VICE: Andrew W.K. on Life’s Ups and Downs

Andrew W.K. on Life’s Ups and Downs | VICE

It started at an early age.

My mom and I would go out into the yard, and she’d grab me by my wrists and spin me around in a big circle. Sometimes she’d spin me in an office chair. Other times, just on my feet—twirling me around and around until I was disoriented. She’d use any way to get me dizzy and off balance, really. It was something we did quite often, and for seemingly no reason. When I’d stop spinning, my mom would make me concentrate. “Do you feel that funny feeling, the butterflies in your stomach?” she’d ask. “That’s a fun feeling! That feels good!” she’d assure me.

At that age—around 4 or 5—you really listen to your parents, and trust that what they’re telling you is the truth. My mom was my rock, so I had no reason to believe what she was telling me was false.

A few years later, once I was tall enough, she and I started going on rides at carnivals and amusement parks—she just couldn’t wait to have someone to finally share these rides with. It occurred to me then that she had sort of raised me to be her riding partner. That’s what all the spinning had been about. She had been getting me acclimated to this woozy sensation all along, trying to get me to appreciate the typical associations I’d eventually feel when going on a scary or unnerving amusement park ride. Seeing my mom next to me on a roller coaster smiling and laughing so hard she was crying really helped drive home that this was genuinely fun, and that those feelings actually were positive. I’ve been a roller coaster enthusiast ever since!

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