Ask Me Another
10:10 am
Thu May 15, 2014

Andrew W.K.: Jesus Christ Super Quiz

Originally published on Fri May 16, 2014 3:51 pm

Musician, motivational speaker, and party pro Andrew W.K. is a man of many talents—but did you know that he is also an expert on Jesus Christ Superstar? We wrote him a quiz on his favorite rock opera.

After the game, hear he and house musician Jonathan Coulton duet on "What's The Buzz."

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Transcript

OPHIRA EISENBERG, HOST:

Please welcome back our very important puzzler, Andrew W.K.

(APPLAUSE)

ANDREW W.K.: Thank you. All right.

EISENBERG: So, Andrew, when I asked you what topics you thought you might be interested in playing a game on, you gave me a very amazing, yet specific list.

W.K.: Yes. I was struggling 'cause I realized unfortunately, that I didn't know very much about anything except partying.

EISENBERG: Yes.

W.K.: Which was helpful because you wanted to cover that as part of the questions. But then you thought, do you have any other interests? And that's when I started to get even more concerned, and turned to my CD collection and that's how we got this topic.

EISENBERG: Well, you said '90s grunge rock, that was good. Classic pinball games, we were excited by that. The band, Judas Priest, who doesn't love?

W.K.: Yes.

EISENBERG: And the rock opera "Jesus Christ Superstar." Specifically, not the movie but the original London cast album.

W.K.: Yes. The movie is very good.

(APPLAUSE)

W.K.: And very, very similar in quality, but I haven't seen as much as I've listened to the original, you know, musical version of the album.

EISENBERG: So, yeah, so we talked about this and we talked about it with Jonathan Coulton. He got super excited.

JONATHAN COULTON: Yeah. I honestly, if you wanted me to, I could sing that whole double album start to finish right now.

W.K.: It is that good. It's very catchy.

COULTON: Yeah. And for some reason it was one of those things I like, you know, I found it in my parent's record collection. For some reason I listened to it like crazy. And still, if I find a kindred spirit at a party or something and I start singing part of it, before - maybe you have this experience too, where you're just like suddenly you're like trading lines and...

W.K.: Yes. A lot of people do like it. I do think it's Andrew Lloyd Webber's best musical. I also think it's one of the best rock albums ever recorded, you know, musical or not. And the cast, you know, the singers they had...

Yeah.

...were just mind-blowing. And there's a rawness and an immediate quality to all the performances, but they probably did it in one take. That's the way they...

COULTON: It does sound like that at times, yeah.

(LAUGHTER)

W.K.: In a good way, though.

COULTON: It's very true and pure.

W.K.: Yeah. No. 'Cause that's how they record musicals...

COULTON: Right.

W.K.: ...just like they are performing it. So I really recommend it if you haven't heard it before. Some of the songs were big hits so you probably recognize them.

EISENBERG: Nice. And how did you originally come to find it?

W.K.: One of my friend's mom listened to it a lot in the car when she would drive us to and from school and soccer practice.

(LAUGHTER)

W.K.: And I was just completely blown away. I think it was one of the first albums I ever asked to buy.

EISENBERG: Well, this is great because this is what our quiz is all about.

W.K.: OK.

EISENBERG: So you're in a perfect situation and I hope you're ready for your Jesus Christ Super Quiz. So Andrew, if you get enough questions right, Allison Freeman of Southaven, Mississippi is going to win an ASK ME ANOTHER Rubik's cube. So the stakes are high.

W.K.: OK.

COULTON: Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice were only 21 and 25 years old when they came up with the idea of a rock opera based on the story of Jesus. They began with the song "Superstar," which questions whether Jesus knew what he was doing. In those days, that was an edgy question to ask. So complete these lyrics.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

COULTON: (Singing) Every time I look at you, I don't understand why you let the things you did get so out of hand. You'd have managed better if you had a plan. Why'd you choose such a backward time in such a strange land? If you'd come today, you could have reached the whole nation. Israel in 4BC had no...

W.K.: Mass communication.

COULTON: Yeah.

(APPLAUSE)

W.K.: Thank you. And well, well played.

COULTON: Oh, thank you. This is like a dream come true for me. I swear.

(LAUGHTER)

EISENBERG: The role of Jesus was played by Ian Gillan, who is best known for fronting the band Deep Purple. But in 1983, he spent a year as the lead singer for what other heavy metal group, replacing Ronnie James Dio, who himself had replaced Ozzy Osbourne.

W.K.: Rainbow.

EISENBERG: No. But you said it with such confidence I want to just believe you're right.

(LAUGHTER)

W.K.: I thought he had - they had both sung for that, so then it must be Black Sabbath.

EISENBERG: Yes.

W.K.: OK.

(APPLAUSE)

COULTON: All right. The character, Mary Magdalene has one of the biggest songs on the album a hit, "I Don't Know How to Love Him." But what other character sing these lines in a different song?

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

COULTON: (Singing) I don't know how to love him...

W.K.: Right phrasing too.

(LAUGHTER)

COULTON: (Singing) I don't know why he moves me. He's a man. He's just a man. He's not a king. He's just the same as anyone I know.

W.K.: Go for it.

COULTON: (Singing) He scares me so.

Oh, man, that felt so good.

W.K.: So that was Judas and Murray Head...

COULTON: Yeah, that's right.

W.K.: ...singing as him, yup.

COULTON: Yes.

(APPLAUSE)

W.K.: One of the greatest voices, I think, of all time, Murray...

COULTON: Murray Head? Yeah. Crazy.

W.K.: Absolutely. Unbelievably. Sounds like he's crying...

COULTON: Yeah.

W.K.: ...at all times, which is very intense.

COULTON: Yeah.

(LAUGHTER)

W.K.: But just no one sounds like that. No one has a voice like him. And he had another great song, "Say It Ain't So, Joe." You know that was his big hit song besides "One Night in Bangkok."

COULTON: Yeah. You and I, we're going to bro out about Murray Head later on.

EISENBERG: No.

(LAUGHTER)

COULTON: All right this is the last question.

W.K.: OK.

COULTON: We are going to change - I should say I am going to change one key word in the song "Everything's All Right." Identify that word and give me the original word.

W.K.: Now wait a minute.

COULTON: Yeah.

W.K.: I think I was shown this earlier back stage by accident. I believe so.

COULTON: OK. We're going to edit that out.

W.K.: OK.

(LAUGHTER)

EISENBERG: All right. And looks like you are guaranteed to get this one.

(LAUGHTER)

W.K.: All right. Let's try it.

(LAUGHTER)

COULTON: Let's see what happens, right? I mean who knows. Otherwise, we don't really have an ending for the game, so.

EISENBERG: I do appreciate the honest you are. That is amazing.

W.K.: I could tell I wasn't supposed to see it. And then I tried to un-see it.

(LAUGHTER)

W.K.: Sort of like sexual experiences could be.

(LAUGHTER)

EISENBERG: A lot of people compare our show.

COULTON: All right. Well, let's proceed with this farce, shall we?

W.K.: OK.

(LAUGHTER)

COULTON: Identify the word if you can, and give us the original word, if you know it. Here we go.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

COULTON: (Singing) Sleep and I shall soothe you. Calm you and anoint you. Cheese for your hot forehead. Oh, then you'll feel everything's all right, yes, everything's fine. And it's cool and the ointment's sweet.

W.K.: Is it Myrrh?

COULTON: It's Myrrh. It's not cheese.

W.K.: Wow. Yeah.

(APPLAUSE)

EISENBERG: Congratulations, Andrew. You did amazing.

W.K.: Thank you. Thank you very much.

(APPLAUSE)

W.K.: That was a lot of fun. Really beautifully sung and performed.

EISENBERG: Allison Freeman of Southhaven, Mississippi will receive an ASK ME ANOTHER prize, thanks to you. And we will give you an ASK ME ANOTHER anagram T-shirt, so thank you so much.

W.K.: Thank you. You're welcome.

EISENBERG: Another huge round of applause for our VIP, Andrew W.K.

W.K.: Thank you.

(APPLAUSE)

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "WHAT'S THE BUZZ")

COULTON: (Singing) What's the buzz? Tell me what's a-happening. What's the buzz? Tell me what's a-happening. What's the buzz? Tell me what's a-happening. What's the buzz? Tell me what's a-happening. What's the buzz? Tell me what's a-happening. What's the buzz? Tell me what's a-happening.

W.K.: (Singing) Why should you want to know? Why are you obsessed with fighting? Don't you try to think ahead? Save tomorrow for tomorrow, think about today instead.

COULTON: (Singing) What's the buzz? Tell me what's a-happening. What's the buzz? Tell me what's a-happening. What's the buzz? Tell me what's a-happening.

W.K.: (Singing) Hmm. I could give you facts and figures. Happening.

COULTON: (Singing) What's the buzz? Tell me what's a-happening. What's the buzz? Tell me what's a-happening.

(APPLAUSE)

EISENBERG: Andrew W.K., everybody.

W.K.: Thank you again. Thank you. You're welcome.

EISENBERG: Another huge round of applause for our VIP, Andrew W.K.

W.K.: Thank you. Thank you.

(APPLAUSE)

COULTON: (Singing) What's the buzz? Tell me what's a-happening. What's the buzz? Tell me what's a-happening. What's the buzz? Tell me what's a-happening. What's the buzz? Tell me what's a-happening. What's the buzz? Tell me what's a-happening. What's the buzz? Tell me what's a-happening.

W.K.: (Singing) Why should you want to know? Why are you obsessed with fighting? Don't you try to think ahead? Save tomorrow for tomorrow, think about today instead.

COULTON: (Singing) What's the buzz? Tell me what's a-happening. What's the buzz? Tell me what's a-happening. What's the buzz? Tell me what's a-happening.

W.K.: (Singing) Hmm. I could give you facts and figures. Happening.

COULTON: (Singing) What's the buzz? Tell me what's a-happening. What's the buzz? Tell me what's a-happening.

(APPLAUSE)

EISENBERG: Andrew W.K., everybody.

W.K.: Thank you again. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.