Andrew W.K.’s big entrance came way back in 2001 with the release of I Get Wet. Fueled by a hit single that quickly became a life motto, the record and its maker championed an aesthetic that reveled in rock ’n’ roll chaos and encouraged fans to, as the song says, “Party Hard.” Since then, W.K. has recorded sporadically and toured furiously, playing shows that tend toward the sweaty, moshy, and sometimes bloody, all in good fun and in the name of partying. He’s also managed to parlay his musical mantra into a number of other ventures, including motivational speaking, touring alongside Marky Ramone, and acting as the U.S.’s cultural ambassador to Bahrain. This Thursday, October 17, Andrew W.K. kicks off New Noise 2013 with what is sure to be a riotous headlining set at Velvet Jones. I recently spoke with him about music, life, and what it means to party hard.
What was the moment that made you feel like you could make music for the rest of your life? I didn’t really have one. It could still be coming, though. [Laughs.] It’s kind of like, once you learn to talk, you don’t think about when you became a professional talker. It’s just a part of life. It was just a very basic thing. It wasn’t until many years later, around age 19 or 20, where I thought maybe I could do music all the time and not do anything else.
How did the move to New York fit into that decision? New York was very frightening and very overwhelming, and I didn’t really know anybody. My sister had some friends there, and I stayed with them, then I moved in with a friend of a friend. I was very outside my comfort zone. Then again, I was pretty uncomfortable in general — but I knew it was where I was supposed to be.
Music has opened a lot of doors for you, from motivational speaking to taking on the role of cultural ambassador. Are there any nonmusical hats you’re especially proud of? I’m definitely happy to have had so many adventures and experiences, but it is all kind of one big road. People tend to ask me what my favorite Ramones song is when I’m on the road with Marky, and in the best way, I kind of see it as being one big song. That’s how I feel about life: It’s one big experience. It’s one big ride. It’s one giant rollercoaster. It’s one adventure. It’s one movie. I wouldn’t want to try and break it apart and judge all the different pieces. I want the whole thing to wash over me in a half-delirious blur.
Do you treat the live show the same way? Totally. I’m just trying to get cheered up, stay cheered up, and get other people cheered up. That’s it.
As a professional partier, do you ever get worn out? Not really. I feel like professional athletes are the ones that deserve to be tired. I’m just partying, and there’s definitely physical exertion involved in that, but it also fuels you as you go. It’s kind of like a perpetual-motion machine. The inertia that you get from partying pays back energy to keep you partying. So, if I get tired I just party some more, and then I feel better.
Andrew W.K. plays Velvet Jones (423 State St.) on Thursday, October 17, at 8 p.m. as part of the 2013 New Noise Music Conference & Festival. Call (805) 965-8676 or visit newnoisesb.org for tickets and info.