Andrew W.K., busy party rocker from Ann Arbor, talks up 10th anniversary CD release - and My Little Pony
My Little Pony? What in the world does Hasbro’s toy, aimed at teenage girls and enjoying a surge in popularity thank to the release of the “Friendship Is Magic” cartoon, have to do with a 33-year-old rocker known for enthusiastic excess?
W.K. (the initials stand for Wilkes-Krier, his parents’ last names) said his involvement, specifically with the pony called Pinkie Pie, isn’t as much of a reach as some might think.
“It’s all related; it’s all under the show business umbrella,” he explained. “The greatest thing, and why I fell in love and wanted to work in this field, is that you can do anything. It’s as intertwined as I can make it and I prefer it like that.”
W.K., who now lives in New York City, has been invited to participate in a panel in Strongsville, Ohio, Sept. 28-30 to answer the question “What Would Pinkie Pie Do?” A press release for the convention calls Andrew W.K. “the real life embodiment” of the party-planning pony Pinkie Pie, and said the rocker will give motivational tips on how to “make your job as fun as your party, and your party as important as your job.”
“I was invited to speak,” added W.K., “because they thought I would be able to approximate a human being’s duplication of some of Pinkie Pie’s ideals. It was a big compliment (to be asked), because I am trying to stay close to that feeling of excitement and enthusiasm and wonder and that state of play. I want to play, whether it’s playing music, or playing with a pony or playing with you in life.”
Born in California but raised in Ann Arbor, the Community High grad’s parents are Wendy Wilkes and University of Michigan law professor James E. Krier. His younger brother, Patrick, is a rising star in the world of pro golf. W.K. is the host of the Cartoon Network’s “Destroy Build Destroy” and was also host of the advice show “Your Friend, Andrew W.K.” in 2004 on MTV2. His best-known hit is “Party Hard,” from the “I Get Wet” album.
He said re-releasing the album, with the bonus disc, is a way to express how he feels about all he’s been able to enjoy and experience since its original release.
“I’m excited and really thankful I’ve gotten to do so much these last 10 years,” W.K. said.
“The original album is untouched. It’s not remixed or remastered or anything,” he said. “So if you already have that, it’s going to be exactly the same as it was. The second disc has unreleased material, live recordings, in the same album order, just different versions, with alternate versions, or more live versions, or unreleased recordings that people haven’t heard.”
Songs included are “It’s Time to Party,” “Party Hard,” “Party Till You Puke” (anyone else sense a theme here?), “I Love NYC,” “Take It Off” and the title track, “I Get Wet.” The release will also be available as double-vinyl disc.
Of being an in-demand motivational speaker, the always upbeat W.K. said that’s just more of what makes life fun.
“I’m really doing whatever I can to get this certain, specific breed of energy out there into the world," he explained. “A lot friends I work with have a lot of interests in their life beyond what they do. It wasn’t necessarily a conscious choice, but I’ve always tried to have my whole life be my interest, to have everything somehow fit together, even if it’s just all part of this one guy’s adventure.”
W.K. said he gets back to Ann Arbor at least once a year. “It’s a very important place to me, obviously, because I have a lot of friends and family still there. But it’s also one of those places where I spent so much time it’s always in my head.
“The older I get the more I have been thankful for having grown up there. The people and experiences there created the path. There’s no way I would have been able to grow up anywhere else. I think my whole destiny was intertwined with those early experiences in Ann Arbor—having friends introduce me to music there, seeing shows that made such an impact that I’m still grappling with the implications.
“I find that it’s very important to pay respect to it as well, not just because it feels very good, but also so that the people who were there and were responsible for introducing me to the world know that I am aware of what they did for me and that other people can look around and appreciate that as well,” he added.