Securing a spot on the QLD leg of the VB Hard Yards tour, Being Jane …
If The Bennies are one-part party and one-part machine, Andrew W.K. is the everflowing stream from which all party is created. Endless, formless, party on forever.
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His immortal battle cry of let’s get a party going is the antidote to our bureaucratised, stuffed-shirt, politically correct civilisation. Be yourself, celebrate the fact you’re alive, and have some damn fun. It’s why the prestigious New York street press The Village Voice tapped him for an advice column, VICE for a similar vlog, been a pitchman for sex wipes, a semi-regular on the FOX News Channel Red Eye discussion program, and host of kids engineering and science game show Destroy Build Destroy (which still might be on Netflix and is a lot of fun).
You’d be forgiven thinking he’s some kind of freak of neurology, born with a thousandfold more serotonin and oxytocin than the rest of us. As the party artist formerly known as Andrew Wilkes-Krier reveals, partying is not a naive philosophy of chugging beer and ignoring reality. It’s a transcendent and moving call-to-action, much like the myths of old. The universe is party, for we are the universe understanding itself. That, and we have pizza, which is awesome.
First off, the most important question. You’re the most spill resistant man in heavy music. How do you keep your whites so white?
Oh, I’m not sure which photos you’re referring to because my whites are far from spotless. They are soiled to the degree that they’re more a slight beige, a yellowish. Certain parts are a bit brown. They’re covered. But what I think it must be there’s so many things and they’re so consistently soiled that to the untrained eye, they just look as though there’s nothing on them at all. They’re so covered in filth that the filth doesn’t stand out because there’s no clean spot for it to stand out apart from.
I’m a bachelor myself, and I have two kinds of clothes: filthy, and filthy but wearable.
Hey, I think that you and I are in the same boat and we’re doing a great service to the environment by not over-washing our clothes. There’s no reason that socks, shirts, underwear, pants can’t be worn many, many days or even weeks before they need a good washing. Especially, much to peoples’ confusion, especially if you’re sweating because that sweat is your body’s own natural built-in laundry.
You’re Not Alone is your first album since 2009. In that time, You’ve hosted TV shows, you do the radio thing, you’ve done vlogs, and motivational speaking and things like that. Did the music itch just sort of need to be scratched at this point?
It was just by the order of the party gods. There’s no rhyme or reason to why it came out now and took this long. I’m not happy that it took this long, but at the same time, I can’t complain because I wouldn’t change anything that I’ve gotten to do in the mean time. It’s a baffling and confusing process being a professional partier, but as long as I keep partying and the party keeps going, that’s all I care about. That’s all I can allow myself to care about. Just continue partying and keep that path in front of me as clear as I can.
I think one can draw parallels between partying and the philosophy of the Stoics and the Buddhists. You know, you can change your own attitude to partying, but if the world doesn’t party, at least you can. I mean is that sort of something that has informed your philosophy as a pro partier?
Well I’m not very well educated in the great philosophical traditions or religions of the world, but I have lived long enough and partied hard enough to see that there’s a consistent spirit at the heart of the human experience and all I’m doing, like so many others, is choosing to celebrate that spirit. And to try to prove myself worthy of having this chance to exist.
There’s so many ways to look at these most fundamental questions. For example, even the question; is it good to have been born or not?
I hope you aren’t asking me, Andrew.
No, no. Those questions, in fact, are fascinating and worth celebrating, but if they do have to be answered, at least to the extent to manoeuvre through day to day life. I’m gonna choose to answer that question as yes, being born was the greatest thing could have ever of possibly happened and I’ma have a party about it every day.
That comes across in everything you do. Like your Instagram story Party Product Reviews, which are fantastic.
Oh thank you, wow. I’m just amazed that you’re even aware of those. They only exist for a short time on the Instagram Stories before they disappear, you know?
Being born was the greatest thing could have ever of possibly happened and I’ma have a party about it every day.
With that in mind, I imagine a lot of people come up to you and say, “thank you for this outlook on life.” Is that a humbling experience?
It’s never lost on me that I’m very, very lucky to be able to do what I get to do. That I’m being afforded this chance and as far as the reactions of other people, I suppose because this work in a way, the themes that I’m working on, are not personal. They’re not meant to be. You know, I don’t usually want to sing about how I feel. I don’t usually want the work that I’m doing to be focused on how I feel. I want it to be focused on how I wish I felt. I wanna sing about how I hope I could feel if all things were perfect. And so anyone who connects to that, I feel like I’ve met a fellow traveler, a team member. Somebody else who also is searching for this elusive, joyful feeling and reaching out and wishing to feel it as well. And that together, we’re on this team, this quest like the band of Dwarves in The Hobbit movie with a shared purpose and a shared focus and that we all are in it together to win it together.
Let’s album title and obviously the songs in the album title. The last track is called You’re Not Alone. It’s about doing what must be done, embracing your destiny. I can imagine a lot of people listening to that, in their bedroom or on a bus, actually being alone. But in a way, everyone who listens to that song isn’t alone—they have you, they have the power of everyone connected through this music there with them. Is that the kind of feeling you were trying to get at there?
That’s a beautiful way to look at it that I hadn’t even myself fully considered. Specifically the experience of the title track being the last song on the album and the message specifically that those words seem to convey. That’s a great observation. You know, there’s intentionally because the title is so broad and cliched and generic, it’s very wide open for interpretation.
But some of the interpretations that I find most exciting to me personally or the idea that you could be alone like you just said. You could be alone listening to that song by yourself and also still not be alone by the very nature of the feeling in the music. By the very nature of the spirit in you that is always by your side. Your own guardian angel. Experiencing a kind of transcendent presence that there is a presence, even if it is yourself to yourself. Your mind to your soul or your ego to your lower appetites. These ideas of even a malevolent presence. A presence that maybe you wish you were alone at certain times because there’s a bad vibe coming from something else. So I like the idea of all those factors coming into play and wrestling with one another.
Where do you think people sort of stumble when they think of a party as a discrete entity instead of something they, if they have the will to experience, they can experience anytime they want?
It is a challenge and it’s understandable and perhaps even necessary to break life up into segments of experience.
But, I suppose also as you get older, many of us … especially let’s say a very old person, perhaps approaching death, they’re able to view their life as a totality, as one entire experience of the entire event was them getting to be alive. And I think trying to hopefully be able to attain some version, even a pretend version of that perspective before you get on your death bed would be helpful.
It doesn’t mean you still can’t have a party on a Friday night because the work week’s done. It doesn’t mean you can’t party because it’s New Year’s Eve. But you are trying to shift your outlook to say the greatest event is not, as you said so well, not an isolated experience, it’s this fact that I’ve come into being. And that in itself is enough of an isolated experience in terms of the vastness of time and space. It is an event.
The [party] theme is what keeps me going. The quest. The singular focus on the party power feeling. That physical euphoric kind of energy. That’s what I want to get out there and there’s fortunately a whole bunch of different ways to get that out there.
Talking about philosophy and the nature of being, have you heard about this bizarre conspiracy theory that you aren’t even a real person?
Yes, I’ve heard of it. And it’s funny, I don’t know if you mention it. It’s still going now. I was gonna say to my dismay, it’s still going, but yeah there was a article today that a guy in Australia of all places put out and I felt quite conflicted about it, but it’s a strange … I’d say the closest I could imagine to what it would be like to live in a twilight zone episode to be told by others and to even be forced to consider yourself that you don’t actually exist.
As for the other ventures, vlogs, motivational speaking and the like; Is that something that you still wanna do at some point? Or is it sort of something you’ve achieved and you’ve sort of, “Okay, I’ve done that.” Or what’s your sort of feeling? Just take it as it comes?
Yeah, take it as it comes because I had never imagined I would wind up doing any of the things you just mentioned the first place. My mission was to spread the power of partying. And whatever comes of that or comes with that focus, I’m up for. You know? The theme is what keeps me going. The quest. The singular focus on the party power feeling. That physical euphoric kind of energy. That’s what I want to get out there and there’s fortunately a whole bunch of different ways to get that out there.
You’re coming back to Australia which is awesome. Are you excited to come back or is that a dumb question?
It’s not a dumb question, but of course I’m extremely excited. I’m extremely excited that the band, my full band is coming with me to play these shows as well because this version of the band has never played in Australia and being a band now for almost 20 years, this is the best version of this band we’ve ever had. I mean, practice leads towards party perfection and we are trending in that direction so I’m really excited to present to the partiers in Australia what we have to offer now.
What can fans expect from the full band show?
We will play material off all of the main rock albums so songs off I Get Wet, songs off The Wolf, songs off Close Calls with Brick Walls, and songs off You’re Not Alone. As well as some other material and moments that are just for the live show. But, it’s a set that we’ve really worked hard at putting together and refining the show. We’re gonna be going into Australia with the best set we’ve ever had and I don’t say that lightly.
Another thing that I saw you do was try the party food in Britain, I think it was. Have you tried any party food in Australia?
Well I imagine that I have, but I don’t know that they were presented with as much focus. You know, I was probably partying very hard when I ate or tried many of them and I may have not had the clarity of mind to appreciate them or at least remember it. But I would love to try some more with that same attention to detail.
We have something called “party pies.” Can’t go wrong there.
Party pies? Fantastic!
ANDREW W.K. THE PARTY NEVER DIES AUSTRALIAN TOUR 2018 with special guests The Bennies & Bare Bones:
SATURDAY 25 AUGUST // CORNER HOTEL // MELBOURNE (18+)
SUNDAY 26 AUGUST // MANNING BAR // SYDNEY (18+)