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Explosive lives

Wren Wertin

Taking to heart “bigger means better,” his mission is to make the loudest, truest music he can.

“I like things to be strong because I feel that other people can derive strength from that themselves,” he explained. “And I try to reflect that strength, and purity, truth and passion for what we are doing in everything you see and hear.”

He’s been described many ways, usually as a distorted combination of Def Leppard, Cheap Trick, Slayer and Kiss – if you throw in the occasional classical piano riff and a no-holds-barred stage show. He travels and performs with a 13-member entourage.



“The young lad has a lot of energy,” said Steve Kovacik, 8150 co-owner. “The live show is a very positive, party-happy atmosphere.”

Which is fitting, since partying is one of Andrew W.K.’s most avid pursuits. His major label debut, “I Get Wet,” opens with two party-friendly, smashing tracks: “It’s Time to Party” and “Party Hard.” They are short, sweet and hard. Teeth-jarring guitars plunge in and out of speedy drums and keyboards. Andrew’s yelled vocals ride the musical waves in screaming madness.



Andrew began studying classical piano at age 4, and has pursued it ever since. He picked up the drums in his teens, and played for several punk and metal bands in the Detroit area. At 18, he decided to move to the Big Apple and pursue music in earnest. Two years later, he was traveling up and down the East Coast equipped with a CD player, keyboard and microphone. His first EP, “Girls Own Juice,” came from one of those shows. Things started moving lightning fast for the musician, as he opened for the Foo Fighters and a Belgian arts festival.

Andrew decided he wanted a band, and assembled guitarist Jimmy Coup (formerly of Coup de Grace), drummer Donald “D.T” Tardy (formerly of Obituary), bassist Gregg R and guitarists E. Payne and Sergeant Frank. The crew lives in Florida and is signed to Island Records.

This is no niche group: their songs have been picked up by major ad campaigns, including Coors and Target. They have videos on MTV and VH1, and have played on Saturday Night Live. When Mercury UK released the “Party Hard” single last year, it entered the British charts at 14. They toured Europe earlier this year until “I Get Wet” was released in the U.S. in March.



“This record is about cutting into the heart of existence and getting wet,” said Andrew W.K. “But it’s also about having no fear, experiencing intense emotions – from passionate feelings of love and excitement to the most anger-filled, hateful rages and everything in between.”

He believes in getting dirty, getting wet. According to his lyrics, raising hell is a noble pursuit and not always easy. It takes stamina and a self-serving carpe diem mindset. Industry buzz is Andrew W.K. shares more of a fan base with Eminem than speed metal junkies.

“(Our music is about) embracing life and other people,” he said, “and coming together as a party in celebration of possibilities, potential and opportunity. It’s an explosion of human life.”

Andrew W.K. explodes on 8150’s stage tonight after opening bands Plan B and Most Precious Blood play. Doors open at 8 p.m.; music begins at 9 p.m. Tickets are $8. For more information call 8150 at 479-0607.

Wren Wertin can be reached via e-mail at wrenw@vaildaily.com or phone at 949-0555 ext. 618.


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