Andrew W.K. Nixed By State Dept. as Cultural Ambassador
(WASHINGTON) — Singer, rocker, free-form motivational speaker, and general party dude Andrew W.K. caused a stir in the music world by claiming the U.S. State Department had made him a cultural ambassador to the Middle East.
Unfortunately for rockers and partiers worldwide, it won’t be happening.
W.K., whose given name is Andrew Wilkes-Krier, posted to his website announcing the State Department had invited him to travel to Bahrain in December to “promot[e] partying and world peace”:
The US Department of State in partnership with the US Embassy in Manama, Bahrain, has invited Andrew to visit the Middle East to promote partying and positive power. In the tradition of the American Jazz Ambassadors who traveled the world in the mid 20th century as examples of American culture and spirit, Andrew has been invited by the State Department to travel to the Middle Eastern country of Bahrain and share his music and partying with the people there. Andrew will begin his journey sometime in December, 2012 and will visit elementary schools, the University of Bahrain, music venues, and more, all while promoting partying and world peace.
Andrew says: “This is a tremendous invitation. I’m very thankful to the Department of State for giving me the opportunity to visit a place I’ve never been before. And I feel very privileged and humbled by the chance to represent the United States of America and show the good people of Bahrain the power of positive partying. I can hardly wait for this adventure!”
But a State Department spokeswoman on Monday called the plans a “mistake.”
“We had a Bahraini entity that approached the embassy about co-sponsoring a visit by this guy, who I take it is pretty popular there in Bahrain. That was initially approved, and then when more senior management at the embassy took a look at this, the conclusion was that this was not an appropriate use of U.S. government funds,” State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland told reporters at a briefing.
“I think the conclusion was when they looked at the body of his work that we didn’t need to be part of this invitation,” Nuland said. “There may have been some preliminary conversations with him. But he is not going to be going to Bahrain on the U.S. government’s dime.”
Andrew W.K. made a name for himself with the 2001 album I Get Wet, which featured metal-inspired pop-rock songs almost exclusively about partying. W.K. later hosted a show on MTV2 in which he received letters from troubled fans and attempted to help with their problems. He currently hosts the Cartoon Network show Destroy Build Destroy.
W.K. has made a career of promoting the idea of partying, explaining it as a life ethos in free-form motivational speeches, where he stresses positive thinking and self-empowerment through partying and rock music.
The singer isn’t taking the State Department rebuke so well.
He posted an update to his website on Monday, including a promotional flyer for his Bahrain appearance bearing red, block letters reading “CANCELED BY THE U.S. STATE DEPARTMENT.” Read Andrew W.K.’s update:
BREAKING NEWS: After a year of planning and development, the US State Department has unexpectedly canceled their plans for Andrew’s trip to the Middle East this week, after changing their minds and deciding that it was “a mistake and not appropriate.” More information and a statement from Andrew, coming soon.
The singer also tweeted: “They can cancel our party in the Middle East, but they can never cancel the party in our hearts. #StayPositiveStayParty.”
Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio