Andrew W.K.: The President of Partying | Under The Radar Magazine | By Matt Fink
When Andrew W.K. announced the formation of his new political party in April, it was easy to dismiss as little more than an inspired pun by someone who never turns down an opportunity to spread his life-is-a-party performance art to every available venue. This is, after all, a man who has done an ad campaign for Kit-Kat, hosted a radio show on Glenn Beck’s TheBlaze network, and taped a TV special with celebricat Lil’ Bub: starting a political party ranks among the least outlandish entries on his resume. But spend a few minutes talking to him, and you’ll quickly realize that it’s no joke. It is, in fact, the culmination of a career spent searching for the celebration lurking just underneath even the most mundane of events.
“I guess I feel that this is my calling,” he says. “Out of all the things I’ve ever tried to do in life, partying was the only thing I really excelled at. The reason it’s important to me personally is that partying saved my life. Partying has saved my life many times and I imagine will continue to save my life over and over again. Maybe partying can save someone else’s life, too. Or at least make their life partier.”
Now 15 years after his landmark I Get Wet established him as the philosopher king of high-concept, lowbrow arena rock, W.K. is approaching the next phase of his career with a newfound sense of seriousness. The trademark white shirt and jeans remain, but his party-til’-you-puke aesthetic has evolved into a life philosophy that seems to draw from the positive thinking power of Norman Vincent Peale and self-actualization theories of Carl Rogers. His political party will not appear on any ballots this November, but as W.K. spreads his message on a 50-date, 50-state speaking tour, he looks to create something that will continue well after the votes are counted. Here he discusses his goals, how it’s different than other political movements, and why it’s important to keep partying even as the world around you seems to be falling apart.
Matt Fink (Under the Radar): So what is the current status of your political Party?
Andrew W.K.: It’s partying right along. Thanks to the incredibly enthusiastic response to my initial announcement and the mindset behind it, we have a chance to take this on the road and bring it to people in person. The Party is a continuation of the same focus I’ve had for the last 20 years. It’s the same mindset I’ve been promoting since I began working as Andrew W.K., but this concept of a “Political Party” is a new delivery mechanism. Just like music is one way to get the party spirit conjured up in someone’s soul, the idea is a sort of informal yet official organization, like a club that exists in your heart and mind—this is just another mechanism to be used for generating an energetic enthusiasm about being alive. In fact, this interview we’re doing right now is another mechanism. Even I myself, as a person, am just another mechanism—it’s all a means to an end. And I hope that the end is a feeling of raw divine joy and pure human power. That’s the ultimate goal—to unleash ourselves unto ourselves and put that enthusiasm out into the world. With my new political party, I’ve simply taken these same ideas and concepts and presented them in a slightly different way—hopefully this will make them even more accessible to people, and perhaps accessible to some people who weren’t connecting with my other efforts.
I’ve never done a nationwide pep-rally speaking tour before—campaigning for the spirit of partying, but I have done one-off speaking engagements for the last 10 years. The first lecture I ever participated in was in 2006, and I’ve learned a lot and unlearned a lot since then. This will be the beginning of a new chapter in that regard.