The dude on the other end of the phone is saving me money on coffee.
Caffeine incarnate, Andrew W.K. is to the slightest hint of drowsiness what napalm is to plant life.
So, what’s this blitzkrieg of enthusiasm — responsible for anthemic ragers like “Party Hard,” “Party God,” “Party, Party, Party,” “We Party (You Shout),” “It’s Time To Party,” “Party ’Til You Puke” and “Big Party” — phoning us up to talk about on a recent weekday afternoon?
It’s a timely call.
Quick reminder: This is a presidential election year.
As such, Republicans and Democrats alike have been conking us upside the head with their respective sales pitches with all the grace of a caveman attempting to procure a mate, club in hair-covered hand.
Here’s the thing, though: Ever notice how little actual partying is involved in the platforms of said parties?
Andrew W.K. did.
And so, earlier this year, he formed The Party Party, “to embrace the paradox of a nonpolitical, political party where all the aspects of governmental politics that separate and divide people are set aside to focus on what doesn’t divide us,” he explains. “There are those moments in life where you find yourself able to get along with people that you can’t believe you’re getting along with. Why does that happen? And what allows that to happen? Setting aside those moments, even if they’re presented in a very lighthearted way, to just consider the possibility of that being us at our best, that was the concept.”
As his words underscore, Andrew W.K. is serious about not taking life so seriously. He speaks earnestly — and philosophically — about the power of partying, which he doesn’t define as pounding brews and doing keg stands, necessarily.
For him, partying just means people coming together to boost one another’s spirits.
To this end, Andrew W.K. has hit the campaign trail — he’ll be at The Bunkhouse Saloon on Thursday — hosting what are intended to be communal, feel-good gatherings.
“It really is a pep rally to cheer each other on, all the people in that room together,” he says. “Staying engaged in this part of life might even be the meaning of life.”
The show begins with Andrew W.K. speaking for 30 to 45 minutes, completely off the cuff, he says.
“Just being on stage without an instrument or a song or anything going on other than me trying to talk about being alive is the biggest ego boost, and it’s also the most soul-crushing, desolate type of embarrassment,” he says. “The contrast between those two polarities becomes quite palpable and, in the end, bonds us together.”
After he’s done talking, Andrew W.K. opens things up to questions from the crowd, ideally catalyzing a freewheeling discussion.
“That’s, to me, when things really get going,” he says. “I sort of set the tone, and people see, ‘Wow, if he can make a fool of himself to this degree, then surely I can get up and talk about these things without any fear.’ I’m a bit of a jester, in a way, which I think can help create a relaxed, safe space in which to dive into these pretty intense ideas. They’re very simple, but there’s a heaviness in them. We just dive into it.”
Though he’s at the center of things, espousing the life-affirming benefits of a party-hard ethos, Andrew W.K. says that he’s not trying to be some long-haired life coach, even if his words are delivered with the you-can-do-it zeal of a buzzed self-help guru.
“I think people can tell that I’m not coming in there as an authority or as a teacher,” he notes. “I’m there as a fellow seeker and we’re standing side by side in this effort, supporting each other. I don’t feel confident — that’s the one thing I’m confident about in this endeavor, that I’m not confident at all. I really feel like it’s a team effort.”
Said team is growing: On his current tour, Andrew W.K.’s hitting every state in the continental U.S., appearing everywhere from youth centers and churches to rock dives and upscale theaters.
Yeah, his message is a simple one, and there’s a certain novelty to it all.
But it’s also a genuine one, and in a divided electorate, who wouldn’t want to count themselves among this constituency of fun?
“People have responded to it very well, much more than I would have expected,” Andrew W.K. says. “I thought people would have been more offended by the idea, in that they would have seen it as seeking to encourage them to discard their beliefs. But, in fact, it’s meant to allow everyone to have their preexisting beliefs and yet still party together. That’s what the United States of America is supposed to be about.”
Read more from Jason Bracelin at reviewjournal.com. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow @JasonBracelin on Twitter.