Andrew W.K.

Party musician, host with the most

Time Out New York: Hi, Andrew.
Andrew W.K.: Hello, Drew, this is Andrew. So your name is Drew?

Andrew, actually. My mom named me Andrew, but insisted on calling me Drew.
Have you ever met anyone named Drew?

I have, actually, and that just really blew my mind.
Man, I was actually joking when I asked. I’m really surprised. My mom always didn’t want me to be called Andy.

Same with mine.
Really? Well, I don’t know whether she liked Drew or not.

Andrew was acceptable for me. But Andy was off-limits. Anyway, to your show! Destroy Build Destroy. You seem to be the right man to host a show like this.
Oh, well, thank you very much. I actually don’t have a lot of pyrotechnic experience. Dealing with large explosions. Setting them. Crafting them.

But you’re quite the motivator.
That is my main role, to be a guide for the viewer as to what is going on, and then a bunch of things: a coach, a motivator, maybe a ringleader, an instructor. All different kinds of roles for the contestants. The show is just huge. I’m not sure people will be able to get a sense of just how much was going on during the shoot, because all of the efforts during shootings are trying to make it seem like nothing is going on. You know what I mean? That’s the thing about movies, they go to all this expense just to make it look like a guy is walking down the street.

Kids these days. I saw the episode where these kids put together tanks with air cannons. Tanks!
Yeah, well, they really did. You wouldn’t believe—well, I guess you would, you’ve watched the show—the intelligence of these kids and what they can design and put together. I mean, I was pretty impressed. I couldn’t do that. I’ve never built anything on that level, but I talked with these kids, and they were very comfortable with building and inventions. Basic physics. They really got into what they were doing.

Dude, if I had been on the show my tank would’ve fallen apart immediately.
Yeah, there’s an intelligence... I don’t know. An intelligence that comes through in this age group that is clouded in adults. Something prime in this 12-to-16 age group, where you’re really at the height of your abilities as a young person. As you get older, you begin a new stage of young-personness, but there’s a particular place to be during those ages where you can really harness a kind of enthusiasm, a kind of curiosity and a kind of confidence all into one particular attitude.

It’s that age before we’ve dealt with the cold reality of failure.
It’s the first time before you’re told that you’re not supposed to let that much out of yourself into the world. For me, being around and working on this show connected me with a place of joy, and a place of energy, adrenaline and enthusiasm that was just really great, and what I’m working toward with my music and my performances. I want to create energy that people can draw from and put toward whatever their life is.

You just turned 30, correct? Is working on this show a way of keeping young?
Yeah, turned out to be. I totally underestimated, when I agreed to do this show, how powerful and youth-affirming working with people younger than you can be. [Windows start-up sound] Damn it. It really irritates me how loud that is. Why would you even have a sound like that on a computer?

What kind of computer is that?
It’s a beautiful Hewlett-Packard, which I’ve used pretty exclusively ever since I’ve used a laptop. It’s the Pavilion. I’ve been just really, really pleased with it. Like many computers, it has a start-up sound. Even the Macintosh has that 'Duuunnnhhhhh.’ It could just go beep, and that would be fine. I don’t know if I’m gaining any insight from that sound; it doesn’t really add to the experience. It’s just irritating, because a lot of time that’s set to be louder than whatever video or music I had been listening to before.

Yeah, yeah, yeah. And some musician did make that sound. I heard that, I think, Brian Eno created some of those computer sounds. So I keep that in mind, and that’s a great vibe; to have Brian Eno involved in anything is cool. It’s like you said, maybe it’s not making the sound for me, the user, but for everyone around me. Oh wow, that guy just turned on his computer.

Think about it.
I’m willing to share that audio space for that moment, and say yes, I am using this computer, I am using Windows. You can identify it from that sound, and now I will take advantage of all their great technology.

Since you’re hosting a kids’ show, are you the new Marc Summers?
I appreciate you bringing that up. He’s got a great voice, a great presence and a great spirit. There have been a lot of great TV game-show hosts that I’ve enjoyed over the years—although this isn’t technically a game show, because we’re not on a closed set like that. It’s more a team competition. But there are classic aspects of game-show television going on. I’m thinking everyone from Marc Summers to Pat Sajak to maybe something I haven’t even seen before.—Interviewed by Drew Toal

W.K.’s show, Destroy Build Destroy, premieres Sat 20 on Cartoon Network.

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