By Graeme Wiggins
VANCOUVER – Noted philosophers LMFAO once proclaimed that they were “Sorry for Party Rocking.” While that may have been an ironic statement, few have sincerely rebuffed those apologies like singer Andrew W.K., whose entire career is a statement embracing the transcendental nature of partying. From his debut, the rocking I Get Wet, which exhorted that “when it’s time to party, we will party hard” and that one should “party ‘til you puke,” all the way to his latest album, You’re Not Alone. His newest cut seemingly broadens the scope of what we mean when we say “party,” as no one has raised the banner quite like him.
With I Get Wet, the idea of partying was expressed fairly straightforwardly. It seemed kind of dangerous and exciting, possibly alcohol-fueled. As time has passed and his career has progressed, both musically and through his work as an aspirational speaker, the scope of what it means to party seems to have changed more into a euphoric feeling. W.K. suggests that it’s never changed.
“For me, personally, it remains the same,” he says. “I’ve just tried to get better at articulating it. I’ve tried to get better at expressing this particular feeling, this mental and physical sensation that I’m trying desperately to get across to the listener, to myself, to the world at large.”
His desire to express this sentiment comes from his own internal goal to live in that party feeling.
“Just that celebratory euphoria, irrational life-affirming optimism that I desperately want to feel myself,” he explains. “I have a perpetual need to have encounters with it for my own sake and my own life. Hopefully, as a result of that, others will as well. They might not be in a state of emotional deficit like I have been, but that’s always been my motivating force, not feeling the way I want to feel. Trying to do things, and focus on things, that change that feeling into something more worthy of a human being. Partying, and this particular partying mission, has at least allowed me to have a fighting chance of getting to that place.”
His partying philosophy is pretty well self-contained. While he’s influenced by all of life, and those close to him, he has no party gurus.
“The spirit of partying itself is the guru,” says W.K. “It’s that feeling. The feeling is so specific and so comprehensive that it becomes a being. It becomes an entity of some sort. You can have a relationship with this spirit. It’s a spirit that we all possess, that is also beyond us. We find ways to access it, or to amplify it, or to conjure it up, but it always seems sort of elusive and out of reach, which is why we have to push. You have to go past your limits to some extent to see it more clearly and then it will draw away again.”
Ideally, this party sensation will be felt in his upcoming performance, one he feels he and his band are better equipped than ever before to articulate.
“You hope that after 18 years of partying and partying practice that it pays off. But I do think this is the best the band has ever been, that we have as much or more to offer than ever before. We’re hitting the bull’s-eye the best we ever have.”
Andrew W.K. plays the Imperial (Vancouver) on September 9.
Andrew W.K., Imperial, Vancouver, you’re not alone