When Andrew W.K. was on the cover of Pollstar five years ago, he was known for anthems like "Party Hard," "It’s Time To Party," and "Party Til You Puke" and his high-energy, unpredictable stage show. He’s still spreading the same message – have fun doing what you want – but in a slightly different outlet as an in-demand motivational speaker that’s inspired a new tour.
The seed for the speaking engagements was actually planted during previous tours, Andrew W. K. (Wilkes-Krier) told Pollstar. Media interviews and meet-and-greets that turned into marathon conversations with fans gave him a new perspective.
"I had clearly been, since the beginning of Andrew W.K., in a position to converse with people. Trying to explain and analyze myself and this music through those kinds of interviews was a new experience for me that I never really anticipated enjoying that much," he said. "It certainly wasn’t the same as listening to a song or going to a concert, but there was a consistency in the feeling.
"I was able to still focus on the ideas of having fun, doing what one wants and living life in a full, enjoyable way that the music was focused on [but] using words outside of music."
It was a recent invitation to speak at New York University in a free-form, stream-of-consciousness format that opened the door even further. The topic proposed by the organizers: "Andrew W.K. Talks About Whatever The Hell He Wants."
"When this lecture opportunity came up, it was exciting because it doesn’t fit into what I’ve done. It’s an interesting contrast," he explained. "To have the confidence to go with these things even when they seemed absurd or out of the realm of what was familiar to me, that’s what was thrilling about it.
"That’s a real collaboration between an audience and performer when the line between who’s making it up is blurred."
Andrew’s recent three-show stint titled "The Joy Trilogy" at NYC’s The Pit featured the performer talking about whatever was on his mind at the moment followed by a question-and-answer period. All three shows were sellouts. That led to an invitation to discuss "Pure Fun and Total Love" at South By Southwest in Austin March 16th, among other requests.
The success of those events, and invitations to host discussions and parties in Boston and New York City, are what Andrew said led up to his nine-date "High-Way Party Cruiser Tour" set to kick off April 3rd in Los Angeles.
"It’s always been about connecting, about having this party and celebration and inviting people so they would feel loved," Andrew said. "The whole idea behind the tour is anyone should be able to go out under no specific pretense and just spend time together.
"That’s taking the definition of a party down to its very core, which creating the music has been heavily focused on. It’s an organic evolution to say, ‘Why not take this on the road?’"
The road trip also makes stops in Seattle, Portland, Winnipeg, Regina, Saskatoon, Edmonton and Calgary, where it wraps up April 15th.
The new direction has led to creating more music, which Andrew said will soon be released. He’s also invested in opening a two-story, approximately 1,000-capacity nightclub in NYC and is filming "Smokeshow," a reality show based on the no- rules, anything-goes concept of Andrew’s speaking engagements.
As far as what direction his new-found talent will take him and the fans he meets along the way – the sky appears to be the limit.
"It’s an opportunity to connect. In this day and age, I can see no better thing for me to do," Andrew said. "Good things are happening and we’re making them happen. We are individual, but we are of the world.
"I’m not saying I’m saving the world; I’m saving the world that I believe exists. We are saving the world."