Rampant Rumors

DELVE DEEPER INTO THE MYSTERY OF ANDREW W.K.

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andrew w.k.

Last year Vince wrote about this cockamamie rumor floating around that Andrew W.K. is not a real person, but, as Mr. Neilstein so eloquently put it, “a carefully constructed record label concoction played by several different actors.” Mr. W.K. (or possibly “Steev Mike,” the absolutely fucktarded “real name” of the actor allegedly playing AWK) even basically admitted that the rumor was true last month, although, if you ask me, he’s just taking the piss.

ANYWAY, although we wouldn’t put it past some scumbag record exec to try such a move — Sure, why not just simplify the Menudo model, right? — the entire concept just struck us as the imaginative fiction of an overzealous conspiracy nut.

But then our friend Dan Rodriguez – now a contributor to Metal Insider – told us this amazing story about when he was the program director of college radio station WSOU, a.k.a. the only listenable non-satellite radio station we can actually pick-up here at the Mansion. Apparently Dan helped organize a 2004 WSOU-sponsored concert in New Jersey, and Andrew W.K. was supposed to play the show; fans were outraged, however, when someone they claimed to be an impostor did the gig instead.

We couldn’t write anything about the incident at the time because Dan wanted to maintain some professional courtesy (or whatever), but now he’s come forward to tell his side of the story. Here’s an excerpt:

I booked the show through Andrew’s then-manager, Trevor Silmser. I personally picked up the backing band from the airport and drove them to the venue. Everything seemed on the up-and-up. Andrew was planned to spend the afternoon at the venue, hanging out with the grateful WSOU staff. At some point right before doors, I was told that he would not arrive until shortly before the set. That certainly seemed unusual from someone famous for his go-out-of-his-way ethic. A car pulled up just minutes before the band was to take the stage, and Andrew (or “Andrew”, depending on your level of crazy) quickly shuffled into the building and to the stage, face covered under a hoodie. After the show, he threw himself back in the hoodie and ran back to the car, a la Michael Jackson’s babies.

Looking back, I suppose that behavior was odd, but I didn’t think much of it at the time. I didn’t notice any especially weird behavior during the set, but I’m not an Andrew W.K. historian. He certainly looked like the guy from where I was standing off-stage.

The bit about cutting the set short is true, but that wasn’t Andrew’s doing – it was myself and the concert promoter, because we were going to run past curfew.

Immediately after the concert, someone called my cellphone to thank me for including him in the event. He claimed to be Andrew W.K. He sounded like Andrew W.K., and he sounded sincere. We never sought the guy out to play the show. In fact, the station didn’t even play his albums at the time. He was just a big, big fan of the station who went out of his way to tell us so (See that story here) and I jumped at the opportunity to bring a big name on board. He played the show for nothing but the cost of airfare and hotel for his band.

Of course, I had a hard time convincing that to the hundreds of callers that flooded WSOU’s request lines and my direct business line each and every day in the weeks following the show. And because I’m incapable of walking away from an argument (and because I had to take accusations of knowingly charging concertgoers to see an impostor seriously), I spent way too many hours pleading with message board nutjobs and callers who insisted I was part of the conspiracy because I denied it. Anything short of an admission was considered a lie. And those friggin’ people broke my voicemail while also rendering the request line more or less useless for weeks.

So… is Andrew W.K. a collection of actors supporting a carefully-concocted brand, or is he just a regular dude who lost some weight and is entertaining all this craziness for the sake of some fun and good press? Whatever the answer, this is definitely one of the most bizarre and entertaining personal stories in rock/metal today.

– AR & VN

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