High Five

The joy of Christmastime with Andrew W.K.

For the multitalented musician, entertainer, and all-around life of the party Andrew W.K., the holidays can lift both the spirit and the senses.

Olfaction has transcendental powers, says W.K., “The great thing about smell, second only to music or song, is that it really has the ability to transport us in time and space,” a quality that can certainly come in handy when dealing with the less cheery stressors of the season, like black ice, high gas bills, and long lines in supermarkets.

The controversial “King of Partying” talked with us about the special scents that evoke for him the good tidings and joy of Christmastime.


1. Burning wood “If you don’t have a fireplace, you could just light a small piece of paper, carefully of course, and smell the smoke from that. Even the smell of heaters count; they have that burning dust smell. It’s a cozy sensation.”

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2. Wrapping paper “I don’t know if it’s the ink on the paper. It’s not like the smell of a brand-new book. Definitely closer to a magazine.”

3. Christmas trees “I’ve seen some [replica trees] have artificial scents added to them, which is certainly better than nothing. Even if you go to your local florist and get a sprig or a wreath. Nothing can compare to that smell.”

4. Bacon “A big tradition for me has always been Christmas breakfast. My mom would make eggs and really good cornbread, but those don’t carry through air as strongly as bacon does. There’s a special way it combines with all of the other smells we have discussed. A holiday scent smoothie, almost.”

5. Partying “It’s tricky to define what that consists of. It could be cocktails and sweat, hopefully not vomit, but possibly — whatever the smell of celebration means to you.”

Steph Hiltz

Andrew W.K. plays upstairs at the Palladium in Worcester next Thursday, 6 p.m. doors. Tickets: $18 advance, $20 at the door.

Steph Hiltz can be reached at