November 13, 2001:
Musical unknown Andrew W.K. (Previously 1, 2)
releases his debut album "I Get Wet." It is a simple rock record of power chords and unabashed, un-ironic party music -- exemplified perfectly both by its first song, "It's Time To Party
," or its lead single, "Party Hard
" -- released during a month of American depression
, and insincerity that borders on nihilism
. The album finds mainstream success, selling over 30K copies in its first three weeks,
with songs from the record appearing in commercials, movies, and television shows,
not to mention heavy rotation on MTV and awesome appearances on Conan
and Saturday Night Live.
While Pitchfork gives the album a 0.6 out of 10
(in a review written by its founder, Ryan Schreiber), most of the music press gives the album warm reviews - with Rolling Stone (4 out of 5 stars) saying that "To experience "Party Hard" is to refuse to believe your ears"
and even the notoriously dismissive Robert Christgau gave the album an A-
, saying "It's simple enough once you accept it for what it is." Possibly The Onion's A.V. Club said it best in an interview preamble:
"...he's clearly dead serious about his music and its potential to inspire a world in need of passion and commitment." [In fact, the Onion's interview with AWK is one of his most candid and fascinating, with Andrew touching on his childhood ("Very good. Very Solitary."), his personal philosophy ("This is about working hard and inviting everybody into an unending, inexhaustible source of strength and energy."), and his resistance to change his music for corporate forces ("People give them too much credit—these corporations, or whoever is ruining people. Well, you may allow them to ruin you, but they don't touch me").]
Buoyed by the critical reaction, Andrew W.K. tours
. And tours and tours, not stopping partying for anything, even performing in a wheel chair due to a broken foot.
His high-energy shows, goofy behavior
, and seeming limitless devotion to his fans -- mixed with mid-set speeches that border on motivational speaker territory
-- help him build an underground following to supplement his mainstream appeal. The album eventually sells over 250K,
and, of course, he gets huge in Japan.
Over the course of the decade, Andrew's quirky, sincere dedication to his fans finds a seemingly unlikely companion in MTV when they produce the series Your Friend, Andrew W.K.
, where fans would write him letters, and he'd fly to their homes to help them with their problems. Additionally, he continues to perform and record new material, ranging from similar up-tempo party anthems, to piano pieces, to covers of music from an anime series.
December 15, 2009:
In a hybrid interview/lecture video released by RockFeedback, Andrew W.K. admits that "Andrew W.K." is a construct,
played by several different auditioned actors/musicians and created in secret by different groups working "in the spirit of commerce" to devise the ultimate popular/underground musical frontman. (Parts 2