The professional partier gets serious about love and sex.
Andrew WK, née Andrew Wilkes-Krier, is a complicated dude. He's famous for his raucous rock anthems, but he's a classically trained musician with deep roots in the Michigan noise scene. He’s BFF with Lil Bub, the Internet famous perma-kitten who's got her own Animal Planet TV show, but he was also friends and collaborators with the late Dave Brockie of GWAR.
You'd assume from the arena-style shows he plays around the world that his audience is made up of head-banging heshers or baseball cap-wearing bros, but a live Andrew WK show is sort of like joining a really awesome, sweaty, joyous cult. He also gives really good, thoughtful advice. In the years since he sprang "I Get Wet" on an unsuspecting public, Andrew WK has gone from that bloody-nosed prankster to a hip life coach doling out advice in self-help talks and, most recently, his Village Voice column. Andrew WK rang up Nerve to talk about sex, giving advice, and how to have a marriage that lasts.
Nerve: I'm really enjoying your advice column lately. Are the majority of your questions about love and sex specifically, do you think?
Andrew WK:They do seem to be the most common questions. I'm not sure if just the idea of an advice column causes people to ask those questions specifically because they're used to seeing those questions asked when they read other people's questions and answers, or if that's [just true of] advice columns in general, or if that's just what people want to ask about. But I also get questions about, I guess, jobs, life, moving to new places, trying to pursue different dreams and goals.
You're talking about experiences that you might not necessarily relate to. You've definitely embraced things like Bronies (the guys into My Little Pony) you tweeted a photo of your “fursona” — those are definitely things that people make fun of and think are silly.
Yeah, I understand that. Sometimes things that are slightly unfamiliar can make people uncomfortable, and they joke around about it and try to make themselves feel less threatened or perplexed by it. But at the same time, from my experiences interacting with those communities, they're just very nice people. Again, it's just the kind of situation where they're just very friendly, kind people that hope that other people will treat them kindly, and I try to do that.
How do you and your wife Cherie Lily maintain a monogamous relationship when you're both so busy and traveling around the world? Not to assume that it's monogamous.
Yeah, no, it is. That's very important to both of us. I don't know, it doesn't seem that hard at all for me. It's just not something that I've ever done in any relationship in terms of cheating or having to be with a lot of different people. To me, that was always very tiring, so once you cannot have to chase that anymore, it's also very satisfying and you can put your energy into being with one person in a very dedicated, devoted but also effortless way.
I read the 33 1/3 book about you, and one thing that I thought was really funny was that Dave Grohl said his girlfriend at the time thought the photo of you with the bloody nose was really hot, and he was kind of jealous. Is that a common reaction that girls like that?
No, definitely not. Most people think the photo is — not ugly, but just off-putting because of all the blood. So, that was an unusual reaction. But it was still very nice, and I appreciated it as a compliment.
I found your piece about “My Destiny.” What would your advice be to your teenage self about what happened? Or a fan who's feeling the same way about a crush?
Just go for it. Just remember that your feelings might not be shared or returned, and try not to take it too personally, but if it is very personal just keep a sense of humor about the whole situation or about life in general. And at the same time, don't be afraid to go after someone. It's just once they make it clear that they're not interested, it is best to leave them alone.
Sex is definitely kind of the most intense experiences we can have. Do you have any sex tips that you'd like to share?
Like, how to have sex?
Well, just how to have a healthy sex life.
Because people have so many different preferences and ways about how much they sort of see it as a center point of their life… It is puzzling because not only is it intense, but it's the only reason that we are here at all is because our parents had sex, so we're completely dependent on it for our own existence. We're a result of it. But you also hope that you can have other things that you can do with your time besides being bound up in that, whether you're chasing after it or trying to think about it all the time. It's the most important and in some ways the least important thing in my life. But it's fun and it feels good, so, I say, do it as much as you possibly can.
Now you're really settled down, but when you were single and traveling around the world, was that a different experience? Did you have a lot of female fans coming onto you?
Not so much. Certainly not as much as most other musicians. I don't know exactly why that was, maybe just because [of] the blood. Yeah, the blood and just the dirty white clothes and all that. That was never a big part of my touring experience, but a couple times I did have a one-night stand with a very nice lady. But I don't know, I just thought it was very intense to be with someone that you don't know at all and not see them again. It just all seemed, yeah, just really, really intense. Not scared, but almost more like a sad feeling.
A sad feeling?
Yeah, it made me feel kind of sad to have one-night stands and stuff like that. Not sad that it happened but just if you like someone that much, I'd like to see them again, you know?
Totally. Yeah, I think it's hard because it's — I mean, no matter how you slice it, hopefully it's an intimate experience and it's hard not to hope that it's meaningful in some way and not just sort of blind fumbling and weirdness, you know?
Yeah, fumbling is a good way to put it. I had a good friend who was married for many years and got divorced recently, and he was really excited — obviously, he was very upset and it was a very painful experience, but he was excited about being able to have intimate relationships with other women and sort of delve into a series of one-night stands, and he said they were just terrible. They were fumbling and embarrassing and not very good. And he's like oh, [this is] why it's better to practice doing this with someone for a while, and then you can get better at it.
Totally. I mean, I've been single a lot of my adult life, living in New York City, and it's hard. It's not easy. You never know where the other person is coming from.
Yeah. And then there's the whole disease aspect of it, which is no fun. It's not quite worth it to me. But that's also what's good about sexuality is that you can actually have a sex life without being with anybody, whether it's through obviously masturbation, self-pleasure, or through pornography or through encounters that somehow can lessen the unpleasant or dangerous aspects of it. It wasn't an issue in the '60s and the '50s. When I talked to my parents about this, they said, yeah, that this wasn't a big deal and people had unprotected sex all the time and were usually okay. And now, you can be really hurt by it just from the disease part, so you have to be careful about that.
At the same time, you read a lot about people who are living in a major city like New York and just not using condoms, just kind of like, well, whatever. And that kind of blows my mind.
I know. I don't know what to think about it, either. And I've done it, too, you know? I've had unprotected sex with people I didn't know that well. They were very nice and clean, and I actually was lucky and didn't get any diseases from these women. But anything could have happened, and it's just crazy to me that I even took that risk. But what's part of the excitement is that it's dangerous in all these different ways. So, that's what I did. There's no such thing as safe sex because even if you have safe sex in terms of a condom and making sure you don't get a disease, it's still a very exposing and intense event.
This interview has been edited and condensed. Google Voice is evil.
Image via mehan jayasuriya.