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The Daily Cardinal Est. 1892
Friday, April 12, 2024

Nathaniel D.G. eats dinner with Andrew W.K.









Listen up, pussies: There's a new face in rock 'n' roll, and that face is framed by wet black hair and covered with an unnatural amount of blood. It's Andrew W.K., whose first single, \Party Hard,"" is currently making the lucrative crossover from MTV2 to the big leagues and inspiring drunk college boys to pound their fists wildly; sometimes at the expense of a low-hanging lamp. 




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If it's not obvious, I'm speaking from experience: Two Thursdays ago, Cardinal Arts hosted a little get-together, and I unwittingly sent shards of glass showering over many of those in attendance. I tried to apologize to everyone, but no one would have it'the general consensus was that it was absolutely the thing to do at the time. That's just one of many possible examples of how appealing the W.K. philosophy is; namely, partying hard, partying till you puke and it being time to party. 




Even the songs on that aren't exactly about partying really are: ""She is Beautiful"" and ""I Love NYC"" are delivered with the same four-guitar, piano-pounding assault that just lets you know that there's nothing optional about headbanging. It's a nearly perfect hard rock album. I dare you to do homework with it in the background. 




Through a number of fortuitous coincidences, I got to meet Andrew over Spring Break. He was supposed to play The Annex last Friday night, but due to flight cancellations, he was unable to make it to our fair city. The tour manager made an appealing offer to the dwindling audience of single high school boys (quite obviously there to see The Apex Theory'go figure) to drive to the next day's show in Milwaukee and have dinner with Andrew, who I'd previously assumed to be powered completely by meth and pure electricity.  




If you've got a column coming up and nothing to write about, this is not one of those opportunities you turn down. 




Turns out that my editor, our driver and I were the only ones willing to make the trip, because for most of the night, Andrew'decked out in the same stained shirt-jeans combo he rocks in the video'gave us his undivided attention. Upon initial meeting, he whipped out his wallet and reimbursed us for gas, offering no time for polite refusal; he was already soundchecking. A pleasant dinner at a nearby Thai restaurant followed, where we discussed the modernist aspects of Judas Priest's and many fish cakes were consumed, which ""kicked the crap"" out of otherwise rocking lead guitarist Jimmy Coup.  




They taught us time-killing tour bus games, and we gave them cheese fudge, the Wisconsin delicacy available at I-90 attraction Mars Cheese Castle (A.W.K: ""There's nothing cheese about it'it's just really good fudge."") Further debilitated by some curry, Jimmy was unadventurous about the cheese fudge, causing Andrew to slam his hand down on the table and declare, ""Godammit, Jimmy, this bothers me because I know you would like it so much."" 




The show that followed was an unqualified success, and as my editor observed, A.W.K. must be the best opener in the world. He thrashed through most of with even more energy than he exhibits on TV, swinging and stomping, diving into the crowd and, getting wet. By the end of the set, he'd obviously won over many of the people who have no idea who he was an hour before. He met and conversed with absolutely everyone who wanted to, after which he took us back to the tour bus for beers and attempted to give away his CD collection, officially surpassing Evan Dando in my mind as the nicest musician I've ever encountered. As we made our way off the bus, Jimmy Coup offered his salutations from under an American-flag blanket as Andrew wildly made plans to do an interview at a Marquette radio station after spending some time with some folks with an ""Andrew W.K. Rocks!"" banner hanging outside their window.  




The most frequently asked question about Andrew W.K. seems to be, ""Is this '80s-vintage rock ethos a joke?"" I can't say ""no"" enough. A.W.K. is the real deal, and while he may call interviewers ""sir"" and appreciate good fudge, he's nevertheless 100 percent grade A pure rock, and is the proof. Long live rock, and long live Andrew W.K. 

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