*This story originally appeared in Vegas Seven magazine on October 13, 2017.
Andrew W.K. is an unlikely rock star, not in image—his long hair, dingy all-white ensemble and an infamous bloody nose photo (used for his 2001 debut album) are all exactly what you’d expect from a dirtball rocker—but in attitude. Instead of exuding a too-cool, jaded demeanor, W.K. is a friendly guy who signs his emails with an endearing “Love, Andrew.”
The musician began doling out advice for The Village Voice in 2014, and recently launched another column for Vice on singular, nonspecific issues (last week’s installment was on bread). It may seem silly when W.K writes “Bread is a riddle that doesn’t need to be solved. Some things in life make it worth living, even if they are (supposedly) killing you. Long live bread. Long live joy.” But underneath the Keanu Reeves surface of his words, there is truth.
“The power of partying compels me. I’ve turned myself over to the party gods and just try to serve this life-force feeling in every way I can.” – Andrew W.K
That empirical outlook on life is the same idea the “Party Hard” songwriter has taken on the road for a 50-state motivational speaking tour called “The Power of Partying,” which makes a stop at The Bunkhouse October 13. But the Zig Ziglar of rock didn’t choose to embark on the long and tiring party journey across the country, facing treacherous truck-stop bathrooms and bad cell service. No, the party chose him.
“The power of partying compels me. I’ve turned myself over to the party gods and just try to serve this life-force feeling in every way I can,” he says. “For better or worse, I’m driven by this party force. But it’s my true will to follow its commands, and it’s a privilege to do its bidding.”
Other than the inexorable power of the gods, W.K. was driven to be the party preacher as a way to manage his own demons. In the past, he’s written about his struggles with severe depression.
“I haven’t [had] a positive attitude all of the time or even most of the time. I’ve been what I would consider a primarily negative and low-quality person for most of my life,” he says. “That’s why I wanted to devote myself to working on something uplifting and [be] focused on transcendent joy. Partying doesn’t come naturally or easily to me. This is a constant rigorous effort—my desperate effort to become worthy of this chance to exist.”
On the tour, W.K. speaks of life’s troubles and delights, and then the audience can join the conversation during a Q&A portion. The event can last up to four or five hours, which he says is more emotionally demanding than the physically demanding music tours he’s been on.
“I only have one topic that I talk about, and that topic is partying. Fortunately, partying is a topic that can contain nearly all other topics,” he says. “It’s one-dimensional and shallow, but it’s the deepest type of shallow I’ve ever found.” W.K. says Q&A topics have included death, cats, TV, exercise, drugs, laughter, sadness, strength and negativity—among many other things.
“One of the best aspects of the ‘Power of Partying’ mindset is that it encourages us to consider almost everything valuable, interesting and worth examining. Partying tells us that all these various things and experiences have the truth at their core,” he says. “This tour is an opportunity for us to cheer each other on in our noble efforts to stay engaged with life and let our struggles bring out our best, not our worst.”