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Purple Revolver meets Andrew WK

by Lara Cullen & Gemma Harris. Published Mon 30 Apr 2012 12:22, last updated: 30/04/12

We met Andrew WK before his London show, treated him to a giant 'Party Hard' cookie and talked about wrestling, heroes, motivational speaking and bloody noses.

We also got our very own party tip – just for Purple Revolver.

PR: We told our mums we were coming to meet you today and they didn't know who you are, can you do the introductions?

AWK: Yes! Hello Mothers, my name is Andrew WK and I am a rock and roll musician.
I imagine you're familiar with the rock and roll style it's very intense with a lot of volume, a lot of energy and even possible violence, but with me it's all cheerful … and that's what I try to tell people.

I meet people of course, all the time who have no idea of what I do and they're familiar often-times with rock and roll and sometimes even with Heavy Metal but what I try to really get across to them is that this is very cheerful, very cheerful, and it's not just in how we deliver it, the music itself, the melodies, the chord changes, is a cheerful sound and I always wanted this to be a family affair.

I didn't want this to be music that parents didn't like including my own parents, that's often times been the goal of music in general or new music that's supposed to appeal to young people, revolutionary styles of music that changed the shape of entertainment but that's not my job, my job is to party. And you know what, if you can party and have your parents there partying too, now that would be mindblowing, that really would be good and that really is my goal.

It always means a lot to me when people tell me their parents don't disapprove, when their parents are pleased with what we're doing here because it's meant to be a good thing for everybody but if they don't like it … fuck them….. Not your mother though, not your mom!

PR: So you've kicked off your 10th anniversary I Get Wet Tour, how's it going so far?

AWK: We've only played one show so far having just left the United States, the Dublin show was our first show, now on this European leg of the tour that show was the greatest show we've ever played. The thing was in the US we had that same experience happen, out of all the shows there was probably 12 shows that when the show was done it wasn't even just that it was the greatest show that I'd ever enjoyed playing but it was like the greatest day just like everything about it and I've never had any experience in terms of touring or beyond where I felt like this is the greatest day of my life over and over again and you think like there's no way we're gonna top that and then you go and play Dublin and then it happens again.

So there's something happening right now that is been very intense and at times overwhelming, but overwhelming with goodness, a transition, like we're going through some new form of puberty where you change and you realise you'll never be the same again but its a good change, like you're changing for the better but you can't go back so it's a bit like a butterfly coming out of it's coccoon in a way and I never imagined that we would be having this much fun.

I never imagined that I would be enjoying playing these songs as much as I have been but I can safely say with a lot of confidence that the band has never been better and that we've never put on better shows than we are and I think tonight will be no exception.


PR: You've re-released your I Get Wet record, or you're going to be re-releasing it in July

AWK: Yes July 17th

PR: Have you managed to win any new fans along the way?

AWK: Yes, that's been a great blessing. I've actually come to the UK more than a lot of other countries outside of the US, to see those familiar faces in lands that you have played a lot of times and to remember them and to have them stay with you and still be connected to whatever feeling that you gave them because sometimes people go, I wouldn't say through phases, but where you extract some value from an experience and then there's not anything more to be gained from it but to think that these folks are still extracting value from what we're offering is extremely powerful.

And at the same time seeing so many new people, I wouldn't say it's so much that they've just been exposed to Andrew WK I think more that they haven't had their own chance to experience this because due to a lot of poor decision making on my part we weren't able to tour as frequently as I would like to give people that one on one concert live experience so maybe they'd just been waiting for a couple of years or even 7 years I mean the last time the full band played in the UK must have been 2004-2005 at the latest

PR: You were last in London in 2008 but maybe that was without the full band?

AWK: Yes that was a solo show, I've done a lot of solo shows. With the whole band on a proper world tour that's been many years coming, I can't even believe how long it's been because it flies by very fast for me so no we're very grateful for all the new people coming and the majority of these shows theres been a pefect balance between new folks and folks that have been there with us from the start.

PR: And just on that 2008 show in London, last time you were here basically, somebody bust your nose...

AWK: That's true! That’s true! I was talking about that earlier today.

That was the third time that I've broken my nose on stage. The fourth time I broke my nose period, 3 times on stage, the first time I broke it was for the I Get Wet cover and I think that set like a subconscious almost like psyschic precedent unfortunately in terms of pain and stained clothing with that album cover.

The first show we ever played as a band was in London at the Garage, that was the first show we ever played as a band period, we didn't play a warm up show in the US, we didn't play a practice show, that was the very first show I'd ever even played with my band and I'd broke my nose then that night. Actually that was really a very severe injury where I went to the hospital, had xrays and all of that, had some very strange unfortunate side effect and symptoms which lasted for several weeks afterwards where I had these like sort of tremors and things like but that wasn't so bad it was the pain. If you've ever hit your nose like it's bad, and I was headbanging and I head banged, into another person's head. Now that's a real head bang, that is truly a head band, two heads banging to eachother

PR: How did he come off?

AWK: He was OK, cos I hit him at the strongest part of your head, but this (nose) is a more tender protruding part, someday hopefully like aliens on other planets we don’t need to have a nose out like this, it’s just getting in the way, we’ll just have a nice flat surface with two little holes for the air like more advanced civilisations around the universe seem to have, that’d be much better.

And yeah, the most amazing thing about that wasn’t only that I happened to break my nose exactly the same way I did the very first show we played, I found a lot of significance in that cos a gentleman was coming up on the stage as I was going down in a headbang and I smashed him again, the two most things beyond that were that one, my guitar player and one of my best friends who had basically helped form this band and begin this whole adventure, Jimmy Coup, he came to that show almost as a surprise, I hadn’t seen him in years.

And the second part that someone had found, or I think stolen, a very very very beautiful dress shirt, button down cotton shirt, like a $600 Italian shirt that I wore at my Madam JoJo’s lecture. I had my dad’s suit on and this really beautiful shirt and after the lecture I took off those clothes and had this, my dirty whites on, and someone took that shirt and stole it as a memento and I said, I hope, all I hope was that they understand that that’s a really nice shirt. It’s a handmade as nice as a shirt can get.

So anyway lo and behold at King’s College someone threw that shirt back up on the stage and I used it to wipe up the blood on my face and it was just, to see circles like that connect, to experience life where these strange and surprising and seemingly unrelated events come back and manifest new events that then come back again and it’s like a spiral and an echo and you know it’s an adventure, it’s a real blessing and I appreciate every bit of it and try to extract all the meaning and the mystical power out of all these experiences, not just to inform and inspire my work but because that’s what life is about, you gotta look for meaning and try to pick up on these things as they’re happening. It’s easy to just dismiss things, like “oh, someone found that shirt, whatever” but it’s like “no, someone GAVE me back that shirt and of course I through it back in the crowd once I’d wiped off the blood.

PR: You might get it back tonight, who knows?

AWK: That’s what I’m talking about! That’s circles. My life feels like a big spiral, I don’t really feel like it goes from left to right like a linear timeline, it feels much more like a spiral. I had a really hard time remembering things in terms of this happened and then this happened and then this happened before and that after, it’s been much more like one big long moment. And I think that’s probably, for me at least, better like it’s one long experience.

Read the second part of Purple Revolver's exclusive interview with Andrew WK... http://bit.ly/JwoZ6h



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"That was my head at the Garage and I was fine. Awesome gig by the way and he played out the rest of it like a champ. Sorry about the bump x" steve, Edinburgh around 10 years, 4 months ago