Q&A: Andrew W.K. on Working With Marky Ramone (And Taco Bell?)

Andrew W.K. always has a new project up his sleeve. Right now, he’s working with Marky Ramone on a forthcoming tour, wherein the “Party Hard” singer will tackle a mountain of songs by the Ramones. In the immediate future though, W.K. will be playing this year’s Skate & Surf Festival in Freehold, New Jersey.

W.K. is renowned for his mastery of the art of partying. With that in mind, we asked him not just about his recent projects—from Marky Ramone to Taco Bell. Stay tuned next week for W.K.’s list of tips on how to make music festivals “more party.” Check out what he had to say.


Can you talk about your project with Marky Ramone?

Marky Ramone invited me to sing 34 Ramones songs around the world. He will be playing drums. I’ll be singing. We’ll have a bassist and a guitar player filling out the rest of the band. It’s mind-blowing. It’s changed my life and it hasn’t even started yet.

I don’t know what to think about it. I’m humbled. I’m excited. We just rehearsed last night, for example. We’ve been practicing and practicing and practicing. There’s no better music in the world that’s ever been made than these songs. Getting to be close to that is very powerful. It’s very intense. It’s very overwhelming. It’s everything. It’s already made me a better singer and I really mean that. That’s one of the many benefits, that it’s made me better at what I do in the first place. I’m supposed to be a singer, so I’m glad to have this chance to improve my skills.

I never thought of myself as a singer. I was more of a keyboard player who chose to make a kind of music that involves singing. I had to figure out how to do it. I’m learning a lot just from this.


Last year, you worked on a fantastic web series called
Let’s Big Happy [a music-centric comedy sponsored by Taco Bell]. How did that project happen?
I love Taco Bell and that was pretty much the only reason that I got to be on that show. There were many great Taco Bell moments that happened thanks to the show.

I sort of forced my way into [Taco Bell's] realm. I keep telling them, “I love you. I love your food. I love everything about you.” I invite myself into their world, which is not as common as the other way around. Usually, you invite someone into your house, but I forced myself into their house through the sheer power of my passion.

I played some events with them and done some concerts with them. Let’s Big Happy took it to the next level. Just a few months ago, thanks to the good graces that the show earned me, I was able to take a tour of the headquarters in Downey, California.


Do you have a regular order at Taco Bell?
Now they have the new Cool Ranch Doritos Locos Tacos, so I’ve been getting that, since it’s the newest menu item.

I like the stuffed grillers. If you have an appetizer or a snack, you don’t want to share it, so that’s the logic behind the stuffed [Loaded] Grillers. I don’t know if you’ve seen the commercials. Have you seen those TV ads? They’ve got the buffalo wings and they’re fighting over them. Meanwhile, this other guy—who is very handsome by the way—is sitting there in his own chair, eating his own food. It’s all for him!

I like the philosophy behind it. Don’t share. This is my food, I eat it. That’s how I’ve always felt about food. I don’t share, even with my wife. If I have a taco or a burrito, she could be so hungry, too, and she’s the sweetest thing in the world, but I will not share it. I was never taught sharing by my parents. It’s one of the things that I have never learned.

I read recently that you’re working on a new album. Is that correct?
That is correct. I’ve been working on it for a while. It’s going to be a straight forward rock ‘n’ roll party explosion of the musical sort, but there have been all these amazing adventures popping up and that’s delayed it a little bit.

I do hope—at this point, we’re looking at fall or winter—to have those open months. I need at least three months. The good thing is that I keep writing, whether it’s lyrics or melodies or rhythms or riffs.

I do require some unbroken time to record the whole thing. That’s the thing about albums—you have to make them. I’ll release it after I finish making it, I think. I was going to try to put it out before it was recorded, but people advised me that it might not be a smart idea.

Stay tuned for W.K.’s list of top tips to make music festivals “more party.”

—Liz Ohanesian