Gonzales challenges Andrew WK to piano battle


Andrew WK: party enthusiast, avant-garde pianist, dietitian.

It's the most civil we've ever seen Chilly Gonzales, the irascible prank rapper/piano virtuoso who recently nabbed the Guinness Record for longest continual piano playing (27 hours). He's also the Canadian expatriate who found a mildly derisive Gimme Noise post about his feat, in which we smirkingly compared him to our own Mark Mallman, and left a pretty pungent comment.

And now, Gonzales has publicly thrown down the gauntlet to party rock's Man In White for a piano battle (or collaboration) at Joe's Pub in New York City.

If it's half as good as the piano battle between Donald and Daffy Duck in Who Framed Roger Rabbit, it'll be well worth the airfare (we strongly advise Andrew to keep a cannon in the body of his baby grand, just to be safe).

We've been pretty open about our admiration for both artists-- admirations which are separate but equal (nevermind the social implications there). And though we are well aware of Andrew WK's classical credentials (trained since age five), and have good things to say about his most recent album Cadillac 55 (an album of solo piano improv), there's really no denying that when it comes to pure chops as a pianist, Gonzales is the quickdraw here.

It pains us to say it, but any piano competition between the two would be woefully one sided. Gonzales is the Bobby Fischer of music; the undeniable virtuoso, whose personality is more often a matter to be overlooked than admired. Mr. Wilkes-Krier? Just the opposite--a solidly capable musician whose unending good will manages to beat you into willful submission.

Here's hoping Gonzales is sincere in his offer for collaboration--to hear Gonzales' concert level precision against WK's no-holds-barred musical improvisation would be an unforgettable listening experience to be sure.

And if, indeed, Mr. Gonzales finds his way onto Gimme Noise and begins to flirt with the comments section once more, we'll have no choice but to challenge him to a friendly game of Mumblety Peg. Battle or collaboration? There's only one way to find out.