Andrew W.K. Defines Partying, Talks Good Persian Food, and Discusses the Social Connotation of the Word "Cult"

Categories: Interview
Andrew WK.jpg
Shawn Anderson
Andrew W.K. at Warped Tour. See the whole slide show here.
Andrew W.K. likes to have a good time. And it's no secret that he was our favorite at this year's Warped Tour. The musician, entertainer, and professional partier ripped through a killer set in the middle of yesterday's sizzling afternoon, placing the mic down the front of his acid washed jeans when he wasn't using it. W.K. not only had people (including underage kids, it appeared) screaming, "We want fun, and we wanna get wasted!" along with him, but he also had the crowd draining every last bit of sun soaked energy they had in them to dance and scream along with his songs.

Though his antics may appear frivolous and over-the-top to some, there's something about his shows that are not only endearing, but horribly enjoyable.

Yes, quote me on that: horribly enjoyable.

It should also be noted that after W.K. was done playing, he spent over four hours hanging out in his "Party House Tent" meeting fans, signing autographs, and taking pictures. And he did it happily. He was kind enough to take a few minutes to catch up with us, in between partying on and off stage.

NT: You haven't been to Phoenix in only come here in the summers though, right?

AWK: ...We must have come here back in 2004/2005, after the Warped Tour, but certainly it had been at least five years. I believe we've come here in the fall before. It was beautiful. Just really beautiful. I have a lot of friends or I've heard about people that come here in the fall or winter months that maybe live up North. And that makes a lot of sense. The summertime here is very, very intense, but as long as you have a room, like this one for example, where you've got some air conditioning or some shade, it seems manageable.

NT: Are there places in Arizona or in Phoenix that you like to hang out -- where you like to party?

AWK: I don't know that I've ever been anywhere other than the venues that we've played. For example, today we got to visit the beautiful Wigwam Resort. Now this is a beautiful four-star resort. It was originally built by the Goodyear tire company in 1929 for its own employees. So it's sort of a private operation, but a private operation done on a very large scale, for this very large and legendary American company. And then I guess it turned more public when they began to expand it, and expand the grounds. And it's beautiful -- it's incredible. So getting to stay there was a little slice of Phoenix that I hadn't seen before. And we also went to a fantastic Persian restaurant right next to the Wigwam called AJ's Persian Grill [and Café]. Very casual, very relaxed, fantastic service, and excellent food. I mean truly fantastic Persian food. The best yogurt that we've had in ages. Everyone that ate their agreed. We all enjoyed the meal, and the mood. The koobideh was excellent. Again -- very thick yogurt. Just - fantastic.

NT: Do you know a lot about Persian food?

AWK: No, not much. My wife is Persian. She was born in America. Both her parents are from Iran originally. But they of course have taught her all about Persian food, and she has a very high expectation when it comes to that. And she was impressed, so we gotta hand it to AJ's in Phoenix for delivering high quality Persian food.

NT: A lot of bands have been canceling show here because of [SB 1070]. I saw you at [the College Music Journalism conference in New York] last year, and I remember that someone asked you if you felt any kind of obligation to work on social issues, or to use your spot in the public eye to talk about social consciousness. I remember said that some people feel an obligation to do that, but as long as you serve your own purpose...that's all you can do. Did you have any feelings about that?

AWK: I think the immigration issue is very, very tricky. I don't feel one way or the other about it. I feel passionate and understand both sides. It's very, very, very complicated. Because on one hand, I think this is the greatest country in the world, and I've never been to a place that I like more, so why wouldn't more people want to come here? That's very understandable to me. And we gain so much -- the country as a whole has benefited so much from the people who have brought their skills, and talents, and efforts here. At the same time, the whole country itself is immigrants. I mean it's all made up of that. That's the spirit of the nation. Then on the other hand I understand people who want to organize the process of immigration. I understand the people that feel like they're getting jobs taken away, that they would be happy to work. I understand the whole other side that feels like it should be controlled, or that there's not enough legislation that keeps it in check. So it really seems like a very tricky issue to me. I feel people have very valid cases on both sides.

I don't know that I'm someone who's supposed to make a judgment about it, and I'm very grateful for that. I don't live down here. Maybe if I did I'd be more wrapped up in it. But I just figure that they're gonna work it out, and people are gonna work it out, and I just gotta party in the meantime. And everyone has their own obligations and their duties to do, like you've mentioned. And I do feel like my duty is to come here, and for all the people that are good and loving people, to party with them and put on a show that makes them maybe forget about this stress of the whole legislation issue in the first place. I think it's valuable to be able to enjoy yourself, and I would never want to keep the other people who don't necessarily even involve themselves in these issues from having a party.

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