Episode 11: You're Not Alone Tour
We discuss “partying with Andrew” on his latest tour and his new music video for “You’re Not Alone.” Also: flossing, injuries while partying, and what makes for the best party experience.
We discuss “partying with Andrew” on his latest tour and his new music video for “You’re Not Alone.” Also: flossing, injuries while partying, and what makes for the best party experience.
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:
So how did I happen upon this gem? I’ll tell you but you’re going to think I’m crazy…
Guys, 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 “cannot 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 it landed 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 on 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.
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 kult-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 fanpages like dontstopthenoise.com came to know Andrew Wilkes-Krier a little better one layer at a time.
Andrew 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 corporate 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 and 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? 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!
As stated, 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 potentially lead up to a full-length album on Hanson Records.
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 before that happened, 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-Room To Breathe mix cassette from an auction website. Only it was simply titled “Room To Breathe”, and there was no indication it was anything but that. 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.
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 unknown. However, around this time Andrew W.K. 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.
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!
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).
A1 – Is spooky sounding
A2* – Sounds like a transition from AAB to an early AWK sound, also has heavy piano
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).
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 it track by track.
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, and 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 – 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?
(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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All of these tracks range somewhere between the production of the 1999 recording sessions and the final release of I Get Wet (November, 2001 – UK). It’s amazing that 14 years later we’re able to gain further insights and context into the recording process of Andrew W.K.’s hit album. Listening to how these songs progressed over time is truly fascinating.
Before we get started it might be beneficial if you head over to the Media Archive and see how the following four CDs fall into place with the rest of Andrew W.K. history. Been there, done that? Then read on…
The only tracks I’ll be paying attention to from this CD is the first four. The last seven tracks are nothing new and are simply taken from the S/T Full Length Album Promo. So for the sake of redundancy I’ll pretend those don’t exist for this analysis. Based on the sound-progression of these tracks when compared to the “Chop Shop” CD, I placed it first chronologically (there’s no date labeled on the CD). To me, reason suggests that the more bare-bones tracks would come first and then it was taken to “The Chop Shop”. Upon careful listening of this CD and then to the Chop Shop CD you will hear the Chop Shop has added layers of effects, guitars, vocals or drums to each song. For example, compare the :39 to :45 second mark of She Is Beautiful from the two CDs. While this first CD has fast guitar strumming, on the Chop Shop you can hear added effects over it.
It’s really cool to hear and have so many iterations of She Is Beautiful. If you listen to the Steev Mike Radio Commercial there’s a very unique mix of “She Is Beautiful”. Normally we hear on the album; “I Ain’t Got Nothing To Lose, Going To Throw It Away And Talk To You” & “I Ain’t Got Nothing To Lose, And I’ll Never Forget When I Saw You”. But instead we hear “I Ain’t Got Nothing To Lose, So I Do What I Want And I Want You” x2. Well we finally get to hear the full mix from which these lyrics were pulled from if you listen at the 2:52-3:10 mark. If these lyrics sound familiar it’s also because they were later used on The Wolf’s “Really In Love”.
The version of Free Jumps on here sounds very heavy compared to other versions of it, the Chop Shop version lightened it up a lot. The intro to Party Hard’s vocoder effect reminds me of the much lower and a little more human-like version of CCWBW’s vinyl song “We Will Boogie”. This version of Fun Night is my favorite, even more than the “enhanced” Chop Shop or album versions. You can hear very clearly the “Four on the floor” dance beat (see here for more explanation). And the very distinct synthesizer (I think that’s what you’d call it?) sound in the left-ish channel. All in all it just sounds more clean to me.
The Chop Shop is a recording studio inside of Scott Humphrey’s house in Los Angeles, CA. He is well known in the industry and is one of the music producers on I Get Wet. All of these songs are enhanced from the prior CD and sound more finalized. It’s dated December 7, 2000. I’m not going to go into detail with these because if a picture is worth a thousand words than so is listening to a song. Just check these out and contrast them with the previous CD. There’s plenty of room to talk about them in the forums.
This next CD is dated January 20, 2001. Which happens to be the month and year the We Want Fun album on Bulb Records was supposed to be released. By this point in time though it had obviously been canceled. Just like some of the tracks from The Wolf demos we archived, these two tracks sound to me like they were created for a specific purpose in mind. For example, perhaps a member of the band needed to hear a part of the song in order to learn it. That wouldn’t be the first time we had evidence of that. Any other ideas on why these appear this way?
Technically, this is just an earlier demo version of “Take It Off,” which is track 5 on I Get Wet. But with “Get Black On,” you get those three titular words deeply growled at the beginning (rather than the group-sing-along shouts of the eventual title). Even crazier is what precedes the build-up to that growled line: a horn intro that sounds right out of James Brown’s “Get Up Offa That Thing.”* Mark Morgan, a friend and former roommate of Andrew’s, says of the early version, “It’s basically the same fucking thing, but I really like it a lot more when he sang ‘Get Black On.’ I was like, ‘fuck yeah, this is amazing,’ then he changed it to ‘Take It Off,’ and…I don’t know. I like it the other way.” (Andrew now says that “Get Black On” is a better title, and he wished he had called it that.)
Has anyone else noticed that the intro to this song is used at the beginning of the Party Hard music video? Next up is “I Love NYC”. This track is very similar to one I already had released on the site. However, you can easily hear that the drums kick in a lot sooner on this version (@ the :10 second mark). This version of I Get Wet is relentless. The horns in Got To Do It are turned up and really blow you away. I LOVE this version of Ready To Die. I think I even like it better than the album version. It just seems to cut a little harder. Girls Own Love is missing verses of lyrics and only contains the chorus. Maybe they were still finalizing last minute changes to wording. Your Rules is cool because… wait what?! “Your Rules” was going to appear on I Get Wet?! I have had a “finalized” version of Freejumps since around 2006. It’s sourced from a 4 Track promo. And I even asked Andrew about it when I interviewed him. But not until now did I ever know that Your Rules was seriously considered for the album. It is really cool to hear it in this form. And lastly, I’m glad It’s Time To Party was further fleshed out into a song for the final version. But this version is cool too because it just get to the point ya know?
So there you have it, the bomb has been dropped. And 4 CDs, 18 tracks & 57 minutes later you’ve gone through an amazing musical journey with me. Thanks for partying and tell everyone else what you think in the forum!
While adapting these transcripts into an easy-to-read “interview” format, slight creative liberties have been taken.
Back in April Andrew W.K. personally reached out to AndrewWKMusic.com and expressed his desire to become a resource to this fanpage. Is it not obvious why Andrew W.K. has a cult-like following? Since the beginning he’s shown tremendous loyalty to his fan-base or what he refers to them as–his personal “friends”. To assure that you know you are invited to his party, it’s common for him to write long and personal responses to fan mail, spends hours after shows hanging out, video chats with you for an hour each week (he hasn’t missed a week in the past 1 1/2 years), constantly gives out free merchandise, and then there’s the stories out there like the time when he signed autographs for ten hours and ended it in somebody’s kitchen… just to name a few.
AndrewWKMusic.com has witnessed this philanthropy first hand. Having previously contributed to this site in many other ways, he was now offering an even more precious resource–his own time. So, a third party publicist didn’t contact me, there is no imminent album to promote, nor are we a famous publication that carries any weight. We’re just a fanpage and I’m just a nerdy fan, asking nerdy questions. Nevertheless, he has set this time aside by dedicating it to his “friends”. The four conversations lasted over 45 minutes each! So in the spirit of Thanksgiving, dig in! And stay tuned and subscribe via Email or RSS for parts 2, 3 and 4 in the coming days and weeks.
AWKMusic: Thanks for setting this up.
Andrew W.K.: Sure, thanks for everything you’ve been doing.
AWKMusic: So how’s your day going?
Andrew W.K.: Everything is good, it’s a beautiful day here in Los Angeles, it’s very sunny. I have some meetings and things tomorrow. We are continually filming Destroy Build Destroy, which is the main reason I’m out here. I’ve also been recording out here for the new album. So you have some specific questions right?
AWKMusic: Yes, one item of yours I was most interested in was what fans call the “We Want Fun” album. There’s not a lot of information on it because it was never released. So if you had any clarification on that, it would be helpful.
Andrew W.K.: Yea sure I’ll just tell you the whole thing. So as you are aware the first thing I ever released as “Andrew W.K.” was a 12″ with Wolf Eyes, as far as using that name on a release. After that came the Part Til You Puke 12″. Even before Party Til You Puke was recorded I had already recorded most if not all of the songs on We Want Fun, which was going to be my debut album on Bulb Records.
I had already moved to New York and I had been living, working and traveling back and forth to Providence Rhode Island where Bulb Records was based at that time. Of course Pete Larson [owner of Bulb Records] and I had first met in Ann Arbour, Michigan where he was first set up. I traveled up to Providence all the time to work with him, play shows, and do everything else. So I had a selection of songs… do you remember is it ten songs on there?
AWKMusic: I think there are twelve.
Andrew W.K.: Because there are a whole bunch of other songs that I don’t think that are on there. For example, the version you have does it have a song called “They Ruined Our Lives”?
AWKMusic: Nope. (I have since speculated that this may have been an early version for the song “The End of Our Lives”?)
Andrew W.K.: OK yea, I’m trying to remember now what the whole idea was because I prepared another group of tracks that I still have, that I found. I don’t have the original masters or original mixes to work with but I do have versions of the CDs, while I was working with those albums. There was a bunch of other songs that I guess I didn’t put on there, but did consider working with from the same era. So what songs are on that one, do you have the complete track listing?
AWKMusic: Yea, it’s pretty much a mix between I Get Wet and The Wolf songs, the version that I have is:
Andrew W.K.: OK right, if I remember correctly I recorded and wrote the Party Til You Puke EP after all those songs were recorded. I could be incorrect, but I believe that is the case. I wanted to release Party Til You Puke [the EP] first because I had been playing shows using material that sounded a lot like that—-the drum machine and keyboard based music. Those were some of my first shows I was first playing as “Andrew W.K.”, both in Providence and New York. So I thought it made sense to connect what I had been doing, or what people had been suggesting me doing in the beginning, with that first release. Then we went to the next stage which was the We Want Fun album, but at that point I had already met my A&R guy at Island Records and decided to sign with him. Island Records bought out the contract I had with Pete and gave him money. Then we started approaching the [Island Records] album using what was going to be the We Want Fun album as a starting point. A lot of the song versions on We Want Fun are actually from the same versions that appeared on I Get Wet. Even some elements from songs on The Wolf are actually from the same recordings, just with more work done on them. Even Party Til You Puke [the song on I Get Wet] had been taken from the original version on the EP.
AWKMusic: Yea you can tell that elements from We Want Fun are embedded on I Get Wet.
Andrew W.K.: Yea exactly. Sometimes I didn’t have a lot of pieces to work with because several times during my recordings of all of the first Andrew W.K. stuff, I lost my hard drive. So all I had to work with was just some stereo rough mixes—-I learned the hard way. But it wasn’t too tragic, there’s a lot of stuff throughout my whole life that I lost and wish I still had. But over the years I’ve gotten better at keeping everything, trying to organize it and trying to back it up. That’s just one of the stressful things about working in general, trying to keep track of all the work you do. It’s not always the case that the best stuff ends up being the stuff that hangs around, gets archived or gets released in a way that preserves itself. Sometimes I think there’s really good things that just get lost, even if it’s just an idea that you didn’t have the ability to remember, write down or record. But at the same time, the best stuff you always remember does stick around but I always wish I could hear earlier things.
AWKMusic: That album sounds like an extension of the Girls Own Juice EP (AWKGOJ), it sounds very much the same.
Andrew W.K.: Yea I think all those songs were recorded at the same time, the same exact setup and the same recording system. There were definitely songs that I wrote after AWKGOJ EP which were going to be on We Want Fun album. But I think at the same time, there were a lot of songs that were written and already recorded which were all done around the same time. I just put some on AWKGOJ and saved the rest for the Bulb album.
I’m glad that album didn’t come out at that time, I was really relieved that it didn’t. I wouldn’t be opposed to putting it out now, it’s not that I didn’t want people to hear it. It has things about it that I really like in many, many, many ways but back then as far as a first full-length album I’m glad we did I Get Wet.
AWKMusic: Once Island approached you, it probably made a lot of sense to withhold it and save it up for I Get Wet.
Andrew W.K.: Yea and by that point I also realized I could make things sound, in my mind, even better or at least different. When I recorded We Want Fun & AWKGOJ, that was my first time I really dove into recording. I was learning so much as I went that just by the time that even two years had passed I realized I could do even more or better, in terms of the sound I was trying to go for. I wanted it to be really hard-hitting and that’s what we did with I Get Wet. After I did that, to be honest, with The Wolf I didn’t want the album to be as hard hitting. I wanted it to be a bit more like the feelings that were on the We Want Fun album. The song “Totally Stupid” to me, defined the feelings that I was trying to get the majority of the time on The Wolf. Which is a feeling that I don’t really think appears as distinctly on I Get Wet. It’s more emotional but I Get Wet is more moving in a joyful and energizing way. But I wanted The Wolf to be moving in every way. It’s every emotion, it’s that feeling of just being overwhelmed. Like it would make you cry, but if someone asked “are you sad?”, you wouldn’t say you were sad. You’re just overwhelmed with this feeling of emotion.
Close Calls With Brick Walls was an attempt to really synthesize both of those things, both of those feelings. It appeared as kind of a raw energy coupled with a some kind of an emotional and human feeling. I wanted to really talk about just being a human being. Now with this new album I’m trying to combine everything of my own work going all the way back to Party Til You Puke. I feel like it was a natural desire to do that. I want the emotion from The Wolf, I want the power from I Get Wet, I want the electronic manic quality from Party Til You Puke and the musical arrangement approach of Close Calls With Brick Walls.
AWKMusic: Yea even on your new EP [The Party All Goddamn Night EP] I can see it reverting back to some elements of Party Til You Puke with its dance beat on some tracks.
Andrew W.K.: Yeah absolutely, I’m taking entire approaches that I haven’t used in a few years but always loved, and have a newfound appreciation for. As well as certain recording approaches that I’ve taken. Like how I would do guitars and the way I would layer things. For most of the music it’s usually been an attempt to remove the sense of any instruments or any performance. All you hear is the song as sort of a sound itself, just one total sound. You’re not really thinking about who is playing bass or how the guitar player is playing that one chord or that one note. It just washes over you and there’s not really the time or enough separation to examine it in that way.
I do like music that is the exact opposite of that but that’s just the thing that I do. On Close Calls With Brick Walls, that was the first time I wanted to listen. I wanted myself to be able to hear people playing the music. And I love it, and am really glad with it, and I’ll make an album like that again. Actually the next album. I have two other albums in the works, and then I have another album that’s an instrumental rock album. That’s the one that I’m really gonna go even more over the top with.
Because sometimes there’s a place for personality and individuality and performance in a song or in a recording. But I think sometimes there’s not, sometimes it just gets in the way of the song itself. I have a lot of respect for the song and the recording and not as much respect for the players or how they perform, or how they approached it, or their style. That is not what I’m looking to do with this music. It’s not about impressing someone with how fast you can play a scale or anything else. It has never been important for me to tell people about how I play, what I play, or if I can play well or not. I don’t care if people think I can play piano well. I’ve made efforts to try to show that I don’t play well, because I don’t want it to be about instrumental players. It’s about the feeling of this recording, of this song, of this thing, and everybody else is just a part of that. I mean of course you always respect a great mechanic with what they are able to do, the tools that they happen to use and how they approach repairing a machine. But at the end of the day it’s how the machine works, how it gets done what you want that machine to get done. Everybody else is just serving the cause of that machine. I think the song is like a machine and I’m just a mechanic. Everybody else is there just to serve that song and not just show off how they can serve it or how good they are at getting to that place, because that’s just distracting.
AWKMusic: Yea so obviously that’s been a good approach and you have had success doing it that way. Nick Sheehan [a long time fan] mentioned how he noticed, and in retrospect I’ve noticed too, how each release is almost completely different than the previous one. I love that, it’s incredible to listen to such a diverse discography and enjoy it.
Andrew W.K.: Well that’s very nice and I appreciate that. It’s not always been intentional, I’ve never approached something like “OK we have to do this one different than the last one”. It’s just “I want to do this” and then it comes out however it comes out. I really want it to be the best sounding thing it could be. Whatever I think that is at the time, is what the result will be.
I also appreciate listening to records I love which sound different from other records by the same artists. Even if it’s a different production style. You know it’s funny because if you listen, and of course these are changing times, but if you listen to an artist on an iPod or any kind of shuffle playback where it’s taking songs from all over their work and a series of albums, that can be rather alarming. Because they’ll have totally different frequency ranges. Where one will be very mid-range-y, one will be all blown out and treble-y, one is half quiet and one album is louder. But I love all of that! Like you’re saying, it’s the spice of life! It’s not always comfortable and it’s not always settling, but I don’t want that out of culture or art. I don’t want to be comforted or soothed or settled or made to feel OK. That is just a personal preference that I have, but I would not be being true to myself if I didn’t approach my work in that same way. This music is not meant to comfort you, that is not its feeling.
There is great music out there that I love that is comforting, even if it’s an artist like Charné or something. But that’s not what this is and that’s not what my passion as an individual is and you always have to stay true to your vision. Part of that is always shaking things up, always shaking up yourself. I never want to feel comfortable, the only thing I want to feel comfortable in is being uncomfortable. Because that’s when you can grow and expand your mind and realize that you don’t need to cling to any of these things to still be yourself and have a fun time.
AWKMusic: I have one more question about the We Want Fun album. I emailed a guy who said that when you were passing it out, his copy had some artwork on it. It was of some painting of a girl, so there is artwork for it too?
Andrew W.K.: Yes! That’s correct and I’ve remembered this before but I’m glad you reminded me about it again. It is true that at the same time while manufacturing copies of “AWKGOJ”, I had made semi-professionally duplicated copies of We Want Fun done. It did feature what I intended to be the album artwork, which I still have the photos for–thank god. It was a fairly large scale painting of a girl’s face, which you can see a small portion of on the back of the Girls Own Juice [AWKGOJ] album. I painted it the way as it appears on the back cover, which is of a very beautiful girl’s face. She’s wearing sunglasses and she has a band-aid on her face with little hearts on it. Then I actually painted over that same painting and turned her face into half-of-a-skull-face with a really bad bloody nose, blood all over the place, and one of her eye balls was popping out. The glasses were shattered, the band-aid that had once been on her cheek was now wrapped around her glasses trying to hold them together. I still have very good quality photos of it. So that was going to be the front cover of the album and the back cover was going to be the bloody version. I actually cut that painting off of its canvas and frame and give it to Pete Larson, so I just pray that he still has it. I use to give away all my paintings and all my artwork to my friends, I hope they still have them. I gave away some really good paintings and some really cool clothes that I made and painted too.
AWKMusic: So it sounds like the same concept in Close Calls With Brick Walls where you have one picture on the front and the backside is different.
Andrew W.K.: Yea I never thought about that, but yes that’s a good observation. It’s something obviously very basic, you know there’s one way and there’s another way.
AWKMusic: Do you remember the release dates of AWKGOJ and Party Til You Puke?
Andrew W.K.: I think the albums have the dates on them, I believe that Party Til You Puke was 1999 and AWKGOJ was 2000. That sounds right to me, if not it would be like 1998 and 1999. But I think it was 1999 and 2000 because I Get Wet came out in 2001 in the UK and in 2002 for the rest of the world.
AWKMusic: So is that when you recorded it or is that the actual release dates, because I always thought it went AWKGOJ and then Party Til You Puke after.
Andrew W.K.: Oh really?! OK well you know, you could be right, I don’t remember that. I do remember an interesting story with the Party Til You Puke LP after they had just been manufactured. For some reason we had all the copies, like my share of the 12” inches, sent to my parents house. I remember that they were all going to be recalled because the whole album cover was going to be changed to be “Steev Mike” and say “Steev Mike – Party Til You Puke”. In the end it didn’t end up happening which of course was a huge relief and all for the best. Hmm… that makes me think that might have been after I had moved around and started working with Island even. It’s very tricky for me to say, my sense of time as maybe you’ve heard isn’t the best. I remember lots of events very clearly and details about all these experiences but as far as what happened when and which is first is difficult. Especially at that time because things were very, very condensed. There was a lot happening over a very short period of time, which makes it seem like a long time had passed but it could have been only two months.
AWKMusic: Yea, it does seem like that time was jam-packed, I mean you were touring very soon after or even before I Get Wet.
Andrew W.K.: Yea, yea the touring and the touring didn’t stop. That was the other thing, we really didn’t get off the road until 2005.
AWKMusic: So did the CD and the 12″ come out the same time?
Andrew W.K.: No, no they were definitely separated for sure. For example I remember on AWKGOJ, we never really did any promotion for it. That is what is odd about it, we didn’t make any posters that I remember, there wasn’t any promotion and I didn’t do any interviews. Not that I had any idea or any expectation that I would do any of those things. The thing I remember very clearly when we put out Party Til You Puke is that we did really awesome posters, we did interviews, we did my first interview ever. It was more “out there” and that may have just been Pete Larson taking more initiative and reacting to any feedback we were getting from Girls Own Juice. But it’s very weird, I always thought it was Party Til You Puke first and then Girls Own Juice. But I don’t know, I really don’t know, the dates on the releases would be the only way to tell.
AWKMusic: OK my last question for today, can you tell me about this 4 Track Promo? [shows picture]
Andrew W.K.: Those are midway mixes, they sound different than the other versions right?
AWKMusic: The only one that sounds different is “FreeJumps”, its version is exclusive to this promo.
Andrew W.K.: Well “Free Jumps” we had originally been working on for I Get Wet with Scott Humphrey who was producing the album. I have actually just reconnected with him after not having seen him since 2001. Which was awesome and he’s doing great. So he was the producer and he was working on that, but we just didn’t put the song on I Get Wet and I said “I’ll save that for the next album”. We had a lot of songs that we didn’t put on there, as you’re aware.
So that was just my publishing company sending out a rough sampler of some songs that were in the works, to get people excited. They do that from time to time. It’s a bit unusual because as you’ve seen, these versions get out there and it’s kind of confusing and for some artists who care about that kind of thing, they could be really upset. Like why would you release this rough version!? But I was OK with it and I’ve usually been OK with releasing multiple versions of things and people hearing demos because I like to hear that stuff from people who’s music I like. I understand how people have this thing about only putting it out when it’s ready, but I’m never ready to put out anything anyway! But there is a beauty in all that roughness, you know like when I go back and hear things that I thought were terrible and never wanted to release, but now they’re exciting for me to hear. If I liked an artist I would be happy to hear anything that they did, just for fun—why not right? I would understand the difference between that and their finished and polished album that they would release. I think most people are that smart and they understand that. So yea that was just a rough mix.
AWKMusic: Yea I figured there was a pretty easy explanation for it. I’ve found that most people that come to AndrewWKMusic.com are collectors so they understand that this is a B-Side or this is a weird promo thing. I’m sure some people who come are looking for something else but I think the people who stick around are collectors and are trying to find anything and everything–they’re nerds pretty much. [If you’ve read this far you’re a nerd]
Andrew W.K.: That’s the best and I’m very grateful to anybody who cares about something or likes something that much because not only is it wonderful and it allows me to continue doing this directly, but also because that’s the kind of person I can relate to the most. That’s been one of the best things, I don’t think every performer gets to experience the kinds of people that happen to like what I’m doing. They are usually people that I would just get along with very well anyway and have common interests with anyway. When you put out into the world the thing that you’re most excited about and interested in, and are able to express what you like in the world, in general through your work. Then the people you end up meeting, that like it, usually are people that are into all kinds of the same stuff or at least even the same head-space that you are in. Over the years that’s the thing that I’m probably most grateful about is the people I get to do this with are people I really enjoy.
I remember the whole Kurt Cobain crisis, where he hated his fans. How could you? I think that was the main problem that he had. He had set this whole thing up in his mind about who the kind of person he wanted to have like his music and then when people he didn’t want to hang out with started liking it, it just destroyed it for him. I try to take the exact opposite approach, that was the big impact and big influence that Kurt Cobain had on me. Which was to do the exact opposite thing when it came to this. I want to do something that allows me to connect with people that I would otherwise never think I would like. Then we find that we have this common ground or this common enthusiasm. That head-space allowed me to go out there and meet the best people in the world.
AWKMusic: Well I’m glad you took that approach because we probably wouldn’t be having this conversation right now.
Andrew W.K.: As you’re aware I’m extraordinarily grateful for what you have been doing with the site. You know, there have been other sites but you have stepped it up and for the long haul. It’s been tremendous for me and for every other fan, and even for the other people who ran the old fanpages. Where you can help pick up where they left off or use what they already contributed like AWKShare.com. It means so much to me and I always want to be able to give you information or help keep it going. If nothing else it’s a great service too. Because you have stuff that I don’t have and I can go to your site to find out about stuff that I didn’t know about, and that’s just awesome. You’ve really proven yourself over the long haul and I’m just very thankful.
AWKMusic: Wow, well thank you I appreciate that. Thank you for giving me a good reason to do it. I think it’s so cool of you to do this, a lot of musicians are untouchable so this has been really fun.
Andrew W.K.: And believe me I’m aware of that and actually I have respect for people who do that, because I understand. But that’s just not what this thing is. It’s just like the difference between people make horror movies and people who make Disney movies. Disney movies are a different vibe and this has a different vibe. It’s not about being separate, it’s not about making people feel distant, it’s all about partying, it’s all about getting together, that’s the whole thing. It all really works and that’s why this is the way it is.
End of Part 1
Stay tuned for part 2 of 4 – coming later this week!
Because this is an exclusive release from Andrew W.K. Music.com you’ll need to signup for an account to get access to the archive.
A number of things need to be cleared up about the history and the distribution of this ambiguous album. Two things to clarify right away is one, the above album art is in no way official. It was created by ME -dickalan. And two, THIS RELEASE of the album is a NEW source of the Masters ripped at 160kbps. Well get to why that’s important later.
Our sources for the history of this album mainly come from two separate places. 1) A recent interview (1/14/10) with Andrews old drummer Donald Tardy who happens to be the same Metal drummer for the band Obituary. This interview has filled in MANY missing gaps and confirmed many thoughts throughout the years! 2) An OLD Bulb Records web page that has since been dismantled but can still be accessed through archive.org. Well start from the beginning but in short this is the album that led to Andrew landing an Island Records deal and putting together a backing band.
In 1999-ish Andrew W.K. created songs that eventually were released at the end of 2000 on Bulb Records. They were put out on two EPs; AWKGOJ and Party Til You Puke came out between the months of September & October. In the duration of the year 2000 Andrew also started working, creating, and recording more tracks in preparation for a full length LP release entitled We Want Fun. This was meant to be released January 2001, again on Bulb Records. This release never happened due to Andrew’s previous actions that year.
Instead of sitting on these tracks after they were recorded, he started distributing them to everyone he could. He called these 12 tracks on a CD-R his Demo. Somehow his Demo ended up in the hands and peaked the interest of Island Def Jam Records. Upon serious interest in signing Andrew, he quickly sent out his Demo again to many artists. One of which being his favorite drummer, Donald Tardy of Obituary. Donald LOVED the demo and basically put the rest of the band together for Andrew. Andrew was soon signed to Island, he had a full band, the Bulb release was canceled, and he re-recorded the We Want Fun LP. Some of the songs ended up on I Get Wet, some ended up on The Wolf and two remain exclusive to the demo.
For a number of years this album was passed around to hard-core underground fans. Its source was obviously copies or originals of the CD-R Andrew made and distributed personally. It finally became available to the public April 9, 2006 for a short time in an official forums thread. The link was removed shortly after by the author. It was posted by readytodie a moderator but the actual source who gave him the tracks wished to remain anonymous, and still is to this day. THAT release is what has been available on the internet in various places up until this time. Although this releases fidelity said 320kbps it obviously was not. Being much worse than even 128kbps the sound was much quieter than a normal CD and there were multiple tracks that had skipping in them. Although this was the FIRST release & the tracks were AWESOME to have, the quality was under par. THOSE tracks are available to download in the We Want Fun Demo page of this site.
The exception to this were four tracks posted at the Andrew W.K. Official Website. When navigating to the Music section, and upon listening to the Singles Tear It Up, Your Rules, She Is Beautiful, and Party Hard you’ll find that the tracks that play aren’t actually the tracks from those singles, but are the WE WANT FUN tracks. The hacked into website tracks revealed they were 128kbps in fidelity, which was the best quality available up until this time. But again, it was only four tracks and not the full album. Those four tracks have been available to download for some time on the We Want Fun Demo Page of this site.
NOW, AndrewWKMusic.com is proud to be releasing this ultra rare album from NEW sourced Masters ripped at 160kbps. Which includes the full album in the highest quality and with no skipping, to date. They’re even better than the official website tracks!