A LOT OF THIS INITIALLY HAD TO DO WITH CAKE: AN INTERVIEW WITH ANDREW WK
Eternal party guru Andrew Wk enlightened Fun Fun Fun Fest with a touching inspirational speech about having fun with a main focus on living life to the fullest. With a busy weekend for WK, he was available for a quick interview about parties, television, and avant-garde culture.
You did an inspirational speech at Fun Fun Fun Fest, where did an idea for that come about?
I’ve done an inspirational speech a couple of times now. In general, it was not my idea specifically. I was invited to do some lectures way back around 2005, that’s when it first started. I had been invited by New York University to come and give a lecture at the school. I thought they wanted me to talk about the music business to a music business class, but [the school] was very passionate about it being a free-form lecture. They actually asked that I not focus on the business, but instead just talk about life. I am very inspired by that, freedom and courage, because that was the stuff I was thinking about anyways. I think doing interviews, like we’re doing now, keeps my interest in talking about anything, but especially life. When you realize other people are interested in talking about those kind of things too, it just takes on a life of its own.
Where did you passion for partying come from?
I would say my passion for parties started around age four or five. Those are the ages I first remembered my birthday parties. I liked the cake, my mom always baked really good cakes. She made Batman cakes, Superman cakes shaped to their body with carefully applied icing. I know for a fact that I had one of the most incredible moms ever. My mom was the one who introduced me to partying more than anyone else. I also remember enjoying McDonald’s birthday parties, a lot of festivities, great cake. A lot of this initially had to do with cake. Getting and giving gifts was a lot of fun, too. I just really enjoyed the atmosphere. There was a certain amount of time set aside for where all you had to do was enjoy yourself and have fun. I thought to myself “I’d like to do this more. In fact, I’d like to make this into my life.” I decided to become a professional partier. A lot of people told me it was impossible, there’s no such thing, you just can’t do that. Those kind of things motivated me to say “Yes I can, because if partying is celebrating something you’re happy about, like a birthday or holiday, then I’m happy about not being dead.” That was enough reason for me to party everyday.
Destroy Build Destroy, your show that ran for four seasons, unfortunately ended in 2011. What was the reason for that, and for the formation of the show to begin with?
The show happened when a new team of folks at Cartoon Network were looking to do a live action game show for kids. It was quite controversial in several ways. One way was that the show was not animation. Rightfully so, many of the deep Cartoon Network fans were upset about these new shows that weren’t animated. I completely understood. It was also quite controversial because it featured children between the ages of seven to twelve blowing up school buses, semi trucks, WW2 era Russian tanks, bazookas and flaming catapults. Some of these things were quite violent and destructive, but in safe environment. Destroy Build Destroy was unique because it was the only show I knew of that allowed kids to blow things up, I mean like fireballs that you could feel the heat a football field away. The show was one of the most exciting thing I had ever been a part of. Unfortunately, it was so over the top that parents became overly concerned. The show did very well. it won awards and had great ratings. It ended up getting canceled because of complaints like, “This is not appropriate for kids.” I didn’t fully understand that. If you’re ever going to have explosions, why not have it part of a game where we can use these weapons for fun instead of killing?
Could you see yourself doing another television show if the opportunity came around?
I would like to do another show very much. With Destroy Build Destroy, the creators just asked me to do it and I said okay. A lot of the things I have gotten to do, even the whole idea of partying, I never initially dreamed I could do. It’s a bit different from many people’s life stories where they have a specific goal and work very hard to do it. My goal is partying. When you set your mind in that mode, it seems like all these other things that relate to partying come out.
My first time seeing Andrew WK was when you opened for Black Sabbath with a solo DJ set. Why a DJ set compared to playing with your full band?
Out of all the bands in the world, Black Sabbath incredibly asked me to be their tour DJ. It was their idea and their plan. Since I’m not insane, I said yes. Of course you say yes if Black Sabbath asks you to go on their North American tour and play your favorite heavy metal songs, they’re the greatest heavy metal band in the world. I’m not a professional DJ by any means, but that’s what the band wanted. I just bowed down to them and said ,“Your wish is my command.” That tour was one of the most surreal, intense, and dreamlike experiences that happened to me. I still can’t believe it happened.
You were briefly in the experimental group To Live and Shave in LA.Did that experience shape your music in any way?
Oh, wow. Thank you for asking me about that. I haven’t played with them in quite some time. I recently listened to Noon and Eternity, the album I played on, and it was cool to think about that experience. I always had great admiration for those original band members. I feel that a lot of the times when I work with other musicians, I have lowered the quality of what they do and my association with them has raised the quality of what I do. I feel very thankful in a way, but slightly bad sometimes, because I feel that people had not been happy with what I’ve done. It is what it is. It’s not so much disappointing, but more concerning. I want to serve the vision of these folks and not stand in the way of it. Sometimes it just doesn’t work out to play with other musicians, I think finding time is a huge factor in that. Sometimes what they add doesn’t work and what I add makes it worse. I get in this mindset that maybe I’m not supposed to do that,
Do you think that experimental, avant-garde ideas are related to partying?
Hmm…that’s a great question. If avant-garde is the leading edge of challenging, mind blowing, exciting, inspiring, thought provoking ideas, I think celebratory spirit definitely encourages a similar, open-minded optimism that I always got from those encounters It makes life feel more full of possibility. It makes life feel like there is so much more out there that you haven’t encountered. Those kinds of thoughts can make you change how you feel about yourself. That is what I have always gotten out of things that have been described as avant-garde. I definitely look for those ideas in partying, too. So I would say yeah, partying and avant-garde thought are almost the same thing. To me, they almost have the same definition. I’m sure other people may feel differently, but I like to have my mind blown and to have that feeling that life is not only worth living, but it’s the most interesting and avant-garde thing that there is.