SmartassRadio.com recently conducted an interview with Andrew W.K. An excerpt from the chat follows below.
SmartassRadio.com: You just had a book come out in Japan.
Andrew W.K.: Yes, the book is out and it's my first-ever book. I just apologize to anyone who doesn't read or speak Japanese, including me, because I can't even read the book. I don't even know exactly what it says, that's the weirdest thing about it.
SmartassRadio.com: Yeah, they could just be putting your face on it.
Andrew W.K.: That's a big risk. Believe me, I've thought about and believe me I've thought about that possibility quite a bit. But I trust the man who put it together and the magazine who published it I've been working with for a long time, so I think they probably wrote what they said they would. It's an advice column I've had for the past five years in a Japanese monthly music magazine and we decided to put all of them into a book and there were about 180 different questions and answers. But I would actually like to translate it and release it in the U.S. So at some point there will be an English-language book availaible.
SmartassRadio.com: Cool. How did you get involved with that magazine?
Andrew W.K.: That's a good question. Well, the first time I went to Japan to play I met them and did an interview with them, sort of a standard feature, and they asked if I wanted to maybe answer some questions from some of the readers, more as a one-off situation, just to see what it was like. And we did and proved to be very popular. We got lot of response, lots of readers wrote in and we just kept doing it. I don't think anyone expected it would last for 5 years, but it's still going. And even though I'm not Japanese and I'm not really that familiar with Japanese culture, we've been able to relate just as human beings and that has been very, very challenging, but very rewarding for me.
SmartassRadio.com: And you're latest album, "Close Calls with Brick Walls", is only released in Japan too?
Andrew W.K.: That is true. But actually I just released another one in Japan only. It's an album of Japanese cover songs. I've never really done cover songs before.
SmartassRadio.com: Do you do them in Japanese?
Andrew W.K.: No, I sung them in English. I translated the original Jpanese lyrics and again that was very challenging but rewarding. Since 2005, I made a decision to break out of my comfort zone, in anyway I could. And it wasn't as though I was in my comfort zone all the time before then, I just felt there were lots of experiences I hadn't tried. And these past three years have been about exploring those parts of myself or the world I had never gone into before. Even something like Esquire magazine. I never would have wanted to be in that magazine before, I would have never worn an outfit like that a few years ago. A few years ago I would have been really freaked out to even consider doing something like. And part of me, even recently, has felt weird, or maybe this isn't cool, or do I look weird, or shouldn't I look the same as a I did before. But playing with the idea who I am to myself has been thrilling and inspiring and most of all just fun. So I'm very grateful to have the opportunity to keep stretching and pushing myself as an individual and an entertainer.
SmartassRadio.com: That's really cool, one of the things I was reading was that you were doing motivational speeches at colleges and stuff. That seems like the same idea.
Andrew W.K.: It was. It was the same idea. I mean, to me to go up on stage at all is always intense to perform in any capacity. But to go up alone, without anybody else takes it to another intensity. And to go up without any plan or music or any specific thing except just to talk that seemed like the most vulnerable, potentially terrifying, situation I could put myself in. So again, that was the idea, how much could I freak myself out and take other people with me? Hopefully to a good place.
The entire interview is available in audio and text format at SmartassRadio.com.