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Hotstar


12:00 AM Monday, 5/13/02 |   |

If you follow only one rule when going to see Andrew W.K. live, make sure it's the one about not climbing onstage unless he knows you're there.

"This guy jumped onstage and I didn't see him and I slammed my head into the back of his head," Andrew told POLLSTAR. "He was fine because I hit the strong part of his head."

Andrew didn't fare quite as well. He finished the show (of course), but had to go to the hospital that night. The party rocker's head was bashed and his face underwent some new landscaping. Luckily, his skull was not fractured and there was no swelling in his brain.

However, "I had these convulsions that lasted, well actually ever since. I still get them maybe once a week now, a little shake. About a week after that, I had these real severe shakes that lasted for, like, 24 hours where it was, like, rapid fire.

"I never actually went and saw a doctor but if it comes back, I will," he said. "I played a show the next day so that lets you know how severe it was."

CAA agent Darryl Eaton's first encounter with Andrew W.K. (Wilkes-Krier) was when manager Trevor Silmser sent him a CD and photo kit. The reaction was not unlike that experienced by nearly everybody who hears him for the first time.

He put the CD in his stereo and "just as I did that, Rick (Roskin, fellow CAA agent) was walking by and heard the music and was like, 'Dude! This is great. It's so different. We gotta call this guy NOW!'

"Mike Greek (of Helter Skelter, Andrew's European agent) called me and said, 'I heard you're meeting with him. He's great, man. You gotta get there; it's like awesome!' It's rare for another agent to call you and tell you to check something out. But he was obviously too excited about it to keep it to himself," Eaton told POLLSTAR.

When POLLSTAR tracked Andrew down, he was in Buffalo, N.Y., relaxing before playing the last of four MTV2 Presents gigs in the state. Four days earlier, he was the musical guest on "Saturday Night Live."

For Andrew, a former New Yorker, part of the experience was the fulfillment of a long- held goal.

"It was always my dream to play for people that knew the songs and wanted to hear them like I would. And that dream has come true," he said.

In high school, Andrew played in Detroit punk and metal bands before making his way to the Big Apple to chase his future.

The only problem: He didn't know anybody who had time to be in a band.

Regardless, the early 20-something performer decided to soldier on solo. The performance he devised, playing a CD of his music while dancing wildly, playing keyboard and singing, earned him a name as much for its kookiness as its high energy level.

Eventually, a tape made its way to Dave Grohl and Andrew was signed on to open a couple of Foo Fighters shows, though he still didn't have a band.

"I was trying to basically fill up the stage as much as I could, so I was running laps back and forth, spinning in circles as fast as I could. Those who I could make eye contact with I think had a great time and the rest thought it was about the dumbest thing they'd ever seen.

"And you know what? I probably would have too, but it would've made me smile," he said.

He eventually was able to bring together some of his favorite musicians to form a band. When things began moving forward, Andrew asked Silmser, a friend and former publicist at Nasty Little Man, to take on a full-time role as manager.

"There's no one (on the team), especially in terms of day-to-day business, that I wouldn't want to hang out with my parents. ... Before, people were giving me advice to go with these big management companies and the people always seemed kind of mean to me."

"I'm so glad that the people we have around are genuinely kind, good people. I don't think I could do it unless they were kind people."

The MTV2 tour, with Lostprophets and The Apex Theory, continues through the end of May. After that run, Andrew is embarking on his first tour of Japan, followed by jaunts through Australia, New Zealand and Europe. The American leg of Ozzfest is on the books for July along with some dates with the Warped Tour in non-Ozzfest markets.

"The idea here is just to expose Andrew to as many people in that kind of an atmosphere," Eaton said. "We've found that musically, it makes sense on the Warped Tour. So we wanted to stick him in front of two similar but different audiences. It also helps us experiment and find out where his niche lies.

"Or maybe his niche is everyone. Who knows?"

In June, Team W.K. will hit the West Coast to fill in some gaps. Then, sometime in the fall, plans are in the works for a headlining club tour.

"We're taking a very meticulous and smart approach to the bookings. We want every show to sell out and we're really trying to keep that exciting vibe around him. Sometimes, if you develop too quickly, you can undevelop just as fast," Eaton said.

"We're developing Andrew as a real artist with a career in mind. We want to plot our strategy carefully and slowly, and do the right thing for him in every situation."


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