The first thing that gets your attention about heavy-metal wunderkind Andrew W.K. is the cover of his debut album, I Get Wet (Island): a close-up of the 23-year-old's face, with rivers of blood streaming down from each nostril. A too-literal illustration of the album's central anthem "Party Hard"? Or the result of a punch in the snoot for being too clever by half?
At any rate, it's indicative of the uncompromising metal within: The album also includes such blistering, straight-ahead declarations as "Party Til You Puke," "Ready to Die" and "Don't Stop Living in the Red." A gloriously willful mix of pop and Motorhead, I Get Wet has already caused a sensation in the U.K. (Q magazine called it "like being punched repeatedly in the face and forced to chugalug spurting cans of Budweiser") and seems destined to do the same here.
"This record is about not stopping, in every sense of the word," Andrew says. "It's about having no fear, experiencing intense emotions, embracing life and other people. . . . It's an explosion of human life."
Born in California and raised in Michigan, Andrew began taking classical piano lessons at the age of four. By his teens, however, he'd switched to playing with various Detroit area punk and metal bands, moving to New York City at age 18 and cultivating a reputation for hardnosed rock liberally laced with a sense of humor.
"I like things to be strong," he understates, "because I feel that other people can derive strength from that themselves. I try to reflect that strength, and purity, truth and passion for what we are doing in everything you see and hear. I'm trying to make the most exciting music possible."
And if his nose gets a bit bloodied in the process . . . so much the better.