Let Andrew W.K. Save You From This Godforsaken Election | The Daily Beast | By Jen Yamato
Andrew W.K. is here to help you through this fraught time in American politics, when the countdown to November 8th has understandably thrown nerves across the aisles into a frenzy of emotional chaos and upheaval. Now maybe more than ever, we need the radically positive “Party Hard” singer to lead us out of these divisive times and into an uncertain future. And you can be sure Andrew W.K. will do his damnedest to help make America party again.
Rock ’n’ roll’s most empathetic emissary rang The Daily Beast from the road on his own 50-state “Power of Partying” campaign tour, a few days after delivering an empowering address to a throng of revelers at a music festival deep in the California desert. The core messaging of his celebratory mission across America, he describes, is to foster compassion for others and counteract the toxic impulses of an increasingly combative society. He is, one might argue, the anti-Donald Trump.
“The goal is to amplify the essential life force spark that seems to reside inside of every human being,” he said, quietly contemplative over the phone. “And maybe conjure up a similar sort of excitement outside of ourselves, or together—to harness that and use it to fuel our optimism.”
W.K.’s been giving his brand of pro-partying motivational speeches ever since NYU first invited him to host his own open forum. He’s an avowedly apolitical public figure, columnist, and sometimes commentator who’s been welcomed with open arms by media outlets across the political spectrum, including Fox News, Breitbart, and The Village Voice, where his popular advice column ran for two years, offering surprising and spiritual solutions to lost souls in need of guidance on a variety of subjects.
Around the time of his Village Voice sermonizing, W.K. tied with then-future presidential nominee Hillary Clinton in a highly unscientific but nonetheless revealing Washington Post survey asking who people would most like to hear speak. A year later, in one of her last paid speaking engagements before setting her sights on the Oval Office, Hillary took a cue from the Andrew W.K. school of thought, lamenting to a gathering of sleepaway camp professionals that “we have a fun deficit in America.”
When it was announced, in 2015, that he was getting his own radio show on Glenn Beck’s The Blaze network, eyebrows were understandably raised. He replied to his fans on Facebook to crystallize exactly where he stands politically, which is nowhere exactly. “I’m not right-wing. I’m not left-wing. I’m not political. I’m just party. I even party with people who are very different than I am… I don’t only want to party with people who think like me.”
It’s been 15 years since W.K. released I Get Wet, the album that punched his name onto mainstream rock’s radar and made famous that trademark image of his face, intently gazing forward with a shock of blood streaming down it. The singer-songwriter, keyboard wizard, music producer, motivational speaker, and party icon continues to record and release his hard-charging hedonist tunes, but it’s his Zen missives on positivity and partying that have made him, for the better part of a decade, into a non-theistic spiritual icon.
“It comes from a long lack of that feeling inside me personally, right up to this very moment,” he explained. “I guess it’s a desperate need for that kind of positivity myself, or a desperate desire for it, or a severe lack of it. It’s probably one of the most motivating and compelling driving forces behind anything—for example, if you don’t have water you’ll do just about whatever it takes to get to that water. That’s probably the best way I can describe my situation, being someone who has really struggled with extraordinary darkness and anger, frustration and rage and despair, just an overriding feeling of hopelessness and meaninglessness.”