Andrew W.K., best known for his party-rock anthems and iconic bloody-nosed album cover, brought his unique insight to UC Irvine this week in a lecture organized by Acrobatics Everyday.
The lecture was an opportunity for W.K. to share his unique pearls of wisdom with fans in a somewhat less raucous way than he is known for. From favorite dinosaurs to head-banging tips, there were no topical stones left unturned by the end of the night. Backed by nothing more than his keyboard and wearing his signature all-white ensemble, W.K. shared his philosophies of life, happiness and partying with all. “Andrew W.K. is just a young man on an adventure,” he said, and he took his audience on that adventure through a land of partying and rock.
Prior to his lecture, W.K. explained the method (or lack thereof) behind his talks. “Getting out here was really my only plan. Now it’s sort of up in the air and it’s a free for all, we’ll see what happens as it plays out. So I have no expectation other than to enjoy myself and have a fine time. They may be offended, they may be disappointed, they may be delighted, they may be angry … they may be sad. They may be pumped up. I can offer some words of personal experience, they may be wisdom, they may be complete ignorance, depends on who’s receiving them. I am here, I’m gonna pump it up, whether they have any preconceived notions about what this is gonna be, whether they come back ever again, we’re gonna go through this together. All I can hope is for them to be there. I’ll just do my best to facilitate us having a ball.”
Fielding questions from the audience, W.K. would break out into song, slamming away at his keyboard and abruptly stopping to answer more questions or to lecture on his general outlook on life.
When asked by an audience member what his favorite dinosaur was, W.K. expressed his avoidance of preferences. “I don’t try to pick favorites in that way, it gets a little stressful … and if you don’t know where you stand, people can’t pin you down so much … but my favorite dinosaur is a pterodactyl. My favorite things are breathing … drinking water … and attempting to reproduce without actually succeeding.”
Occasionally twirling his microphone stand in circles, accidentally electrocuting himself on the keyboard and slamming on the keys like a hard-rock Stevie Wonder, W.K. has a unique presence on stage that is entertaining and awkward at once. “In case you couldn’t tell, I don’t know what I’m doing.”
W.K. also revealed more details on the new album he announced he had been working on. “I’ve been working on [a new album] in some ways over the last five years, but especially over the last year, really formalizing the recording process, and really hoping to have it out in the next couple of months, 2012 most likely, but I’ve been out here [in Los Angeles] working out here. We’ve just begun the mixing process on some of the songs. This will be my first new rock ’n roll party album since, really, 2006, and we’ve been patient, we’ve been biding our time, and now it’s time to rage. I’m looking forward to it, I’m very excited about it. All the good parties over the last couple of years have contributed to this new batch of songs.”
Of course, it wouldn’t have been a night with Andrew W.K. if some helpful party tips had not been dispensed by the master himself. “Party tip: don’t let anybody ever tell you how to party. Partying is having fun on your own terms!”
Anyone who follows Andrew W.K. on Twitter knows it’s the source for all his greatest party tips (“PARTY TIP: Put your hands behind your back and lick something”).
“Twitter gives me the ability to touch base with and communicate with a large number of people, in a relatively intimate way that I otherwise wouldn’t be able to do, at least not this frequently. I mean, I could drive to a place like New Orleans and visit each person there and tell them to party, but through Twitter I’m able to in a slightly less intimate way but still in a powerful way, communicate to all those folks around the world.”
A young woman in the audience asked W.K., “What’s your favorite guilty pleasure?” and his response echoed his earlier explanation: none. “If you get off on a song, who cares?” he responded. “The arts are there purely for pleasure, never feel guilty about it … Follow that which feels best. Stay as close to the joy as you can.”
The night ended with the seated audience rising to their feet to form an impromptu mosh pit around W.K.’s keyboard as he belted out a stripped-down version of “Party Hard.”
Farnosh Mazandarani, a Cal State Fullerton student in attendance said, “It was mind-blowing. He said, ‘Just keep blowing your mind,’ and my mind was definitely blown.”
Andrew W.K., a man singularly devoted to partying and enjoying life, taught everyone that you can do anything you want with your life, even if that means being a professional partier.