Foo Fest headliner Andrew W.K.

By JIM MACNIE  |  August 10, 2011

YOU'VE BEEN ESPOUSING YOUR PARTY THESIS FOR A LONG TIME NOW. DO PEOPLE HAVE A HARD TIME DROPPING THEIR FACADES AND YIELDING TO PLEASURE? DOES ABANDONMENT COME EASY FOR US HUMANS? I think everyone has the ability to go to that spot pretty easily. It comes down to setting the scene that makes people feel comfortable enough to let go. Not everyone likes feeling freaked out, or having their mind blown. So for those people you want to create a safe space that they can go crazy within. In a swimming pool you might jump and crash and flip around and do stuff that you might not do in the ocean. An entertainer can be seen as a guide or a leader who takes people to that space. It's a beautiful profession, because you're trying to take people to that place.

EVER LOOKED OUT AND FELT THAT THE HYSTERIA IN FRONT OF YOU WAS TOO MUCH? Only once or twice out of thousands of shows. But I think about it a lot. There must be guardian angels watching over me. I don't announce rules, like "we're not going to be rude or hurt anyone." There's an understanding everyone has: "This is going to be okay." People's egos are destroyed for a brief moment, and conflict melts away. I can see it in people's eyes.

DO YOU HAVE A HARD TIME BEING PASSIVE? CAN YOU GO TO A MOVIE AND JUST SIT THERE? Depends on the movie. It's hard to sit through some things. But if it's a comedy, adventure, horror, I'll be fine. Drama — I don't really like watching dramas anymore. It's really boring. I like reading those kind of stories, but not watching them. I'm not sure what those movies are trying to accomplish.

ONCE A DIRECTOR HAS CHOSEN TO ADDRESS A DRAMA, THE WRITING AND THE ACTING HAS TO BE AT SUCH A HIGH LEVEL TO BE BELIEVABLE, IT'S HARD TO ALWAYS GET THERE. IT SEEMS A BIT EASIER TO MAKE SOMETHING ACCEPTABLE IN A LIGHTER SITUATION. You're right. I never thought of it that way. We're not going to be critical of the way a giant robot, a Transformer, moves and talks, because it's a giant robot and doesn't really exist. If you're talking about life and death and people's personal trials, it better be strong. Like photorealism vs. cartoon.

YOU ONCE HAD TO CANCEL A SHOW IN WORCESTER AND MADE A YOUTUBE VIDEO TO APOLOGIZE FOR THE INCONVENIENCE. CANDOR AND TRANSPARENCY SEEMS TO BE PART OF YOUR AESTHETIC. I guess so. I was just trying to live by the Golden Rule. That's how I would like someone to treat me if I was working with them. Be considerate. There are lots of performers out there who seem to empower their act by being elusive, harder to access. That's part of the rock tradition. It dawned on me early on that though I might admire that to some degree, it's not what I do; it's not me. It's a strange thing to realize that no matter how long I work, I'm not going to be like Keith Richards. He is a badass, and I'm not. Better to just figure out what comes to me naturally and give it a space to flourish.

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