You’re Not Alone with Andrew W.K.

 

Did you know that Andrew W.K. was the very first interviewee for Journey of a Frontman back in 2013? ( You can check out that interview HERE) The King of Partying returns to JOAF to catch up as he and Alex discuss the powerful message and influence behind his brand new album, You’re Not Alone, available now! Before going out on tour this month, Andrew showcased the power of positive partying right here on Journey of a Frontman.

You started out with the signings at record stores now that You’re Not Alone is out. All of these fans, these friends at the record stores. How did that excitement about this new album feel coming from them and the excitement from within? Everybody’s sharing their favorite memories and experiences, you’re seeing everybody get excited over all these great new things ahead.

It was very meaningful and surprising and moving to see so many familiar faces, so many long-term partiers. People that have been with me since the very beginning, since 2001 and 2002.  They’re showing up at these new album release celebration events. It’s not something that I count on and it’s certainly not something I take for granted. At this point, it’s getting close to twenty years since I’ve been doing this. It’s been sixteen, seventeen years since this officially began with that first album, I Get Wet. That’s a long period of time for a young person to stick with something. If you discover something when you’re thirteen and you stay with it until you’re thirty, you’ve gone through an extraordinary amount of life experience in that time. It’s really tumultuous, no matter how smooth your life is, it’s very tumultuous changes and developments. It’s very easy to have interests come and go during those times. The fact that someone is staying with me and my humble party offerings for that many years is extraordinary.

Let’s talk about the fulfillment of your other projects between albums over the years. I really think the message is clear and it shows. What you’ve done outside of music inspires the music on You’re Not Alone far more than people might assume. You may get asked about a particular artist who influences you, but I think there’s an influence from those projects on this album. It’s amazing!

Well thank you! So much of the creative work that went into this album was done in a state of confusion and disorganization or even chaos. There wasn’t a lot of clearheaded decision making going on. The beautiful thing about that was it allowed for a lot of subconscious and deeper emotional texture to enter into the songs, especially into the lyrics. A lot of what you’re mentioning and what we’ve been talking about over the last five years since you and I first spoke, a lot of those experiences and the thoughts that I had about them entered into this work without me even realizing it. I think this album was influenced by these people and by the experiences that we’ve had and that I’ve had doing this over the last ten years since the last album came out. Some of these songs go all the way back to 2005/2006. There gets to be a point with some work you do where it starts to influence itself. And that can be risky, it can be dangerous. I know people who have issue with that. If things become self-referential or too enclosed, they can start to suffocate themselves. I think that because of the nature of this message and the party spirit being this sense of community and shared experiences, this partnership, this team effort, this brotherly and sisterly bond that we have with each other, it only makes sense that that would show up in the feelings on this album. I think you’re right for noticing that.

When you had The Power of Partying 50 State Speaking Tour in 2016, it must have been really interesting to hear so many stories and meet so many people across the country. I think that particular time in your life may have also been an influence here. You find out what people are thinking, what they’re feeling and what they’re going through in this day and age. As you said, the experiences really come together.

Yeah, you’re absolutely right. I gotta hand it to you, you’re identifying elements to this album and this whole project that I hadn’t really considered before. I realize there’s experiences you have that make impacts on you as a person, but I think you’re really correct. With that speaking tour especially, it was so intense. Doing fifty tour stops, one in each state, that’s intense no matter what. But the fact that we were talking about life every night and really intense parts of life with different groups of people every night, that was intense. I don’t mean intense like it was bad. It was challenging, but not in a negative sense. It was just intense. It was very powerful. It was everything. It was like every emotion. It was happy, it was sad, it was disturbing, it was uplifting, it was difficult, it was easy. There’s things about the tour where it was the easiest tour I’ve ever done and there’s other things about it where it was truly the most physically grueling tour that I’ve ever done. It was something I’d realized in the midst of doing this fifty state motivational speaking tour. I realized it was gonna take me a long time to process what was going on. And I think maybe that processing happened during the finishing of the album. I never thought about that before, so thanks for pointing that out.

Absolutely! What’s interesting is that between your last two albums, there’s been a far bigger embrace of the digital age and social media. How do you feel every time you discover a photo with a fan that they sent you on social media or some artwork that they created? There has to have been quite a lot of photos and memories that you get to relive over the years.

You’ve identified a really beautiful power that the computer gives us. It would be next to impossible for me to have the types of interactions that I’m having with a number of people in places that they exist, geographically spread around the whole world. It would be next to impossible for me to have that any other way other than using this powerful tool that the computer has given us, this motive of communication. And I realize that it has limitations and I realize that it’s not the same as an in-person interaction. The telephone isn’t the same either, but it’s still amazing, what we’re getting to do right now. This counts. That’s what you realize, it all counts. Just like a photo isn’t the same as real life. When someone has a photo of themselves and me that they took back in 2002 and they captured it then, they’re able to take a photo of that photo now and put it up on the computer for us to see again. I mean all those things count and it’s very easy to get cynical and skeptical. It’s probably a good kind of skepticism at times with the computer and these technologies, but it’s also easy to just start being a naysayer and poo-pooing it and saying “Oh, this doesn’t count and it’s somehow making the whole world worse.” It’s not. And it’s not that easy. It’s too easy, it’s a cop-out to say that all of social media is somehow bad. It’s how we use it. There’s really beautiful, great power in there if we use it properly.

As I think about all the projects you’ve taken on over the years, I understand that there are a lot of wrestlers who support you and your message and your music. I see similarities in regards to how dynamic the both of you are. Would you ever consider making an appearance at a wrestling event on some level? It’s a very similar type of crowd. both are very passionate and energetic. I think it would be a great fit.

I’m absolutely open to it. There are areas in the entertainment world and certainly in the athletic world that I have so much respect for. Sometimes I hesitate to participate because I don’t feel that I’m capable or I’m at the level that would be required to do a good job. So if someone asks me to play basketball for some high-level NBA event or even if it was just for fun, I would be so bad! (laughs) It’s the same with wrestling, I have no experience wrestling. The great thing about wrestling, and I also think this is what you’re getting at, is you don’t necessarily have to wrestle to participate in an event. There’s a lot that you can offer in different areas. I would love, love to play music at a wrestling event, having my band play at some point during a show. As you are probably already aware, I’ve admired wrestling for the exact reasons you’ve described. There’s the intensity, the enthusiasm, the creativity, the athleticism, the incredible performance power that these individuals have. The entire mechanism that allows it to exist is entirely coming from the audience. It’s a really triumphant example of what an audience can make possible through their devotion to an entertainment offering. And I use entertainment as the highest compliment, not to say that there’s not athleticism involved. I always admire sports, but I think that professional wrestling is sports plus, it’s like sports with more. It encourages so much more creativity than it would be able to have if it was just fighting. It takes my emotions to that next level. So yeah, someday if the party gods make it so, I would love to do something.

That sounds great and I hope to see it happen someday. For those about to see you on this upcoming tour with all new music, what do you have to say to those who are going to be part of this 2018 experience with you?

It’s easy for me to say, but I really believe this to be so. This band, this particular era of my live band, is the best that we’ve ever been. And that is not to discount the contributions and the incredible playing of past band members who have moved on. It’s really a result of just time and practice. We’re all just better than we were fifteen years ago because we’ve been doing it for fifteen years. And that’s a great thing to be able to realize. I could really say that our focus and our determination and our appreciation for getting to play concerts, that all of those factors have really elevated the show to a higher level. So if you have seen it before, it may be different than what you’ve experienced before, but we are giving everything that we possibly can with the most intense effort. And if you’ve never seen us before, hopefully that comes across. You also get that very special, mysterious kind of joy that comes from being in a room with a lot of like-minded people who are all hellbent on celebrating life. That’s the message. That is the theme. That is what we’re conjuring up and hoping to leave you with, to take back out of that venue and outside into your life and into the rest of the world.

Andrew W.K. Official Website
Listen to/Download YOU’RE NOT ALONE

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