"We're Using Weapons Purely for Fun": On the Set of Destroy Build Destroy with Rocker/Game Show Host Andrew W.K.

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Thu, May 26, 2011 at 1:30 PM

click to enlarge SHANNON COTTRELL
  • Shannon Cottrell
See more photos in Shannon Cottrell's slideshow, "Andrew W.K. on the Set of Destroy Build Destroy."

Throughout April and the earliest part of May, New York-based musician Andrew W.K. was stationed in Los Angeles. During this time, he played a few shows, including his own birthday extravaganza at Check Yo Ponytail, and went to work on a new album, which he says he anticipates will be finished by August. However, he spent most of his time filming new episodes of his kid-friendly game show, Destroy Build Destroy. We were invited to the set to check out some destruction and interview and photograph W.K.

It was a warm and windy morning in April when we visited Agua Dulce Movie Ranch, where Andrew W.K. and company had been filming new episodes of the Cartoon Network game show Destroy Build Destroy. A crane held buckets of Easter egg-colored paint high above a truck covered in TV show graffiti. The crane tilted and the buckets of paint fell, crashing right through the middle of the vehicle, leaving the body of the truck broken beyond repair and covered in pastel paint splatter patterns.

"We've never had a paint destruction quite like that," said W.K. when we met up in front of his trailer. "We've definitely had gloopy, disgusting, messy stuff go on with the show, but never paint used as a force of destruction quite like that. I enjoyed it."

click to enlarge SHANNON COTTRELL
  • Shannon Cottrell
Destroy Build Destroy, which begins its third season on June 1, is part of Cartoon Network's live action programming geared towards older children. Each episode features two teams with three members, most of whom are in their pre-teens or early teens, with descriptive names like "Math Club" or "Jersey Boys." Contestants work with professionals to build a variety projects, previous episodes have featured everything from air canons to trash compactors. If you win, congratulations. If you lose, well, your project will be destroyed.

If we were middle schoolers, we would probably be vying for a spot on Destroy Build Destroy. You and your friends get to completely devastate a vehicle that you're not even old enough to drive. Then you get to build something new. If you win, you can obliterate the competition's project. That alone makes it game show gold. For W.K., though, the series, like much of his work, has a kind of philosophical angle to it.

"The spirit of this show is very true," said W.K. "It's a sense of possibility, a sense of, I guess, grappling with what I think of as real, elemental parts of life, that anything you build involves destruction."

click to enlarge SHANNON COTTRELL
  • Shannon Cottrell
On the set of Destroy Build Destroy, destruction can be a beautiful thing. We watched a truck explode from a safe distance with the fire department close at hand. It looked like the sun for a brief second, before dissolving into smoke and then, simply, a metal shell with a small, contained flame burning out inside the former vehicle.

"I also love the fact that we're using, really, weapons and explosives and all kinds of very dangerous materials purely for fun, purely for joy," said W.K. "One of my dreams is that someday every weapon on the face of the earth will be put into this show and only used for entertainment purposes. No killing and shooting, just Hollywood-style special effects."

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