Andrew W.K. is a bit of an enigma. At 35, he is a successful musician, notable public speaker and one of New York City’s lauded party promoters. He’s also a bit of a novelty to the music media, showing up at The AV Club to cover Christmas songs on their piano, or just generally spread the message of good cheer through partying.
Known most for his 2001 album I Get Wet, W.K. has since expanded his brand beyond music to become a representative for a state of mind. He wants you to party with him, and he wants you to have a good time while doing it.
This metamorphosis isn’t without a little controversy, however, as there’s a bit of confusion and conspiracy as to whether the person that appears on his early albums is actually the same person that’s in front of people today. It’s been insinuated that he is a constructed persona – made by committee with the purpose of selling records and an image. Andrew W.K.’s identity crisis is one of the more interesting mysteries in music, with different degrees of truth to all sides.
However, regardless of whether Andrew’s “for real” or not, there’s something admirable about the zeal in which he spreads the message of the party. If his preaching came with a hook that involved buying a seminar for $100 or could only be unlocked by purchasing his new album, it would be a lot easier to shrug him off as a sham.
In short, it doesn’t matter if he’s manufactured, because the message he’s spreading retains a purity that overpowers conspiracy: you could probably never spend a dime on him and he would welcome you to his table, buy you a beer and queue up your favourite song on a playlist.
Andrew W.K. regularly answers questions from the readership of the Village Voice every Wednesday, but a recent entry stands out from the pack. The reader inquires: “… I just don’t understand your obsession with ‘partying.’ The juvenile antics, unkempt image, and ‘partying’ themes cheapen the quality of your ideas and, to be frank, make it very hard to take you seriously. I guess I just don’t get it.”
W.K.’s response is a bit lengthy to quote here, but worth reading. Here’s the kicker:
“You can enjoy something without having to comprehend it. You can appreciate a melody without knowing what notes it consists of. You don’t need to “get” me or what I do. I’m not here to be understood, I’m here to be experienced. I’m not here to impress you. I’m here to party with you.”
He goes on, explaining the importance of making positivity a goal:
“We must be brave enough to wholeheartedly deny all the forces working to crush our spirit. We must not let devastation and death remove the joy from life. Existence is confusing and challenging enough as it is.
Taking it too seriously and removing the few opportunities for unadulterated cheerfulness does not alleviate us of this burden — it weighs us down further and saps our strength until all we can do is plod along towards the void without any relief.”
To Andrew W.K., the pursuit of joy is not something to be forgotten among the goals that we set for ourselves. Whether it’s money, fame or power, it’s easy to forget that somewhere along the way we need to have fun, too.
Burnout is a real thing, and it accelerates when you don’t allow yourself to have guilt-free downtime. Whether it’s taking an evening off to binge on Netflix, a spontaneous vacation or just a trip to a coffee shop without your mobile devices, it’s worth it to pursue happiness and not view it as a commodity to be sacrificed in the name of success.
You don’t need to be a hard rocker to embrace the mental state of the party, but ignoring its message risks leaving out a much-needed part of everyone’s lives. Regardless of how spotted Andrew W.K.’s past is, his positivity and genuine message is a unique beacon in a field of magic bullet solutions.