Andrew WK with High On Fire at Lee's Palace (529 Bloor West), Sunday (September 7). $15. 416-870-8000. Rating: NNNNN
We live in an age of ironic everything. It's hip to like uncool shit like Journey, Def Leppard and Whitesnake these days as long as you publicly declare that it's cheesy, and you can even get away with liking Mariah Carey and going to church as long as you make fun of yourself for it and acknowledge that you're an idiot.
Nobody cool genuinely likes anything any more, so it's only natural to be suspicious of someone like Andrew WK, who offers up hyper-produced, anthemic meat rock to the god of partying, partiers and all things party-related with the earnestness of an evangelist and the energy of a 10-year-old shouting, "Mom! Watch me dive!"
WK has followed I Get Wet, which featured the hits Party Hard and Party Til You Puke, with Wolf, featuring a track titled Long Live The Party.
He's known for his long-windedness, seriousness and intensity during interviews. He likes to talk of his dedication to his music and fans. This is no fucking joke.
"Are you really as earnest as you seem?" I ask him when I get him on his cell from Salt Lake City.
"What do you mean by earnest?" he asks. Doesn't he know the meaning of the word? What does he mean what do I mean? Fuck.
I explain to him that it seems there isn't a trace of irony in anything he says or does.
"I don't personally find, um... I don't even want to use the word in a sentence," he says. "OK, I don't find that it's necessary to resort to cynical, making-fun cheap shots when there's so much else to do."
I find this attitude endearing. Not a whole hell of a lot of fun, but endearing nonetheless. There's something to be said for not giving a rat's ass whether people think you're hip or not and disdaining cheap shots and making fun of people.
"This isn't a mockery or a revival," he continues. "We came to do it, and we came to do it all the way. I think it's hard to understand that something can be fun and also very serious. You can be serious about enjoying yourself.
"What this is," he continues, "is a person who has decided and who is trying - 'trying' being a very important word - to make the most exciting songs that I can. When you're listening to it, the focus doesn't need to be on figuring out why or what it is. If you enjoy the melody and the way the notes are organized and that makes you feel good, there isn't any more to understand.
"And the reason the music sounds the way it does is because the melody is so moving to me that I want to do everything I can to make it as huge and as fantastic as possible."
The guy could use a sense of humour. He can be a bit unpredictable, and resorts to pounding his chest or smashing things. He also likes to bash himself in the face.
"I don't think I bash myself in the face that much," he tells me, correcting the record by noting that it was a piece of cement and not a brick he used to smash his nose for the cover of I Get Wet (though he wound up using pig's blood when the bashing failed to deliver the desired result). "I do it onstage when I'm dancing."
So it's incidental, I gather.
"No, no. It's intentional, but it doesn't hurt."