Early life & career
Andrew Wilkes-Krier was born in Stanford, California, and grew up in Ann Arbor, Michigan. At age 4, he began learning classical piano at The University of Michigan School of Music. He attended the private college preparatory Greenhills School for middle school before attending the alternative Community High School from 1993–1997, where he studied jazz keyboard. His father is Professor James E. Krier, a well-known legal scholar at the University of Michigan Law School ...
Early life & career
Andrew Wilkes-Krier was born in Stanford, California, and grew up in Ann Arbor, Michigan. At age 4, he began learning classical piano at The University of Michigan School of Music. He attended the private college preparatory Greenhills School for middle school before attending the alternative Community High School from 1993–1997, where he studied jazz keyboard. His father is Professor James E. Krier, a well-known legal scholar at the University of Michigan Law School and co-author of the widely used Dukeminier & Krier Property casebook.
In 1993, when he was 14, Andrew joined the band Slam, later to be called Reverse Polarity. His first public recording, "Mr. Surprise", came out on a compilation released by the Westside Audio Laboratories label (now known as Ypsilanti Records) out of Ypsilanti, Michigan. Over the next 5 years he was in many different bands in Michigan such as Lab Lobotomy, The Pterodactyls, Music Band, Mr. Velocity Hopkins, The Incredibly Small Men, Kathode, The Portly Boys, Kangoo, The Beast People, Stormy Rodent, a later iteration of Scheme, the Malt Lickers, Isis and Werewolves, and Sucking Coeds. In 1994 he also started a group called Ancient Art of Boar, later making it a solo project titled AAB, which ended in 1998, when Andrew moved from Ypsilanti to New York City.
Later in 1998, his first official solo record as Andrew Wilkes-Krier, titled Room To Breathe, was released on the Brighton (later Ann Arbor) label Hanson Records. The release was cassette-only and only 35 copies were made. Another tape, titled You Are What You Eat was supposed to be released shortly after, but the masters went missing. That same year, he appeared on the Hanson Records compilation Labyrinths & Jokes. The track appearing on the compilation was a portion of the soundtrack Andrew made for Poltergeist, a movie made by Aaron Dilloway and himself. The whole soundtrack also went missing for over 10 years, but it too has recently re-surfaced.
In 2000, he released his first EP, AWKGOJ on Bulb Records, which would be the first solo release under the Andrew W.K. name (he appeared under the name on a Wolf Eyes EP earlier that year). He released one more EP on this label, Party Til You Puke, before moving on to Island Def Jam.
Andrew released his first album on Island, I Get Wet, in 2001. The album is known for its cover art: a photo of Andrew W.K. with a stream of blood running from his nose onto his chin and neck. I Get Wet soon rose to the #1 position on Billboard's 'Heatseekers' list. Andrew W.K. joined Ozzy Osbourne's Ozzfest that summer. The track "Party Hard" was featured as the lead track for EA Sports video game Madden NFL 2003 and on the Girls Gone Wild Music Volume 1 CD, and is the subject of a popular internet meme (its repetition of the words "party hard" ad nauseam made it an ideal caption for animated .gif images). The opening track, "It's Time To Party", was featured in commercials for the video game NASCAR Thunder 2004, Hotwire.com, Coors Beer, Expedia.com, and several movie and TV soundtracks. The song "Fun Night" was used in the Will Ferrell movie Old School. "She Is Beautiful" was used in the movies Freaky Friday, American Pie: Band Camp and Out Cold, as well as in early Nintendo GameCube advertisements. His track "Don't Stop Living in the Red" is featured in a Target commercial. The song has been played at the kickoff of every Saint John's football game since 2003. It was also featured during KSDK-TV's coverage of the St. Louis Cardinals in 2005. In 2002, he and Alec Rominger re-recorded his song "We Want Fun" from AWKGOJ for the soundtrack of Jackass: The Movie that also had a video made, filmed and directed by Jeff Tremaine with additional camera work by Spike Jonze.
In late 2003, W.K. released The Wolf. The album featured Andrew playing all the instruments on the recording (he had his full live band play on I Get Wet). It spawned the singles "Tear it Up" and "Never Let Down" in the US (both had videos made, but only "Tear It Up" had a full retail single released) and the song "Long Live the Party" was a minor hit in Japan. "The Wolf" has many overdubbed instrument parts.
The Wolf was not as commercially successful as I Get Wet. On tour for The Wolf, Andrew was injured on stage and broke his foot. After the concert, he signed autographs from the ambulance. Not wanting to let his fans down, he performed the remainder of the tour in a wheelchair.
A live-concert DVD entitled Who Knows? was released in February 2006. Similar to his audio recording the DVD combined many sources into single events - a technique Andrew refers to as "Synch Stacking". Andrew presented five screenings of the movie in New York City and Hollywood, in February and April, 2006. He also attended a screening of the movie at the University of Michigan Law School, presented by his father.
In March 2006, during an episode of Sex Pistols' guitarist Steve Jones' radio show, "Jonesy's Jukebox", Andrew W.K. debuted a new song, "I'm A Vagabond". A different version of the song was eventually released as a square 7" single (with the songs, "Doing Andrew W.K." and "Let's Go On A Date" - released by BSM on February 15, 2010). "I'm A Vagabond" was also included on the "Mother of Mankind" rare and unreleased album (February, 2010).
On November 26, 2008, Universal Music released three new Andrew W.K. collections. The first CD was brand new album of J-Pop covers entitled, The Japan Covers. The second CD is a Greatest Hits Compilation entitled, The Very Best So Far, which includes a previously unreleased song, "Party (You Shout!)". Both new releases are also available as a combined 2-disc package entitled, Premium Collection.
On September 9, 2009 Andrew W.K. released a Japan-only album called Gundam Rock. The album consists of covered music from the legendary Gundam anime TV series to celebrate its 30th Anniversary in Japan.
On the same date, he also simultaneously released 55 Cadillac, an album of improvised piano pieces. Writing about the release of 55 Cadillac Andrew wrote, "I wanted this new 55 CADILLAC album to sound like freedom. The sound of a piano being played by a free man – nothing more, nothing less."
On March 23, 2010, Andrew released a two disc set, Close Calls With Brick Walls / Mother of Mankind. The two albums contain 39 tracks total, and come packaged in a slipcase. The Close Calls With Brick Walls album had originally been released in 2006, but only in Japan (by Universal Music Group), and in South Korea (by Dope Entertainment). A limited edition gatefold double vinyl LP version of "Close Calls With Brick Walls" was released in 2007 by the US label, Load Records. The Mother of Mankind album features rare and unreleased tracks spanning the years 1999 to 2010.
To accompany this set, it was announced he would be featured as a headliner at the 2010 Warped Tour for the entire tour. It will be his first time to do so, since 2002.
In June 2010 Andrew released a music video for the single "I Want To See You Go Wild" off the Close Calls With Brick Walls album. The video was made by director Peter Glantz.
Self-help and motivational performance
In 2005, Andrew announced that he would begin performing as a self-help, new age motivational speaker. He accepted invitations to speak at Yale University, New York University, The University of Wisconsin, Carnegie Mellon University, The Cooper Union, Missouri Western State University, and Northeastern University.
During 2007, Andrew performed a series of unpredictable happenings as part of his "One Man Show" tour. Each event began with Andrew improvising on the piano alone on a stage before they frequently evolved into giant parties, with most of the audience dancing on stage with Andrew, themselves playing the piano and singing the lyrics.
In March 2007, The New York Times put Andrew on the front page of its Arts section, in a feature article on Andrew's lectures. In 2008, Andrew's self-help work led to his second appearance as a sit-down guest on Late Night With Conan O'Brien. In November 2008, Time magazine called him "truly cute."
Outside of his solo work, Andrew also performs with and produces music for the avant-garde ensemble To Live and Shave in L.A.. He first appeared on the band's 2004 release "God and Country Rally!". He co-produced their 2006 studio album Noon and Eternity, and appears on the group's other 2006 release, the "chronological remix" project Horoscopo: Sanatorio de Molière.
In late 2006, Andrew re-worked his song "Fun Night" into a theme song for the Arizona Sundogs, a hockey team. The song was titled "Sundogs (It Just Got Hotter)". The song "Fun Night" also appeared in the film Old School during one of the party scenes.
Andrew was also a judge for the 5th and 10th annual Independent Music Awards to support independent artists' careers.
On July the 7th 2007 (7/7/07) at 7:07 PM, Andrew appeared as one of the 77 drummers in the 77 Boadrum concert held at the Empire-Fulton Ferry State Park in Brooklyn, New York which was organized by Japanese noise rock group Boredoms.
In September 2007 Andrew's piano playing was featured on a jazz fusion CD release "électricité" with Mike Pachelli on guitar, Rich Russo on drums, and Dennis Harding on bass for Los Angeles based Fullblast Recordings (2007).
Andrew has also performed and recorded electric bass guitar for the artist Baby Dee, whom he met while playing live as the bassist of Current 93. Andrew played bass and drums on Dee's "Safe Inside The Day" album, and performed with her group at a 2008 show Manhattan. Andrew has performed bass guitar with Current 93 at the Donau Festival in Krems, Austria in April 2007, the UK All Tomorrow's Parties festival in May 2007, and the European tour in April 2008.
On Friday, December 5, 2008, an Andrew W.K. fan named Dominic Owen Mallary died after an accident while his band Last Lights performed at Boston University. Dominic had always said that he wanted to have Andrew W.K. play during his funeral. After several friends of Dominic emailed him, Andrew came to the wake, and played classical piano for the entire time after paying his respects.
Andrew has formed a group The Brill Sisters with guitarist Matt Sweeney and producer Don Fleming. They played their first show (without Fleming) at Santos Party House on April 2, 2009. The entire group performed together on April 21, 2009.
 TV and film appearances
Andrew has made multiple appearances on MTV, MTV2, and VH1, hosting shows such as The Most Outrageous Frontmen, with Johnny Knoxville and Backstage Pass at the Warped Tour. Andrew was the focus of a televised live performance at Cleveland's Rock 'N' Roll Hall of Fame, broadcast on MTV. He's also made appearances on the shows, I Love The 90's, I Love The New Millennium, Black To The Future, I Love The Holidays, The Great Debate, Best Week Ever and The Osbournes. Andrew was also featured on a popular MTV show called Crashing With Andrew W.K., which documented Andrew's visit to a girl's dorm at North Carolina Central University.
In 2004, Andrew had a television show on MTV2 titled Your Friend, Andrew W.K.. In the series, fans would write letters to Andrew, asking for his help. Andrew would pick certain letters and go to visit them. The series lasted for 11 episodes, each about 9 or 10 minutes in length. During the filming of the show, Andrew was in a car crash but sustained no serious injuries.
Andrew has performed on TV shows such as Late Night with Conan O'Brien, Last Call with Carson Daly, Saturday Night Live, and the Spike TV Video Game Awards. His most recent performance was with Bonnie 'Prince' Billy on Late Night with Conan O'Brien. He recently had a cameo in the show Aqua Teen Hunger Force, singing "Party Party Party", a song that combines elements of multiple previous Andrew W.K. songs. The song was released on Aqua Teen Hunger Force Colon Movie Film for Theaters the Soundtrack. Andrew's only confirmed movie role is in Punk Rock Holocaust, playing himself.
Andrew was also featured on the finale of the third season of Kathy Griffin: My Life on the D-List as Kathy's date in New York. The two attended one of Andrew's performance art shows.
Late Night with Conan O'Brien has twice featured Andrew as a sit-down interview guest—the first in 2003 to speak about the Your Friend, Andrew W.K. show, and then again in 2007, to speak about his motivational performance tours.
Andrew is a frequent guest on the Fox News late-night program, Red Eye w/ Greg Gutfeld.
Andrew has also been a featured interviewer and guest on The Daily Show, DirecTV, and mobile telephone network, GoTV.
Andrew also appears on the vocal-instructional DVD The Zen of Screaming.
In the summer of 2009, the Cartoon Network announced that Andrew would be hosting and creating music for a new live-action TV program called, Destroy Build Destroy. The show features Andrew working with two teams of teenagers, competing to "blow stuff up and use the wreckage to build amazing machines". The show premiered on June 20, 2009,. The second season premiered on Wednesday, February 24, 2010 at 8:30PM, ranking #1 in their timeslot among boys 6-11 on all television. In early 2011, Cartoon Network confirmed they were beginning production on a third season of the show.
Cartoon Network also used Andrew W.K. in a music video about the network's new live-action shows. The song and video, "Hearing What I Say" (adapted from Andrew's 2006 song, "Not Going to Bed") aired extensively on Cartoon Network and was available on YouTube. Later the clip was replaced by another bumper. In 2011, Andrew was part of a pyrotechnic stunt with motocross superstar Robbie Maddison performing a backflip on his motorcycle while Andrew presented the event for Cartoon Network's Hall of Game Awards.
In addition to producing his own music on the albums I Get Wet, The Wolf and Close Calls with Brick Walls, Andrew has continued to expand his musical output to include producing and mixing music for other artists as well as working on special commercial and corporate music projects. These include the production of music exclusively for commercial use on television and radio.
In 2008, Andrew gained new notoriety for recording a song called "The McLaughlin Groove", based on an exchange between Pat Buchanan and John McLaughlin on the political television show The McLaughlin Group. The song was commissioned by the Public Radio International show Fair Game, on which Andrew has appeared for interviews.
In 2004, Andrew recorded a television jingle for Kit Kat candy bars, and rewrote their trademark "Give Me A Break" slogan into a new song. The recording appeared in a variety of 30 second, 45 second, and 1 minute commercials, broadcast on television worldwide.
"I avoided working with other people for many years, partly out of paranoia, and partly out of an earnest desire to stand on my own. After a while, I got tired of thinking that way, and it just seemed natural to do the opposite of what I had done before. I like making music with other people. I can still make music by myself too.".
Andrew's earliest external production work was with the group Wolf Eyes, on their now out-of-print 12" EP Fortune Dove. The last track on that album, "what kind of band?" features Andrew W.K. on vocals explaining why he enjoys listening to Wolf Eyes. Since then, he's chosen to work on a select and seemingly random set of projects. Most recently, he completed production and mixing on the album, Through The Panama, by Brooklyn, NY based three-piece art rock band, Sightings. The album was jointly released by Load Records and Thurston Moore's Ecstatic Peace! label in October 2007.
At the end of 2007 Andrew accepted an invitation to produce a new album, Repentance, for veteran reggae artist Lee "Scratch" Perry. The two had met when Andrew interviewed Perry for DirecTV. "Repentance" was nominated for "Best Reggae Album" in the 2009 Grammy Awards.
On February 20, 2008, Andrew released an exclusive ringtone commissioned by Universal Music Japan for the Japanese mobile phone market. The song is called, "Sonnna no Kankei Ne Rock", which celebrates a then popular catch-phrase by a TV Talent, "Sonna no Kankei Ne, Hai Oppappi!" This translates to, "I Don't Give A Damn, Yes Oppappi!" The ringtone was first announced on a Japanese national T.V. program called Music Station and had over 3,500 downloads that day. Cumulative sales of ringtone are over 20,000. Andrew's song debuted at No.1 in Label Mobile's International daily ringtone chart. Label Mobile is the biggest mobile retailer in Japan.
Nightclub and live music venue
In Spring of 2008, Andrew and three partners opened a multi-level nightclub and live concert hall in downtown Manhattan, New York City. The venue is named Santos Party House, and features 8,000 square feet (740 m2) of dance floor and concert facilities, and over 150 loud-speakers. The space is designed for disco dancing and live music. It was one of the few new venues in New York City to be granted a liquor license and a cabaret license. The cabaret license means people can legally dance until 4am. Since opening, Santos Party House has received numerous awards, including: The People's Choice Award for Best Night Club, Best New Club, Best DJ Night (from Paper Magazine), Best New Dance Floor (from The Village Voice), and many more. In May 2009, Andrew and his work with Santos was the subject of an extensive four page article in New York Magazine. In 2010, the world famous Zagat Survey rated Santos Party House the "Top Dance Club" in all of New York City.
In February 2009, Andrew found a loophole in his contractual constraints and formed the record label, "Skyscraper Music Maker", based in London, England and Manhattan, New York City, United States. The label is manufactured and distributed exclusively by the UK based, Cargo Records. The first release for the label was the promotional compilation CD, "DAMN! The Mixtape Vol. 1", featuring Andrew's work as a producer for Skyscraper Music Maker artists, Bad Brilliance, Aleister X, and Cherie Lily and music by New York producer, DJ B-Roc. The CD was released in the UK on May 25, 2009, and on digital download sites like iTunes and Amazon.
The second release on the Skyscraper Music Maker label was Andrew's album of "spontaneous solo piano improvisations", entitled 55 CADILLAC, on September 9, 2009. This was Andrew's first album made "by himself", as he told the UK newspaper, The Guardian.
The third release on the label was the debut 12" EP from artist, Aleister X. The EP was called Bangers & Beans, and featured four songs written by Aleister X and produced by Andrew W.K. The EP was released on November 10, 2009. In May 2010, it was announced that Aleister X would be releasing a second EP, The Git.
In late 2009, the Louise Harland Corporation (LHC) went into heated negotiations with Andrew's management and the owners of the first "Andrew W.K. record label", Skyscraper Music Maker, based in London, England. LHC fought to take control of the label, after Skycraper released Andrew's 2009 solo piano album, 55 Cadillac - which was recorded with their involvement - but sold without their permission. LHC demanded credit on each future Skyscraper release, among other financial stipulations. As a result, the Skyscraper Music Maker label name was changed to "STEEV MIKE"
In March, 2010, the newly named STEEV MIKE label presented its first official release: the repackaged 2-disc version of Andrew's 2006 album, Close Calls With Brick Walls. In September, 2010, it was announced that Cherie Lily would be releasing her debut EP WERK, on the STEEV MIKE label, which features her original song and six remixes.
In March 2011, Andrew released a new EP entitled Party All Goddamn Night. It consists of five new tracks and two previously released singles.
"Steev Mike" accusation
Rumors suggest that another person, known as "Steev Mike", is behind Andrew W.K.'s music. The rumors began in late 2001 with the release of Andrew's first album, I Get Wet, when music critics and industry insiders like Gary Mullholand (of the Guardian) and Ryan Schreiber (of Pitchfork) accused Andrew W.K. of being a corporate construction.
In late 2000, an article in UK magazine Dazed & Confused featured a full-page story on "Steev Mike", but showed a photo and discography of "Andrew W.K.". In April 2001, Bulb records (who had released the first AWK record), made a page with lots of references to Steev Mike where it would later be changed to "Andrew WK". The name, "Steev Mike" was listed as "Executive Producer" on Andrew's first album I Get Wet in 2001, and again in 2006 on Andrew's DVD Who Knows and third album, Close Calls With Brick Walls. Steev Mike was not credited on the second album, "The Wolf", released in 2003.
A series of websites appeared in November 2004, supposedly created by someone calling himself "Steev Mike", consisting of easily decipherable coded messages. These messages included references to the Creative Artists Agency, a casting agency, and promises to reveal something. In the final message, a letter addressed directly to Andrew W.K., "Steev Mike" stated: "You know how much I believe in you and all that you stand for, because I stood for it first. You know how much I love your music, because I created it. You know that I love the way you look and act and talk and sing and dance because it was born in my brain." The message goes on to say: "Your recent efforts to exclude me from the 3rd album material will not be tolerated. I did not work for the last year on these new songs in order to have you break promises." and later: "If you refuse to comply, I will have no choice but to let the world know that you’re a backstabbing fraud."
Andrew W.K.'s official website also appeared to have been hacked during the same period, with someone leaving the same coded messages, taunting and insulting users.
It is unclear who was behind these messages, but they provoked a statement by Andrew himself, addressing the confusion, posted on his official website. In the statement, addressed "Dear everyone", he wrote, "PLEASE DON'T BELIEVE STEEV MIKE. I USED TO CALL MYSELF STEEV MIKE A LONG TIME AGO AND IT'S NOTHING NOW. Someone is trying to confuse you and make me look bad."
In March 2006, a 1992 Bulb Records 7" 45 recorded under the name "Steev Mike" was discovered. The tracks on the record were found to be from another Bulb band known as Couch.
In May 2009 Andrew discussed the "Steev Mike" rumors once in an interview with British magazine, Front. In the interview he stated, "Steev Mike is the executive producer on my first album. The nature of how we presented my initial offerings caused some confusion, even though I tried to make it as straightforward as possible". He also added, "most of what you've heard is exaggerated but the parts that are true may be more disturbing than you'd hoped".
According to corporate records filed with the Secretary of State of Michigan, "Andrew W.K. Inc." filed a certificate of assumed name on May 28, 2010 to transact business under the name "Steev Mike." Also according to corporate filings in Michigan, Andrew Wilkes-Krier is the president and sole officer of "Andrew W.K. Inc." and has been since the corporation's first annual report was filed in April 2000 if not earlier. "Andrew W.K. Inc." was formed in December 1999.
In September 2009, writing in the British newspaper, The Guardian, Andrew apparently acknowledged the "Steev Mike" website hacking: "At the end of 2004, an old friend of mine got in some business trouble and basically decided to take it out on me. To cut a long story short, this person is someone I worked very closely with and had a formal and family business relationship with. Due to various complaints this person had with me, they were able to turn my life and career upside down. I wasn't allowed to use my own name within certain areas of the US entertainment industry and we were in a debate about who owned the rights to my image, and who should get credit for "inventing" it. This made my life complicated and intense for a few years, but I kept working and doing whatever I could to keep moving forward."
In December 2009, a lecture recorded at Madame Jojo's in London in September 2008 was published online. In it Andrew W.K. claimed that the Andrew W.K. persona was created by a committee including himself, his father, and other individuals, and that he was the "next person playing Andrew W.K." Claiming, "I'm not the guy you've seen from the I Get Wet album... I'm not that same person. I don't just mean that in a philosophical or conceptual way. It's not the same person at all." Andrew W.K. later went on to clarify that he believed that he, as well as his fans that have followed him since the original album, have become "different people."
He went further on to say: "Andrew W.K. was created by a large group of people. They met, and I was there, and we talked about how we could come up with something that would move people. It was done in the spirit of commerce. It was done in the spirit of entertainment, which usually goes hand in hand with commerce. I was auditioned, along side many other people, to fill this role of a 'great frontman', 'a great performer'. On the one hand it may be a little scary to admit this to you all, that I may not be exactly who you thought I was, and that the guy who was, in fact, first hired as Andrew W.K. is a different person than the guy sitting here on the stage tonight. I'm the next person who is playing Andrew W.K."
Finally, in an interview before the performance he said, "I thought it would be more interesting if my secret history was revealed after the fact rather than as a precursor".
On January 3, 2010, apparently in response to criticism to his previous statements, Andrew W.K. published an article on his official website declaring, "I am a real person who thinks for himself and am not the victim of anyone or group of people trying to influence my career or life. I take responsibility for everything in my life, including who I work for and what happens to me because of it. Just because a person has mentors or advisers doesn't mean they don't have their own brain and soul. And just because I work with other people who advise me doesn't mean that I am a puppet for an evil cult or have some sort of master plan."
"Ask Andrew WK Anything"
On February 14, 2010, Andrew WK hosted an event at Santos Party House in New York, where members of the public could ask him anything they liked. At the event W.K. admitted he could not answer certain questions, and that "when I agreed to do this, in 1999 or 2000, no one anticipated this level of questioning and doubt". He also stated that "I am Andrew W.K., the same that has been here from the beginning... I am... I am, I am the same Andrew W.K. at this appearance as at all Andrew W.K.-related appearances."
Andrew has said in interviews that his parents sent him to a child psychologist following exploits in arson, baseball card forgery, mail fraud and following the composition of a controversial song about his school mate whom Andrew had a crush on. The song eventually earned Andrew a juvenile restraining order which lasted until he was 21.
On October 4, 2008, Andrew married Cherie Pourtabib (also known as Cherie Lily), four years after the couple met. They were introduced by their heavy-metal voice teacher. Andrew currently resides in Midtown Manhattan, in New York City.
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|Real name||Andrew Fetterly Wilkes Krier|
|Birthday||9 May, 1979|
|Main occupation||singer/actor (active)|
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