Our Time Has Come
Our time has come! This is our chance, and to let it pass by would be an absolute disgrace! This is our time, and not just our time, but ALL people, it is ALL of our times! We are not just individuals – not each person on their own, but rather the entire human race grouped together – that is who we are! And it is our time! Our time has come! It has arrived, and it’s a good thing that it’s come now and not a moment later or it would have come too late! We are at the deadline! Today is the time to start doing all the stuff that we’ve been putting off, or saving for a rainy day – now is that day! This is the moment where all that you’ve done can been used to achieve all that you’ll do! If you give everything you have you will get everything that you want! Everything for everything! It’s a fair trade! For the first time we realize that if we don’t do it, it’s not going to happen! And if we don’t do it right now, we won’t be able to do it ever! This is it!!! And we also see that it isn’t going to be easy! But we don’t care! We want it too badly to be lazy! So bring it all on! In one giant overwhelming chunk!!! We are going to be able to do stuff that we never thought we could do before! Life is too short! So much of the time we’re thinking about what we’ve done, and what we’re going to do, but we need to think about what we ARE doing! Right now! And how do we feel about it? And do we want it to be something else – something better? And what is better? And what is the whole point anyway? And where do we begin? And why should we start now anyway? Because right now might very well be the last chance we will ever have! Because today might be the last day that we’re alive – that any one’s alive! Tomorrow might not ever come, and we should work to do everything we can with the day that’s given to us – and that way if tomorrow does come we will have earned it! Don’t take the easy way out! Don’t think about it later! Don’t wait until you feel more like doing it! Live right now! Don’t feel guilty and let it slow you down! If you do feel guilty then use that to drive you into doing all you can! Never stop trying to do more! The time for resting and taking it easy is over! The time for being easy on yourself is long gone! We no longer have that luxury! We no longer deserve that luxury! For far too long we have done too little with too much! We have taken everything and given nothing! It’s not about us and it never has been! It’s about everything else! It’s not about you! It’s about everything! It’s not about YOUR world! It’s about THE world! We keep on building up and defending this illusion that somehow we have the right to be selfish! We should not indulge in anything that keeps us from realizing that we are all in this together! We should be happy! We are alive – and nothing should get in the way of us being happy about that simple fact. Knowing that fact, and realizing it as truth, and I mean, REALLY realizing it, not just looking at it as some sort of cheesy philosophy that you hear all the time, but living and dying by it – that should keep you happy no matter what – NO MATTER WHAT! We hear it all the time because it’s true. It’s also pretty intense. And because it’s so simple it can be overwhelming – but in the best way! It is not something to be afraid of! And if you’re not afraid of it, good! Now go out and put it to use! We say that we know and understand everything – then why aren’t we living like it? LIVE LIKE YOU MEAN IT! It’s admitting that you’re part of something bigger than just you, whether you like it or not. And a lot of the time, we don’t want to be part of something bigger. We want to be us. We want to be the one person that is yourself, or myself, and we build our whole lives to fulfill ourselves and to confirm and reconfirm that we exist in this life for us. We are not living beyond ourselves, we pride ourselves on being individuals. And that is appealing and great, but it has so many limits! I don’t really know what I’m talking about, and I need to do this as much as anybody! And for all those people out there who say “I know this already!”, good, now go spread the word! Because this is not an idea or a concept, this is fact! This is true! So give me a chance! And give everyone else a chance, because this one chance is all we have! What is the point of being human? The point is to push ourselves farther! We should push past the point that seems comfortable and easy! We should aspire to do the stuff that seems completely and totally impossible and insane and work towards it always! And never stop trying! Never settle for less! Be hard on yourself! Demand way more than you feel like doing! Expect all that you have and then some! And never let it go! Never take it easy! Time is really running out! And this time it’s for real! It’s all coming down to this moment! And it has been for a long time! What are we going to do? Who are we trying to fool? Why are you pretending that today doesn’t matter? Do not ignore it! IT MATTERS! What are we trying to prove? These are the actual DAYS OF OUR LIVES! YOU ARE LIVING YOUR LIFE TODAY! Everything you are doing, saying, and thinking! This is not a temporary time that we can mess around with! This is the whole thing! What are you going to do with it? What are you going to do in this crucial moment? This is serious! This is no exaggeration! It sounds dramatic and extreme? THIS IS EXTREME!!! And extreme times call for extreme measures! The human race has never been faced with the set of circumstances that we are faced with now! We can’t pretend like this is just another day! This is THE day! This is TODAY! We have never been given today before! We hold it all in our hands! Go find a calendar and look at the date – whatever day it is, realize this: this day will never come again! There will never be another one of today! It is a one shot deal! What are you doing with it? What are you doing with your life? What are you doing TO your life? Imagine what other people would do with your life! Why do we waste our energy on stupid problems that mean nothing? Why do we waste it? Imagine what someone would give if they could live just one day in your life! How are you treating your life? How are you protecting and honoring this crazy miracle that has been placed in your care! You have the responsibility! You have the duty! You have the obligation to live you life for all that it’s worth! And this is the time to do it! And we are all being asked to go above and beyond! That is when things happen! As it has often been said: the truest crime is when good people stand by and do nothing! What are you? Are you a good person? What are you doing? Do even more! Take your starting point and push past it! Find something that is really hard and that you don’t think you’ll ever be able to accomplish – better yet, find something that will benefit more things and people than just you, and devote yourself to it! And don’t give up! Stay committed! Stay strong! That is the answer! And it has been all along! And we all know it! The answer is to do everything for everything else! You should come last! And you should be proud too! And that should be how you come first! Bring others up to the levels that you take for granted! Give other people a fair chance at starting from where you start! Use what you’ve been given to give others what has been stolen from them! Maybe we can’t do everything, but we can try! Always trying! It has been said that the only time you really fail is when you stop trying! Do something! As always, something is better than nothing! You can always find a million reasons to say no – to wait – to forget it – to ignore it – when are you going to start? It is too late when it’s too late! When you look back and wished that you would have been a little less lazy and a little less scared and a little more driven? Do it because it is the right thing to do! Do it and expect nothing in return – only the satisfaction of knowing that you tried your best! This is why we’re alive! This is our potential! This is our mission! This is our time!!! NOW!!! NOW!!! OUR TIME HAS COME!!! LIVE!!! NOW!!! OR NEVER!!!
Dear Doug, Thanks for writing! There’s a lot of things that I did and didn’t do that helped me get here to NYC – I mean, there’s a lot of things that a lot of people have done to get to a new town – but that doesn’t matter nearly as much as what YOU are going to do! You know what I mean? It’s all about your desire! And even more than that, it’s about your effort! Trying and trying and attempting and giving it your foot – the whole way through. When I decided I had to move there I just did – but I did work up to it and get ready for it over a few years time. If I had just decided out of nowhere, then I might not have been able to pull it off. A lot of it was good fortune and luck, and a lot of it was other people around who helped me – that’s why every one’s situation is different – the one thing that will be constant is this: you’ve got to want to do it more than anything in the world, and you’ve got to be willing to do almost anything to get what you’re looking for! Would you give up all you’ve got to get the things you want? And would you give up all you want to keep the things you’ve got? We have to face our fear! What’s the worst that could happen? Go for it, and never stop trying. Don’t judge yourself on what you get, but look at how hard you’ve tried and what you’ve given up and sacrificed. That’s the way it’s always been looked at. We might never get exactly what we want, but we can always try… and true effort is the whole point of living. Trying for something. Your thing. It’s about what it means to YOU. I can tell you a way to get out of your current situation – LEAVE! That’s right! Just leave! Save up enough money to buy a one way ticket to wherever you want to go and bring a bag full of food and as much extra money as you have. Now, it’s very possible that you might get to where you’re going and immediately run out of money and have no place to stay and go freezing on the streets, or you might be able to work something out, or you might not – but you know what? At least you tried! YOU ACTUALLY TRIED! You stopped thinking about it and you stopped complaining about it and you did something RIGHT NOW that actually put you one step closer. I’m not saying that you should do anything dangerous or truly unintelligent, but at the same time, what is life without adventure and risk? When everything is telling you know but your blood and your heart is telling you yes – that’s when you go. When you KNOW so clearly that it’s not even a question. Fear doesn’t enter into your mind, you have not only the will and the desire, but the true power to at least try to do anything that comes your way. If you always believe that you’re heading to where you’re going, than nothing can stop you, because every action will be pushing you to that destination, even if it means going through incredibly difficult challenges and obstacles – you are still on your own road, and you’re not letting up no matter what! This is your chance! This is your time! This is your life, and this is what it means to live it – and while everyone else is telling you why you can’t, you’re going to SHOW them that you can, by trying, trying, and trying, over and over and over and over again. Until you die. That’s what life is. It’s a brief journey through some sort of understanding of time and space, and while we’re here we might as well go for it. If you have what it takes, then you have what it takes, and no one can tell you if you have it except YOU. So… do you? Your friend, Andrew W.K.
It’s Been Building Up
It’s been building up and now it’s about to blow!!! I REALLY hope that you like these songs. It’s the absolute best I could do, and it’s the result of everything we have made together. Do you realize that? That’s what this music is about. It’s about YOU. All the concerts and celebrations and parties and ups and downs and mind-blowing times that we’ve had so far – it’s all on here! It’s a deep dedication to all of the believers who have found it in their hearts to love and enjoy the pleasures that this music strives to bring. YOU are who is making this, and the music intends on thanking you! Every song is working to be even more powerful than before! These songs are about the way that we feel – the way that WE feel together! All of us! These songs are about the fun that we’re having and the lives that we’re living! The music is about us! And I want you to hear every note and sing every word and feel every beat like it was made by you yourself! You have earned this! When I sat down to make this music, my dream was not to make it for myself – I wanted to make it for US! But before the music existed, I didn’t know who “US” was. Then the music came out, the music was there, we found each other, and the celebration began – and it hasn’t stopped yet! Now I know who “US” is! And I am so thankful that you’re here. We are building a family and a faith that will reward us with pleasures and strengths we can only imagine! There’s so much to come, as always, and these new songs will set our course. When I’m with this music and I hear it in my head, I feel like I can try and do anything. And when I know that you are there at my side and supporting me and feeling it too, then I KNOW that WE can do anything. That’s the beauty of this: I myself alone, am not capable of doing what is entirely based on us, as a group – but you and this music with me together are stronger than a billion explosions, and that’s superhuman! I have a reason to work and to live that goes far beyond my own self! I live for us, and for this!!! All those things that we’ve ever wanted – they have been inside of us all along, and this music is the sound of that discovery. All the things that we worried about from before, and all the fears that we have about what’s to come, are nothing compared to the power that comes to us right here, right now – at the very moment that we listen to what has been screaming and thundering for our passion. This is for our pleasure! I don’t know what else to say, because I can hardly even think – I’m so blinded by excitement!!! Please listen to the music, and then listen to it again and a few more times after that! The moment when you FEEL the music inside your brain and no longer have to think about it – THAT is when we know what it means to be alive! Thank you very much for all that you’ve given me so far! This is our next step, and we’re taking it together! And no matter how hard this may be to swallow, and no matter how much me might want to blow this off, we cannot, because THIS IS WHAT WE CAME TO DO! And we’re ready for it! With strength and endless gratitude…
I Can Get A Full Force To Spread
I can get a full force to spread, and get its grips on you and some other people, then that was a good thing. It will never end, and it will never be satisfied. There is no point of reaching an ultimate success – every day is a new series of challenges and successes… it is continuous for as long as it is going… and it will keep going always – while I’m alive, and it will keep going as long as you are alive – because that’s what this is made of. THIS IS MADE OF YOU AND ME AND EVERYONE ELSE WHO BELIEVES IN IT, AND EVERYONE ELSE TOO. And we can keep it going and we can keep it moving and spreading, so that even if we stop, IT NEVER WILL! WE NEVER STOP! It is formed from the unbreakable bonds that are made through our true love of life and the feelings that come with it! We will never let down! And we will love it until the end! AND BEYOND!!! WOW!!! We want to be strong and solid – in the heart and in the skeleton too. We don’t want to ignore anything, and we don’t want to obstruct anything from entering our life. We want to take on whatever comes and we don’t want to edit the world just to make it easier to deal with. The world is what it is, and we expect ourselves to be strong enough and tough enough to handle whatever it brings. We care what is going on and we care what other people think, and we care about what we all do! WE ARE STRONG ENOUGH TO CARE! We don’t put up a front of false confidence! Ours is true! Our confidence runs deep and it’s set in the stone that is the strength that comes from all of us being in this together! You can walk into any hard day of life knowing that you have this music behind you and all of it’s power to make you all right! We are standing by you! We can all do this! And we know that we can do our best when you are doing your best too. That’s dead serious. No messing around! What do you think this! This can be whatever we make it! We have built it up from nothing, and already it has taken on a life of it’s own. It’s a life of OUR own! Always know that it is for you! It really, really is. We are all living here at the same time. People have lived before us, and we can assume that people will live long after us, but right now we are here. So, no matter how hard we try to avoid it, we are part of a big group of people – no matter what. And even though we’re spread out all over the globe, we are right next to each other. As the population continues to grow and grow we will find each other closer and closer to one another. And not only will we become closer due to the crowding of our relative spaces, but also due to advances in technology and travel, which shrink perceived distance between one another. The effects of this closeness can be seen in how we communicate, how we deal with space, and how we view ourselves in the midst of what surrounds us. It’s only natural that many of us make efforts to live within a controlled environment that we create inside of the real world in order to protect ourselves from what we see as a threatening invasion of our “personal” space. And the personal space is not limited to the physical environment, but also to the psychological environment, which often seems to feel equally invaded. Some of us feel our identities are being threatened by what exists around us. And it’s only natural that we amplify our own unique qualities in order to send a signal to the rest of the world that “we” are “we” and “they” are “they”. For some of us, our quick fire reaction drives us into a reclusive detachment from what we feel is an unhealthy world. Rather than evolving, growing stronger, progressing, and meeting the challenges of a changing and developing world, some of us simply build up walls to close out and cut off what feels too threatening to deal with – building your own world within the world is a beautiful idea – to exist in a total organized civilization of your own. But the effort can be futile, because its very concept is based upon an absolute impossibility. It is impossible to live in a world that is not part of the world that we already live in. Or is it? Who knows… Humans are not any more individual than the molecules that make up every other thing on the earth. Everyone is part of something bigger. And why put all of our energy into pretending that the rest of the world doesn’t exist? And why work day in and day out to barricade ourselves with thicker walls, when we can instead become stronger and grow thicker skins? We can become better at being people – which is superior to hiding. And by making ourselves better, everything will benefit. The truth of the matter is that for far too long we have been given the luxury of our own individual pursuits over the pursuits of humanity. And while humanity will progress in some way or another no matter what, many of us, especially those of us privileged enough to make choices based exclusively on what we feel is right for ourselves alone, may not be contributing to a world that ultimately contains a lot more than just ourselves. But things are getting better! Always! Whether we know it right now or not! Every single element in the universe is striving to make progress. It is the universal inertia that cannot be slowed down and to fight against it is pointless. Clinging to lost values is not a heroic attempt to save what was once sacred, but rather a cowardly attempt to retain a sense of order in a very chaotic and ever changing world. It makes sense, and it will be O.K.!!! Right? RIGHT! We think that in order for humanity to progress it is crucial that we look at ourselves as a group and less as an almost random mish mash of individuals and stuff. Or maybe, all of us together form one huge collective individual. Anyway, the act of avoiding reality by retreating into a private and exclusive existence not only holds back the individual, but also slows down the forward movement of the masses. As the saying goes “We are only as far forward as the furthest person behind”. We are always approaching perfection! Perfection has not yet happened! You know? The best has never happened, and it never will… improvement is endless! And that is good! We will never reach a pinnacle moment! If we did than we would end… there is no final point! The existence of everything is based on this possibility! An absolute moment is the equivalent to a complete death! Everything strives on the constant desire to go further than last time. To stop this is to die. And even worse, to say that humanity has passed its pinnacle moment IN ANY WAY, is to say that our current existence is irrelevant. NOW is all that is relevant to what comes next! We are all in this together! We are all a part of it, so rather than hide from it; we might as well enjoy it! It’s very possible for us to sustain the same existence that we have been, not necessarily in the physical sense, but certainly in the psychological sense, by simply refusing to acknowledge what exists in the rest of humanity and the world, or to provide a complete lack of support for any other reality other than the one we’re fighting to protect from what is truly real. Admittedly, all this talk of what is “real” and what is in itself an unknown, but it is necessary to find common ground that all of humanity can stand and thrive. It can be seen as glamorous to position oneself in a mindset and a worldview that leaves only enough room for what exists within the brain of its owner, but this behavior is counterproductive and does NOT facilitate in any way for true dynamic creation, progress, or even a full enjoyment of the riches of life. The building of a private world within the real world is not something to be proud of, it is a last resort, or worse: a cop out – a way for the weak to hide from what truths frighten them. It is a cheap way to gain some sense of individual importance or character. And rather than build ones own personal values based on strength and accomplishments made while living in the wide open world, the individual easily awards themselves false accolades based solely on isolated achievements that occurred a private space with no real challenges to overcome at all. When you shut out every threat, every opposing view, every bit of difference you have eliminated the possibility of failure, of risk, and of true challenge! You have created the illusion of a safe haven in which to exist and thrive without having to deal with what’s really out there. It is not real. It is the survival mechanism of those without the desire or ability to accept and persevere. It is directly against what thousands of years of progress have fought and died for. It is a total disrespect to the millions of people who have sacrificed their own lives in order to secure us the possibilities we have waiting for us. In no way are we stating that different groups should not think freely and openly and act upon their own beliefs, but the future of humanity lies in a continuing connectivity, which will elevate everyone. This is not intended to criticize any person who believes in what they choose. It is the opposite. This IS to say that each person deserves the right to think and feel what they choose, and act accordingly. And it also asks us to not complain and react against. It asks us to rejoice and act for. It says that we should challenge ourselves to lead by example and encourage those around us with support and assistance, and not unfounded objections and weak hearted protests. It does not say that people should accept everything. It says that people should accept what is true. Working towards the universal truth is the constant goal… someday attaining that truth will be the triumph of all mankind. It will NOT be a time when everyone believes the same thing, but rather when everyone understands the reality of the opposite – that everyone believes what he or she believes and we can put it together into one gigantic belief that embraces all mankind. It will not congratulate those who make efforts to leave the crowd. It will give thanks to those who make efforts to improve the standing of the whole crowd in general. It asks us to devote more of our energy and power into building stronger people and hearts, not stronger shelters and walls. It asks us to have the courage and the understanding to accept and appreciate all that the whole real world has to offer, and not to resort to eliminating and cutting down what is around us, simply because it doesn’t give us an easy answer. The future of mankind lies in a strength that makes it possible to handle whatever challenges come up. The future of mankind does not lie in a further detachment from the reality of our respective situations. The future of mankind lies in efforts made on the behalf of many. The future of mankind does not lie in efforts made on the behalf of one. The future of mankind lies in embracing and encouraging richness and widespread differences, while at the same time understanding that those differences are supplemental and not fundamental. The future of mankind does not lie in championing one belief over any other (including this one!) and resorting to deconstructive critiques that do not facilitate any progress, but rather only lead to a further distance from one another. And it itself does not claim to be right or be correct and to even to do what it says it will. But it is trying. And it will keep trying to figure out more ways to try. Everything exists! We can make efforts to appreciate what is out there! We don’t need to fight it anymore! We are doing O.K.! The answer is not in the problems! The answer is in the solutions! And the solution is not to hide away, or ignore, or abolish! The answer lies in loving it! Take a risk! Take a leap of faith off the cliff of holding back! Life is a huge adventure! Strap yourself onto it and ride it for all that its worth! Every little piece and part and thing! You only get to do it once! Open up your eyes wide and take a deep breath! Stretch out and step out into the whole huge world, and never stop going wider and bigger! HERE WE GO!!!
Would you give up all you’ve got to get the things you want? And would you give up all you want to keep the things you’ve got? It’s all pointing towards your desire! And even more than that, it’s about your effort! Trying and trying and attempting and giving it your life the whole way through. When I decided I had to move there I just did – but I did work up to it and get ready for it over a few years time. If I had just decided out of nowhere, then I might not have been able to pull it off. A lot of it was good fortune and luck, and a lot of it was other people around who helped me – that’s why the situation can be different – the one thing that will be constant is this: you’ve got to want to do it more than anything in the world, and you’ve got to be willing to do almost anything to get what you’re looking for! Would you give up all you’ve got to get the things you want? And would you give up all you want to keep the things you’ve got? We have to face our fear! What’s the worst that could happen? Go for it, and never stop trying. Don’t judge yourself on what you get, but look at how hard you’ve tried and what you’ve given up and sacrificed. That’s the way it’s always been looked at. We might never get exactly what we want, but we can always try… and true effort is the whole point of living. Trying for something. Your thing. It’s about what it means to YOU. I can tell you a way to get out of your current situation – LEAVE! That’s right! Just leave! Save up enough money to buy a one way ticket to wherever you want to go and bring a bag full of food and as much extra money as you have. Now, it’s very possible that you might get to where you’re going and immediately run out of money and have no place to stay and go freezing out on the streets, or you might be able to work something out, or you might not – but you know what? At least you tried! YOU ACTUALLY TRIED! You stopped thinking about it and you stopped planning for it and you did something RIGHT NOW that actually put you one step closer. I’m not saying that you should do anything dangerous, but at the same time, what is life without adventure and risk? When everything is telling you no but your blood and your heart is telling you yes – that’s when you go. When you KNOW so clearly that it’s not even a question. Fear doesn’t enter into your mind, you have not only the will and the desire, but the true power to at least try to do anything that comes your way. If you always believe that you’re heading to where you’re going, than nothing can stop you, because every action will be pushing you to that destination, even if it means going through incredibly difficult challenges and obstacles – you are still on your own road, and you’re not letting up no matter what! This is your chance! This is your time! This is your life, and this is what it means to live it – and while everyone else is telling you why you can’t, you’re going to SHOW them that you can, by trying, trying, and trying, over and over and over and over again. Until you die. That’s what life is. It’s a brief journey through some sort of understanding of time and space, and while we’re here we might as well go for it. If you have what it takes, then you’ll know that you have what it takes, and no one can tell you if you have it except YOU. So… do you? All of our respect to everyone in the world who doesn’t have it easy but refuses to make excuses, and decides to march forward without any expectations other than that which they expect from themselves. Power. We’re just being true to our words, and always working as hard as we can for the music and life that we believe in. Otherwise, what else is life for? What is the point of doing anything if you’re not going to do it all the way no matter what? We have the ability to become selfish, so why wouldn’t we? We have the ability to be lazy, so why wouldn’t we? We have made it so easy for us to do nothing, so why wouldn’t we? Are we living below our own standards and our own capabilities? We’re not blaming anybody. I did the same thing; we all did it. But we can step it up a notch and I am not in anyway pessimistic about it. I’m completely optimistic and hopeful. There’s younger people of ALL AGES who are going to raise it up to another level. It’s going to be the second coming of human beings. It’s going to be humans at their best. It’s completely possible. And why not start right now? That’s how it’s going to happen. It’s not going to happen as a big overall movement with everybody doing it, “Okay. Ready. Set Go.” It’s going to be just start doing it right now. Just put other people in front of yourself, understand and accept. The person you hate the most and you’re most angry at, understand every reason why you’re angry at them. Understand every reason why they might be doing that.
That Other Person
The thing itself, or that other person is doing nothing. Even if they were making conscious efforts to bring it down, it’s ultimately always us who would allow them to do it or would allow ourselves to feel that way. More and more we don’t want to do that. The things that we dislike we’ll try to get our self into. Then not only do we have another thing that we get to like then, which makes the life a little bigger, but then we also have a one less weak thing inside of us. Why do we? A great question, why, why not? It’s something we know we can do. We really like, always have, even in our most dark days, which was when we were younger, we’ve always really liked liking things and the inspiration . . . we wish there was a better word. The overwhelming sense of excitement, well being, life affirming, adrenaline rushing moments that happen when we really love something. Whether it’s a person, whether it’s a place, whether it’s a thing, whatever it is. We have never felt those feelings as much as when we’ve been playing or listening to music. We think people find that all in different ways. We think actually almost everybody can find it in music unless we try not to. Lately especially we really like love songs. If there was ever a style of song or a style of music that’s definitely the favorite just because of the attention to melody and we imagine this nails-to-the-stone hard work that people put into making these songs. The great thing about love songs is that even if they’re doing it to get money or sell more records or gain the popular new thing, they still have to make people feel good in order to get that. So that is the goal no matter what. We imagine these people trying to construct this and get across this feeling that’s often times a reflection of what people are feeling. It’s just so moving and so beautiful and it’s human beings at their best and we like that. And what those songs are singing about, which is usually a love for another person or being moved or inspired by a person and your love for them and building your world. Lately especially we’ve envied that. We’ve been thinking about how we really want that in our life. But definitely craving that cause it sounded so wonderful and we knew and we can imagine what it is we knew that it was capable. We knew we could do that and we could feel that way and give that. We realized that the whole life and more now than ever before we have that through music and people and stuff. We could have no family. We could have no wife or girlfriend or boyfriend or husband no children of our own or anything and we could still have these people to live for, who deserve it. Who don’t like us necessarily, but who like this one thing that we’ve managed to say we want to dedicate our life to as much as anything else, which is this. They’re the inspiration, they’re the reason for living and they give us something more than nothing and that all these other things that people are searching and trying to find in something and often in another person we already have more than anybody even deserves to have. We have it so much it’s ridiculous – it’s unfair how much we have it. That we ever think for one minute that we should ever feel lonely is obscene and unreasonable. And we realized that and we were so happy. We listen back to all of our favorite songs and we could put them or this music or what we get to do in the place of the person and it made perfect sense. All the words still worked. It’s very, very, very, very moving to us and we feel very overwhelmed by it. We wish we had better words, we’ll just keep saying these same words, but it’s all-consuming and it makes us feel humble. A lot of people would give us a hard time early on when we were first really making efforts to work on things. We always thought it was odd when we would try to do something good or right and people would say you’re not going to be able to do that forever or in a year you’re gonna be a jerk and all these awful things, really having no faith in us. Ultimately we think they didn’t have a lot of faith in themselves or something. But we are so, not determined to prove them wrong, but we thought maybe they’re right, maybe a lot of people do become jerks when things go their way or things are good. But we’ve only become better and better and better. And we’re not saying that as a boast or a brag, it’s just fact that we are better now than it was two years ago. We’re better now than six months ago. We’re better than three weeks ago and we can point out specific reasons. Everything should always be getting better. The more successful this has become in terms of the quantity of people that are a part of it, the more insignificant we become. The more humble we are in it all because we realize that it’s not us, it’s not one of ours, it is all of ours. The minute that we give it to someone else, the more each person takes of it the less we have of it. And we don’t want any of it in the end. I want it to be an even portion of everyone on the face of the earth ideally. Maybe that will someday happen, but if it doesn’t we’ve sure had a blast trying. We have not made ourselves better, other people have made us better. Our friends, the people we meet on a daily basis from doing this – the people that play in this, our parents, our friends, our family, everyone are making me better. You just have to let them and so we are just letting them. Do you have a brother? Yeah we have a younger brother. Full-fledged. He’s awesome, he’s amazing. He loves music. He used to played saxophone. It’s so sad cause he thinks he’s no good at saxophone and he was great. For whatever reason, he got discouraged and gave up on that. You never know he might get back into it, but I thought he was great. I was impressed. He plays piano too and wants to take piano lessons, he’s getting more motivated now. He’s funny, he’s eighteen and he just started college in Indiana at Ball State and he went there for golf. He was obsessed with golf and he has been for years. Like, “I am going to play golf. I want to be on the PGA Tour.” All day, every day, playing golf for hours. That was it. He went to college, moved away. It was his first time away from home it was a big deal. I never thought of this, but I should of, I talked to him the other day, I asked him about golf he’s like, “Hey you know golf is not all I’m about.” And I said, “Oh I know Patty. Well you’re still into it?” He said, “Yeah, but not as much. I’m getting bored with it. I like the competition, but I don’t like the game.” Of course he moves away from his life and the whole world opened up and anything was possible. He’s like, “I want to play keyboard and learn how to play piano better and come on tour with you.” I said, “Patrick that would be awesome. You have to do it. You totally can.” He said, “Are you sure?” I said, “Yeah!” He said, “It’s great because I already know everybody in the band!” I said, “Yeah you gotta do it! We’d love to have you and you can bring your golf clubs on stage” and he said “No, I don’t want to have that.” So it was really interesting that it all changes, you know what I mean? Your whole life you wanted to be a doctor and you go to college and you meet someone who likes cars and you want to be an engineer. Being five years younger than me he dealt with the worst that I had to offer as a person. I apologize to him all the time. I apologized to him the other night when I was driving back from a concert and I was talking to my friend about how I felt bad. But he is stronger because of it and I told him “Patty I’m so sorry” and he said “It’s okay Andy, I was mean to you too.” I said “Okay, good. As long as it’s even.” People who go through hardships are ultimately centered. It’s true. My friend pointed that out. They said a lot of the most collected together people you’ll meet are the ones who have gone through the most crazy stuff. That’s so true. It’s not always the case, but the most together people I know, or the coolest people I know, the smartest, have been through a lot. We would follow these kids around, they were juniors and seniors and we were freshmen. We would follow them around like a good fifteen feet, twenty foot, maybe fifty foot distance and try to talk to them every now and then. They’d be mean, you know, they were punk kids. But way weirder than your average, I don’t know if there is such a thing as average, but just weird. We can’t describe them – Just hearing that and seeing that motivated us in ways that last to this day. And we still think about it every day. What are we trying to say with our lives? To take things as they are. We don’t know, we’re not trying to say anything really. We guess we’re trying to say everything and at the same time say nothing. We really don’t want to say anything. The most exciting thing to us is when you hear a song, or you see something or read something or meet a person or go to a place, any thing in the world and it isn’t anything more or less than what it is. Is that rare? Just when you hear a song, what is it? What is it trying to say? We’re trying to say that these notes going in this order at this tempo with these instruments played at this volume sounds great. That’s what it’s trying to say. With these words screamed with this bunch of people, just sounds, it’s just so wonderful. And that’s all we’re trying to say and we want to say it over and over and over again. We’re not trying to tell anybody to do anything. There’s all kinds of other stuff that seems to come from that feeling of LETTING LIFE LIVE YOU and wash over you and not fighting it and not trying to figure it out or explain it because it’s already all there. Realizing how big and vast and huge everything is and how lucky we are to be in the midst of it all and that most of us, whether we realize it or not, have things pretty good, are in a pretty good situation. It’s unfair how good we have things. It’s really unfair how good we have things. Feel better rather than worse. A lot of things. This is another thing that we don’t feel the need to talk about or explain so much but there’s many reasons and we can list off some of those reasons, but we only would ever need one of these reasons to give reason enough to do it. It’s basically the golden rule. Which is to do unto others, as you’d want to have them do unto you. If we were there and we wanted to talk to us, I’d want us to talk to us, you know what I mean? I think a lot of these people that we get to talk to would do that for us and would do it for other people if they had the chance and we would hope they would. It’s just an even trade. If they have the time and the patience to wait out there we’re going to have the same. It just seems like the right thing to do. There’s not that many times in life where we have such a clear choice. We’re so lucky to have a clear choice of this is the right thing to do. A lot of times it’s not so black and white. This is a very clear, right thing to do in our eyes. It’s just the right thing to do. And we don’t even have to think about it that hard. It’s a challenge that we like. We like doing things that seem like they shouldn’t be done. You know lines that are easy to cross. Again for us it’s not easy or hard. There’s a line, cross it. Just knowing that tomorrow may not come and we want to know that we gave more or less the best we could do on this night with this. We don’t want to be lazy. We don’t want to waste this. We have too many good things in our favor. We live this life of ease and we don’t really want that too much. So we try to make it more enjoyable for us by facilitating it with a challenge, because a lot of times what people try to do is de-void it. A lot of our society is actually built up with trying to ease anybody of any discomfort or challenge at all. Especially, we think it’s really easy for people who are privileged to achieve that and it’s not very fun. We just feel better about things, knowing that people will be made happy, but we didn’t take the easy way out. So all those things, above all the golden rule. Because what else is left? What else is the point of any of this? What is the point of anything at all except to try and make the experience of living life feel good? As humans we know a few of the things that are so special about us as far as we know so far is one we’re unique to this planet. We’re vastly different than any other living thing. And our ability of how we feel and how we are able to think. As far as we know, we’ve yet to meet other life forms from other planets or from around. Although, I for one believe they’re there. It would be absurd to think that they’re not, considering how vast things are. Never let down.
This Is Everything
This is not anything. THIS IS EVERYTHING. ONLY YOU CAN MAKE IT HAPPEN. OUT LAST. WORK HARDER, AND EVEN HARDER. WHAT ARE YOU GOING TO MAKE WITH THIS DAY? YOU ONLY LIVE ONCE. DON’T BE A FUCKING WIMP. BE STRONG. HAVE COMPASSION AND UNDERSTANDING. LIFE IS SHORT. DON’T WASTE TIME. NO ONE CAN BRING YOU DOWN EXCEPT YOU. BE INVINCIBLE AND LIFT WEIGHTS. SEE THINGS AS THEY REALLY ARE. GIVE AND DON’T RECEIVE. DON’T TAKE WHAT YOU DON’T NEED. NO EXPECTATIONS BEYOND WHAT YOU CAN DO. EXPECT NOTHING IN RETURN. REMEMBER WHAT OTHERS DON’T HAVE. BE THANKFUL. WHAT REALLY COUNTS AT THE END OF THE DAY? STAND FOR WHAT YOU BELIEVE. FIGHT FOR WHAT YOU CARE ABOUT. DON’T FIGHT AGAINST WHAT YOU DON’T CARE ABOUT. NEVER LET DOWN. WHAT IS THE RIGHT THING DO? DO UNTO OTHERS AS YOU’D HAVE THEM DO UNTO YOU. DO NOT SETTLE FOR LESS. MAKE PEACE WITH WHAT YOU CANNOT CHANGE. STEP IT UP AND PUSH IT BEYOND TO EXCEED. ABOVE ALL, TOTAL LOVE.
Being A Friend Is A Fine Art
Being a friend is a fine art. Two people who are compatible with each other share more than strong feelings of love and affection. They also can share interests and ideas and feelings about all kinds of different stuff. But, compatibility is not only about what you share and agree on, it’s also about accepting what you don’t agree on. You know? It’s about supporting each other through all the different directions that your individual lives will take you. It’s about being gentle and careful about each other’s feelings when you do disagree. This goes for romantic and intimate relationships as well as friendships. It’s about understanding each other. My Mom has a little metal button that she keeps above the sink in the kitchen and it says “Being a friend is a fine art.” I have read this sentence for many years, every time I was doing dishes or washing my hands, but it wasn’t until the other day when she explained it to me that I truly understood. Love, in all it’s different forms, whether it’s romantic, friendship, or family, is all based on compassion and acceptance. While this is very simple and easy to imagine, it is one of the hardest and most difficult things to actually do. To accept someone, for everything they are and are not, for everything they can and can’t do, for everything they like and don’t like, and to have compassion for what makes them the way they are, to understand them, without fear or reservation – that is to truly love them… and that is not easy. Being a lover and a friend is very hard. If a person you are seeing romantically considers themselves a friend of yours, then how could they ever give you a hard time for spending time with other’s who are also your friends? They need to accept that these other people make you happy, and if he/she truly believes that you love them, he/she should not be threatened by it. At the same time, maybe they’re not receiving enough from you in some way, and that’s leading he/she to feel less important than your friends. True love and acceptance for someone leaves no room for true hatred, so I’m assuming that you’re just very angry or frustrated. Maybe you love the relationship more than you love her, and when she threatens the relationship you get mad. Maybe you’re attached to her more than you actually truly love her. Maybe you have become dependent on the day to day ups and downs that the relationship brings – from the amazing highs, to the hateful lows – and maybe you’re amplifying your emotions to offset how happy you are. Maybe you need to even out, so that when you are feeling so much love on the good days it doesn’t need to be countered with hate and rage on the bad days. Also, your feelings of anger could be justified and you should look at why you love her in the first place, and what makes you loose those feelings so quickly? How is your temper normally? Do you have a love/hate relationship with the things that you’re passionate about? Sometimes your life takes your emotions to extremes, and if it’s hurting you and others, maybe you need to change. I can completely relate to your problem. This whole topic is very vast and really complex. You’re wondering how a nice guy is supposed to meet a nice girl. There is no easy answer there. You’ve also pointed out that there’s a difference between being bad with girls and being bad with meeting girls. From your own self description it sounds like shyness is not your problem. You say you’re held back by the fear of making a bad first impression. Like most people, I have had to wrestle with shyness, and often in dealing with my own fears I would make up reasons to absolve myself from trying to talk to anyone, let alone a pretty girl. We should be sure that our fear of the bad first impression isn’t just shyness in disguise. If you are confident then you should also be confident, or at least hopeful, that the girl you meet will see you as you truly are. The risk of being “grouped in with these assholes” is up to your real personality, and her own. And while you can’t completely influence what someone thinks of you, you can be honest and straightforward and kind, and I don’t see why anyone would think you were an asshole, and if they did, would you really want to talk to them anyway? You know? It’s easy to think in terms of “me” and “them”, but there can be times where your own fear of being preserved as “them” can stop you from even just being yourself. I don’t know… I would take a deep breath and gather up all my spirit and talk the girl if I wanted to talk to her. Put the best of what you have out for her to see. You don’t need to impress her or sweep her off her feet with one sentence, just talk to her. I know that’s easier to say than to do, but just say something, even if it’s as simple as, “Hello, my name is… and I really wanted to meet you.” Let her do some of the work too. Who knows? We’re all running around looking for something, and we’ve got to try and find it. Life is short. Is it better to set off down the road of discovery through disaster, or should one settle for a life based on routine and low-risk complacency? Well, it all depends on the person, and since you’re asking me, I’ll answer only for myself: No matter how much I try and shield you from the chaotic hurricane that life was, it found you, and blew down your door, and through the crack in your window, and up through your floorboards – no matter how thorough your efforts were to seal yourself up. Hiding from life is so futile that the energy you spend trying to avoid it is better spent on actually trying to live with it. It is possible to live in self-imposed exile from a lot of what’s out there – you can hide from all the world’s pain, but in the process you miss out on all of it’s greatest pleasures. You need to take a few hits for the team. The team is your heart, mind, and body, which will ultimately benefit from learning the hard way. As much as I’m saying “don’t take the easy road”, I’m also not saying “I want to put myself into every single hard situation I can find.” As always, it’s a balancing act: instinct for survival and risks for adventure. It is not all or nothing unfortunately – that would be too easy. One of the biggest things that I learn and re-learn is that it is a world of many colors, not just black and white. Looking at the world as an A or B scenario limits it to just that. All or nothing leaves you with only the satisfaction of fewer choices – not having to look more closely at the world and all of it’s complexities. It is the easy way out, a cop out – a big, sweeping choice, rather than a carefully thought out, balanced, realistic, and honest approach. It’s easier to say “every one’s against me and no one understands me” than “right now I feel like I need more help, and I need to be strong and support myself – a lot of people probably feel this exact same way, and at the end of the day I’m not much different than anyone else…” etc. etc… But that takes a lot of real strength and resilience, something that we don’t always have – but it sure is something to work for. Leaving something you once were for something new – it is often bittersweet. But leaving something behind doesn’t mean to loose it or forget it – it can be revisited as frequently as you choose. It can also be reclaimed in favor of the new, if that’s what you really want. Change is inevitable. My friend always says: “The only constant thing is constant change.” I never want to settle for something less if there is more out there. And although sometimes I long for simple routine and predictable living, I prefer to challenge myself with risk-taking and weird-choices. Even though it’s frightening a lot of times, I feel rewarded – knowing that I’m not backing down from the unknown, and using myself as a center to count on, in the midst of so much uncertainty. You can be your own familiar place. You can be your own comforting consistency. You are the one thing that’s always around, so no matter where you are, or what curves life throws your way, you can support yourself with yourself. It’s not hard when you’re the only thing you can ever count on 100%. Don’t give up. When life gets hard, don’t let it beat you or color your world black. Don’t let the bad days take away the good ones. LIVE LIFE LIKE YOU MEAN IT.
The Old Woman And The Cats
I was born to be alive, and simultaneously, to die. You know? When you think of all the people that are not alive, that once were, it makes me feel very lucky to have a life at all. I want to use it out of respect for having it in the first place, and out of respect for the people who no longer live. Those that have died would not want me to waste the life I have left. They would want me to do something with it, to do what makes me happy and allow others that same freedom. Today is here right now, and for all I know tomorrow might not come around. So, what am I going to do with today while it’s here? What has happened before and what will happen is not as important as what is happening right now. Today is the only thing I have. And just because yesterday was different and tomorrow might change, it doesn’t mean that I shouldn’t use today for all I can. Here is a story I made up: There was once a lonely old woman. She had no one to talk to, and no one to spend time with. She was a very lonely woman. One day a stray cat came to the door of the lonely old woman. It was meowing because it was hungry. She was delighted to see the cat and decided that the right thing to do was to feed him. She brought out some tuna and a dish of cream, and the cat gobbled it up. This made the cat happy and the old woman was not as lonely. The next day the same cat returned to the old woman, but another cat also followed it. The cat had told another stray that there was an old woman to feed them. The woman was pleased with more company and happily fed both of the cats big dishes of tuna and cream, and the old woman talked to the cats and was not as lonely as the day before. The next day four cats came – the word was spreading amongst the cats about the friendly old woman. By the end of the week 8 cats were showing up regularly and the old woman was running out of food. She went to the fish market to get some more tuna. The man behind the counter asked her, “What do you need with all this fish?” “I am feeding some stray cats.” she said. “If you feed them, more and more cats will come. Eventually there will be too many and you won’t be able to feed them any of them. It will be too hard.” said the man. “But right now there are only 8 cats and that is not too many for me to feed.” replied the old woman. “But you have to think about the future, soon the day will come and you will have 8,000 cats wanting food. What will you do with 8,000 cats?” asked the man. The woman thought for a moment and then said, “Right now there are 8 cats and that I know I can do. If it gets to be 8,000 I will figure it out.” The man scowled, “You’re being foolish. You should just stop feeding them all together, or your will regret it.” The old woman walked out the door with her fish and felt worried. On her way back home the old woman thought long and hard about what the man had said. “Maybe he’s right.” she thought, “Even though I can feed them now I might not be able to do it forever, and it might become too much for me.” More doubts entered her mind when she walked up to her door to be greeted by 4 new cats. There were now 12, and the old woman was surprised. “Oh no, maybe he’s right!”, she thought. She ran into her house and closed the door. After a few minutes she calmed herself down and decided that her panic was silly. After taking a deep breath she thought, “I’m an old woman, and I don’t have all that many years left to feed cats, or do much else for that matter. I might as well do what I please.” So the woman went back outside and fed the cats, and they purred and rubbed up against her and she hugged them and didn’t feel very lonely at all. The woman kept feeding the cats every day, and every day more and more cats did come. And as the months passed, she grew less and less lonely. And even though there were many cats, there weren’t too many and she loved finding ways to feed them all. She was very happy. One day, just before she was going to get more fish, she passed away. But right before she died she saw a line of hundreds of cats, one by one, making their way to her door, and as her eyes closed she realized she had never felt more loved. And she was never lonely again. THE END. The moral of the story: If you can do something good today, and it makes you and others happy, don’t worry if you can still do it tomorrow, because tomorrow may never come. Don’t save up things for later, because later might be too late. There are always a million reasons not to do something. There’s always “what if this happens?”, or “in the past, that didn’t work”, or “you won’t be able to do that forever”. Nothing is forever. Life isn’t forever. You only need one reason to do something. The cats loved the woman because of what she did for them, and without her they would’ve had less. And even though they can’t have food from her anymore, they were glad to have had food from her at all. And she might not have been able to feed 8,000 cats, but 8,000 cats never came. Is it right to NOT feed 8 cats because of 8,000 more you can’t feed? Isn’t it better to run one mile of a marathon race than no miles at all? Don’t worry about things that are not there, or have not yet come, because they are NOT THERE and have NOT YET COME. Give more than you think is possible RIGHT NOW and prove to yourself that you have more than you thought. Don’t let possibilities destroy reality, and don’t let reality destroy possibility. Some how or another I have wound up in this amazing life. I am very lucky. People have given me the power to make them happy. I did not give it to myself. It is an honor above all honors to have people look to me in that way. It is incredible, but also very humbling, because this power has been given to me by others, as a gift, I would never disgrace it by not trying to use it. So I am inspired to make the most of what I’ve been given. You know? I’m NOT saying I am larger than life, I’m not. I’m not the most successful person, or the strongest, or the coolest, or the best in anyway. But because of other people’s support and love, I feel like the best me. The best Andrew W.K. And that is all need to be, and in that I can do no wrong. I will keep trying to do right by everyone who has given me the chance. And because they might not have the chance themselves. Don’t knock it before you’ve tried it. And once you’ve tried it, try it again. And again. And don’t ever stop trying. Don’t ever stop trying to be as alive as possible. Don’t give up. Don’t let things get the better of you. Don’t let yourself get the better of you. Be stronger. It is not all or nothing. You have nothing unless you try and do it all. Dead serious. Above everything else is an understanding of why I feel the way I feel, think how I think, and I do what I do. And why other people say what they say, think what they think, and do what they do. Because usually what someone else does, I do too, and I can probably understand it. But when I can’t, I don’t let it stop me or slow me down – I use it to make me move faster. You can make the bad into good. When I feel frustrated or sad or angry I use that to try and do something. You know? Those feelings are so powerful, and I want to at least do something with them, even if I can’t understand them or stop them. I don’t want to just let them sit in my head and bring me down. So if I feel really angry, or jealous, or frustrated, I will go exercise, or run, or ride on my bike. Sometimes just getting outside and walking around by myself can make me feel better. Sometimes I would put the feelings into work, saying to myself, “I’m going to work harder than anything and I’m going to blow everything away.” And maybe I can’t work harder than anything, and maybe I don’t blow anything away, but I was working as hard as could for myself, in the end. To prove to myself that I won’t stop and that I can’t be brought down. Even if the things I feel don’t make sense, or if the things I think are wrong or confused, I’m still just trying to get something out of it.
Born: 1959-1979, California, USA. Raised: 1939-1949, Michigan, USA. Lives: 1993-1999, Florida, USA. In 1939 a man named James Edward was born to father, Steven Michael Andrews and mother, Kristine Williams – a daughter was also born. It was in midst of World War 2, and the country had rebounded from the hard economic struggle of the Great Depression. Two long years later the War was over, the country was stronger than it ever had been. After such hardship people were left without anything but their hearts and their courage. They had been through the worst. The world was ready for something strong and new. Advance to 1949- a woman was born, Wendy Louise. The country was flourishing in the wealth of the new economy. A virtual horn of plenty had opened into the arms of the working family. Andrew was born in between the moments of 12:01 and 34:89. The time would not stop until baby breathed. Time would stand still until baby lived. The letter “W” was, is, and always will be the world of strength and unity – the shape of 2 arms locked in unyielding power. Like a steel cabled bridge that remains sturdy even in the strongest winds, but has the ability to snap, break, blind, and crumble into the black boiling ice cold sea waters – at will. All of the machines rebuild the steel stronger than before – and it will never go away. The letter “W” was, is, and always will be the twin letter “V”, the roman numeral for five, twice repeated and backed up to support itself. This is self-reliance for the good of all humanity – for the world. The letter “K” was, is, and always will be the consumption of the universe; the symbol of greater than, less than, always level. To burn out the passion which fills up each returning day until they don’t return. It is too rare to concede. No shame or guilt. The bravest people do have fear, it is the courage to slam that fear which makes them brave. We posses a brain – huge amounts of power – untapped. Let it black out. Let go into the void. Reach into it. A true superstructure. A condominium. Our brains are far more complex and versatile than any billion-dollar computer system invented by man. The achievements in work today have been committed to programming their own lives. Have you ever noticed that before you lie down to close your eyes you actually battle wars against resting. Visualization, inspiration, concentration. DO WHAT EVER YOU WANT! NEVER LET DOWN! LIFE IS TOO SHORT! NO REGRETS! LIVE HARD!
How I Started
California: We lived on the outskirts of Los Angeles until I was 4. At that point, my family moved to Michigan. Between 4 and 18, I lived in Michigan, and at 18 I moved to New York. From about 18 to about 22, I lived there and then moved away. I don’t have a house anywhere, so I don’t know where I live. I have a room that I rent in Florida. Michigan: In the neighborhood we lived in, there weren’t a lot of kids. I started taking piano lessons real young, and I always had projects, so I was really entertained. I was a real serious kid, real intense, and there were a lot of things that I was doing by myself I took seriously, like organizing little pieces of paper, cutting out things from magazines, and filing them away. I’d set up these huge spread-out projects on my floor. I’d cut out those ads in comic books for, like, a million different T-shirts. I’d cut out each one of those designs and line them up. Stuff like that. Really intense, very serious, lots of drawing and planning things and working on things and looking forward to things. I lived in my own world, all the while taking piano lessons. The University Of Michigan had a good music school, and for part of the piano program, the advanced students would also teach. So you’ve got these enthusiastic piano teachers who were doing it because they enjoyed it. That was how I started music, and that’s real important, because music to me wasn’t… It wasn’t like, “Hey, you should get into music. Check out this tape.” It wasn’t, “Hey, you should play guitar so you can be in a band.” It wasn’t just seeing something on TV or hearing somebody on the radio. It was based on literally just melody just music without any other stuff attached to it. Just because that’s what I got first thing. I ended up getting a very basic affection for music as it is. There’s not a right or wrong way to get into music. But music wasn’t limited to what my friends showed me or thought was good, or what was on TV; it was all that and more. I could like any song by any band as long as I liked the melody, because there’s no right and wrong when it comes to what you like. And I was just so fortunate to have parents who encouraged me to try things and do what I wanted. If you don’t like something, you can always change your mind, but at least try. They were very supportive and unconditionally involved, and you can’t trade that for anything. I’m happy to be thought of as cool, but I never was really cool. Some people thought I was a complete moron and complete dork for the majority of my school years. It’s interesting, though: I was a somewhat loner kid who was very serious and dorky and kind of nerdy, but while I was given a hard time, I was never picked on the way other kids were. It’s almost like there was sort of an unspoken kind of respect, of “You know what? We’re just gonna let you be because you’re doing your own thing.” I ended up developing more respect for them, too. I had some close friends that I spent time with, and other people didn’t bother me past a certain point. I mean, I did get picked on a lot in junior high, but I just dealt with it. I had my own little world where nothing could hurt me or bother me too much. I always had this place to return to. That’s something I still have to this day, and it’s just inside me. I guess people can find things like that in food, or in buying things and stuff like that, but if you can find it within yourself, you’ll always be okay. So anyway, I was always drawing a lot, drawing comic books and other things, all the while always playing piano. I would play piano for hours each day, practicing my scales and other things we were working on. We’d have these recitals at the end of the year, but all the while, I was making up my own songs from very early on. That’s real easy to do on piano, because you have so many different sounds you can get out of it. You have that sustain pedal, and you can make it sound like a big, echoey place. I thought that was the coolest thing when I first started playing piano: I remember banging away on it with that sustain pedal held down the whole time, because it sounded like it was in a huge cave. I ended up getting a digital keyboard, which was so amazing to me excitement to the point of delirium. I would sit for hours and hours playing stuff. That was when I started recording. It would be real basic songs, and I would sing as I went along and make up the words as I went along. In junior high school, with this keyboard, I recorded a whole tape called The Mechanical Eyes. I drew this cover, and my mom and I went and made color Xeroxes. And this one guy who played guitar used to come over, and we’d play together, and we considered it a band, but the idea of playing shows was completely unheard of. Eventually, we did form a real band with a drummer. That progressed, and when we started high school, we played a few real shows at this amazing place, this Unitarian church basement. It was a whole big thing where all these mind-blowing bands played and really changed my life. Seeing these weird, crazy punk bands that I couldn’t even believe existed. I don’t really know how they were able to play at these… The shows didn’t last long, because there was always a lot of violence, and stuff would get broken, and the police would always come. I never imagined something could be so loud, that there could be screaming like that, and that they could be making this intense noise. I can’t even describe how exciting and important it was, and from that moment on, I just became obsessed with these bands around my town. They all quit or got kicked out of school and were living in their own house at 15, 16, or 17 without their parents. Just living, stealing whatever they needed. All their equipment was stolen from other bands. The whole thing was so intense, so violent, so chaotic. I would just hang around on the outskirts hoping they wouldn’t yell at me and tell me to leave and make fun of me. Which they did, but I couldn’t stop hanging around. There are so many stories. When I was 17 or 18, I had a buddy who lived downstairs in this basement apartment. He had windows right on sidewalk level, and we piled a bunch of speakers into his windows at night. We had a real PA system this time, and we’d turn it up to 10. We’d plug the keyboard in and I’d just tape down as many keys as I could with books and tape. We completely underestimated how loud it was going to be. People from five blocks away were coming out of their houses thinking it was Armageddon. Within minutes, it was surrounded by police cars. It sounded like a gas line was exploding. We ran in the back, and the whole apartment building had crowded around his door, pounding on his door. We ran to his door and said, “Oh, sorry, I don’t know what that was,” and shut it off, and then split up for half an hour. There were a lot of other things happening at this point. There was a lot of mail fraud, forgery, vandalism, lots of stealing money from jobs, lots of stealing from places, like going into a bookstore, stacking up 20 books, and just walking out. I was basically just doing bad things. I had worked really hard to graduate high school a year early, and I spent that last year making fake gift certificates and putting them in envelopes. I’d forge a cancellation over the stamp to make it look like it came from Los Angeles, and then I would send it to somebody I knew, hoping they would take the gift certificates and try to use them and get arrested. It was really intense and bizarre, very solitary, and not spending a lot of time with friends. I was very angry, and I didn’t care what people thought of me. I didn’t care if what I was doing was bad or hurting people’s feelings. I would feel bad about it just enough to not do something so crazy that I would go to jail, although I got close so many times, and some of my friends did go to jail. My parents were very, very concerned. They only know probably about a quarter of the stuff I did. I ended up stopping all this stuff gradually, because all the while I really, really loved my parents, especially my mom. I didn’t love her more, but she really expected things of me. I knew that I had disappointed her already. They had me seeing all these child psychologists, and were very concerned that I was crazy. I ended up stopping because I knew how disappointed she would be if she knew all the money I was stealing, and how the reason I would get fired from a job wasn’t because they had too many employees. I didn’t care what someone thought of me, only what she thought. That was enough to stop, and now, looking back, it was for myself, too. So I had the good fortune of learning my lesson in the 11th hour rather than in the 13th, so I could still make the right decision when it counted. There is still so much we’re leaving out, but we could sum it up as being… The best description would be calculated, intensified chaos and a solitary existence, yet with many amazing people around that I consider my friends. Then I moved to New York, not knowing a single person there. Not knowing what I was going to do, but it felt like the culmination of everything, from the piano lessons to all the hours spent working on mindless things, to all the dangerous stuff, to all the bands, to all the music, to all the wide world of options that were always present. It was culminating into this growing sense that I was going to bear down and start doing something. I didn’t know what it was going to be, but there was a sense that I had to start making the most of each day. Like, I don’t want to be sitting down for a minute. I used to just walk around the city for hours, just because it was better than sitting at home. But I had very little money. There was a lot of walking 80 blocks to work so I could save a dollar. Cooking everything at home if I could, and stealing money at that point, too. But there was definitely this excitement in the air. There was this sense of, “Wow, what can I do today to make the absolute most of this day?” That continued on, and I was always recording and becoming more focused on making songs and playing piano. I had this broken 3-track that I brought with me from Michigan, and I was getting better and better recording on that. That’s when I decided that I was going to put all my energy and time into one thing, just to see what would happen. I didn’t have any one plan. I just wanted to have something I could do every day, so I decided to make the most exciting songs I can possibly make, and to do everything I can to serve them and further their existence, which included playing shows, recording songs, making flyers, anything. I saved up all my money and borrowed a bunch of money from my mom to buy a computer that I could record on, and just kept working. I was playing shows, and all I could do really was play keyboard. I could kind of play guitar at that point, but it clearly was not my ideal situation. My ideal situation would have been to be in a band, but I knew I could play a show. I would be frustrated out of my mind, but I’d say, “Don’t be a wimp.” I used to carry this card in my pocket that had a list of things that I would think of and try to hold in my mind. The first one was “Don’t be a fucking wimp.” That took care of almost every situation that I was in. If I was feeling depressed or whiny or discouraged, I’d pull that card out and say, “Don’t be a fucking wimp!” That doesn’t mean I’m not allowed to feel sad or have human emotions. But take a look around. Look at how good my life is. Don’t be a fucking wimp! Snap out of it! Another one was “Never let down.” Again, that’s just to never stop trying. Life is too short. “Life is short,” that was on there. This might be my one chance to do this, so aren’t you going to make the most of it? It’s better to regret what you’ve done than what you haven’t. I say “No regrets” period now. No regrets, no guilt, no embarrassment, no shame. Another one was “You’ll only live once,” which is tied in with that. And “No fear” was huge. However, I’ve updated that, because it’s impossible to have no fear. You’ll always fear, but it’s facing the fear. Someone who has no fear is not nearly as brave as someone who has fears and faces them. I believe everybody has fears, and to deny them is just putting up more walls. So all these things were just getting… The songs are what saw everything through. The shows I played were always like, if you had 50 people at the show, that was fantastic. That was a huge success. It was frustrating, though, because these songs were supposed to be played by a band. That’s how I always envisioned it. I put ads in the paper to try and meet people, but that didn’t work. Whenever I’d play a show, I’d talk to people, and I’d ask people on the street. If they looked cool, I’d say, “Do you play in a band, and would you want to?” That never really worked out. I ended up gradually meeting people who did help, and I’d make tapes and CDs of my songs and pass them out and put my phone number on them and just do everything I could. It eventually paid off with meeting people who helped me put together a band. I’m just so fortunate now to have this amazing band. I couldn’t imagine a nicer bunch of people. They’re kind, outgoing, hardworking, dedicated, responsible, smart… In every way, they are the perfect band. They’re all at a point in their lives where they just want to do something the best they can, and know that the more they put into it, the more they’ll get out of it. So I started recording in New York and continued in L.A., Michigan, Minnesota, and Florida. It was a lot of different people and a lot of different places, but all very necessary. There were a lot of engineers, and that’s what we needed. The songs were good to go. We just needed all the best equipment and the systems to make them sound like they should sound. It was very work-intensive, to the point where some people didn’t really enjoy working that way. It’s very tedious and it involves fine-tuning and stacking, where you’re looking at each song under a microscope and every split second is important. There are no coincidences. There’s no accident, like, “Oh, wow, that was cool. Let’s keep that.” Every melody line is composed of like forty sounds combined. I did not want it to be the sound of a guitar and drums and bass playing. I wanted it to be the sound of the song playing, so you just hear one big, massive instrument just grinding out this song. You can imagine it sort of all coming from one enormous source, where you just hear an infinite expanse of a million things all happening in perfect unison, all laid out in front of you. We spent so much time so that you don’t hear thousands of hours of work. That takes thousands of hours of work, I believe, to achieve that. It’s like a movie: When you’re watching a movie, you’re not thinking of the millions of dollars and thousands of people and lights and every other thing happening to light that conversation scene in a bedroom. I wanted to make satisfying songs that did exactly what you wanted them to do and did it again and again, and just kept paying off. That didn’t punch you in the face, but instead just gave you a big, firm handshake and a hug. Instant gratification. Also, living a solitary kind of existence and having been hassled by people that I didn’t feel similar to… It’s very interesting, because I know a lot of people who feel left out, so the first chance they get, they want to leave someone else out and perpetuate that feeling. The people who didn’t like me or didn’t want me around, I always wanted to bring those people in. I wanted to make something that they would make them like me. That’s one of the most important things here: that nobody is turned away and nobody is left out and nobody is judged based on how they look or what they like or what they don’t like or even why they like it. There’s no wrong reason to like my music. There’s no wrong reason to like anything. This music is freedom. It allows anyone else the freedom to do whatever they want, and it accepts that unconditionally. And it continues to just want to make you happy. All you need to know is, “Do I feel this in my stomach? Is this running through my veins? Does this go up my spine? Does this blow my mind to pieces? Does this affect me?” That is real. That is physical evidence, and you don’t need to even question it, or even understand. That’s why I would never question why someone liked this or why someone’s smiling or why someone is happy. It could be for one of a million reasons, some that people think I would think are bad or against me. Life’s just way too short for me to qualify and quantify how this can make someone feel. Music, above all, is huge and magnificent and so much bigger than me or any one person. Someone says, “What if someone thinks you’re just some kind of stupid joke?” And I say, “I don’t care. I want to make them happy. If that makes them happy, if that’s what puts a smile on their face, so be it.” It’s for everybody, for every reason. It’s easy to get closed in. Somehow, for some reason, it seemed to me like it had gotten cool to not have a passion about something; to be distant and detached from things, to have a seen-it-all, done-it-all, been-there-done-that attitude about things. Which I only can attribute to the amount of information that’s available and the things that are expected of people, and the way people are judged based on what they decide. No wonder people are tentative about believing in something: First, they’re wondering if it’s going to let them down, and second, they wonder what people are going to think of them. It’s just human nature, but being passionate takes courage, and the more you believe in something, the less possibility it has of letting you down. The more you believe in it, the more it becomes your own. I just hope people have the strength to still give things a chance, and to say, “You know what? This isn’t too good to be true. Maybe I haven’t seen everything.” It’s easy to be overloaded sometimes, but I hope that we can look up to things in awe and not have to have everything at our feet. I hope that we can be amazed and excited and inspired by something without having to have everything figured out and put in our pocket. There’s no one setting any limits on what you can enjoy, how you can enjoy it, why you should enjoy it, or what you should do except yourself. I look at what I have here as a miracle that we’re alive in the first place and thank God for every breath I take, whoever He is or whatever it is. I’m doing this on behalf of everybody, on behalf of the thousands and thousands of people who’ve directly affected my life, on behalf of the millions that don’t get a chance to do this, that don’t have these things that I enjoy, that have to work just to get food. Even the saddest day is a miracle for me. When you have food, when you have a place to sleep, when you have friends and family and general health and safety, you have no right to complain. You’re living life, and at that point it’s up to you what you’re going to do with it. Never concede this life, you know what I mean? I’m going to make all that I can of it for everyone else. This is not a return to the good old days. This is not a reaction to things that are bad now. It’s not, “Things suck and we need to make them good again.” This is forging ahead into uncharted territory. This is about working hard and inviting everybody into an unending, inexhaustible source of strength and energy. There’s no rules, no limits, no, “Oh, you’re giving too much of yourself away. You’ve got to take it easy.” No! I’m doing fine! If we could make one person happy that day and I knew I could, why would I not do that? One guy in Europe asked me this question, and it was a really good question: “If you could change one thing in the whole world, what would it be?” And immediately, the first thing I thought of was to preserve all the forests and all the animals and all that. But then, that would cause a whole slew of problems. Imagine how that could backfire. Well, okay, at least I could wipe out poverty and hunger and disease. Well, again, you’d have huge population problems and more money problems created because of that. These huge ideas were just creating other huge challenges. All of a sudden, I just thought, “Well, you know what? If I could make a difference, or mean something, or change for the better the life of one person, especially a young person, even if it was just to make their day better… That is completely within my reach.” It’s within the reach of everybody to do something on a daily basis that helps anybody. Which makes somebody smile instead of frown. Which makes somebody feel better rather than worse. You know when you really like something, and you know that that thing you really love loves itself and loves you? It’s a total bummer when you love something and go up to the person who’s working on it, and you say, “God! This is so great! I love this so much!” And they’re like, “Eh. Thanks, but it’s no big deal.” When someone comes up and tells me that they love the music, I yell, “Me, too!” And we just hug. It’s that feeling that the people playing those songs are loving them just as much as you are while you’re dancing, and that you could be up on that stage and playing those songs just as well. That is the point. The uncharted territory is that there is no line to be crossed. You don’t have to hold back. This is our time. We have not lived and died yet. It has not all been done. It has not all been seen. I’m not religious. I never have been. My parents aren’t, but we’re not anti-religious, either. We were always just brought up with a very open understanding of who we were in a bigger picture. There was never any need to create a sense of guilt or shame. There’s the other thing: No guilt! The idea of a guilty pleasure? That’s as mixed-up to me as calling somebody a poseur. “You don’t like this for the right reasons like I do.” How awful. And the idea of, “I’m so ashamed for what I like.” If you feel bad about liking something, then you don’t really like it. Anyway, for me, religion just puts up a bunch of walls that I don’t need, but I have so much respect and admiration for those who have true passion and belief and dedication to having faith in something bigger than them, like religion and look at it for inspiration. I have nothing against it. I would never change, regardless. If I believed in it when I made it, then circumstances do not affect what I believe. We don’t need any second guessing. In this world, there are people who honestly believe they know best, and they really do feel they’re doing the right thing. And I’m sure that it does upset some people to see a picture like that. But in “I Love NYC,” there’s a line that says, “You can’t stop what you can’t end.” And that’s how I look at any of these things. You can cover up a field with a parking lot, but the field is still underneath there. You can build buildings all over the earth, but weeds will still grow up through the cement. I have enough energy and strength to find what I need to find, no matter how hard they try to cover it up. People give them too much creditthese corporations, or whoever is ruining people. Well, you may allow them to ruin you, but they don’t touch me. I’m not even gonna get into the whole multinational-corporation thing, but… It’s just a matter of time, let’s put it that way. I like tons of stuff, really. Lots and lots of songs, because above all I like melody and rhythm. If there’s some sincerity and honest hard work and genuine passion put into it, I’m there. I love it. I just look at it as freedom: I have the freedom to like so many things and be excited about so many different things on all sides. A great song is that friend that will be there in the morning. You put it on first thing and it sets the day straight, it organizes things in your head, it makes you happy, it’s comforting. And then you get home at night and it’s there to put you to sleep. It’s right there smiling and waiting for you. The minute you turn your back on it and don’t want to listen to it, it’s still there waiting for you. The minute you come back to it, it’s there with open arms, never in judgment. And that’s what this is, and that’s what I am, and that’s what we’re doing. We will always be there. I will never let people down. I promise I will always do what I can. Have the faith to believe in this, and I will too.
The First Time I Went On A Roller Coaster
The first time I went on a roller-coaster. The feeling is absolutely untouchable. It is solid-gold. It is addictive and dangerous and ferocious. The sounds of the wheels slamming across the metal tracks – in a smooth but complicated roar. The sounds are so chunky and sharp – but melt away into long silences when you’re floating in mid air – only to hit down hard – crashing against gravity – back into reality. The speed of the air moving by you – you must let go and you can’t fight it – you leave your body in one place and there is a delay before it catches back up to you. It is, quite literally, a vehicle to transport you to another place. To travel into that void. Carefully stepping around it’s edges, occasionally slipping in, but always grabbing onto something. Finally you allow yourself to go – all completely – is life’s voyage. To believe. Our greatest power is our ability to make this voyage – and to allow ourselves to dive in or slowly dip in – or to just peak into an opening. If we can fashion doors and create keys, and give ourselves these keys so that we may open the doors and see for ourselves – what a wonderful opportunity. We can see everything. The first time I went to a hear a church organ – when I was so young. It was overwhelming. The building: so huge – heavy and thick in the air – impossibly high ceilings – it’s all so massive, so incredibly moving. People being in direct communication with something that means everything – direct contact with the void – with what is bigger than them. The will to give and not receive. The size of that sound – so passionate – such restraint with such unlimited potential – such power and grandeur. The sound actually comes up to you and passes through you and continues on it’s way. The momentary glimpse of something more – the vastness of the universe. Something so beautiful – to see that it is only the beginning – again, only the beginning – of an endless, multiplying, blinding whirlwind of dense possibility. When you comprehend the infinite. Feeling so small, feeling insignificant – yet realizing that you are also large and important. How precious and rare and truly amazing everything is – EVERYTHING. We are in the midst of the future – the new frontier. We are witnessing miracles. It is a miracle to be alive – the fact that all of the unknown comes together to form something – to form us – the known – it is almost beyond comprehension. Beyond description – but so true and so pure. The realization that you can truly do anything you want. Developing a belief in yourself and in others. A faith in what is unknown. An unconditional trust in those things beyond your control. An iron clad commitment to not-stopping. Standing for something. The will to feel what others feel. The ability to see yourself through others eyes – to see what they can see. Forging onward – towards that relentless, violent light that burns so brightly – opening yourself so that you many be blinded. And finally throwing yourself into the emptiness – the black hole of nothing that embodies every molecular drop of matter into a constantly expanding and collapsing explosion.
Andrew W.K. Interview
Andrew W.K. loves to talk. After every concert he spends hours signing autographs and talking to fans and he won’t leave until everyone has left. When he signs his autographs he doesn’t just sign his name; instead he writes a personal note to the person, usually thanking them for their support. However, he may not seem like the type you’d bring home to your mom, as his album cover is a photograph of his face with a bloody nose, with blood running down his face and neck. It’s caused some controversy; most stores that sell his record will only sell it with a piece of black plastic in front of the photograph. On stage he’s a charge of non-stop energy, crashing around the stage full-force. He’s never seen in anything other than a dirty white t-shirt, dirty white jeans and dirty white tennis shoes. And unlike most bands, he invites his audience to come on stage and dance with him during his concerts. Because of this most critics have written off his music as a joke, saying that it’s nothing more than rowdy beer-rock. But his honesty, warm heart and gentle demeanor is most certainly contrast to his seemingly senseless party rock. I was able to interview Andrew after one of his recent concerts in Chicago. I am very grateful to have had the opportunity as the things we talked about are still ringing in my ears. Around 8:15pm after the concert, my brother and I were brought to the dressing rooms, where waited until 11pm. We were asked to leave by the club staff so we headed to the alley where Andrew had already been signing autographs and talking to kids for almost three hours. Once we were in the alley there was more waiting. It was 1:20am by the time we actually started the interview, but our patience had payed off. We talked with him until he had to leave for Columbus at 4:30am. We talked for hours about his music and from his in-depth ramblings I found out some very interesting things. In short, he’s a very nice guy and he’s got a lot to say. I hope you enjoy reading this. Christopher – I’m totally stoked to be able to do this. This last week I was out of town . . . You’ve been out of town? Christopher – Yeah, I wasn’t I wasn’t sure that I was going to get to do this. So you live here? Christopher – Yeah, I live in Chicago. Awesome. Christopher – And I just found out today. I got home at four thirty and Paul (Andrew’s Tour Manager) left me a message and I got an email from Lauren Schneider at Island and they said, “You’ve got the interview.” So I’ve been rushing to get it together. Awesome I’m glad. Tell me a little bit about the magazine, out of curiosity. Christopher – Well, it started in the early seventies cause we’re part of a community, which started in the early seventies. Basically they started like a newspaper thing because they wanted to have something to hand out to people. Over the years it’s tackled different things from people in cults and different issues and it’s all basically from our perspective. I’ve been writing for it for four years straight out of high-school cause where we live we have our own school. Whoa. Christopher – We’re all home-schooled. We have our own businesses, we’re self-supported. Wow. Christopher – And we do a Christian music festival every year. Uh-huh. Christopher – We have a shelter for homeless women and children so basically it’s just a part of that. It’s just like another thing we do. I’m honored, I’m honored to be amongst its’ pages. Really. I’m very excited, thank you. Christopher – Well, it’s an honor to be able to do this cause it’s just great to see you, you’re so real with people. And just hearing stories from friends, like a couple of my friends they saw you at Furnace Fest this year . . . Yeah it was amazing. Christopher – And they helped out with stage hand stuff. Mm-hmm. Christopher – And they said you were the sweetest guy and seeing you outside with the kids, it’s so real. And it’s so important to me to let people know about this, cause I think many people see your album cover and think “Oh what’s this about?” Yeah they do, more than I even know I think. At Ozzfest I remember talking to this one girl, who was in trouble because her mom wouldn’t let her come to Ozzfest. She said the only reason she wanted to come to Ozzfest was to see me. I was talking to her after the concert and I said why wouldn’t your mom want you to come? She said she is very against the album, and I said why and she said well she really doesn’t like the cover for starters and she thinks it’s a bad thing. I understood, but it was so frustrating. Whether you like it or not is one thing, but people are working against because they think it’s a bad force in the world and there’s a lot of those people. I’m not surprised, but I just didn’t expect it. It all has its’ place and it’s all fine, but it’s just not a bad thing in the world, I know that. I don’t usually say things so clearly cause I think most of the time a lot of the stuff speaks for itself and takes care of itself. I know that this is not doing bad. It’s not making things worse. It’s absolutely not. I think most things aren’t. I think people take things and make them do bad for themselves. I’m really curious to talk to you guys. I really want to see what you think about things just in general. I wouldn’t say I’m religious one way or another, but I have an immense respect and interest in religion and young people especially, people my age that are very, very passionate about it and every now and then I get to speak to someone that comes to the shows that likes it and that always excites me. Would you guys listen to music that was like satanic or definitely making efforts to be evil or angry or things like that? Christopher – We like TOOL a lot. Is TOOL evil? Like is that their vibe? Christopher – I think so. Yeah!? Christopher – From what we’ve heard and from what we’ve seen it just seems pretty much they’re pretty much like evil. I mean it may be the whole gimmick thing, but . . . Trevor – Yeah. It seems like a lot of bands do the gimmick. Christopher – Like Mayhem . . . Yeah Mayhem’s definitely yeah they’re evil, but you like them? Christopher – Well, no . . . Trevor – No they’re not evil. They’re not? Christopher – They’re not. It’s a total gimmick. Oh really? Trevor – Yeah. Christopher – Yeah. Because in the beginning some of their early promotional stuff I’ve seen was really light-hearted with the dude sitting at the piano playing like laughing and little Heathcliff stickers all around him and I was like Oh! It made me really happy. I was like oh it’s just a fun thing you know? I don’t like stuff that’s silly or a joke when it comes to evil and stuff like that, but I like it when it can be like Napalm Death because it’s not evil at all, it’s actually very peaceful. As you probably know [they’re] a peace-loving band and that’s what all the songs are about. It’s so violent and aggressive yet it’s so fun loving, especially on their early albums. You’d see the pictures and they’d be laughing because it was just this fun thing and that was what I always identified with. We are aggressively, violently fighting to have fun. We’re not against anybody. I’ve been really thinking that about more. I used to fight so hard against things, against people, more than I would fight for something. [If] you’d ask me what do you like, what do you believe in and I would have a much harder time. But you ask me what I hated and I what I was trying to stop, oh I could list it off. I could rant for hours and I was just so furious. Now when you apply that same kind of fury to what you like doesn’t that seem better? Christopher – Yeah. Cause then more stuff happens. I want to try to like more stuff. I want to like more stuff than I hate. Even out there I felt there are things that are challenging me in various ways. Not my understanding of it, but it could be jealousy, it could be envy, it could be confusion, misunderstanding, all these things, but they’re all my own weaknesses. The thing itself, or that other person is doing nothing. Even if they were making conscious efforts to bring me down, it’s ultimately always me who would allow them to do it or would allow me to feel that way. More and more I don’t want to do that. The things that I dislike I’ll try to get myself into. Then not only do I have another thing that I like then, which makes my [life] a little bigger, but then I also have a one less weak thing inside me. It’s all about moving in that direction and being at a good challenge along the way. I’m rambling, but this is what I wanted to do. Christopher – No, no that’s good. It’s totally good. Okay. Christopher – I guess I could start with question number one. Why do you play music? Oh, wow these questions. A great question, why, why not? It’s something I know I can do. I really like, always have, even in my most dark days, which was when I was younger, I’ve always really liked liking things and the inspir . . . I wish there was a better word. The overwhelming sense of excitement, well being, life affirming, adrenaline rushing moments that happen when you really love something. Whether it’s a person, whether it’s a place, whether it’s a thing, whatever it is. I have never felt those feelings as much as when I’ve been playing or listening to music. I think people find that all in different ways. I think actually almost everybody can find it in music unless they try not to. Lately especially I really like love songs. If there was ever a style of song or a style of music that’s definitely my favorite just because of the attention to melody and I imagine this nails-to-the-stone hard work that people put into making these songs. The great thing about love songs is that even if they’re doing it to get money or sell more records or gain the popular new thing, they still have to make people feel good in order to get that. So that is the goal no matter what. I imagine these people trying to construct this and get across this feeling that’s often times a reflection of what people are feeling. It’s just so moving and so beautiful and it’s human beings at their best and I like that. And what those songs are singing about, which is usually a love for another person or being moved or inspired by a person and your love for them and building your world. Lately especially I’ve envied that. I’ve been thinking about how I really want that in my life. I actually have managed to have that now in a person more recently. But definitely craving that cause it sounded so wonderful and I knew and I can imagine what it is I knew that I was capable. I knew I could do that and I could feel that way and give that to someone. I realized that my whole life and more now than ever before I have that through music and people. I could have no family. I could have no wife or girlfriend no children of my own or anything and I could still have these people to live for, who like the same thing I like. Who don’t like me necessarily, but who like this one thing that I’ve managed to say I want to dedicate my life to as much as anything else, which is this music. They’re my inspiration, they’re my reason for living and they give me something more than nothing and that all these other things that people are searching and trying to find in something and often in another person I already have more than anybody even deserves to have. I have it so much it’s ridiculous it’s unfair how much I have it. That I ever think for one minute that I should ever feel lonely is obscene and unreasonable. And I realized that and I was so happy. I listen back to all my favorite songs and I could put them or this music or what I get to do in the place of the person and it made perfect sense. All the words still worked. It’s very, very, very, very moving to me and I feel very overwhelmed by it. I wish I had better words, I just keep saying these same words, but it’s all-consuming and it makes me feel humble. A lot of people would give me a hard time early on when I was first really making efforts to work on things. I always thought it was odd when I would try to do something good or right and people would say you’re not going to be able to do that forever or in a year you’re gonna be a jerk and all these awful things, really having no faith in me. Ultimately I think they didn’t have a lot of faith in themselves or something. But I was so, not determined to prove them wrong, but I thought maybe they’re right, maybe a lot of people do become jerks when things go their way or things are good. But I’ve only become better and better and better. And I’m not saying that as a boast or a brag, it’s just fact that I am a better person now than I was two years ago. I’m a better person now than I was six months ago. I’m a better person than I was three weeks ago and I can point out specific reasons. The more successful this has become in terms of the quantity of people that are a part of it, the more insignificant I am. The more humble I am in it all because I realize that it’s not me, it’s not mine, this is not my thing, this is our thing. The minute that I give it to someone else, the more each person takes of it the less I have of it. And I don’t want any of it in the end. I want it to be an even portion of everyone on the face of the earth ideally. Maybe that will someday happen, but if it doesn’t I’ve just become better. I have not made myself better, other people have made me better. My friends, the people I meet on a daily basis from doing this. The people that play in this band, my parents are making me better. You just have to let them and so I’m just letting them. I gotta close this window. I’ve come in here on nights as cold as this or colder and the windows will be open and the air-conditioning will be on. Isn’t that weird? Trevor – Yeah. Christopher – Yeah. It is. It’s cause some people get more hot than the others. All right. Christopher – So how did you start playing music? My dad had played piano off and on. My dad is a guy who gets into stuff. You know like, “Oh, Dad’s getting into painting this week.” He’ll get a lot of books about painting, buy a bunch of stuff. My dad is really thrifty so instead of going out and buying canvas he would buy drywall at a hardware store, or wood, which was kind of cool. And that’s what he thought was cool about it, he was like, no this is better. If he was going to use canvas he would stretch it himself and use house paint. He thought that was cool too. He’d read a lot of books. He’d get in to yard-work or he got into making candle-stick holders out of plumbing, like copper plumbing piping, stuff like that. I realize now a little more how funny he is. He got into piano and that stayed steady for a while. And right when we moved to Michigan, my dad teaches at the University of Michigan and they have a great music school there. Like a real deal, you know, full separate campus, it’s good. And one of the programs there for piano that these graduate, I think it’s graduate students, take this program where part of their study is to teach. They teach real young kids and when I was about five my Mom took me to enroll in this thing and they said I could do it. It was definitely my choice, but I would have never thought of it. There’s pictures of me playing piano when I’m real, real little, that kind of stuff. So that was the beginning of it and I wouldn’t trade that for anything because what that was, was learning about music from notes. Piano’s a great instrument just because it’s so musical. It’s so playable. And you don’t have to make the note. That’s one thing I’ve always realized, someone will play trombone, and I’m so impressed because you have to make that note in many different ways. And piano you just play it. It’s all laid out. It’s black and white. It’s a visual thing. It’s really appealing. Actually, that probably had a lot to do with all kinds of other parts about me as I grew up, just visual stuff. Now, all music I see as a keyboard. When I listen to music without even trying I see it as a keyboard. The guitar I play as a keyboard. So it overtook everything. But I always say this, there’s no wrong way to get into music and the way that I got into it is not better or the right way compared to any other way. It’s just the way it happened to go. I’m glad of it because it’s a foundation of a love of melody, a love of notes in a particular order. So if I liked the notes in a song I didn’t care who it was by or what it was about or what they were singing or how they looked. And if I didn’t like the way it sounded I also didn’t care how they looked or what it was about, it was just about melody. I lived in this kind of void because I didn’t have older brother and my parents weren’t the kind of parents that would go out buy albums and say listen to this. I had two older half-sisters that were much older and lived far away and there was not a lot of kids in the neighborhood. I didn’t have MTV, all these things, so thank goodness I had that piano cause there was no other way music would have been around until I was much older. It wasn’t until high school that I found out about a lot of bands and things. We’re conducting an interview. Eric – No problem. Rich is in the back if you want to hang out. Eric – Cool. But you can do whatever you want. That’s Eric. It’s for a Christian Magazine. Eric – Right on. Cool. Christopher – So you have two half-sisters? Yeah from my dad. Christopher – Do you have any other siblings? Yeah I have a younger brother. Full-fledged. Christopher – Is he musical at all? Oh, he’s awesome, he’s amazing. He loves music. He played saxophone. It’s so sad cause he thinks he’s no good at saxophone and he was great. For whatever reason, he got discouraged and gave up on that. You never know he might get back into it, but I thought he was great. I was impressed. He plays piano too and wants to take piano lessons, he’s getting more motivated now. He’s funny, he’s eighteen and he just started college in Indiana at Ball State and he went there for golf. He was obsessed with golf and he has been for years. Like, “I am going to play golf. I want to be on the PGA Tour.” All day, every day, playing golf for hours. That was it. He went to college, moved away. It was his first time away from home it was a big deal. I never thought of this, but I should of, I talked to him the other day, I asked him about golf he’s like, “Hey you know golf is not all I’m about.” And I said, “Oh I know Patty. Well you’re still into it?” He said, “Yeah, but not as much. I’m getting bored with it. I like the competition, but I don’t like the game.” Of course he moves away from his life and the whole world opened up and anything was possible. He’s like, “I want to play keyboard and learn how to play piano better and come on tour with you.” I’m like “Patrick that’d be awesome. You have to do it. You totally can.” He was like “Are you sure?” I was like “Yeah!” He’s like “It’s great because I already know everybody in the band!” I’m like “Yeah you gotta do it! We’d love to have you and you can bring your golf clubs on stage” and he said “No, I don’t want to have that.” So it was really interesting that it all changes, you know what I mean? Your whole life you wanted to be a doctor and you go to college and you meet someone who likes cars and you want to be an engineer. Being five years younger than me he dealt with the worst that I had to offer as a person. I apologize to him all the time. I apologized to him the other night when I was driving back from a concert and I was talking to my friend about how I felt bad. But he is stronger because of it and I told him “Patty I’m so sorry” and he said “It’s okay Andy, I was mean to you too.” I said “Okay, good. As long as it’s even.” People who go through hardships are ultimately centered. It’s true. My friend pointed that out. She said a lot of the most collected together people you’ll meet are the ones who have gone through the most crazy stuff. That’s so true. It’s not always the case, but the most together people I know, or the coolest people I know, the smartest, have been through a lot. Christopher – What are your musical influences? The most influential time in my life musically was definitely those piano lessons. The instrument of the piano is really what this is all about. I think that’s kind of where, that’s what this music is to me. It’s piano. It’s not guitar, well it’s very heavy on the guitar, but it’s piano. I write all the songs on piano. So that musically is definitely the thing, but the most influential time was in high school and I haven’t been able to elaborate any further past that. I’ve heard lots of great bands and lots of amazing songs and music that just blows my mind since then, but when I went to high school, I went in knowing about this and came about knowing about like wow! I had the good fortune of going to a really crazy high school, populated by weird, bad kids that all played in bands. The best way I can say it is, not only I had I never seen or heard these things before, I couldn’t have imagined them and wished to have seen them, cause they didn’t exist as far as I knew. The way they played music, the songs they wrote, the way they lived, the way they did stuff was so full-bore and so without hesitation it was scary. Really, really scary to me. I would follow these kids around, they were juniors and seniors and I was a freshman. I would follow them around like a good fifteen feet, twenty foot, maybe fifty foot distance and try to talk to them every now and then. They’d be mean, you know, they were punk kids. But way weirder than your average, I don’t know if there is such a thing as average, but just weird. I can’t describe them, it’s hours of conversation alone. Just hearing that and seeing that motivated me in ways that last to this day. And I still think about it every day. Christopher – What are you trying to say with your music? To take things as they are. I don’t know, I’m not trying to say anything really. I guess I’m trying to say everything and at the same time say nothing. I really don’t want to say anything. The most exciting thing to me is when you hear a song, or you see a painting or a photograph or read a book or meet a person or go to a place, any thing in the world and it isn’t anything more or less than what it is. And that’s rare I guess. Just when you hear this song, what is it? What am I trying to say? I’m trying to say that these notes going in this order at this tempo with these instruments played at this volume sounds great. That’s what I’m trying to say. With these words screamed with this bunch of people, just sounds, it’s just so wonderful. And that’s all I’m trying to say and I want to say it over and over and over again. I’m not trying to tell anybody to do anything. There’s all kinds of other stuff that seems to come from that feeling of letting life live you and wash over you and not fighting it and not trying to figure it out or explain it because it’s already all there. Realizing how big and vast and huge everything is and how lucky we are to be in the midst of it all and that most of us, whether we realize it or not, have things pretty good, are in a pretty good situation, especially in this country. It’s unfair how good we have things. It’s really unfair how good I have things. I’m just trying to make people laugh and smile and dance and feel better rather than worse. Christopher – What drives you to stand out in the cold for hours to talk to all your fans and sign autographs? A lot of things. This is another thing that I don’t feel the need to talk about or explain so much but there’s many reasons and I’ll list off some of those reasons, but I only would ever need one of these reasons to give reason enough to do it. It’s basically the golden rule. Which is to do unto others, as you’d want to have them do unto you. If I was me and I wanted to talk to me, I’d want me to talk to me, you know what I mean? Trevor – Yeah, yeah. Christopher – Totally. I think a lot of these people that I get to talk to would do that for me and would do it for other people if they had the chance and I would hope they would. It’s just an even trade. If they have the time and the patience to wait out there I’m gonna have the same. It just seems like the right thing to do. There’s not that many times in life I think where you have such a clear choice. You’re so lucky to have a clear choice of this is the right thing to do. A lot of times it’s not so black and white. This is a very clear, right thing to do in my eyes. It’s just the right thing to do. And I don’t even have to think about it that hard. It’s a challenge that I like. I like doing things that seem like they shouldn’t be done. You know lines that are easy to cross. Again for me it’s not easy or hard. There’s a line, cross it. Just knowing that tomorrow may not come and I want to know that I gave more or less the best I could do on this night with this concert. I don’t want to be lazy. I don’t want to waste this. I have too many good things in my favor. I live this life of absurd privilege and luxury and I don’t really want that. So I try to make it more enjoyable for me by facilitating it with a challenge, cause a lot of times what people try to do is de-void it. A lot of our society is actually built up with trying to ease anybody of any discomfort or challenge at all. Especially, I think it’s really easy for people who are privileged to achieve that and it’s not very fun. I just feel better about things, knowing that people will be made happy, but I didn’t take the easy way out. So all those things, above all the golden rule. Because what else is left? What else is the point of any of this? What is the point of anything at all except to try and make other people feel good? As humans we know a few of the things that are so special about us as far as we know so far is one we’re unique to this planet. We’re vastly different than any other living thing. And our ability of how we feel and how we are able to think. As far as we know, we’ve yet to meet other life forms from other planets or from around. Although, I for one believe they’re there. It would be absurd to think that they’re not, considering how vast things are. What do you guys think about that? That’s a good question! Here we go! Trevor – I don’t know I, it just seems like a . . . Have you seen Contact? Christopher – No. Trevor – No. You guys have got to see that. It’s Carl Sagan, who’s amazing. It talks about the dilemma of science and faith. Jodie Foster plays this scientist who does not believe in God, [she] believes in science and proof. Very hard nosed about it. Wonderful woman, lost her dad when she was very young. He died and she felt responsible and I think she felt why would God do that? This is science. There’s this other guy who’s very, very religious and he’s a Christian and he’s a wonderful, wonderful man. He falls in love with her, it’s very, very moving. It’s one of my favorite movies of all time by a long shot. The opening scene in this movie is one of the best moments in cinematography period. It’s devastating. But anyway, this guy is talking to her and they have this continuing conflict about her disbelief in God and his disbelief in scientific necessity. His thing is, has science and technology really made our lives better? It’s brilliant; the whole thing is good. She says to him prove that God exists. And he says to her, did you love your dad? She says yes. He says prove it. And that’s it. That’s faith. That’s belief. And that’s more powerful than anything. In the end she’s forced to have faith because she has this experience that no one else witnessed, but that she believes happened and the only way she could believe that it happened is if she had faith in that it did and that it was beyond. That was so exciting to me, the whole concept of a higher power and God. I do believe in a higher thing, even if it’s a collective consciousness or a grand plan, who knows. I don’t feel threatened by it one way or the other. I find it exciting. And I don’t feel the need to commit either, to say I stand and believe in this, because I know it’s all going to become clear. I’m being patient with myself to figure it out. Christopher – That’s very true. It’s so vast, the universe. Christopher – Yeah. Trevor – Yeah, definitely. It’s so vast that who knows what’s going on. And that’s what I believe in. Christopher – I think I can agree. Yeah? Christopher -In my opinion I believe that God has always been. He never started and he’s never gonna to end. Trevor – That’s a weird thought. Yeah. Christopher – That just makes everything seems so much smaller. An overwhelming sense of non-insignificance. Christopher – Yeah. It’s a good feeling . . . Yeah! Exactly! Christopher – To know that there’s . . . The opening scene of this movie freaks a lot of people out. It’s basically the earth and it zooms away for infinity. I know people actually, that couldn’t watch that. They’re like, “I can’t think about that stuff man! It freaks me out!” Some of my closest friends are the exact opposite they say, “It gives me comfort to see that, because I see my place. And whether my place is a spec of sand in an infinite beach, it is my place and it gives me comfort to see that it’s bigger than me.” That’s the one thing that let’s me know it’s all gonna be okay. It’s just a great movie, I think you guys would like it. I often think about whoever he is up there, I’ll think like I don’t need his approval, but I think sometimes he is approving of this. Or I’ll think that he would be happy about this. And I think what would he say? Or she or whatever it is. What would it say?