Nearly six years since the release of I Get Wet–an album that paid homage to partying, puking, and partying whilst puking–Andrew W.K. is trying to reinvent himself as a motivational speaker. Tonight in New York City, he’s performing the first part of “The Joy Trilogy,” a projected “nine-hour extemporaneous lecture”:
He has been reading the works of the philosopher Martin Buber, among others, and contemplating consciousness. “I have been very into the idea that the only way the external world exists is by you observing it, and that the only way you can interact with that external world through that observation is to intend it to be,” he said, his eyes closed in concentration. He opened them to eat observably a strip of bacon…
“People have been saying all along, ‘Yeah, the music’s great, but I really like this feeling, it inspires me, it makes me feel like I can do anything,’ ” he said. “I’ve had people say, ‘I don’t really listen to your music, but I read an interview and it made me feel good; I really understood and I could relate to what you were talking about.’ That to me is just as inspiring, because it’s all just expression. What I would really like it to be is that I just show up, and whether it’s a concert or it’s talking, the same essential experience is available.”
There’s more to this new endeavor, of course, including a nightclub in downtown New York City, and a tour that will require him to drive around the country in a Cadillac, throwing parties. But as with everything W.K.-related, it’s unclear whether this is a sincere undertaking, or a hyper-meta-aware media prank; it’s also unclear just how big of a following the singer can command these days, as his last album, Close Calls With Brick Walls, still hasn’t been released here in the states. But even if the whole thing is a put-on, the man deserves some credit: Not since the heyday of Mark McGrath has someone managed to milk his past-its-time career with such savviness.