Rocker Andrew Wilkes-Krierbetter known as Andrew W. K.is bringing the party to Chicago for New Year's Eve and 2014 is going out with a bang.
Andrew has entertained for decades with songs like "Party Hard" and "We Want Fun." He grew up in Ann Arbor, Michigan, attending the University of Michigan School of Music.
After a wild career with spectacular concerts and several albums he turned to motivational speaking.
This year he started writing regularly for The Village Voice as an advice column called Ask Andrew W.K. He talked with Windy City Times about his Chicago show, gay rights and RuPaul.
He hosted Cartoon Network's show Destroy Build Destroy and was featured on Kathy Griffin: My Life on the D-List as her date for one of his art shows.
Last in town for Riot Fest in 2013, he returns to Chicago for the holidays with gay rapper Big Dipper at Thalia Hall.
Windy City Times: Hi, Andrew. We originally met when you were in concert with Marky Ramone.
Andrew W.K.: That was a great night. That whole tour was a fantasy. It was very enjoyable and I am glad we got to play those shows. Marky largely plays in Europe and South America so it was really special to play places like Chicago for example.
WCT: I didn't know you are a Michigan guy.
Andrew W.K.: Oh, yes; I grew up in Michigan up until age 18, then I moved to New York. My family still lives there and a lot of my friends still live there. My dad is from Wisconsin. My brother is in Indiana. A lot of my family is from the Midwest and Illinois.
WCT: I thought you were from Europe because when I Get Wet came out, it was an import only at Tower Records.
Andrew W.K.: You are very in the loop. It was released first in the UK about a year early, so that is understandable. Thank you for being aware of its existence at that point.
WCT: Where did the album cover with a stream of blood running down your face originate?
Andrew W.K.: The idea was basically to have a bloody nose. I always thought it symbolized the bad feelings and bad vibes leaving the brain and making more room for a party.
WCT: Talking about a party: You are coming to Chicago for New Year's.
Andrew W.K.: This is a huge deal not only for me but my whole band. I think this is only our second ever New Year's Eve concert. We played last year in New York City and we had so much fun with it that we wanted to do it again. We couldn't think of a better place than Chicago. Chicago said "yes" and has never let us down for shows so it was a natural choice. We can't wait for it. This lends itself to our focus on partying for folks that want that New Year's celebration.
WCT: Will there be champagne?
Andrew W.K.: Oh, yeah. I believe the venue has a special level of offerings that they are presenting. We will be showing up full blown with songs from all of our albums. Our full band will be raging!
WCT: I just went to the venue for the first time and it kept the architecture inside with good acoustics.
Andrew W.K.: I am happy to hear that. That is what I have heard from a sound man friend of mine.
WCT: Talk about working with The Village Voice.
Andrew W.K.: I have a weekly advice column. It is very traditional. People write in and I pick a question or two and it is every Wednesday. I will be writing a new one tomorrow. I am trying to do whatever I can to offer some feedback. I'm no expert and have no training in any professional capacity to tell anyone anything but I just think about the situation. I think just like me people want to talk to somebody. I hope I bring some kind of uplifting feeling. That's all I can ask for is that it helps that person or maybe someone that reads it.
WCT: How did you become a big supporter for gay rights?
Andrew W.K.: I don't knowit just seems like common sense, basic stuff. I would want someone to do that for me. The golden rule applies. I have never really understood the idea of why people can tell other people about things like that.
WCT: When did you start being a fan of RuPaul?
Andrew W.K.: From the first time I saw the performances on TV, going way back. She had that show on VH1 and the MAC makeup campaign. She has always been very present. I guess I would have been in high school around that time. Everything was very appealing about her charisma. Who wouldn't be a RuPaul fan? It is hard to imagine. People like that are doing what they are born to do!
They are masterful entertainers so you can learn from their skills. I am performing and trying to entertain as well, so I can pick up tricks of the trade. I have been watching Drag Race since it began. It has had great success, and just has grown and grown.
I got to meet RuPaul [out of drag] when he came on the show I was co-hosting in LA just randomly. I didn't even know this; I was just hosting episodes here and there. They said my guest would be RuPaul and I knew it was destiny. Sometimes you get those moments of clarity and some things are set up where a moment can happen. It was truly thrilling. It was one of the high points of my life getting to meet him.
WCT: After interviewing him myself, he's more serious that people may know.
Andrew W.K.: I can relate to him a lot. He exists to himself. That is a rare thing and takes a lot of confidence to be able to do that. He doesn't have to play by anyone else's rules. People may wish that he will do what they want but I admire when people follow their own instincts.
WCT: He's a David Bowie fan, and I wanted to tell you to check out that exhibit while you are in town.
Andrew W.K.: You just reminded me that I am invited to that, so if there is time I will go. Someone that works at the museum invited us to that.
WCT: What was your favorite thing about working with Amy Sedaris for Lil BUB's Special Special?
Andrew W.K.: Unfortunately, I didn't get to work by her side. She filmed her scenes separately due to her own schedule. That is how these things go. It is the magic of editing and television. I was also disappointed I didn't get to meet her because I have always admired her work. I like the faces that she makes and it has had a big impact with that one face she made during Strangers With Candy. That was a real breakthrough face to make as a character.
WCT: How was Kathy Griffin?
Andrew W.K.: She was kind and nice. I had admired her work on Seinfeld. I couldn't believe she had me on her show. She was really professional.
WCT: What are you working on in 2015?
Andrew W.K.: I am working on my book. That is the main thing. It is my first book ever. It is called The Party Bible. It is a nonfiction book. It is not about me. It is not a biography or anecdotal. I am trying to eliminate those things about me. I just talk about life. I didn't really know what to write about so I decided to write about everything. That turned out to be a very big topic so it has been very challenging. It has been good because it's making me better at thinking. I am tearing away at the very foundations of what it is to be alive and party!
Get Wet on Wed., Dec. 31, at Thalia Hall, 1807 S. Allport St., at 9:30 p.m. Visit thaliahallchicago.com for tickets ranging from $40 to $600.
Follow his Simon & Schuster release among other things at andrewwk.com .