It’s no secret that achieving acclaim and stardom comes with a price. Think of any celebrity and there’s a good chance that at one time or another they’ve had to deal with a cadre of skeptics and nay-sayers (more commonly known as “haters” these days), and Andrew W.K. is no exception. 2010 started off with a fresh whirlwind of controversy for the “Party Hard” rocker, rife with flat out accusations that he is not the person we think he is, that “Andrew W.K.” doesn’t actually exist but is rather the result of a vast music industry conspiracy to brain-wash performers and turn them into idealized puppets. (Lady GaGa and Kanye West have been thrown into this mix as well.)
It started with a message posted by Andrew W.K. on YouTube.
This was followed by a message posted on his website.
If you’re like us at NVMP, you’re thinking, “What the hell is going on?!” Well, we went straight to the source to find out. We were lucky enough to score a phone interview with Andrew W.K. himself a few days ahead of his February 23rd appearance at Santos Party House in NYC, and had a chance to get his perspective on how this all got started and the real truth of the matter. Check out the highlights of the interview below and be on the lookout for our first Poser Free Podcast this week, featuring audio from the interview.
NeVerMindthePosers: So, from your perspective what is this controversy all about? How did this start?
Andrew W. K.: A lot of that started and has been going on just because of the way some of the way the press reacted at the beginning of the whole story…because I appeared out of nowhere, some people approached it with a more doubtful point of view, where I think they just figured it was too good to be true., or too whatever to be true. Rather than giving me the benefit of the doubt, they just went with the doubt and decided that they knew my whole story, when of course they didn’t. And at the time it was very frustrating for me to have people say that I’m not a real person, or that I didn’t make-up my music or that other people tell me what to do. But at the same time, there’s enough partial truth to a lot of the accusations or rumors that it’s still hard for me to really deny some of the elements. I mean, yes I’ve worked with people at my record labels, yes I have a team of people that I’ve worked with from the beginning. Yes, I have made efforts to approach what I do in a certain kind of spirit that to some people might seem like acting, but it really gets down to just how you really define these words. I think you can look at anything and pick it apart and convince yourself that it’s whatever you wanted to believe. So if people want to believe that I’m not real, I’m sure they’ll figure out a way to prove that to themselves and other people. But the fortunate thing, since I do exist, all I have to do is keep going on, and I kind of by default disprove a lot of these accusations.
NVMP: Well, we’re all supporting you here. We’re all behind you, 100%.
AWK: Well, I mean just by the fact that you’re speaking with me, I hope that you also understand now that I exist. I don’t take a lot of these things too seriously because it’s on such a level of absurdity, that when someone doesn’t believe I’m a real person for example, all I have to do is appear or live one more day, being a real person, to show that that’s not true. But even with all the proof I could ever offer people, they could still say that I’m lying or it’s not true…but I’m just trying to be present in this moment, I’ve always tried to be accessible…so I want to be here to respond to people, I may not be able to answer every question in a way that’s going to satisfy every single person, but I just want to say that I’m not hiding away at this time.
NVMP: Did you ever know a Steev Mike? Who is he?
AWK: That’s the producer on my first album, unaccredited on the second album, credited on the third one that’s coming out in March. Again, there’s not a lot of hidden facts when it comes to that kind of stuff, I just, there’s people whose names I don’t name and that allows them to have their privacy maintained over the years, and that’s really the biggest problem. When you make a promise to someone to keep something a secret, one side effect of it is that people assume that there’s some bad reason you’re keeping the secret, or that there’s something you’re trying to hide that is malicious or dark or something like that, but of course it’s only that some of the people I’ve worked with from the very beginning, part of the agreement was that they wanted privacy, certain types of privacy. I don’t care about that kind of privacy, that’s why I don’t obscure my name or anything like that, but there’s different people. Some people like to be in the spotlight, some people like to work behind the scenes…and some of them have a different way in which they manage their privacy. I can understand why someone might think there’s something fishy about that, but if you’ve ever made a promise to not tell a secret…you understand that it may not be a big deal, it’s not like it’s some big revelation, it’s just private.
NVMP: Yeah, you’re keeping your promise.
AWK: Yeah, and that’s something I take very, very seriously. I made this promise a long, long time ago, and made it over and over again….I guess the same way like when you marry someone, you make your vow, but part of keeping that vow is you sort of make that promise again every day. You empower the promise by repromising.
NVMP: Do you think that some of this stems from the fact that the public really has no idea that there are so many things that have to go on behind the scenes that are necessities, like business necessities, production necessities, strategic necessities? I mean once you become a name and achieve the level you have, you are sort of a brand, and you have to find a way to sort of keep that going so that the whole reason you started this doesn’t come crashing down.
AWK: Absolutely, exactly. You said it very well, and I appreciate you seeing it that way. I mean, I believe that things will move on, this too shall pass. It’s been surprising, and at first really frustrating. The only thing I can think of is when you come on real strong, and people can’t figure out where you came from. When they can’t trace that line back…people want to understand, it’s a natural human instinct to want to understand, but I think that the confusion begins when we confuse the rest of our experiences with entertainment and show business. I don’t know that entertainment is designed or best served, or the audience is best served by understanding in most cases. I think just experiencing is really the fun of it, and trying to understand can sort of chip away at the joy of just reveling in being entertained and having fun with whatever performance you’re encountering.
You can hear more from Andrew W. K. in the pilot episode of the Poser Free Podcast, the official radio show compendium to Nevermind The Posers. The show features more of the great music news and reviews from the editors and writers of Nevermind The Posers, as well as audio from interviews with artists, indie tracks, concert reviews and more. So check out the latest addition to our bill of fare, and don’t forget to leave some comments below. What do you think of what Andrew W. K. had to say?