NEW YORK CITY — There are more than a few things that are surprising about "party professor" and rock-and-roller Andrew Wilkes-Krier — better known by his stage name Andrew W.K.
The 35-year-old who was raised in Michigan and has been a New York City resident for the last 17 years doesn't live in a dingy East Village pad — he prefers his glassy Midtown apartment in the clouds.
He once worked on interior decorating for the Bergdorf Goodman department store.
"What made those places so great is that there was always a sense that they were only temporary, like they weren't meant to be there in the first place," W.K. said.
"You basically have a choice. You can be so angry about it that you give up or you get so angry it motivates you and you build your own place."
While W.K. did open his own place in 2006, Santos Party House in Chinatown, the multi-instrumentalist first came to fame through his first album "I Get Wet," released in 2001. He has stayed in the public eye with a long list of odd jobs, from hosting a show on the Cartoon Network to a weekly advice column in the Village Voice and motivational speaking gigs.
His most recent gig is stumping for Stolichnaya Vodka's ScenebyStoli project on a national tour that celebrates those who pioneered nightlife culture in cities like New York, Chicago and Detroit. He's also playing a solo show this Saturday at The Knitting Factory.
How did you end up living in a Midtown high-rise?
Most of my New York experiences were initially seeing it in movies and reading about it. When I visited, that was my vision of New York — tall buildings — and a place that looked as different as possible from where I was from [Michigan]. It wasn't a tree-lined street, it was a concrete jungle that I wanted. I never really worked in a regular office job, so it never felt the same to me as people who wanted to avoid Midtown because they worked there.
Where else did you live in the city?
Greenpoint was where I had my first apartment on my own without roommates or sleeping on someone's couch. It was a really important time for me. Recently, I had a meeting or photo shoot out there and I decided to spend some time walking around and I thought I would go to my old place. I knocked on the door and there was a young family there. I just peeked in and had maybe a three-minute conversation with them. This is all part of the story and I am just very thankful that I got to live there and I would gladly live there again.
What does an average day look like for you?
I worked very hard not to have average days. I never do the same thing twice. I did have jobs that were five days a week. I worked at Kim's Video and Music on St. Mark's Place. I worked at Bergdorf Goodman doing interior decoration. Those were jobs you could have anywhere else, but they were different here. Even though they were not my dream jobs, I still appreciated them. I still think about them all the time.