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'It's time to let you hear the song which earned me a juvenile restraining order'

Aged 17, I set about writing a song for a girl I was obsessed with. When she heard it, she called the police. Have a listen – you'll understand why

Andrew WK aged 17

Andrew WK aged 17 (back when he was Andrew Fetterly)

I've never let anyone hear this song before. I'm deeply humiliated and embarrassed at the thought of anyone hearing it. This is probably the most intense and personal song I've ever recorded – it's called My Destiny and it was written and recorded when I was 17. I shouldn't do this.

Link to this audio

I was in high school in the 1990s, in a town called Ann Arbor in Michigan. I had a crush on a girl and was deeply and passionately fixated on her. She had a baby face, a 14-tooth smile, large eyes, a crowned forehead, an oversized brow and a tender style. She consumed me with both lust and hatred – lust, because I was truly drawn to her beauty and soft skin, and hatred because she rarely spoke to me, wouldn't look at me much and never gave me a chance to show her my deep affections. I used to call her house just to listen to her say, "Hello?" Then I'd hang up, terrified and shaking with nervous ecstasy.

In our senior year of high school, when I was 17, we were required to make a final project which was presented to the head of the school and graded as our final exam. This was when my crush was at its absolute height. I decided to write a song dedicated to her and submit it as my final project for graduation. The song was My Destiny. I've never recorded another song like it, and now – listening to it after all these years – I can see why.

Here are the lyrics:

Called Up Your Number Fourteen Times
To See If You Were Home
Home Is Where I'll Find You
When I Find You

Do You Feel Lonely When You're Alone
A Sheet To Keep You Warm
Warm – Electric Blanket
An Extra Blanket

You Are My Destiny
I'll Make You Fall In Love With Me
I'll Make Myself Your Fantasy
Weeping Like The Willow Tree

Drove Past Your Doorway Fifteen Times
I Don't Want To Cause You Harm
Harm – That's What You're In For
If You Don't Open Your Door

So I'll Keep Knocking A Million Times
I Will Knock Until My Knuckles Bleed
Bleed – That Blood Will Leave A Stain
On You Forever

You Are My Destiny
And I'll Make You Fall In Love With Me, Me, Me


It's horribly painful – the sound of confusion and trouble, which is what I was in. I had wanted the song to have a big impact, but not the kind I got. Be careful what you wish for...
 
The day after I submitted the song, the head of my school called me and my parents in for a private meeting. They played the song for my parents as I sat next to them, paralysed and devastated by the humiliation. The head of the school recommended that I go into counselling or see the school psychiatrist (my parents did send me to a child psychologist following later exploits in arson, baseball card forgery and mail fraud: his final diagnosis? "You have a devilish side"). That was bad, but nothing compared to what happened a year later.

It turned out that the assistant to the head of school got a copy of my song on cassette and gave it to the girl I had a crush on. This was probably the worst thing that had ever happened in my life. She heard the song and was completely freaked out. Within three days, every kid in school had a copy. She told her friends, teachers and parents: "This guy at school is stalking me and threatening my life." She played them the song and they called the police.

In the end, I had a juvenile restraining order put on me, which lasted until I was 21. I've never told anyone about it since, except my closest friends and family. Three months ago, I was advised by my personal manager and life coach to finally let people hear it, to resolve the nightmare. So, I am. Now is the first time since the incident that I've let anyone hear the song. And I can hear why.

Andrew WK's double release, Close Calls With Brick Walls and Mother of Mankind, is out now.


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  • euanisalefty euanisalefty

    7 Apr 2010, 3:44PM

    This comment has been removed by a moderator. Replies may also be deleted.
  • mzyx mzyx

    7 Apr 2010, 3:53PM

    Firstly, kudos for letting this out on so public a forum. I admire your bravery!

    Secondly, I agree with the poster above. I think some sort of restraining order here was ridiculously heavy handed, and that her spreading the song around was a far more malicious act.

    Good luck with the album and all that.

  • theshyguy theshyguy

    7 Apr 2010, 3:55PM

    This is fantastic. I want a whole Andrew WK album of stuff like this.

    Raw and emotional, yes. But I prefer that to most of the limp and lifeless pop-by-numbers that clogs up the charts today.

    Thanks for sharing.

  • mkb86 mkb86

    7 Apr 2010, 4:09PM

    Three months ago, I was advised by my personal manager and life coach to finally let people hear it, to resolve the nightmare.

    Good of you to hold off for three months until you had a record to sell.

  • wtfgg wtfgg

    7 Apr 2010, 4:28PM

    Well, I think the line "harm, that's what you're in for if you don't open your door" may be the line that caused the problem.

    Plus, the music and overall tone are rather disturbing. I don't think I would like to have a song like that written about me.

  • BigB73 BigB73

    7 Apr 2010, 4:37PM

    Its a bit weird but at least you voiced your feelings at 17 in this way, maybe it would have been worse to try and repress them leading to a mass murder plot.

    Its also a very good little ditty to male puberty.

  • therepublic therepublic

    7 Apr 2010, 4:42PM

    Whenever I write and perform a song, either to my band before we learn to play it or at a live show, I always wonder about how people would interpret the lyrics if they were able to make them out (and they're often sung fairly clearly!). I hate the idea that a kind of censorship is crucial to maintaining a relationship with other people when performing. If I write a lyric which refers to someone I know or have known, what if they realise this? If I make a political comment, even disguised within imagery, will people object? Put simply, to many people, I am the lyrics and nothing more.

    Even a line such as "harm, that's what you're in for if you don't open the door" doesn't imply violence. It's an expression of feeling, of that unparalleled desire for someone which is often at its most powerful during our teenage years (in part because those are the first times we experience these feelings and we don't yet know how to deal with them or whether we will be able to cope with the consequences if we don't get what we desire).

    All this being said, the girl was young too. Perhaps she was not mature enough to be able to deal with something like this. Perhaps her parents were scared; perhaps the teachers were terrified that they would be held responsible for not bringing the song to his parents' attention.

    Whatever we think about it, there's no denying that it simply represents desires which, when seen in the context of adolescence, are anything but out of the ordinary.

  • Slobloch Slobloch

    7 Apr 2010, 4:42PM

    Your song strikes me as a potent contrasexual, young whatever your name is.

    It certainly worked.

    May I recommend next time choosing something of a saucier note, perhaps modified with a hint of self-deprecation, on C15 cassette tape lovingly bound by ribbon to a bottle of wine and thrown at your beloved's window.

  • twikki twikki

    7 Apr 2010, 4:46PM

    Worrying, not only do the lyrics in conjuction with the crazy organ give even me the creeps. But it's mainly the entire concept of how astounded I am that a 17 year old boy can get their voice that low, i'm 17 and I can't even sing along to Leonard Cohen.

  • Slobloch Slobloch

    7 Apr 2010, 4:50PM

    Alternatively, you could make a plaster of Paris replica of your cock, containing a USB stick of all your favorite suicide songs. (you can find out how to fashion one of these on the Blue Peter website)...

  • CheererUpper CheererUpper

    7 Apr 2010, 4:56PM

    Did I fall off the Guardian and end up in a school magazine? Why was this on the front page where unsuspectings could click on it? I think I'll make my next shower a double.

  • PopeJohnPaul PopeJohnPaul

    7 Apr 2010, 5:25PM

    Love it! Absolutely LOVE IT!

    A duel sided expression of the love and loathing that you talk about in your article.

    I myself have done the same as you in the past. I wrote a song called "I don't want to hurt you/But i'm going to set alight to your house and rape your dog if you don't kiss me"

    It didn't go very far though...

    AMEN

  • DICKBANG80 DICKBANG80

    7 Apr 2010, 5:34PM

    This comment has been removed by a moderator. Replies may also be deleted.
  • kauri kauri

    7 Apr 2010, 5:47PM

    This comment has been removed by a moderator. Replies may also be deleted.
  • stassa stassa

    7 Apr 2010, 6:36PM

    But it's mainly the entire concept of how astounded I am that a 17 year old boy can get their voice that low, i'm 17 and I can't even sing along to Leonard Cohen.

    Try googling "pitch shifter" :)

  • 7362916 7362916

    7 Apr 2010, 6:54PM

    Time for a serious piece about the effects of stalking behaviour on victims Guardian.

    I think you missed the point of the article, that it wasn't stalking at all. I hear that a lot of teenagers feel that way and TBQH I've acted weirder and no-one seemed to mind.

  • Jlte Jlte

    7 Apr 2010, 7:32PM

    "Harm, that's what you're in for if you don't open your door"

    No, really, can't see why the girl freaked out!

    The things you do when you're young...

  • speckyfoureyes speckyfoureyes

    7 Apr 2010, 9:07PM

    sorry, but isnt this all publicity hungry nonsense.
    young andrew has unrequited love for a girl and writes a teen angst song he now says is the most embarassing and humiliating song he's ever written. "i shouldnt let you hear this". so dont let us hear it then, andy. Oh, I'm sorry, I forgot about the other record you're promoting. sounds to me like your personal manager and life coach (sic) has a conflict of interest going on here.
    my advice (for what its worth) is:
    a. accept that as a teenager we're all self obsessed tossers (literally). if you're still feeling guilty about what you did, you should find a way to apologise directly to the person you stalked. it's then up to her to decide if she accepts your apology or not. bleating to strangers about how humiliated you were doesnt cut it.
    b. you claim to be an artist. instead of writing a prose piece that would be better suited to "Take a Break", use the experience in your next creation.
    c. if the episode is so embarrassing to you, why dont you bin the original track.
    d. Maybe you should play the song at 45rpm, and not 33 - might make it sound a bit more jaunty.
    apart from that - Cheer up, Miseryguts!

  • trishbish trishbish

    7 Apr 2010, 9:08PM

    Andrew WK I think you're awesome ! and its good that you got this out to everyone so it wont haunt you anymore, what you need now is support and I support you ! you are truly awesome :D

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