Calling Andrew W. K.


Hard to believe it's been nearly four years since The Man In White "released" Close Calls with Brick Walls, his double-disc Asia-only opus which some of us in the Gimme Noise dungeon regard as the best rock and roll album of the last 20 years.

Even harder to believe that his next project, 55 Cadillac, will not feature any of the crushing guitars, party anthems, or love-of-life overtures of his last three albums, and will instead be a work of solo piano composition and improvisation.

To get the scoop on what Mr. Wilkes-Krier has been up to, we scoured our sources, the willing with the unwilling, and decided to give him a ring on this lovely June lunch hour.

Andrew W. K. makes a mish mash of Bach.

Ok. So the number is posted on his Myspace page. And it connects directly to a voice mail. And the mailbox is full.

But still-- Andrew W. K. is enough of an eccentric that we thought there was an outside chance that he just might pick up. Alack, he didn't. But his outgoing message was a lovely affirmation that kept us plodding through this slushpile of promotional CDs and Tweets with a gleam in our eye.

Here it is, verbatim:

Hello this is Andrew W.K. Thanks very much for calling me. You've reached 212-714-4646, located in beautiful Manhattan, New York City, U.S.A. I wanna thank you for enjoying yourself. Assuming you are, you're doing the right thing. The point of your day today is to do what you want to do, and do it all the way. That's the way I play, and that's all I've got to say. Thank you again for calling. This has been Andrew W. K.

The voice mail is just one of many ways to find Andrew W. K.'s inspirational and oddly unnerving missives. His website is updated daily, and he's very active on Twitter. Today's post? "The state of the world is the state of our mind and imagination! As J.L. said, imagine how you want it to be, and then live it that way!!!

Given W.K.'s penchant for protein shakes and personal fitness, we assume that J.L. stands for Jack LaLanne , the father of modern fitness.

The point of all this? Go get Close Calls With Brick Walls by any means necessary before 55 Cadillac comes along and really starts flipping wigs. It may be the last glimpse we get of W.K.'s turn as an anthemic virtuoso of rock and roll.