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September 06, 2002 - Image 9

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The Michigan Daily, 2002-09-06

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ART S

The Michigan Daily - Friday, September 6, 2002 - 9

LOCAL ROCKER HITS THE BIG TIME

Ann Arbor native and energetic
rocker Andrew WK. is havigfun
making music on has own terms

By David Enders
The Associated Press
DETROIT - Wendy Wilkes
always thought her son would
become an artist.
"He put his portfolio together
and went to the Art Institute of
Chicago and they accepted him,
and then he got into the car and
called me and said, 'I did every-
thing you said and now I'm moving
to New York,"' says Wilkes, of Ann
Arbor.
Andrew Wilkes-Krier did
become an artist though not
quite the way his mother expected.
He signed a contract two years
ago with Island records and he's
better known now as Andrew WK.,
a purveyor of fast, loud, 1980s-
style anthemic rock mixed with
frenetic energy and poppy key-
board choruses that almost never
fails to elicit a strong reaction -
whether or not people like it.
It's music "you can literally feel
through your entire body," his
mother says. "His intent is to make
this wall of sound. My sister loves
to vacuum to this CD because it
makes her go really fast."
Wilkes and her husband, James
Krier, had seen their son play a few
small shows before attending
OzzFest in Clarkston earlier this

summer,where he was playing on
the tour's second stage.
"Frankly, I don't even know how
he can do what he does for 45 min-
utes," says Krier, a law professor at
the University since 1983. "He was
a skinny kid when he left for New
York, and now he's a hulk."
The music's intensity is matched
only by the manner in which it is
delivered: by a thrashing, jumping,
crowd-diving, generally sweaty,
sometimes bloody, long-haired 23-
year-old who espouses, above all,
"having fun." He admits to occa-
sionally splitting his pants or kick-
ing himself in the face during his
show.
Andrew W.K.'s popularity has
grown since the U.S. release of his
first full-length album, "I Get
Wet," in March.
British music tabloid NME
hailed him as "The Saviour of
Music," his videos are getting air
time on MTV and VH1 and he per-
formed on Saturday Night Live in
April.
Two singles from the album -
"Party Hard" and "Time to Party"
- have been used in Coors Light
and Expedia.com advertisements.
He has played three shows in
southeastern Michigan since April,
and says he enjoys coming back
and seeing friends and family, even

if the visit is brief.
"I had a bunch of cool ideas for
when I return in the fall. We could
play my old school," he gushed
during a recent phone interview
conducted while he was on his way
to the Detroit airport to fly to a
movie opening in Los Angeles.
A visit would be fine with Elaine
Headly, 62, who teaches advanced
art at Community High School in
Ann Arbor and had Andrew W.K.
as a student three years in a row.
"I like (the music) a lot. It has a
lot of energy. It's really fun, too -
sort of '80s music," Headly says.
She says he stood out in class.
"He never did the usual projects.
He loved to collage things and
bring different media together,"
Headly says. "He thinks and feels
things very deeply."
Andrew W.K. began playing
classical piano when he was 4,
shortly after the family moved to
Ann Arbor from California.
During and after high school, he
played mostly drums in punk and
rock bands around southeastern
Michigan. He graduated in 1997
and moved to New York a year
later, where he worked a variety of
low-income jobs.
His success has surprised his
parents. "We were paying his rent
for him in New York and I thought
it was a pipe dream," Krier says.
Andrew W.K. spent nights in his
Brooklyn apartment writing and
recording music he performed at
small solo shows, pre-recording
most of the instrumentals and then
singing along.
It was "me and a CD player and
a keyboard or a guitar. It really was
terrifying at times. A bunch of peo-
ple thought it was the dumbest
thing they had ever seen, and they
might have been right," he says.
He describes his music this way:
"Imagine everything you've ever
wanted to hear sandwiched into
three minutes. The most pounding
drums and everything going down
a roller coaster into a loop-de-loop
and the biggest birthday party
you've ever thrown for yourself"
After two years in New York,
Andrew moved to Tampa, Fla.,
where he assembled a band, signed
with Island and now lives when
he's not touring.
But in many ways, things haven't
changed for Andrew W.K. - like
the white T-shirt and white jeans he
wears at every show until they
wear out.
"A month or two of the same
clothes every day. I've made
myself nauseous," he says. There
was some concern when the band
agreed to play OzzFest that they
wouldn't fit in, but Andrew W.K.
says it hasn't been a problem, even
JOBS ! ! !
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Minimum pay is
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underground addition.
AA/EOE

Courtesy of Island Records
Let's get the party started ass.

if their music is different from the
festival's traditional heavy-metal
fare.
"People thought this would be a
horrible idea, and that's part of the
reason we did it. We play like it's
the only show we got. I think we fit
in perfectly," he says.
Playing on a large, multi-band
tour has given Andrew W.K, more
people to meet. He joins the crowd
and catches other acts when his set
is over.
"When things are perfectly
organized, I'll go out between six
and 10 hours. It's not to prove any-
thing, I do it because it's the right
thing to do. If someone is there for
me, I should be there for them," he
explains.
Even though he has been on tour
for most of the last year, he says
his second album is written.
"I have a lot of ideas and songs,
and come September I'm going to
organize it all. It's going to be
more. You just wait. I'm going to
open the floodgates on this next
record," he says.
That's coming from a musician
who has already bloodied his own
nose for the picture gracing the
cover of "I Get Wet."
When that didn't produce the
effect he wanted, he went and
found some pigs' blood to run
down his face. When the album
reached stores, it was with a sticker
placed over his face.
"It's not a statement or anything,
I'm not doing it to make any

graph, a cool one I think. I hit
myself to get my nose to bleed,
that's all. I do what I do."
While the cover and some of his
antics have their critics, even his
mom is getting fan mail.
"I got a fan letter from some-
body who went to one of his shows

in Seattle and he said, 'I know it's
kind of weird that I'd be writing his
mom, but if I affected someone so
profoundly, my mom would want
to know about it,"' Wilkes says.
"This message that Andrew is try-
ing to get out is that everyone is
invited to the party."

Courtesy of Island Records

point," he says. "It's just a photo-" Andrew W.K. attempts to recreate his third grade photo.

Courtesy of Island Records

Might as well jump. Go ahead and jump.

Star Ben Affleck
flips his wig, literally

By Jeff Dickerson
Daily Arts Editor
Hollywood stars often enjoy the
luxuries of having world class hair-
dressers, make-up artists and fashion
designers; things we simpletons
could only dream of. But sometimes
such luxuries are not enough.
The Internet Movie Database
reports that "The Sum of All Fears"
and "Pearl Harbor" film star Ben
Affleck wears a hair piece.
While attending a recent Holly-
wood party, Affleck play-tussled with
"Swingers" star Vince Vaughn. In the
midst of the friendly wrestling,
Affleck's toupee flew off in front of
several of his close friends.

Affleck demanded his colleagues
swear to secrecy about the incident.
Apparently someone didn't get that
message.
Not only does the "Armageddon"
star wear a toupee, he also has under-
gone over $50,000 worth of dental
work to make his teeth more attrac-
tive. Good move Ben.
Affleck is currently dating Latino
pop diva Jennifer Lopez. We'll see
how long that lasts.

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