Andrew W.K.: Party Philosopher

Buried inside Andrew W.K.’s high energy lyrics is a deeply held set of beliefs.

Andrew W.K. was raised in Ann Arbor, Michigan. At age four, he began learning piano at the University of Michigan's School of Music. His formal studies continued through high school, but along the way he connected with rock 'n' roll, in a way that would define the rest of his life.

Andrew W.K.: I wanted to feel better about life. And the thing that made me feel better consistently and reliably was music—and not just any kind of music, but a music that was focused on an extraordinarily, kind of high, physical energy. 

In 2001, Island Records released his debut album I Get Wet. But, for all its apparent violence and hedonism, buried inside the record, and its hit single, "Party Hard,” was a deeply held philosophy. For Andrew W.K., partying is an attitude.

W.K.: The attitude is one of optimism, one of courage, one of, I'd say, humility. But, most of all one of gratitude—a celebratory enthusiasm for getting to exist at all. You want to feel like being alive is a good thing. That's what I want to feel, without doubt—or push that doubt that says, "Well, maybe it wasn't good to be born,” so far away that it is just a mental consideration. It's just an intellectual exercise. But the physical truth is, that you wouldn't be able to feel this good, if you weren't meant to exist in order to feel it. I want to feel that way, even if for just a glimpse. And then I can go back into the puzzling, and pondering, and debating whether I should have been born or not.

AJC: And that's the “partying hard.”

W.K.: That is, between those two states. If you can embrace that, the dichotomy, and see that entire battle, or that entire negative/positive wrestling match, as being contained within a transcendent kind of beauty. That the whole thing counts, that's the triumph, I think.