Party philosopher Andrew W.K. performs at Mr. Smalls Tues., May 22 | Music | Pittsburgh | Pittsburgh City Paper

Party philosopher Andrew W.K. performs at Mr. Smalls Tues., May 22

“Stay strong, and don’t be afraid.”

Photo courtesy of the artist
Andrew W.K.

Andrew W.K. has been partying since his 2001 release I Get Wet. Now, 17 years later, he’s released a fifth album, You’re Not Alone. City Paper chatted with W.K. by phone to talk about sustaining and motivating the celebratory lifestyle. 

What keeps the party going?
I think we’re all bonded together in our pursuit of and obsession with a type of physical excitement and energy, something we’re worshipping and having rituals around. This common obsession with making life the most intense and exciting it can be, that’s what all the music is aiming for, giving you the mind and heart that you can take with you into the world and face it with enthusiasm, optimism and resolve.

That’s what keeps me able to do this. The idea that doing this work would be tiring? The work is the refueling, the work is what enables me to live as a human. This is how I’m to figure out how to be a real person, have emotions, have a quest that forces me to rise [beyond] my own self and have a reason bigger than myself to do it. 

What’s the most exciting part of this endeavor, and being able to create and perform music for so long?
I’m very thankful I get to do this. It’s only become more amazing to me as time has gone on that any of this has unfolded. The most powerful and meaningful aspect of this work is the people I get to work with [musically and creatively]. They are the party gods' most blatant display of blessings on me — that these people are here and with me and I get to spend the time of my life with them, doing this work together.

What advice do you have for the party people out there?
It can become very easy to be so arrogant as to imagine that life is not going to be extraordinarily difficult. We owe it to ourselves to make a promise to inherently respect life, to prove ourselves worthy of it in a joyful way. It takes a tolerance of discomfort; an acceptance of confusion; embracing ordeals as an opportunity to develop powerful character. And it takes a sense of wonder and excitement.

Celebrating every aspect of the fact that we get to exist, almost relishing in the most difficult things, as if to take away the power from the hurt. Life is like a friend, it’s this being, this thing we get to interact with. You can interpret all those [difficult] things as life teaching you how to be a better version of yourself, like a drill sergeant. But it’s trying to break you down into something more noble. Stay strong, and don’t be afraid. 

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