Fans can always expect the unexpected from madcap New York mega-rocker Andrew W.K. He just started the label Skyscraper Music Maker, filmed the Cartoon Network show “Destroy Built Destroy” and launched Manhattan nightclub Santos Party House. W.K. contrasts the monolithic sound of his 2001 “I Get Wet” debut with “55 Cadillac,” a new set of solo piano improvisations he’s re-creating in concert with the Calder Quartet on Wednesday at the Swedish American Hall.
So you’ve also become a motivational speaker? Yeah. And I formally started in 2005, I guess. I landed my first lecture at New York University and I’ve been doing it ever since at colleges and regular venues. It’s been a really unexpected and amazing way to perform.
What message do you convey? I try to do my message rather than say it. And the message is the mode of delivery as much as anything else, which is just a person doing what they want to do. It’s about figuring out what you really want to do and the believing that you actually can do it. I live in that state of freedom, so I thought I’d do whatever I could to provide that for other folks.
But don’t you ever get depressed? For sure. Everybody has different moods they go through. But when I’ve felt sad, I’ve wanted to feel sad — it wasn’t forced upon me, it was a choice. And it’s really much more enjoyable if you revel in it. So I decided that I wanted to get to place where I could watch my life like it’s a movie that I’m getting to live.
You played classical piano at age 4. Is your new album a regression? The whole point of it was not to regress, but to just play the piano. And not even play anything that was supposed to be good or impressive, but to just play and see what happened. And it was a very scary feeling. I wanted to dismantle everything, just to see if I could withstand the terror of it all.
Do you own a ’55 Cadillac? Well, I did — that car you see on the CD cover. But I sold it right after we did that photo shoot, just because it was so over the top. Just driving it down the street was the most intense thing I’ve ever done. And trying to find a place to park, especially in Manhattan? Now that was a true odyssey!
IF YOU GO
Andrew W.K. with the Calder Quartet
- Where: Swedish American Hall, 2170 Market St., San Francisco
- When: 8 p.m. Wednesday
- Tickets: $25
- Contact: www.ticketweb.com