We Party Because We Care
Andrew W.K.’s attainable theory of positivity
“When it's time to party, we will party hard.” As a Burqueño, these words really resonate. The man behind those words, Andrew W.K.—a musician, producer, advice columnist, and most recently a motivational speaker—has been touring the nation to bring his message of peace-
Alibi: For those who don't know, you've been labeled the Party Guru and the Philosopher of Partying. Let's start off by talking about your general party philosophy. What is it?
W.K.: I'm a human being who has struggled to see the glass as half full … [for] as long as I can remember. About 20 years ago, I began focusing on making my life's work [as] seeing the glass as half full ... and to make promoting that belief my sole purpose in life; to make celebrating the belief that life is inherently good the foundation of my faith and all my physical efforts. And that's the spirit of partying.
That's very admirable. But sometimes it's difficult to do that. How do you balance supreme positivity with genuine negative feelings in a way that doesn't belittle either?
Well, the beautiful thing about positivity is that true positivity ... actually contains negativity—meaning that it's actually not seeing the glass as half full or half empty. The positivity is being able to consider … [just] having a glass to look at. [It's] a sort of positive transcendental truth that life contains the dark and the light, the good and the bad, the shadow and the illumination and that both those things are dependent on one another and they're both part of an overall positivity. It's the truth. And the truth, fortunately, has everything in it, for better or worse, and a lot that we can't know or even consider … Truth can be overwhelmingly oppressive and terrifying, or it can be this transcendent beauty. … Now that doesn't mean it's not painful. It doesn't mean it's not challenging. It doesn't mean that it's not extremely intense. But there's this kind of goodness to just having had the chance to come into being that you could begin to rely on as the foundation of all things.
Do you believe in karma?
Well, yeah. I think it's a way to interpret and potentially understand very confounding, and at the same time, very natural aspects of life. Cause and effect—that's as easy to believe in and understand as anything. I think karma is some kind of cause and effect on a very large, cosmic scale.
“Well, the beautiful thing about positivity is that true positivity ... actually contains negativity—meaning that it's actually not seeing the glass as half full or half empty. The positivity is being able to consider … [just] having a glass to look at.”
With one of the most intense election seasons coming upon us, you've tried to give the people another option, or a different way of thinking about issues in this country by setting aside the factioned mindset of red or blue and just coming together as humans. For those who haven't heard of it, what is the Party Party?
You said it very well. I guess I thought, “How can I summon up the party spirit in the realm of politics?' and the first step was to set aside the governmental political issues and focus on the partying. Focus on a platform of more partying together. There's so many thousands of very valid and worthy reasons to disagree with one another and I wanted to focus on the very few, if not even the singular reason, to agree, the one reason to get along—that’s just the fact that we all exist. That's the solution and the problem. Which is the strange thing. But it's the solution when it brings out our best abilities and our best impulses and our highest modes of thought and behavior, and it's the problem when it encourages our worst potentials and our worst appetites and our worst reactions. This is just my very humble attempt to direct some attention and energy towards that underlying phenomenon that, even though we can think differently and believe different things, we do have to figure out a way to get along.
This is your first tour stopping in all 50 states. Anywhere you're super excited to go?
I'm definitely excited to go to Santa Fe. I can say that [with] certainty because this venue [Meow Wolf] is so unique. I was very fortunate that the promoters specifically put it there. We had asked when booking this tour if we could find unusual venues or special venues, and I think this venue shatters the very idea of unique. … It seems like this place is a once-in-a-lifetime experience—just to step foot inside of it, let alone getting to do this lecture there, is definitely a highlight of the tour for me.
Have you traveled through ABQ or Santa Fe before?
Yes! I've been there many times actually—more than most places in the country because [I've] had family there since I was a young child. I've spent a lot of time being enchanted in the Land of Enchantment, even as recently as just a few weeks ago. I just have very many early memories of life there and there's really no other place quite like it … The whole look of everything, the smell of everything, the feeling in the air. People have often talked about this mystical quality that this place has, and I've been able to appreciate it and miss it more and more because I've visited it more and seen the rest of the world in contrast. It's not just completely tumbleweed wasteland, there's a reason Georgia O'Keeffe was able to do her work looking out at that landscape.
Do you have any party tips specifically for the 505?
I've talked to people that have come from certain parts of the country, certain cities, certain locations, who, growing up there, would really despise it and I can understand that and relate to it in a way. When you're in one place for so long you build up a resentment that if maybe nothing else, it's kind of a natural, compulsive desire to seek other experiences in life and other locations, but often times the places that a lot of people have found very depressing, I've found really stimulating in some strange way. … Sometimes, with enough effort and creative perspective, you can see something entirely new that you've seen over and over again, and almost look at it as though it's this abstract thing … and just be blown away. That's my party tip, whatever that means.
Andrew W.K. will be at Meow Wolf in Santa Fe on Wednesday, Oct. 19, at 8pm on his Power of Partying speaking tour. Tickets are available online for $25.