For Andrew W.K., life is a party. Not in the sense of partying to ditch responsibility or wreck your parent’s living room. No—partying, for the Ann Arbor, Michigan, native, is a lifestyle.
“It’s sort of a crucial understanding that our survival depends on an essential appreciation and gratitude toward existence,” said W.K. “It’s pretty hard to survive, in any situation, if you don’t think that surviving is worthwhile. So, if you celebrate something that you’re thankful for, it helps when you celebrate your own existence, with the foundation of appreciating all that are involved.”
“The power of partying,” as W.K. calls it, is something that he brought to his fans all over the world through music, with tunes like “Party Hard,” “Party Til You Puke,” “It’s Time to Party” and many others that, while not including the word “party” in their title, certainly serve as an uplifting assistant to the partying experience. However, while he is most well-known for his party jams, Andrew W.K. has also brought his message of a positive “partying” lifestyle to the masses through spoken word engagements, with the first of these lectures taking place in New York City at NYU’s Skirball Center, in 2006. W.K., who brings his “Power of Partying” speaking tour to Boston’s Paradise Rock Club on November 28, sees his music as a more elaborate form of getting across a message that he feels is very blunt and straightforward when presented in the form of a speech. And to go even further, W.K. feels that if it weren’t for the speaking tours, he may not have been giving the chance to meet and interact with as many people as he does.
“Doing these speaking tours has allowed me to meet and interact with people, and party with people, who I otherwise don’t think I would have had the chance to party with. My whole mission is to uplift and energize enthusiasm,” said W.K. “To me, music is different. Music is a way of cutting right to the chase, and affecting people immediately. It brings about a visceral sensation that very few other things can do, and it creates a really beautiful mechanism for accessing this feeling, this core truth that is very difficult to describe or construct using language,” he continued. “But I have found spoken word and language to also be very effective. It’s very literal. It’s literally literal. It’s just a different way of conjuring up that same raw energy, using discussion. I am aiming [with this tour] to leave everyone in the room, myself included, with even just a shred of new energy and new excitement.”
You would think that a tour that brings a man to every single state in the country in just under three months would either drive someone insane due to travel or completely inflate their ego to the point where they lose the meaning of what they originally set out to do. But for the former Cartoon Network personality (he was the host of “Destroy, Build, Destroy”), humility is the cornerstone of his journey to bring the power of partying to every direction on the compass.
“I’m just a humble servant of a much higher calling, and I’m not alone in it,” said W.K. “It’s not about me, it’s not really an expression of my own life and personal opinions, because I try to keep my personal opinions out of it. I understand there are a lot of other people with a lot of different opinions, and I want to bring balance to an understanding of that,” he continued. “So, because of that, it’s a mission. It’s a mission much bigger than me, and when you have something to devote yourself to like that, giving you that purpose in life, it can use that energy that you may not otherwise have, but it takes you to a higher level that you may not have felt that you were capable of reaching.”
“I have toured all 50 states before, but never like this, with it being back-to-back-to-back. So, I do anticipate getting tired, but as you wear yourself out, you also expand your capacity. It’s just like exercising. You work out the muscle that’s weak, and what the does the muscle do? It grows stronger,” he added.
More often than not, humility is followed by self-awareness, and even while wearing this message of positivity and encouragement like chain mail, W.K. himself still struggles with remaining positive on a daily basis, and even more so in today’s increasingly turbulent political and social landscape.
“I have struggled a great deal with the daily challenge of being a person. It’s been very difficult for me, as I am sure it has been for many people,” said W.K. “But my way of facing that challenge and dealing with that difficulty was, and still is, devoting myself to this energizing excitement where I try to sum up the power of partying,” he continued. “That’s what has helped me keep going, it’s what has pushed me through those low feelings and it’s what has allowed me to come through with this sense of optimism.”
While touching on the daily struggle to pull through, W.K. discussed his thoughts on energizing and encouraging those that he has encountered living on the streets and in poverty, and while he wants to put his message out there for the masses to hear, he feels there is a thing or two we can learn about positivity and optimism from our homeless and impoverished brothers and sisters.
“I am much more interested in hearing what [the homeless] have to say. It’s a horrible misconception that people have, that people in dire straits have consciously chosen to remove themselves from what we would consider mainstream society, and I think there are some instances where that may be the case,” said W.K. “But in most situations, it’s very easy for people like you or myself, whether you like it or not, to go from a relatively comfortable life with opportunities abounding, and after a few situations brought on by either a certain decision or bad luck, or a combination of the two and a lot of other factors, to finding themselves very close to that edge,” he continued. “So, I would listen to those people and what they had to say about life, and how they get by.”
“I’m not an authority on anything. I’m just here to amplify and spread a kind of understanding, but I don’t hold the key to any secrets. There are people out there who are experts, who have stared death in the face, who have dealt with adversities that I can only really imagine. I can only try to put myself into their shoes, and the best way for me to do that is to hear what they have to say about life,” he added.
While Andrew W.K.’s “Destroying” days may be behind him, he continues to build on understanding, love and the ability to work with others to get through the day, and he continues to build on peace.
“We could return to the idea of loving everybody, even if you don’t like them. I love humanity, but it doesn’t mean I like every person. But if we only try to divide, it’s not going to last. It just can’t function,” said W.K. “It leads back to loving your neighbor and loving your enemy, and it leads back to staying thoughtful and as open-minded as you possibly can to allow all other sides to be considered. The natural reaction to negativity is to turn away, but that takes just as much energy, and even more energy, as it does to maintain an open heart and an open mind,” he continued. “Having an open heart and an open mind doesn’t necessarily mean that we will always solve problems, but until that time comes, my advice is to just party together.”