First published on 24 Apr 2012. Updated on 24 Apr 2012.
Andrew, we’ve been seeing a lot more of you in Australia these past few years as part of the line-up for Meredith in ’07 and Big Day Out in ’11. To what do we owe the pleasure?
Invitations! If you’re invited somewhere, you go and you will most likely have a good reason to go. We’ve always played at least a tour there of some kind for every album and it’s been great to go over there more frequently, even without necessarily having new albums.
As well as a show at the Corner you’re playing another show out of town in Frankston, which is kind of unusual for an international festival headliner to do ...
I believe that there was this special invitation because this is a special kind of a show we’re doing on this tour, which I have done in Australia once. It’s a solo show so it’s just me and my keyboard and my drum machine and, of course, a couple of microphones. It’s more of a party than it is a concert and it’s a very festive style of presentation and performance. I think it works really well and it allows us to go places that otherwise wouldn’t otherwise normally have been gotten to.
Will it be the kind of show where everyone can rush onto the stage, jump around and get crazy and stuff?
Well, I have no idea what’s going to happen and that’s a part of the beauty of it – there’s a lot of unpredictable excitement. It’ll really be up to each person who comes how they want to enjoy themselves and what they want to do. I’m open and ready for the best times ever.
So you think you’re ready for Frankston, then?
I think so. As ready as I can be because I’ve never been there but I hear good things. I’ve no doubt, the one thing I’m sure of is that we’ll have fun.
You’re doing a Q&A session at Polyester Records while you’re in Melbourne. Have you run a Q&A session like that before?
I’ve never really done one quite like this. I imagine, because it’s in a record store and it’s not a traditional music venue or a lecture hall, I think it will be a very intimate but a more relaxed atmosphere than a formal stage with lighting, for example, but I’m very, very excited about it. It’s just a time to get together with friends and talk about whatever we want. I’m sure I’ll have a lot of questions for the folks that come as well.
Does that mean you can talk about the whole Steev Mike controversy (where someone hacked into your website, sparking rumours Andrew W.K. was just a construct and others deserved the credit for your music)?
I can always do my best to talk about it to an extent. There’s never any subject that’s off limits but there’s simply certain pieces of information that I’ve made promises to people to not ever really reveal. And so it’s more like just holding up to my end of the bargain and to keep to my word and to not break promises to the people who have done so much for me.
If asked, could you reveal who was claiming to be the real Steev Mike and why they were making your life difficult?
I can’t talk about that stuff in terms of who is who and what is what and what they want because that is the promise I made – to not say what their names are. That’s why they used the made up Steev Mike name and I think that’s worked fairly well. From time to time it’s gotten a bit complicated and almost borderline unpleasant and stressful but we’ve always figured out different ways to keep moving forward. We’ve experimented with different ways of responding to people’s questions. But at this point, I really hope that people focus on the results of our work and the fun, exciting times we’re presenting and not get too caught up about what’s going on behind the scenes – it’s is much less interesting than anyone would ever really imagine, I’m sure.
There was a lecture you gave at Madame Jojo’s in London in 2009 where you talked about Andrew W.K. being a persona created by a committee including yourself, your father and others and that you would be the next person ‘playing’ Andrew W.K. What was that all about?
Well, I was advised to handle that situation I was talking about earlier a few different ways and that was one of the attempts that we made to, I guess, explain what was really going on but of course it was a terrible mistake. You have to learn as you go, and at this point I hope people don’t really remember or care about that too much. I shouldn’t have talked about that stuff at all really. Again, I don’t want to evasive or avoid the questions whenever they’re asked. That’s the most frustrating part – there’s a part of me that really does want to tell what happened but that’s when I got into obviously a huge battle with the people that I worked with because I wasn’t supposed to talk about any of that or some of the things that I said there. And I regret that, but I take responsibility for the mistakes that I made in that regard.
Getting back to the name of Steev Mike, that’s also the name you chose for your record label, right?
As far as the record label name that was just, again, an unfortunate thing. In more tumultuous times, when I was battling a little bit more with other people and trying to resolve some business decisions I had made I began my own label, thinking this would be a way to solve some of these issues and give me a space of my own where I didn’t have to be bound to some of these same situations. But it turned out an agreement I made earlier did not allow me to do that and that’s why the name has changed, when the folks that are in charge got back in charge.
Coming out on tour with you will be Aleister X, who is also on your Steev Mike label. What can we expect to see of him when he comes out here?
I’m very excited that he’ll be coming along with me. He’s just an incredible, incredible performer and an amazing singer, an amazing melody-maker, lyricist and guitar player. I’m not entirely sure what he’s going to do, he’s a mystery to me also sometimes. But you can certainly get a good sense of all he has to offer, just looking him up on the computer.
And is motivational speaking something you’re still pursuing besides your music?
Yes, yes. Whenever there’s an invitation. The last one I did was in Canada at a university called Concordia College. So that was amazing, it’s always fun. I definitely think I’ve gained a lot from just getting into discussions with people about whatever idea’s we’re all thinking about and primarily using that time together to pump each other up, to get very excited, cheer each other up, cheer each other on. It’s like a power, motivating, party feeling and it certainly makes me feel good and the people I’ve spoken to who have come seem to have definitely gotten some kind of good boost out of it as well.
Is there more unchartered territory out there you’d like to explore besides motivational speaking and your music?
There’s all kinds of goals and plans and desires for the future and they will unfold as they unfold but I have no interest, really, in working outside of entertainment in general. And fortunately there’s so much room and variety within this industry, you can entertain yourself and other people for your whole life.
Incidentally, who entertains you when you’re not entertaining everybody else?
Aleister X, for sure. Just in terms of waking up in the morning with his music in my head, I’ve been feeling really good, I’ve just been really fired up by him and getting to work with him has been a dream come true.
And (my wife) Cherie Lily. She’s in my band actually and that’s how we first met, she’s a singing teacher. It was very hard for me to find a girl who was hardcore, who could bang her head and run around and have that stamina and be really tough. And then I met this really amazing woman named Cherie Lily and she fit the bill and could do everything and more. So she joined the band and then a few years later we got married. And she makes her own incredible solo dance music, she in fact just played a show here in London last night and that’s been a real joy, getting to see her music expand and her performance expand as her solo career develops. She has a new song and new video to come out in a month or so.
Will Cherie Lily be joining you for this tour?
Just Aleister X this time. She was obviously with the band when we did the Big Day Out tour the summer the year before last.