It was 2001 when Andrew W.K. first appeared on the scene. The young, classically trained pianist from Michigan and his controversial debut album, 'I Get Wet', immediately won a legion of fans and sparked a wave of rumours and intrigue as to the true identity of this one-man raving sensation.
One could watch Andrew W.K. from a safe distance and witness chaos erupting. Whilst hundreds of adrenaline fuelled kids high-fived each other, bounced and grinned like loons, a further, 100-strong mob clambered onto the London King's College venue stage. With fists pumping and dancing like they just didn't care, this was well past being out of control, this was turning into a riot. The security staff shot one another frightened glances as the lights were switched on and the music abruptly stopped. Nobody even noticed. Dripping with sweat and sporting his trademark long black hair, grubby white clothes and blood pouring from a freshly broken nose (really), Andrew W.K. pushed to the front of the stage and proceeded to lead the audience in an a-cappella rendition of 'Party Hard', the song which epitomises not just the scenes dangerously unraveling around us, but also his character and the years of similarly crazed dancefloor mayhem seen all over the world. A beacon of light spreading a feeling of joy, happiness, freedom and possibility which transcends the boundaries of music, Andrew not only creates moments these people will never forget, he also boasts a Curriculum Vitae most could only dream of.
From presenting "Destroy Build Destroy", the live-action TV show for Cartoon Network (where Andrew gives teens dynamite and bazookas); to giving motivational speeches at high-profile universities like Yale; to collaborating with hip-hop act People Under The Stairs in producing their own version of the Simpson's theme tune as part of the shows 20th season celebrations; to setting up his own record label; and that was just the past few months. When you also consider the fact that he has recently opened his own award winning music venue, Santos Party House, in trendy downtown Manhattan; has been writing monthly advice columns for a Japanese music magazine; produced the Grammy Award nominated album 'Repentance' for reggae legend, Lee "Scratch" Perry; starred in his own TV series on both MTV and VH1, and is currently gearing up for a 7 week stint headlining the Vans Warped Tour right across the US, it's a wonder the man finds any time to practice what he preaches and get in some quality party time! However, it's this willingness to try his hand at such a variety of challenges and to express himself in so many different ways which is Andrew's most intriguing and enduring quality.
On February 15th, Big Scary Monsters Records released 'I'm A Vagabond', a limited edition square-shaped 7" single. Backed with two B-sides, 'Let's Go On A Date' (which, along with the A-side, is taken from Andrew's forthcoming collection of rare and unreleased songs, 'Mother Of Mankind') and the previously unreleased track, 'Doing Andrew W.K.', there's a clear sign of progression since the days of 'Party Hard', 'She Is Beautiful' et al. 'I'm A Vagabond' boasts a reflective, dramatic edge, with glorious melodic structure and tone, perfectly balanced by 'Let's Go On A Date', which retains the much-loved, upbeat piano backbone and huge guitar riffs with which Andrew first turned so many heads.
A rousing combination which is as likely to leave you swinging from the rafters as it is singing from the rooftops, this is just another shining example of a man perfectly happy to be doing what he likes and liking what he does. Long live Andrew W.K.
Andrew WK - I'm A Vagabond
BSM 090 · Feb 2010