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Interviews : “The concert experience is all about singing along”- An interview with Andrew W.K.

By on July 5, 2018

 Andrew W.K.

Rarely do I write and insert myself as a character into a feature. As the editor of a southern-based publication that receives broad circulation once advised me; “(avoid) writing in the first person…”

Well, bugger that! Because my namesake isn’t just another interview subject, Andrew W.K. is something akin to a force of nature, a one-man rock’n’roll machine capable of enthralling audiences as much as confounding them. I’ve been fascinated by W.K. (as he will be henceforth known) since the opportunity to purchase his debut single, the talismanic “Party Hard” (I Get Wet– ‘01) launched his illustrious career under the W.K. moniker. The reason for my initial interest? As a dyed in the wool death metal fan since Deicide’s Legion (’92) unleashed merry hell… the inclusion of one Donald Tardy as a member of band W.K. was thrilling! For the uninitiated, Tardy is the exemplary drummer/ percussionist in Deicide‘s fellow Floridian metal vanguards and ‘big-four’ pillar, Obituary.

“I suppose it’s that much more meaningful to me because I am just such a massive fan of Obituary specifically, but also a select few other bands that I would consider part of the traditional extreme metal legacy. Out of respect for those groups and that music, I would never dare say that I am even really a heavy metal artist because my music’s not that heavy. But I love metal, and to think that I could have done anything to support or give back to this style of music that’s given so much to me and given me so much energy and power to this very day, still listening to it every day”

That’s W.K.’s humble response to my congratulations on his recognition of the talent that extreme metal offers, particularly at a time when musicians performing under the many genres associated broader label were experiencing a very low commercial ebb.

I should point out that the reason for this conversation is to promote the duo of dates that W.K. will be performing in Australia later in the year (just Sydney and Melbourne?!). Tardy is long gone since Obituary rebooted in 2005 that’s been his primary concern, although W.K. has a history of faithfully retaining band members and the entourage that Tardy helped establish. This is something that W.K. is keen to express given the studio album for 2018, You’re Not Alone, is a feisty representation of the rock that has come to define his music.

“(You’re Not Alone) does include some of the original members that (Tardy) helped assemble because since we’ve been talking about Donald, we should give credit where credit is due. He really formed this band in terms of he assembled the first version of the band and that group of musicians, and stage managers, sound guys, tour managers that kicked this whole thing off, and some of those people are still with me to this day”

The show destined for Australian audiences will contain new cuts, but it is heartening to hear that W.K. is keen to fairly represent his classic material.

“We’ll definitely be playing music from the new album, but also from each of our main rock albums, so I Get Wet, The Wolf (’03), Close Calls with Brick Walls (’06), and then You’re Not Alone. It’s a real… I hope… a complete show in that regard. As much as I love the new album, I don’t like to focus too heavily on material that people might not be familiar with yet. We do play some songs from it, but not overloading it.

To me, the concert experience is all about singing along and people having that chance to hear a song that hopefully they know very well being played live with that kind of live intensity. Yeah, I’m very happy with the album and I really, really, really love playing these songs live.”

Listen to the full conversation here.

Catch Andrew W.K. on his upcoming national tour of Australia this August.

For complete tour and ticket information, visit Destroy All Lines.

Saturday 25 August MELBOURNE- Corner Hotel

Sunday 26 August SYDNEY- Manning Bar


Andrew is a musician who has spent many years performing on the stages of the pubs and clubs of Queensland. A devotee of the broad church that is rock, punk, funk, jazz and of course all genres of metal... he now shares his enthusiasm via a burgeoning pursuit of music journalism. Follow him on twitter @andymckaysmith