s speaking engagements.

As far as what direction his new-found talent will take him and the fans he meets along the way – the sky appears to be the limit.

“It’s an opportunity to connect. In this day and age, I can see no better thing for me to do,“ Andrew said. “Good things are happening and we’re making them happen. We are individual, but we are the world.

“I’m not saying I’m saving the world; I’m saving the world that I believe exists. We are saving the world.” - Pollstar

“I love tourists,” Andrew W. K. said as he strolled by Times Square on Monday. “They’re excited about everything, and I love excitement.”
No kidding. Mr. W. K. — the initials stand for his real last name, Wilkes-Krier — is a connoisseur of excitement, as anyone who has seen his hair-flinging performances or videos can attest. Lately he’s been exuberant about ideas, like the nature of coincidences and paradoxes and solipsism. Also pancakes. Over lunch near his apartment in Midtown, he ordered a stack of blueberry-banana-chocolate-chip-walnut, a blend of every flavor the restaurant offered — and slowly made a mash of them as he talked about his new passion: thinking.
He has been reading the works of the philosopher Martin Buber, among others, and contemplating consciousness. “I have been very into the idea that the only way the external world exists is by you observing it, and that the only way you can interact with that external world through that observation is to intend it to be,” he said, his eyes closed in concentration. He opened them to eat observably a strip of bacon.
Known mainly for his good-time anthems — his most popular include frat-boy classics like “It’s Time to Party,” “Party Hard” and “Party Til You Puke” — and for wearing head-to-toe white, Mr. W. K., 27, has recently decided to sell himself as an idea man.
Over the last year he has been rejecting concert requests in favor of giving talks on topics of his own devising. On Monday he will perform the first third of a nine-hour extemporaneous lecture cycle called “The Joy Trilogy” at a small comedy theater in Chelsea, and on Friday he will discuss “pure fun and total love” at the South by Southwest music conference in Austin, Tex.
Next month he is to embark on Andrew W. K.’s High-Way Party Cruiser Tour, traveling in a Cadillac, giving addresses and putting on parties at clubs across parts of the West Coast and Canada.
Colleges are calling; a book is in the works. His appeal is strong enough that his first such gig, at New York University in November, packed an 860-seat auditorium for what was, essentially, a four-hour Q & A. (There was also an impromptu singalong to his song “I Love NYC.”)
“It’s become a certifiable skill that I could offer, which is to just appear,” Mr. W. K. said. “I wanted me to be the focus, rather than what I did. And that’s the exact opposite of how I thought of it before: I wanted to be very secondary to the music.” He’s not quite a guru (though he does have the wardrobe), but Mr. W. K. now welcomes the idea that he is a motivational speaker, not just a musician.
“People have been saying all along, ‘Yeah, the music’s great, but I really like this feeling, it inspires me, it makes me feel like I can do anything,’ ” he said. “I’ve had people say, ‘I don’t really listen to your music, but I read an interview and it made me feel good; I really understood and I could relate to what you were talking about.’ That to me is just as inspiring, because it’s all just expression. What I would really like it to be is that I just show up, and whether it’s a concert or it’s talking, the same essential experience is available.”
His path to enlightenment was properly informal: He moved to New York from Ann Arbor, Mich., at 18 to pursue music. He established his fun-loving cred in 2002 with his first album, “I Get Wet,” which has sold nearly 250,000 copies. He toured widely until 2004, always appearing onstage in a dingy white T-shirt, white jeans, sneakers and a watch.
Subsequent albums of nonparty songs and metal-like ballads have not been nearly as successful, but 20-something truth-seekers are not made for stasis. Mr. W. K. busied himself with other projects: opening a club on Lafayette Street in SoHo (it won’t be ready for at least six months, but the T-shirts are already done); performances and writing for musicians from Will Oldham to Hanson; an advice column for a magazine in Japan, where he’s still quite popular; and an advice reality show on MTV, “Your Friend, Andrew W. K.”
At 6 foot 3, with shaggy hair past his shoulders and boyishly chiseled features, he has the charisma of a quirky campus leader. The outfits help. “There is something about white clothes; you’re more aware of your body,” Mr. W. K. said. “The original idea was just to be blank, and T-shirts and jeans were the most basic clothes, I thought.” (Of course now they have become his trademark. “Trying to represent nothing is the ultimate paradox,” he sighed.)
For their part, club managers are happy to have him, not least as an oddity.
“It’s a real experiment,” said Kevin Allison, the artistic director of the Peoples Improv Theater in Chelsea, where Mr. W. K. will perform “The Joy Trilogy.” “He was really intrigued by the whole idea of just get up and let whatever comes out, come out. From our end, we’re just as curious to see what happens, as I think he is.”
In a preview performance Mr. W. K. answered a question that had been posed to him on his - New York Times

Hardcore party rocker Andrew W.K. is taking his people skills and using them to entertain fans, but not in the usual concert setting he's familiar with.
The "Party Hard" singer is going on a two-week tour as a motivational speaker, promoting his message of having fun while doing what you want. The High-Way Party Cruiser Tour begins in Los Angeles on Tuesday and ends in Calgary on April 15.
"It's always been about connecting, about having this party and celebration and inviting people so they would feel loved," Andrew said in an interview with Pollstar. "The whole idea behind the tour is anyone should be able to go out under no specific pretense and just spend time together. That's taking the definition of a party down to its core, which creating the music has been heavily focused on."
W.K. got the idea to become a motivational speaker after his meet-and-greets with fans and media interviews turned into epic conversations about everything under the sun.
W.K. has become quite an in-demand speaker lately, even being invited to give a talk at New York University under the title "Andrew W.K. Talks About Whatever The Hell He Wants."
"When this lecture opportunity came up, it was exciting because it doesn't fit into what I've done," W.K. explained. "To have the confidence to go with these things, even when they seemed absurd or out of the realm of what was familiar to me, that's what was thrilling about it."
The free-form style of the lecture at NYU opened the door for other engagements, including one at the South By Southwest Music Festival in Austin, Texas last month to talk about "Pure Fun And Total Love."
W.K. is filming a reality show based on his speaking engagements called Smokeshow, and has invested in a 1,000-person nightclub in New York City. But he continues to work on music and his fourth major release, Young Lord, is expected to come out later this year. -


I Get Wet (2001, Island Records)
The Wolf (2003, Island Records)
Close Calls With Brick Walls (2006)


Feeling a bit camera shy


Rock Musician and Motivational Performer

Andrew W.K. was born Andrew Wilkes-Krier in Stanford, California, and was raised in Michigan. A piano player since the age of five, he spent his high school years playing in bands, and after graduation, in an effort to expand his creative endeavors, moved to New York City in 1997.

After playing numerous solo gigs, word spread around New York and Europe, and was signed to a record contract with Island Def Jam Records. In 2001, his first album, I Get Wet, was released. Critically acclaimed, Andrew appeared on magazine covers across the country and the globe, including NME, which featured him twice. After the release of the album, he was featured in GQ, Rolling Stone, Spin, Q, New York Times Magazine, Vanity Fair, the New Yorker, and others, all of whom agreed that with his arrival on the music scene, rock music had a new influence.

Following the release of I Get Wet, Andrew embarked on a world tour, taking part in Ozzfest and Warped Tour, as well as arena and club shows with Aerosmith and The Locust. He made major television appearances on the Tonight Show, the Daily Show, Late Night with Conan O’Brien, CNN, and many more.

His second album released was The Wolf, which was received with equal enthusiasm. His third album, Close Calls with Brick Walls, was released in 2006.

Currently, Andrew is recording music for new releases in 2007 and 2008, including the albums Young Lord and Carrier, and is working on a solo instrumental piano album.

As he continues on new and exciting musical developments and changes, Andrew W.K. is still having an important influence on the music world, and as he branches out creatively, will remain at the forefront of the music industry and community.