Andrew W.K. is a strange sort of fellow. After bursting onto the scene in the early ‘00s with his debut album I Get Wet (which featured tracks like Party Hard, Party Till You Puke and Fun Night), W.K. went into a contract dispute-induced hibernation. Now, after clearing up his legal issues, which he peppered over with a delightfully gonzo, Abby Hoffman inspired conspiracy theory that positioned W.K. as not just a major label shill, but also as a completely fictional character, the man is back. Except now, W.K. isn’t just singing. He’s also hosting, Destroy Build Destroy, a live action series on Cartoon Network, tearing up twitter, producing Emmy nominated Dub albums, running night clubs, promoting Taco Bell and giving lectures at Harvard…and My Little Pony conventions, just to name a few of his various achievements.
Earlier today I sat down with W.K. to discuss his comic-con concert, his love of all things Brony, whether one should, in fact, party until he or she pukes, astral projection, why mothers can fuck off, getting infections from Ke$ha, his work with Adult Swim and much, much more. Hit the jump for the full one-on-one interview.
Collider: This is your second year at Comic-Con?
Andrew: It is. It is. And I’m not proud to say that; I’m embarrassed. Not that I’m not proud that I’m here. I’m proud that I’m here and I was proud that I was hear last year. But I’m embarrassed about all of the years that I missed previously. Because it became immediately evident, even before I walked into the convention center, that in this culture…if you’re working in any facet of entertainment, you’re an idiot not to be here. So, I’m embarrassed. Especially as a comic book fan as well. Someone who has collected comics, especially in my slightly younger years. I’ll tell you this; we made the commitment that I will never miss it again.
What happens if they move it to LA or Vegas?
Andrew: I would rather it go to Vegas than LA because I love gambling and Vegas.
One of the things they have here is comics and cartoons and animated stuff. But you were doing a live action series for Cartoon Network. That ran for five seasons, are you doing more? Or are there enough episodes for syndication?
Andrew: I would love syndication. Of course, it’s not up to me. That would be fantastic. We’ve been able to get it onto the Itunes and Netflix and its actually been shown now in Australia. But Destroy. Build. Destroy. That show, unfortunately, it was controversial. It was great! I was happy about the controversy, but it was controversial because it was a live action show, as you said, with young people. Kids really. Two teams of teenagers between the ages of eleven and fourteen, that were then given high powered explosives, powerful weapons, everything from Russian tanks to bazookas, to just TNT. Unfortunately, there were some parents’ groups, especially moms who were very concerned about the show and that this was not a good influence on young people that they should be blowing stuff up. And I thought, as did the creators, what better way to use these weapons than for fun? Or, what better way to use any type of explosive device than to create some sort of excitement? Kinda like fireworks! You know, here’s gun powder being put to a great use. You’re not killing anybody, you’re creating some great entertainment, some beautiful lights in the sky. And that was really the spirit of Destroy Build Destroy. It was quite disappointing when these parents’ groups, especially these mothers, were so upset about the show and that it was a bad influence. I don’t wanna go too far into it, but a lot of them also had issues with me. Like, I was a bad role model for kids, that kids shouldn’t be having fun in the way that I’m presenting or partying with the level of enthusiasm that I am encouraging. But you know what? I’m not a parent yet, I would like to have kids very soon, but since I don’t I have a lot of respect and I do say, “You know what? You know better than me.” I mean, my mom raised me and I’m still alive. So, I’d like to think that I know a little bit about being a young person and my mom knows about being a parent, but for all those all those mothers out there who think I’m a bad influence…I basically say, fuck you.
[I notice that W.K. has a strange line on his arm. He has several tattoos, all of which are just straight black lines, but there was also a smaller, smudgy black line next to some discolored skin.] Did you get a tattoo removed?
Andrew: This is a scar, actually. This is an old tattoo.
Next to the scar?
Andrew: I tried to continue the tattoo because I had stopped short. They’re just lines, but a musical artist by the name of Ke$ha volunteered to help extend this tattoo and unfortunately, it got infected. And since then its been healing, and actually it has gotten much better than it was. We were actually noticing last night how much its healed. And I’m glad that you noticed it, but hopefully in a few months you won’t be able to notice it at all.
I’m going to resist the urge to make a joke asking how your wife felt about you getting an infection from Ke$ha.
Andrew: No. No. She knows all about it because when it was covered in puss and leaking blood she was helping to clean the wound. Ke$ha was not there during that… This tattoo, a lot of them are just to tell how low my sleeves should go. Otherwise, they’re just little lines. I wanted to get a little Tweety Bird or a Tasmanian Devil or a Yosemite Sam. But I thought this would be a lot easier.
Yeah, it’s a tattoo. But does it really matter what the tattoo is of? It’s a symbol of a tattoo maybe.
Andrew: That’s very well said! Why bother getting a picture? I just want a tattoo! I have a tattoo. I’m covered in tattoos. They may not be pictures, but they’re something.
Do you have any plans to work with Adult Swim to make an animated Andrew W.K. show or a more adult oriented show?
Andrew: Well, you know, my goal has been to never become an adult. I feel like I’ve been…
Have you watched Adult Swim? They’re not exactly adult. They’re adult oriented, but that’s…
Andrew: That’s a very good point. Maybe they’re continuing the same instinct that I have that, why should adults have to be adults? But I love Turner Network television, I love Adult Swim. That’s actually how I got my start on Cartoon Network was through Adult Swim originally. I had a special appearance on Aqua Teen Hunger Force!
Party! Party! Party!
Andrew: That is correct! (Singing) “Party! Party! Party! I wanna have a party!” And that was really what started it all. That’s how Destroy Build Destroy started and whatever happens in the future, I’ll be very excited about.
Have you ever done a song where you thought, ‘There’s too much party in this song. Maybe I should tone it down for those mothers.”
Andrew: No. Yes. My goal is never to tone down.
My girlfriend sent me a text right before we started that said, “Andrew will be very disappointed to see that you will stop partying before you puke.”
Andrew: Nononononono! That’s okay! That’s okay! The idea is to party as well and as best and as hard as you can. And if puking facilitates that for some folks, then let ‘em puke. If not puking allows someone to party harder, like yourself perhaps, then let ‘em not puke. I’m not here to tell anyone how to party. I’m just here to say, ‘Please, party as hard as you can.’
In your defense though, I have definitely been throwing up and thought to myself, ‘You know, I’m still having a pretty good time.’
Andrew: Okay! See, that’s what I’m talking about. There is an endorphin rush that comes when you puke. It’s kind of like a runners wall. Once you cross that wall, once you cross that party wall and you puke, you do get a rush. There are good chemicals there. And also, you’ve made more room in your gut, in your stomach, in your gullet for more content, whether it be fluids or foods. There is some stuff where it’s hard to determine if it’s a chemical or a food or a fluid. Just cram that in while you have that space. Plus, puking also good exorcise for your abs. Those are contractions, muscular contractions.
You know, I never thought about that. That’s a great point. That’s how I’m gonna get a six-pack. I’m gonna get a six-pack and get a six-pack from it.
Andrew: There you go! I may use that as a party tip.
Go ahead, I would be honored. So, you have an album Raucous that you’ve been working on. Have you finished recording that yet? Started recording?
Andrew: That raucous title…there is some, it’s a fantastic title by the way, because you can’t spell rock without misspelling it as ‘R-A-W-K.’ You can’t misspell rock without ‘a-w-k.’ Raucous is a fantastic rumor that has been going around. Like anyone, I’m lucky enough to have some rumors circulating and some myths and some just flat out incorrect information or misinformation. That is one of those pieces. I’m not going to call the next album Raucous. Although, it’s such a great title, I’m certainly considering it.
[Note: W.K. began those, ‘rumors’ with several interviews where he personally announced the title.]
Have you recorded whatever the album will be?
Andrew: I have been recording and I will continue work. We just finished a world tour about a month ago that did take me away from the studio. But now I’m back and for, I don’t know, the rest of the summer, basically, and into Fall and early Winter I will be finishing the album so that we can then go and release it and go tour early next year. It will be raucous, whether it’s called that or not.
Did you ever complete work on your albums Young Lord and Eberwhite?
Andrew: It’s amazing that you’re even familiar with these at all.
I’m a nerd. I’m sorry. Actually, I’m at Comic-Con, so I don’t have to apologize.
Andrew: What people refer to as nerds or geeks, all they really are is people who are passionate about what they like, and aren’t afraid of it. To me, it’s very frustrating when people are discourage from being enthusiastic about things. This idea of the geek, or the nerd; all that person really is – and I would consider myself one – is someone who is not ashamed of liking what they enjoy. They’re not afraid to fully embody it. They’re not afraid to revel in it, to enhance their experience using whatever means they have. Whether it’s dressing up or coming to an event like this, there is no shame in enjoying what you like! I’m a fan of being a fan! For example. But these albums are things I have been working on for quite some time, especially during a time way back in 2004, 2005 when I had some business and contractual…just silly stuff like that. But the good thing is, they are still there, they still exist and I am doing everything I can to try and get them released at some point. Whether that’s in the next few years or longer than that… I’m not gonna give up on that.
But they do exist somewhere in a hard drive?
Andrew: They do. The recordings are there and I’m protecting them. Some of it is not finished, so that will take some work, but it’s more the will. I have the will to finish this. And as we know, where there is a will, there is a party.
Where there is a will, there is a legal contract preventing.
Andrew: Well yes. Unfortunately, that is the other side of it. But you can fight through those things. A lot of these people are just kind of bored. They don’t have much to do, so they conjure up problems where there weren’t really problems just to give themselves something to do between their otherwise kind of quiet life.
So, your former record label is basically like an internet troll?
Andrew: You know, that’s a great comparison. Screwing up shit. But with all due respect, these are people I have worked with a great deal and have done great things with and I’ve had a lot of fun with and I owe a lot of my own exciting adventures to them. And what doesn’t kill ya’ only makes you party. And they gave me a lot of reasons to party. Both out of excitement and out of frustration. But I would never be able to even be sitting here talking to you had it not been for these same people. And that’s why I don’t take it personally. They’re answering to parties that go beyond them and higher ups and all of that. And at the end of the day, as long as people are partying, that’s what matters to me most.
So, you did a classical piano album. Has anyone come to you asking you to do film or television scores?
Andrew: I have scored some music for TV. I’ve done commercial music, whether it’s for advertisements or background content on a show. I’ve worked with Viacom, MTV, VH1 creating music. You wouldn’t know that it was me. I don’t even know if I was credited on some of it.
Can you tell me what some of the shows were?
Andrew: Legally I cannot. But maybe once we’re done recording. Again, that goes back to the legal agreements that I made. But yes, I like that a lot. Film scores and soundtracks, musicals, music that enhances other scenarios. That to me is very exciting. And I consider the rock and roll music that I’m already making, that’s enhancing the party atmosphere for a lot of folks, including myself.
So, tonight at the Con, there are two shows going on. There is your show with Franki Chan and Cartoon Network is also throwing a party where Dethklok is playing. What can you tell people so that they’ll choose to come to you, rather than Dethklok?
Andrew: Oh, jeez. That’s a very hard call. You know, Dethklok and Metalocalypse and Cartoon Network is as close to my heart as anything could be. Ideally, I think I’d try to ask people to go back and forth between the two. Catch one song here, catch one song there. Or, use psychic astral projection and actually send your spirit or spiritual body from one place to the other so that you can be there physically in one place with your eardrums while your psychic presence is in the other.
Maybe the music will lift you up so much that you’ll have an out of body experience and then go to the other place.
Andrew: Raise your body so high up that you’re actually looking down on San Diego as a whole to where the whole city is just a little splotch as it looks from God’s point of view. Because that is the only way to choose between two such party options.
Well, I have to head out, but before we go, give me a party tip that I can pass on to the readers at Collider.
Andrew: Here’s a party tip; party. Keep it straight to the point, pure and simple.
Catch up on all of our continuing Comic-Con coverage here.