THUNDERVVOLT
"It's not about getting sentimental, it's about sentiment. It's not about emotional, it's about emotion. I don't want to build something that's mindlessly happy or seriously angry. I want to just create something that is energy, and you can take and make it any way you want."

The THUNDERVVOLT Quarterly

Content: The Editor
Credits: Matthias Vriens, Ray Lego, Wolf Kult Kanada, the Louise Harland Corporation
Social media: Twitter, Instagram

The THUNDERVVOLT Quarterly is a digital fanzine investigating all aspects of the transdisciplinary project known as "Andrew W.K." from an "Andrew W.K." historian's perspective. It seeks to analyze and contextualize the project, its creative forces and its participants in order to foster a deeper understanding and, hopefully, un-understanding.

The THUNDERVVOLT Quarterly is only possible with the aid of the braintrust, a global fire think tank dedicated to knowing everything and nothing. Additional acknowledgements are extended to the Wolf Kult, the Wrecking Krew, the Fun Knights, the Diamond Pizza Gang and the earliest known practitioners of eyeplay, The Black Boys. This is the result of many years of toil and effort on their behalves.

A note on style for the purposes of this publication: The THUNDERVVOLT Quarterly considers it of paramount importance to identify the three main elements of "Andrew W.K." as discrete. Therefore, the following stylizations will be used in order to differentiate: "Andrew W.K." for the project as a whole, ANDREW W.K. for the band/live act, and Andrew W.K. for the physical being at the center of the project. This is subject to change.

Contents

  • Revival of the Wizard King
  • What do Klaus Steevnson's riveting texts "Shadow of the Wolf Kult" and "Dawn of the World Killer" say for us today?
  • Confusion/Clarity
  • Using ethics as a reference, we take a critical look at the key themes of annihilation and regeneration in "Andrew W.K.'s" body of work.
  • Hard
  • We investigate sexuality and eroticism in the artist/audience exchange. Reader discretion is advised.
  • Columns
  • A point/counterpoint exploration into the audience's desire to "debunk" the project.
  • The Last Word
  • Our final rumination on which to end the issue.
Andrew devouring a turkey leg, by Ray Lego.

Revival of the Wizard King

Revisiting this is hazy, but I remember it being at some point in the summer of 2002 that I received a copy of the seminal tract "Shadow of the Wolf Kult". I don't remember how I received it, it's just one of those memories that starts with it existing in my hands. I read it for the first time and felt everything inside of me unravel.

Very little is discernible about the author of the piece. It's attributed to "Klaus Steevnson", a name that, when uttered, often precedes a smirk or a scoff in doubt of its veracity. Whether Steevnson is a nom de plume, a careless typo or a disturbing coincidence is unknown to me, but the facts tend to matter less than the material. Steevnson so accurately recorded the swirling, flash-bang energy of the time, and it was to my knowledge the first anyone had done so. Most folks agreed that ANDREW W.K. was untouchable as a live band but too often the experience would render one inarticulate; you could only sputter "You just have to go." It was an experience best lived directly— one that left you panting and dizzy as Big Daddy wailed into the mic, "ANDREW W.K.!!! DO YOU UNDERSTAND?!?!?! DO YOU UNDERSTAND?!?!?!", the question eventually morphing into a challenge. But it was only after Steevnson's gripping tale of lycanthropy and metamorphosis that I was able to express what I, too, had felt. As expected, my friends all agreed, and thus we took on the name "Wolf Kult" in honor of our indelible transformation.

Andrew poses with a young man in a shirt featuring Baphomet.
Andrew W.K. poses with an unknown yet clearly Satanist youth, c. 2002.

To our confusion, Steevnson's recount went unrecognized by the fanbase at large. It may have been a result of the concurrent shift in atmosphere that supplanted "Andrew W.K.'s" frenzied, nightmarish intensity with a more family-friendly version that preached kindness toward your fellow partier. Though the performances were just as dynamic, the anticipatory threat of violence had been replaced by overt cheer and positivity. This dulled the edges a bit, and in retrospect it may have been for the greater good— a chaotic environment often puts more vulnerable participants at risk. But as it illustrates a transient yet formative moment in the "Andrew W.K." trajectory, this tract has become especially poignant.

As I listened to these dread uluations, I noticed amidst the crowd a small group of what I can only assume were devotees, or acolytes of WK. I approached one of them... I attempted to engage him in some small talk, trying to discover as much as I could about this cult my young friend had been initiated into, but my efforts were in vain. He appeared wholly incapable of rational or coherent conversation and I suspected him of being of a mentally aberrant type. In his hand he clutched a wad of small mimeographed tracts which he tried to force on me, and I had little choice but to politely excuse myself from his unsettling company. He then turned to talk to another of these devotees... What little of their conversation I overheard made no sense at all, as they spoke in a highly developed code, using names and references so obscure and of such awful specificity that I was shaken by its strangeness. The pungent aroma of stale sweat emanating from their soiled clothes and their bloodshot eyes and pasty flesh spoke of the extent of which they had debauched themselves.

Perhaps the most nefarious cult is the one that convinces its followers that they are free. Despite our clear descent into unchecked devotion— the countless hours spent poring over songs we'd heard thousands of times, the pathological repetition of tales from the dancefloor battlefield, the forgoing of sleep in order to create monuments to this work— we were emboldened by our tenuous bond to reality. At least in my case, I felt certain that our identification with the term was tongue-in-cheek, a knowing wink at the absurdity of our fervor. We were fully immersed and felt fine about it, safe in the knowledge that unimpeded escape was always an available option. But that was an assumption made in the thick of the forest, and it wasn't until my two failed attempts at extrication that I learned what I should have known all along. My face had changed shape when I looked in the mirror; I had become an unrecognizable half-formed semi-being, unprepared for ingress into a life without this passion I had never before or since known.

This may read as cause for concern, and it should. A charismatic and eloquent leader, an alluring mythological background that drives the audience member to proselytize, the guise of a way out— these are all potential signs of danger. It is with an alarming ease that one tumbles into a state of disarray as a fan, shrugging off healthy social commitments like school, work and personal relationships in order to further exist in this venture, commonly described as "going down the rabbit hole". If you are reading this, it is likely that you or someone you know can relate. Further complicating this tumble into the godhead's abyss is that it is also not an inherently pleasurable experience— there are those who, due to emotional fragility or a poor relationship to community, will find their journey is one marked by anguish and suffering. Contrary to expectation, these are the audience members most at risk for complete immersion, likely in a Sisyphean quest to locate and confront their source of discontent. But where Steevnson and I part ways in naming this hazard is that I maintain a belief (lacking personal experience) in responsible use. It is only with the utmost effort and a strong interpersonal foundation that one is able to walk this tightrope with confidence and forge a mutually beneficial relationship to this project.

What can ultimately be said of the army of devotees the music has forged since Wilkes-Krier first loosed it on an unsuspecting world? One is given the impression that they have lost all capacity for rational thought, that their reason has been dashed and broken against the crags of W.K.'s towering musical edifice. They appear lost in a kind of fugue, their bodies folding and contorting in response to the unearthly chords, their brains drowning in chemical overload. They are like sponges, desperate to absorb as much of that uncanny energy as they can— desperate to ascend that flaming platinum staircase to the unknown. And yet, who can blame them for their transgressions? As I know from bitter personal experience, the music, once heard, cannot be resisted.

Although this information has not served me, perhaps it is of value to examine the ways in which this project ensnares its prey. In his 2004 follow-up treatise "Dawn of the World Killer", Steevnson revisits the gravity of his experience with a more critical gaze. Using examples from the "Andrew W.K." body of work and early interviews with the enigmatic frontman, Steevnson structures an irrefutable case that reveals Andrew's use of music, art and camaraderie in order to connect with a fundamental and primal state tucked away in the human psyche. In 2020, due to the unauthorized release of Andrew's pre-fame journal, we found that Steevnson's stunningly prescient suppositions were, in fact, plainly outlined as part of the Louise Harland Corporation's vision/mission to demolish the partition between "art" and "life". At first, one might consider Steevnson's findings eerie in their foresight, but with further evaluation, we realize Andrew has been forthcoming with these plans since their initial deployment. Nevertheless, Steevnson's research unearths these key points:

  • "Andrew W.K." as a psychotropic experience: Studies have shown that music has the capacity to affect the limbic system in comparable way to chemical compounds like recreational drugs. As this plays a role in the process of addiction, Steevnson's conclusion is that Andrew is putting his fans at risk for eventual dependency. Further, he maintains that Andrew's direct intent to provoke the audience into a strong emotional response puts him in a position of liability. It is with this acquired insight that Steevnson reclassifies his experience as violating and characterizes Andrew as irresponsible with his power at best and diabolical at worst.
  • "Andrew W.K." as a gateway to the beyond: Another of Steevnson's enumerated concerns is that Andrew's music, obviously crafted with the aid of supernatural or mystical forces, may lead the audience to an irreversible break with reality as we understand it. As someone who has experienced said break, my rebuttal to Steevnson is that those of us in this condition likely had the propensity at the start, meaning that this work is likely to attract the people meant for it, the ensuing experience is proportionate to one's openness to breaking with reality, and that the break is intentional. In other words, the audience members prone to this alleged pitfall will meet Andrew there halfway. Steevnson's fears should then be allayed, unless he is aware of himself as someone invested in the practice of complete emotional collapse. I hope wherever he is today, he's safe.
  • "Andrew W.K." as a conjuring tool/vessel for magick: Finally, Steevnson dredges up the age old "Satanic Panic" argument that Andrew's music can introduce the audience to otherwordly vibrations or the occult. Magick is indeed a powerful tool and not meant for heedless engagement. But by Steevnson's own admission, these experiences share an uncanny similarity to pentecostal revivals, down to the enraptured flailing of the participants. Are these events, then, a carnal submission to sensation or the reception of an immeasurable love? It appears there's a thin line between being in league with the devil and communing with the divine, and Andrew deftly traverses that line to his audience's delight.

Irrespective of his change of heart, Steevnson remains a thought leader in the realm of "Andrew W.K." and both of his perspectives have only retained viability over time. Is the audience at risk? It's too early to tell. In the meantime, we only have our vigilance to protect us. And, frankly, as far as cults go, there are others far less dedicated to the congregant's gratification. All in all, my professional opinion is that we surrender to the sensations, come what may, as there is so much to gain from leading with an open heart. It is Andrew's will that we immerse ourselves in full; his will be done.

Δ
Who is Andrew Fetterly?

Confusion/Clarity

With the February 2021 release of "Babalon", we encounter an "Andrew W.K." set on challenging our understanding of who and what the project involves. The video uses blatant occult references and also repurposes longstanding A.W.K. imagery— bloody skulls and the ubiquitous nosebleed— in order to assert a new direction for the project. But Andrew is no stranger to reinvention, and a broader look at the project over time unearths a cycle of presentation, audience investment and disposal that keeps the audience suspended in perpetual shock. Has that been the plan all along?

We begin with a meticulously kept pre-fame journal outlining the mission in exquisite detail. Reportedly recorded during his first years in New York City, these writings contain a professional timeline and accompanying nine-album plan of alternating "eradicate" and "create" cycles. Starting with his first releases as "Andrew W.K.", Andrew sought to "eradicate" the experimental sounds of his prolific mid-to-late '90s indie recording career in order to venture into a new musical soundscape, one of bombast and dense orchestration. This direction would eventually catapult him to global stardom, garnering him a gold record with the 2001 masterpiece I Get Wet. Although he had seemingly found the winning method, Andrew's notes contain the deliberately unintuitive directive to, in his words, "sort of make the 'wrong' move after the first album" and to instead aim for a sophomore release that is "'different'. . .in an off-putting way". As no purpose for this directive is listed, one can only assume that the point was to, in some small way, disorient the audience which had fallen so hard for this initial presentation.

Elsewhere in the journal, similar directives are made regarding costume choice, posture, hairstyle/quality and even the bewildering employment of similar-looking stand-ins, or "multiples". This is all said to inspire a constant ambience of mystery and confusion, an unsettling atmospheric accompaniment to music that would typically be described as "joyous" or "exuberant". This cycle continues through the releases as we know them, and as history has proven, the audience's response of confusion (whether experienced positively or negatively) has, too, remained constant.

As an observer, I could tell something was slightly off about this display. But like the arduous exercise of determining when buttermilk has truly gone bad, I couldn't quite put my finger on the energy I was receiving until the Steev Mike website hackings tore the fanbase apart. The Andrew that emerged from those ashes was less forthcoming and engaging— the July 2005 website redesign featured little more than links to two mp3s and a series of increasingly bizarre photographs of Andrew or someone made to resemble him in what appeared to be anguish or imprisonment. It was a far cry from the previous website, replete with heavy fan interaction. Those of us who hadn't yet jumped ship were left to sort things out on a message board that was constantly under attack from outside (and, according to legend, inside) interlopers looking to shake our faith in the God of Partying. Those efforts worked for some— more than a few fans voiced feelings of abandonment and betrayal from an artist that had inspired them to submit to aggressive positivity. For months, the battle raged between those who refused to accept that Andrew was behind or involved with this sudden and distressing shift in tone and those who, even in the throes of confusion or disappointment, were still able to find satisfaction in the past and the process. 2006 brought two very important pieces of this puzzle to light: the cinematic triumph Who Knows? and the emotional rollercoaster Close Calls With Brick Walls, the first "Andrew W.K." release to break from the revered and traditional sound and incorporate some of Andrew's less immediate influences, including '50s piano rock, funk and doo-wop. The first track on the album, "I Came For You", is an explicit demand that the audience approach the piece with "expectations derailed" in order to best appreciate it. As it's a clear sonic detour that contained experimental vignettes never before presented by "Andrew W.K."— certainly within the domain of "Andrew Wilkes-Krier", 1990s indie recording artist, but not this latest incarnation— the audience was split (Western audiences, anyway) and the album remains, 15 years later, the project's most divisive.

In a similar vein, Who Knows? garnered a messy, inexplicable reception. A dearth of reviews made note of the non-live scenes intercut between performances. Described by fans as "creepy", this footage again contained shots of a sweaty, contorted Andrew (or someone resembling him) in dimly-lit and desolate locations, while narration supplied by repurposed interview quotes are vocalized by Andrew in a pitched-down drone. The lone media mention of these horrifying elements came via a snarky hit piece where the interviewer, describing Andrew's music as "Neanderthal" and "plebeian", expresses dismay at Andrew's deep, lifelong relationship to horror as entertainment. Andrew provides a curt and succint response: "I don't think horror is a big part of who you think I am." Ostensibly, the introduction of an overt horror element was so far beyond the media's comprehension of what "Andrew W.K." was that they either met it with derision and skepticism or completely ignored it. In the following years, with a steady effort, Andrew was able to dismantle the "Your Friend" persona he had embodied to at least some degree, obfuscating what had come to be known as a primarily positive enterprise only to resurrect it with 2018's attempt at a zen state, You're Not Alone.

With this context in place, "Babalon" springboards this vacillating motif into its third decade, perhaps at its most brazen. In Phem C. Palmer's expertly directed video, we see a disheveled, bereft Andrew continuously burdened by a stone-faced facsimile. He's accompanied on the soundstage by a band of Andrews (or "Bandrews"), differentiated by their musical role and a variety of black outfits. The Bandrews ooze confidence and sexual prowess, having perfected their rockstar poses and covered their line tattoo "scars" with band-aids. Meanwhile, our white-clad progenitor Andrew slumps over his keyboard in a deep lunge, unable at times to even face the camera. For this upcoming release, the journal hints at an "original atmosphere" that becomes "infested and mangled" in order to "violently contradict the previous image", a clear reference to the much-celebrated You're Not Alone. This decision feels particularly threatening considering the album's beloved status among fans, often described as the true successor to 2003's The Wolf— a throne usurped by the aforementioned villain of the catalog, Close Calls With Brick Walls.

In this moment, villainy is Andrew's pursuit— the press release for "Babalon" describes the song as a trip down the "left-hand path", which, in magick, is the realm where the line between "good" and "evil" is less definitive and more circumstantial (assuming there's a line to be drawn in the first place). In its "Thriller"-esque opening disclaimer, the video for "Babalon" asserts itself as a non-endorsement of a "belief in evil", suggesting it is instead the belief in evil that is the more immediate concern. But it is the audience's belief in evil that drives this pendulum; as Andrew lurches precariously over the flames of depravity, it is the scandalized response from his public that pulls him back from total immolation.

The journal makes it clear that this is part of the experience, to the chagrin of the audience. But cast among the pages is a lingering doubt that this practice is ethical. Description of the process as "manipulation" lays bare the intent of the practice, whether in the name of experimentation alone or a more deleterious origin. But a target in constant motion sustains no damage. Through shapeshifting, Andrew manages to evade responsibility to a perturbed audience by deflecting blame to their only partially accurate characterizations of him. Even the most erudite fans are at risk.

So what can we expect from "Andrew W.K." in the future? The best expectation to have is none at all, or as little of one as possible. Attempting to anticipate his strategy does the audience no favor. It is only through the acceptance of Andrew's existence as both trickster and source of comfort that one is able to successfully navigate this pendulum. Wherever your search takes you, assume he's no longer inhabiting that space: if you're looking for Andy, you'll be looking everywhere.

Δ
The providence of Trylon

Hard

Disclaimer: As a person of delicate constitution, I was hesitant to address this subject. But even at the real risk of deeply offending myself and the reading audience, it is my duty as an historian to examine one of the most potent undercurrents in this project: sexuality. I apologize in advance for the imagery included and described in this piece.

Sex is a very direct theme in Andrew's work. In some ways, this is typical: sexuality is built into the roots of rock 'n' roll. From Little Richard's wanton Miss Molly to the burning scrotum of Jerry Lee Lewis, we have long been subject to musical explorations of the most animal state one can achieve while alive. But never before has a rock musician created so nuanced a space. In the realm of "Andrew W.K.", desire and chastity exist in concert, rubbing against each other in order to create an especially heightened emotional and physical atmosphere. As we sail further into the project, it becomes clear that this erotic engagement, however muted, is an integral aspect of the experience, both for the audience and Andrew himself.

On several occasions, Andrew has indicated that his well-worn stage clothes serve as an excellent screen for projection. This includes physical projections, like the lighting that illuminates him during performances, but also the audience's mental or emotional projections. It is through the lens of the audience that Andrew becomes not only a beacon of positivity or joy, but also an object of sexual desire and fantasy. Evidence suggests that he's begun to lean into this assignment. Over time, the fit of his trademark white jeans has increased in tightness, hinting at an impeccably chiseled physique. The fabric of his white t-shirt, wispy and delicate, rests in a nonchalant drape over a pair of perpetually erect nipples. But our hero rarely gives in to rockstar clichés for direct titillation. In his pre-fame journal, there is strong instruction to "Never take off shirt!!!", and it was one that, for a while at least, Andrew took quite seriously. He has refused on various occasions to remove his shirt, even when soaked through to translucence with sweat, seemingly to steer any misdirected focus back to the project and its solemnity. But this creates an aura of mystique, as the mind constructs— and, in the process, eroticizes— the image that the eye cannot see. The audience comes away from this experience further intrigued by what lies beyond the threshold of these flimsy articles. In another example, we are introduced via performance to the microphone Andrew tucks into his waistband in lieu of a mic stand. This is referred to in common parlance as the "microphone-bone". The "head" of the "microphone-bone" rests against Andrew's stomach, becoming an analogue for the engorged phallus. It is also in this motion that the audience is subject to a fleeting glimpse of what is colloquially known as Andrew's "treasure trail" (the stretch of hair that begins at one's navel and extends to the pubic region), leading to prurient interest.

Andrew presents his microphone-bone.
The "microphone-bone", prominently featured in 2018's "You're Not Alone".

Further complicating this is the insouciance with which it is presented. As Andrew is a man with a monomaniacal focus, the moments he openly entertains his position as an object of fantasy are remarkably few. Instead, he defers to modesty, as though he's uncomfortable at being studied in this fashion. This tension suggests that he identifies primarily as a voyeur, a designation he cements in his personal life as an enthusiastic consumer of hardcore pornography and other salacious media. It is possible, then, that Andrew presents himself for the audience's consumption only in order to provoke a response for his own. A common example of this is the rate at which Andrew is depicted with what appear to be bulging erections, straining intently against his button fly. Adding to this tension is the primarily heterosexual male audience's discomfort with acknowledging this quietly aggressive display, averting its gaze in hopes of focusing on anything else: a bloody nose, a pizza slice-shaped guitar, an imbalanced case of strabismus.

While Andrew's physical representation is an immediately visible locus for erotic possibility, the music of this project serves a similar purpose. Andrew's music is teeming with references to "coming" (specifically) and other language focused on the orgasm or an equivalent sexual release, including asking the audience to engage in collective surrender to these energies. A key example of this phenomenon is the working title of 2003's much-beloved master blaster, The Wolf: "Blow Your Bone." Initially explained away as a reference to exploding chicken bones, the title conjures up a different sort of explosion, and one more in line with getting off, getting wet and ejaculating into open mouths. But a crucial factor in this title is Andrew's lack of involvement in the bone-blowing— the bones being blown belong to an understood "you" with whom he ostensibly is not meant to be aligned. All things considered, it's difficult to ascertain if these requests are literal and Andrew is looking to command his participants to engage in acts of passion that ultimately result in climax, or if ribaldry is the best way for him to express a sense of abandon. But the question looms: when will Andrew's bone get blown?

Sexual release remains elusive in surprising scenarios. Even "Make Sex", perhaps the current discography's most blatant paean to intimate relations, isn't truly about sex itself— it's about desire, and, more precisely, the prioritization of a primal, bestial desire in opposition to engaging in greater philosophical dilemmas. Making "life", making "death" and making "love" are all presented as larger concepts than "just" making sex, the caveman-esque hockey chant delivery adding to a particularly base atmosphere. The other curious aspect of the song is that it doesn't make especially clear this position as but a momentary urge, or instead its being a potentially nihilist means of approaching the outside world. Essentially, as a lyricist, Andrew once again provides himself an out, sheathing existential commentary in distractingly coarse phrasing.

But it is in this out that Andrew's voyeuristic tendencies are revealed. As Schrödinger's poet, Andrew affords the audience the room to engage with his work however they see fit, be it a head bob, toe tap or any of several possible masturbatory expressions. From an observer's perspective, this is an infinitely fascinating environment, and his constant assumption of the position of facilitator assures maintenance of this very particular dynamic. Perhaps, then, the erections he wields toward the audience stem from an active denial of the pleasure in which he demands they partake, like a dinner party host who consumes no food and laughs loudly to conceal their audible hunger pangs. Perhaps it is the energy of the audience reflected, his enthusiasm for his fans transmogrified into lust (likely because the audience is composed of extraordinarily attractive people), or the more altruistic expression of pleasure by proxy. Regardless of source, all of these outcomes incentivize Andrew's sexual provocations toward the audience, and in turn, the exchange continues.

It is easy to interpret this as a cry for help on Andrew's part. Submission to the throes of passion in any situation is an inherent act of vulnerability, and one in which by definition the facilitator cannot participate, at least not in totality. He then is trapped in a limbo state; a constant teeter on the edge of release but outside of the reach of deliverance's helping hand. As the audience hurls itself into oblivion, it would behoove us to keep in mind Andrew's plight of infinite hardness at the sight of our pleasure. Whether an admirable or foolish stance, it is through his sacrifice that we are able to push ourselves to ever-increasing limits in partying.

Δ
The time would not stop until baby breathed. Time would stand still until baby lived.

Columns

Should the audience seek to debunk the mysteries of "Andrew W.K."?

Point: Information only serves to enhance the experience.

As evidenced by his voracious curiosity, Andrew is the quintessential student. The breadth of his references reflect this: only in the realm of "Andrew W.K." is one liable to encounter a list as disparate as George Clinton, Marcel Duchamp, Dario Argento and John Howard existing in a seamless string. Andrew lies square against all of these influences and more, each at first puzzling to the observer but all a requisite slice of the pie. An understanding of these references broadens one's understanding of "Andrew W.K." as a cultural moment, both as an access point and as a continuation of artistic and philosophical thought.

Take, for example, Andrew's use of "four-on-the-floor" drum patterns. It is only with the aid of a knowledge of disco and dance music that one recognizes how this sets him apart from the rollicking standard rock drums popularized by the bands his music is erroneously said to resemble (Mötley Crüe, Slade, etc.). Or consider how the listener may be affected by the revelation that the 1999 tracks that would eventually appear on the kult classic debut EP Girls Own Juice were allegedly recorded in a high school band room— the opulence and splendor of this music becomes, in a flash, that much more impressive. It is knowledge that contextualizes Andrew's genius, a fact proven by the inability to perceive it by the uninitiated.

Andrew is aware of this. He tosses breadcrumbs at the astute audience member so that they may extend their experience, creating a call-and-response exchange that leaves the audience member feeling seen and recognized (and therefore sated). He hides in plain sight, adopting a cat's approach to tentative play: nuzzling against the audience member but darting away before they can pet him. Those who are unaware of their status as toy mice find little joy in these exchanges, deeming them "pointless" and "annoying". To them, the savvier audience member appears to be interacting with an imaginary friend or otherwise invisible spirit, an activity certain to resemble a waste of time. But this interaction is thrilling for the participant, and is one of several elements that encourage deep investigation.

Also of note is the fellowship between fans that is built through simultaneous research. Audience members will spend hours comparing and exchanging notes, findings and theories, egging each other on in their respective pursuits. The audience's search for answers becomes a group effort, and, by extension, a game or social event. The bonds forged in this process can become their own reward, even without a concrete conclusion on which to rest. If the search for knowledge presents a detour to deep and enthusiastic interpersonal connections, it is an activity that provides its own dividend.

Counterpoint: If the purpose of the project is to constantly reject knowledge(s), relying on knowledge(s) is counterproductive.

The experience of "Andrew W.K." cannot be reliant on the acquisition of knowledge, because "Andrew W.K." is about experiencing pure sensation. As sensation provides its own set of innate truths, "fact" becomes one of the elements least imperative to such an experience. The fan who rejects or criticizes knowledge as a pursuit loses nothing from this perspective as long as their interaction with the project prioritizes their emotional response.

"Andrew W.K." is set apart from other current-day musical endeavors for many reasons, but the most compelling is the project's built-in mythology. From his fully-formed debut from Jupiter's head to his alchemical invocations of the divine feminine, Andrew has interwoven himself with a host of mythological backgrounds and, in turn, has constructed his own. To pick apart these constructions would be akin to demanding an illusionist explain their tricks. The mystery and magic is in all probability concealing a boring, less intriguing backstory, but it is a rare moment when adults are provided spaces to dwell in fantasy, and the opportunity should be taken with gusto. It is that sense of childlike wonder that creates a space for magic to manifest.

There are also fans (in some cases, a generous classification) whose engagement with the project revolves around collecting and parsing information in an effort to maintain a sense of control. In more pathological instances, they struggle to make each shred of evidence they find fit a preconceived impression. Since “Andrew W.K.” is not a project tethered to reality, this is an effort destined for failure. But instead of recognizing this “failure” as an opportunity to reconsider the project and expand their reception of it, they feel embarrassed and slighted. At its worst, this reveals itself in an outwardly expressed anger and sullen disposition, and accusations are sure to fly of Andrew's alleged duplicity and sociopathic nature. Fans that value their mental health in this moment will disengage, but there are those who choose self-flagellation, continuing to engage with the aim of beating this Machiavellian entity at his own game. While “having a good time” is not a necessary component of experiencing “Andrew W.K.”, the conundrum arises of exposing oneself to what appears to be an undertaking indisputable in its unhealthiness. Moreover, it appears the author of the motivation to contain the project in a finite capacity is the fan's ego, taking exception to Andrew's taunt that one “can't put your finger on” him. Whether this response is rooted in insecurity or bravado is unclear, but the result involves the frustrated fan riding into battle against ferocious windmills.

While there is also danger in knowing too little, it is the far superior position in comparison. But the best place to alight is the position that knowing anything for certain is futile, and that possibility should be infinite as to allow for the widest spectrum of potential sensation. Though this may come across as a crude simulation of the search for enlightenment, the greater purpose this frame of mind serves is the ability to find satisfaction in the loss (or rejection) of control. While Andrew does not have the ability to grant the members of his audience freedom from any confines, including an obsession with maintaining control, his suggestions to “un-understand” and “know nothing” provide the audience with an opportunity to find joy or solace in awkward or even painful situations. Regardless of its difficulty, it's sage advice, and the audience member who takes it to heart is sure to have a rewarding experience both in their consumption of “Andrew W.K.” and outside of it.

Δ

The letter "W" was, is, and always will be the world of strength and unity— the shape of 2 arms locked in unyielding power. Like a steel cabled bridge that remains sturdy even in the strongest winds, but has the ability to snap, break, blind, and crumble into the black boiling ice cold sea waters— at will. All of the machines rebuild the steel stronger than before— and it will never go away.

The letter "K" was, is, and always will be the consumption of the universe. The continuous symbol of greater than/less than, always level. To burn out the passion which fills up each returning day until they don't return. It is too rare to concede. No shame or guilt. The bravest people do have fear, it is the courage to slam that fear which makes them brave. We possess a brain— huge amounts of power— untapped.

Δ