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Andrew W.K. remakes the world in his own image

It's difficult for the artist himself to fathom. But 10 long years have actually elapsed since the release of Andrew W.K.'s symphonic metal masterpiece I Get Wet — an occasion he couldn't resist celebrating with a commemorative anniversary tour.

"In some ways, it seems like an eternity, but at the same time it doesn't quite feel like yesterday — it feels like the day before yesterday, maybe a week and a half ago," the zany New Yorker observes. "But hey, time flies when you're having fun! And that was certainly the goal of that album, to have fun, and I didn't expect it to really take off like it did. But this is the biggest response to announcing a tour since it all started, so something is going really right, and I'm very grateful."

The rocker, clad in his traditional stage garb of white T-shirt and white jeans (which Levi's now ships him by the case, gratis), will be performing his landmark debut disc note for note, from its rabble-rousing opening suite, "It's Time to Party"/"Party Hard" through ELO-meets-Motorhead anthems "Ready to Die," "I Love NYC" and "She Is Beautiful," to the closing (and Target-popularized) "Don't Stop Living in the Red." It's a multi-tracked record so energetic that it could double as a sweat-inducing aerobic workout, and W.K. himself is usually drenched to the bone only a few songs into an average hyper-kinetic set.

Even down to its stark bloody-nosed cover photo, I Get Wet captured W.K.'s boyish enthusiasm at the time. He's since gone on to literally make a career out of being nothing but a big, goofy kid. Today, he has a whole line of T-shirts with variations of that shot, featuring images of everyone from Hello Kitty to Charlie Sheen.

"They're just parodies, just people who I think look good with a bloody nose," he says with a chuckle. "Obama didn't look quite as good as I expected, because he's so dignified. But George W. Bush? Now he looks good!"

In short, the world is a candy store, and W.K. takes whatever he wants.

Having created such uplifting energy in concert, he decided to become a lecture-circuit motivational speaker. Fans now flock to hear him talk.

Wanting to be taken more seriously as a keyboardist, he released 55 Cadillac, an album of classical piano improvisations.

Tired of looking for the perfect New York nightclub, he went in with some partners and created his own. Santos Party House is now one of the most top-rated spots in town.

But W.K. has had the most Peter Pan fun on television, first with 2004's short-lived advice program for MTV2, Your Friend, Andrew W.K., and more recently with Cartoon Network's truly insane Destroy Build Destroy, now in its third season. The series gives the ivory-clad rocker total dominion over two competing teams of tweens, who basically blow things up each episode, jerry-rig the shards together again, then dynamite the losing contraption.

"I've been a fan of game shows since I was a child. And this one is completely unprecedented in its use of explosives and weaponry. So it was an incredible new way for me to entertain and perform, and I can't believe it, really," W.K. says, sounding like a giddy tot himself. "There's 10-year-old kids running amok, and me at the center, screaming my head off in a Russian tank. It's just been a dream come true for me!"

scene@csindy.com

  • Andrew W.K. remakes the world in his own image

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