He says his music isn’t violent, it’s aggressive. But after seeing his bloody puss on the cover of his ’02 debut I Get Wet, some might wonder about Andrew W.K.’s message.
“He’s passionate,” Wendy Wilkes says. “He’s not violent, he’s excited. He’s about the most gentle person you’ll ever want to meet.” She should know–she’s his mother.
Wilkes dubs her son’s music “party metal,” but says his influences were far different from those of the head banging Satan worshippers that most people associate with metal. “What he loved as a kid was huge, crashing music,” his mother says. “Such as musicals–Andrew Lloyd Webber, and Les Miserables. He would die for that music. Just turn it up full blast.”
Somewhere along the way, Andrew found something wilder than Andrew Lloyd Webber outside the family home in Ann Arbor. Andrew says that his parents probably knew only about a quarter of the stuff he did. He stopped only because he knew how disappointed his mother would be if she knew about all the money he was stealing.
Wilkes thought he would turn out as an artist. Accepted at the University of Chicago while still in high school, he decided to forego college and headed for New York, “which turned out to be the right decision for this kid,” mom says.
Although Andrew W.K.’s strange mix of Tony Robbins and balls to the wall metal has made him a rock star, he doesn’t act the part. “He doesn’t want to be a rock star, he wants to be a musician,” Wilkes states. “He’s very modest, very humble. He’s delighted to be able to do what he loves to do. It’s lucky for him he got he break he got, and now he’s trying to make the most of having gotten a chance to do this.”
Andrew W.K., Tribe and Fireball Ministry play the Lincoln Theatre Saturday, May 29. The show starts at 9:30 p.m. Tickets are $10 in advance and $12 day of the show.