Monday, January 24, 2005

What About Andrew W.K.?

Someone who has recently discovered the blog asked me about Andrew W.K. I don't know enough about him to have an informed opinion, but I saw an article on his website that was encouraging. Here's a (long) bit of it:

"It's interesting, because I don't say to myself "I gotta stay positive, I gotta stay positive..." or "I'm going to make really positive music", or "I'm just going to keep being a positive dude." I don't think of it in those kind of terms, really. I mean, maybe I could, but I more or less try to just look at things as they really are", Andrew said during our interview. "When I look at my life as it really is, I can't deny that it's good. And that's just the truth, you know what I mean? And it's not about a certain outlook or philosophy, necessarily, there's outlooks to incorporate, certainly, but the fact of the matter is, my life is good. I have food, my health is fine, all my limbs and extremities are working OK, my brain seems to be working just fine. I have good friends. I have good family. I was raised in a good environment. And, on top of that, I have one of the most amazing opportunities that anybody could ever ask for to work on every day. So that's the reality of my life, and to make music that denied that, or to live my life in a way that denied that would just be dishonest. I'm not really trying to represent myself or represent my life but, I just feel that I've gotta make the most of what I've got here, and I might as well try to spread it around as much as possible. So when I'm talking about these things in songs that might come off as being positive, or as having a positive outlook or a good philosophy or things like that, it's not so much what I think or my opinion, but just reminding us or pointing out the things that we've always known about what's right and what's good and what's true."

...Even in dealing with his record label, so often a huge problem with recording artists, Andrew chose to buck convention and be trusting. In his own words: "The one thing that I really made an effort to let them know going in is that I was happy to be with them and trusted them and valued them, and that they were not the enemy. So many people were trying to tell me that I had to fight with my label all the time, and "don't let them get too close", and "don't give them too much control", but I kind of did the opposite. Maybe it's a bad idea. I don't know really why I went that way, but I just thought "No, I don't wanna fight with them. If I'm going to be friends with anyone, these are the guys I need. I need them to be on my side. I need them to believe in this." We went out of our way to include them, and why wouldn't we? They know more about this business than I ever will. I know how to make these songs, but I don't know how to do this other stuff. So thank goodness that we've been able to build this amazing thing with them, and I have nothing but good things to say about them. So far, so good."

A great deal of "the story" with Andrew is the fact that he takes leaps of faith like this all the time and again, encourages others to do so in every aspect of their lives. "I hope that, not just with this music, but that people will have the unending courage to always seek out things that will give them a real feeling that they can believe in, that isn't just like an "Oh yeah, sure, sure, I know it..." That whole know-it-all thing leaves you without any discovery, without any mystery, without any sense of wonder, without any real passion. When you know everything, what's there left to get excited about, you know what I mean? So I hope that people can take the risk. And if they're going to take the risk, I have to prove it to them. I have to show it to them, I have to earn their respect, earn their trust, in order to jump off that cliff with them. I want them to know that they're not taking the risk alone, but that we're all in it together."
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Obviously, he has not been around long enough to be Advanced. And he has a lot more to accomplish before he can even be considered a candidate. But the only person in the rock world who talks like this is Paul McCartney, so that's a pretty good start. And letting them use his song for that commercial is good too. It establishes him as a one-hit wonder (like Lou Reed), and it probably disappointed some of his fans, though I'm not sure what his fan base was before he hit the bigtime. The thing is, I can't figure out whether his music is ironic, moronic or Byronic. If it is the first two, then he is disqualified from being Advanced. If he's a true rebel, however, it will be interesting to see how he evolves over the years.

1 comment:

GB said...

I've been intrigued by AWK last few years as well. Def an odd "positive" personality. I will say I saw his rock show live in SF a few years ago and it was a blast.

But really my comment is last night on X-Play (on the extended-cable network formerly known as Tech-TV but shall now remain nameless due to its invariant crappiness), they reviewed the vidgame "Back-yard Wrastlin II" (or somesuch) staring Insane Clown Posse and a cameo by our boy AWK. That's what I call Advanced yo.

ps. btw, game got panned, a lowly 1 out of 5 stars.