Oct 112016
 

Andrew W.K. & The Holy Grail

Andrew W.K. Room To Breathe Single

Less than a handful of Andrew W.K. fans have heard this rare single from 1998. It has eluded even the most devoted superfans for almost 20 years. That quest is finally over. For the first time, Andrew Wilkes-Krier’s Room To Breathe is publicly available so fans can finally blast it out their speakers! All you need to do is:

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So how did I happen upon this gem? I’ll tell you but you’re going to think I’m crazy…

Room To Breathe - Andrew WKGuys, I think I “willed” Room To Breathe to myself. The number one reason I started this website seven years ago was because I love Andrew W.K.’s music. And I wanted as much of it as possible. The age-old dilemma says we want what we cannot have. And the Room To Breathe Single has always been that “can’t have”, that untouchable item, The Holy Grail. There were many, many nights that I would lay in bed picturing this cassette in my mind’s eye. I would focus intensely on it. I would imagine being able to listen to it and what it would feel like to hold in my hands. I did this over the course of a few years. I know, it’s weird. I have a slightly obsessive personality but I do what I like and like what I do.

Years of nothing went by. Then one day out of nowhere it lands in my lap! I was ecstatic. It reminded me of this philosophical concept I once heard about called The Law of Attraction. Was it attracted to me because of my focus and attraction to it? Or was it just happenstance? I don’t have those answers. But as it turns out this was just the beginning, unbeknown to me there was even more. How can a person know what they don’t know? How can you find something you weren’t searching for? I have settled on the only logical answer to that, it’s The Power of Party that’s how!

Please continue to read as I move from my personal experience to what I feel is extremely important Andrew W.K. history. You can find further context to these almost forgotten relics below.

The Evolution of Andrew W.K.’s Music

Andrew W.K. burst into the music industry first in the UK. His debut album, I Get Wet, was released in late 2001. A relatively big army of fans quickly assembled, but more important than their size was their loyalty. This cult-like following dug up whatever information they could at the time. Their discovery easily led them to two previous EPs on Bulb Records (a relatively unknown independent record label). Those EPs featured party rock tracks that fell right in line with what the artist would eventually release on a big label like Island/Def Jam. But those who scratched slightly deeper beneath the surface ended up going into territory that was rather surprising. However, it wasn’t easy. The information available at that time was difficult to come by. Island/Def Jam and Andrew W.K. were incredibly busy promoting and establishing the brand of Andrew W.K. as The Party King. It would be really confusing to the general audience to discover any history that was inconsistent with someone you were just barely getting to know. So my hypothesis is that there was some suppression of information being done by the Island/Def Jam & Andrew W.K. Inc. camps. Despite this, enthusiast and fansites like dontstopthenoise.com came to know Andrew Wilkes-Krier a little better one layer at a time.

Andrew W.K. ContractAndrew Wilkes-Krier grew up in Ann Arbor, Michigan. As a teenager, he cycled through a bunch of bands and took on various roles within them. Sometimes playing drums, lending his vocals, or playing the keyboard. He also started a few solo bands & projects. The interesting thing about each of these music entities was that they sounded nowhere near the sound Andrew W.K. was becoming known for. At that time everyone promoted and classified him as kind of a metal guy or even a punk guy (eventually appearing on Warped Tour). So it would have been logical to have discovered him playing in a metal band in high school, but that wasn’t the case. In practically every instance discovered Andrew Wilkes-Krier was collaborating and creating music in the fringe music genre of “noise”. To say the least, it was a large chasm to cross when listening to his past and then listening to his present sound. This may have even been a contributing factor to the swirling rumors about Andrew W.K. being a frontman to a larger brain.

Considering Andrew W.K.’s legal controversies that shadow his career, there probably are elements of truth to the frontman claims. However, I’ve come across the notion several times that there is an office full of ghostwriters that pump out dumb party jams for their dumb party boy & frontman; Andrew W.K.. Of course, this is to feed their heavily market researched demographic of dumb frat boys who like to party. Some conspiracy theorist even make the leap and say this is all orchestrated by the Illuminati, the same organization that bombed the World Trade Center. Seriously WTF? Have none of these conspiracy theorist heard of Occam’s razor before? Anyway, I am happy to present a case, at least from a musical standpoint, how the above notion is most likely untrue. And how Andrew Wilkes-Krier is, in fact, an authentic musical genius! Haha! What a sentence!

Andrew W.K. You Are What You Eat Single

Andrew W.K. You Are What You EatAs stated earlier Andrew worked with a number of musicians throughout high school. The final project he worked on before starting “Andrew W.K.” was a solo project simply titled “Andrew Wilkes-Krier”. The concept was to release two singles and then lead up to a full-length album on Hanson Records. What we actually ended up with had a different outcome.

Hanson Records released the first single, Andrew Wilkes-Krier Room To Breathe in 1998 (catalog# HN45). The cassette is extremely difficult to find due to a limited quantity being issued at its release. The follow-up single was Andrew Wilkes-Krier You Are What You Eat (catalog# HN46). The master recording cassette went missing and therefore it went unreleased. However, Hanson Records owner Aaron Dilloway created and dubbed a one of a kind copy. This cassette had Room To Breathe, You Are What You Eat, and additional tracks on it. Unfortunately it too went missing for almost a decade.

In 2006 an eager AWK fan won the quasi-Roome To Breathe mix cassette from an auction website.  Only it was simply titled “Room To Breathe”.  When the said fan first gave it a spin, it became pleasantly apparent that there were more tracks on it. The additional tracks hinted at something even bigger.

Andrew W.K. Necronomicon Album

That brings us to the last piece of puzzle. Andrew Wilkes-Krier Necronomicon is a full length album that went unreleased on Hanson Records. The reason why a proper release did not occur is still an unknown. However, around the same time Andrew W.K. moved to New York and joined the Bulb Records label. So the project may have simply fizzled out? However, history had other plans, and seems to have chosen to miraculously preserve the LP.

A few years ago a demo cassette for the album turned up and it features 19 glorious tracks. It is reasonable to assume that the additional tracks on that special Room To Breathe cassette were probably also demos for the Necronomicon album. We may never know what the final state of Necronomicon would have been. But we do have a combined amount of 27 demos, equaling 90 minutes of Andrew W.K. Music. With possibly more still to discover?

There is a good chance that AWK enthusiasts have heard about both of the singles. There is a 99.9% chance that this is the first time fans have ever heard about an unreleased LP by Andrew Wilkes-Krier on Hanson Records. For the past twenty years there has been no mention of it online.

Andrew W.K. The Evolution of Partying

The reason I find these tracks particularly important is because it displays Andrew Wilkes-Krier’s involvement in noise music and then showcases the music’s evolution into the very early beginnings of Andrew W.K.’s party rock sound. In other words, it’s the bridge between his noise music and his party rock music. The reason this “bridge” is significant is because nobody thought it existed until now. Prior to this all we had was the gigantic leap from noise to party rock.

Also, it provides musical evidence that the Andrew W.K. sound was authentic and original and evolving. Remember, in 1998 Andrew Wilkes-Krier was 19 and living on various friend’s couches in NYC. He was scrounging up money as a bubblegum machine salesman and a parking attendant. He was relatively unknown by anybody but his friends and family. If you listen closely to track A8 on Necronomicon it seems to have elements of Party Hard in it. Are the conspiracy theorists saying a giant team of ghostwriters at Island/Def Jam wrote this for Andrew Wilkes-Krier at the same time all the conditions listed above existed? Hmmmm… from where I am standing it seems doubtful but I’ll let you decide.

So without further delay grab these songs!

The Archive

Below is the archived material, the unnamed tracks, and my short description of the tracks (*has elements of an early Andrew W.K. party rock sound).

Andrew Wilkes-Krier – Room To Breathe

Andrew W.K. Room To Breathe

A1 – Is spooky sounding
A2* – Sounds like a transition from AAB to an early AWK sound, also has heavy piano

Andrew Wilkes-Krier – You Are What You Eat

Andrew W.K. You Are What You Eat

Although I do have a quasi-digital copy of this, I, unfortunately, will not be releasing it at this time due to the owner’s wishes (See Room To Breathe Mix Tape).

Andrew Wilkes-Krier – Room To Breathe Mix Tape

Although I do have a digital copy of this, I, unfortunately, will not be releasing it at this time due to the owner’s wishes. But I will describe the tracks below and perhaps put up preview clips of the tracks.

A1* – Sounds like a transition from AAB to an early AWK sound, also has heavy piano, same track as RTB A2
A2 – Is spooky sounding, same track as RTB A1.
A3 – Sounds like it was created in an alien spaceship, sounds like some of the same sounds were used on “Wolf Eyes Rules (What Kinda Band)”
A4 – Is psychedelic with lots of flange and whammy
B1 – Is a continuation of A4 track
B2* – Has elements of an early AWK sound. Almost sounds like something you would hear on the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles NES video game
B3 – Is the entire You Are What You Eat single. It’s very heavy sounding with heavy distortion, repeats “It’s Up To You, You Are What You Eat” over and over.
B4* – Definitely has the early AWK sound, especially with the cool piano breakdown at 1:10. Perhaps my favorite track?

Andrew Wilkes-Krier – Necronomicon

Andrew W.K. Necronomicon

(not actual artwork, AndrewWKMusic’s artistic rendition)

A1* – Has elements of an early AWK sound but is a little on the slow side
A2* – Definitely has an early AWK sound, ends on a high note kinda like I Love NYC
A3 – Has a 70s funk element to it
A4 – I really don’t know how to describe it
A5* – Definitely has an early AWK sound, very grandiose sounding, it even has the piano crashing/frantic sound on some IGW songs, perhaps my favorite track?
A6 – Is playful sounding with the xylophone, reminds me of being in clown’s playhouse
A7 – Sounds very spooky & horror-ish. It has lyrics that I can’t make out except singing “Robocop” over and over.
A8 – Has a four on the floor beat with an 80s rock n roll guitar overlay. A section of guitar and vocals sounds like the part in Party Hard “do what you like and like what you do”. Also has weird vocals.
A9 – Is alien sounding
A10* – Has some early AWK elements, a better thought out song, prettier sounding than most & also slower
A11 – Is a cover of Salt-N-Pepa’s “Push It”
A12 – Is really silly sounding like a kids song for a kids TV show
B1 – Almost sounds like it could be a soundtrack for movie
B2 – Is kind of slow synthpop sounding with strong four on the floor build up at about 60 seconds in
B3 – I don’t really know how to describe it other than I think the tremolo effect is used heavily throughout it
B4 – Is very noise genre sounding
B5 – Is very noise genre sounding
B6 – Is very noise genre sounding, vocal experimentation
B7 – Is very noise genre sounding, would have been the first instance of “the moan” but there was an AAB track that already did it previously

Do you hear something I didn’t catch? Feel free to discuss this page in our forum.

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 Posted by on October 11, 2016