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State Department: Andrew W.K. Won't Party In Bahrain On Government Dime

Andrew W.K.; credit: Becky Lettenberger/NPR i i
Becky Lettenberger/NPR
Andrew W.K.; credit: Becky Lettenberger/NPR
Becky Lettenberger/NPR

Andrew W.K., whom NPR Music described as the "long-haired, wild-eyed, keyboard-pounding, sublimely over-the-top party-rocker," won't be taking his party to Bahrain.

At least not on the government's dime.The State Department has rescinded its invitation, stopped the music if you will, just as word started to spread that the U.S. Embassy in Manama had invited W.K. to perform.

W.K. was very excited about the news. His website claimed he'd been named "a cultural ambassador" and was going to unite the human race "with love and partying."

Bahrain, if you remember, has been rocked by unrest for almost two years. Protests broke out at the beginning of the Arab Spring, but the monarchy has in many cases used violence and even torture to tamp down the uprising.

Alas, Andrew W.K.'s party was not to be.

Toward the end of today's press briefing, State Department spokesman Victoria Nuland got a question about the event.

"I thought we were going to get through this whole briefing without this coming up," she said. "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," she said.

A reporter followed up asking if perhaps one of W.K.'s songs titles — "Party 'Til You Puke" — had anything to do with the decision to rescind the invite.

"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. She added: "There may have been some preliminary conversations with him, but he will not be going to Bahrain on the U.S. government's dime."

Andrew W.K. seemed to take the news hard. He tweeted:

"I'm just blown away," he said. "After a year of planning, the US State Dept. just canceled my Middle East trip because I'm too party."

But don't be too worried. The man who says he hit himself with a brick to bloody his face for an album cover, picked himself up and a few minutes later, tweeted:

"THE POWER OF POSITIVE PARTYING WILL NEVER DIE."

By the way, Andrew W.K. performed a Tiny Desk Concert for NPR Music. It was decidedly less party than what we're used to hearing from W.K.

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