Phillip Crandall's Andrew W.K. I Get Wet 33 1/3 Book Release Brings "Party" to Radio-Active Records
The first time Phillip Crandall saw Andrew W.K. live, he was just out of college but still living in Gainesville. Crandall described the experience in his new 33 1/3 book on W.K.'s I Get Wet: "Afterwards, I couldn't remember a single between-song sentiment Andrew shared with us, only the added bonus excitement that context instilled. Those feelings are sacred and that context incredible." He told us it was, simply, "the raddest concert I'd ever been to."
It was fitting that we met up with Crandall for the International Noise Conference at Miami's Churchill's Pub to discuss his recent publication. Much of the book focuses on the Ann Arbor noise scene -- one in which W.K. was entrenched growing up -- also, he performed with To Live and Shave in L.A. briefly alongside Rat Bastard, the man behind the festival taking place at the Little Haiti bar. All sorts of sounds came through the door as we sat on the back patio and got to know a little bit more about Crandall and the process of writing his first book.
Crandall is a new dad (he called his baby "really cool" and "smiley") who lives near his wife's hometown of Coral Springs in Margate. "She needed the beach," he noted of their move South from New York City where they lived after college. Originally from Inverness, FL, he studied journalism at University of Florida and after, found work as an editor for the now defunct FHM.
"I don't enjoy writing when it's a profession," he admitted. But penning this book was an endeavor he spoke about with the enthusiasm of a true fan. "I just love the democratic process (of 33 1/3)," he said. "I love the series and I knew I wanted to be a part of the series." He'd pitched Ween's The Mollusk before, but is now glad he didn't delve into the prog world, one he wasn't familiar with. Besides, his W.K. journey sounds much more wild and intense than even Ween might have offered.
"That keyboard feeling" was what attracted Crandall to W.K. But, he adds, "Once I was hearing the roots of where he came from, the Ann Arbor noise scene -- and I didn't listen to any noise at all -- but just hearing humor in that scene," it seemed he had to follow the path down the historical rabbit hole of this time and place.
Crandall accompanied W.K. to see Aaron Dilloway of Wolf Eyes perform in New York. "And I saw Andrew's reaction to it. He was moving against a pole. He was in a zone," Crandall remembered, "I don't know how to describe it, and fortunately, I don't have to describe it." Instead of taking apart each song on the album, a typical reviewer approach, his I Get Wet book was largely written as an oral history and delves deeply into that hotbed for experimental sounds in Michigan.