Andrew WK wants to change politics in America.
For years, the rock star behind party anthems like “Party Hard,” “It’s Time to Party” and “Fun Night” has used his brand of raucous optimism to bring the “party mindset” to the masses as an advice columnist, TV personality and a radio show host.
But now, Andrew WK has an even bigger vision: To save American politics from all of the vitriol and negativity.
He recently launched his own alternative political party, called, obviously, The Party Party, which he hopes can change political discourse in America.
We recently talked to Andrew WK about his vision for the Party Party and the cure for political disillusionment.
Now that you’ve got a lot of people on board, is there a chance that during the general election we would see the Party Party on an actual ballot?
That would be absolutely incredible. Unfortunately, it’s largely out of my power. These decisions, for better or worse, are still are made by the US Department of State and the federal government. If we’re getting all the way up to the presidential level, I don’t know if they would allow something like this to exist.
But the beautiful thing about it, in terms of the “Party Party,” is because we don’t have a specific political agenda, we get to contribute to the political atmosphere in a non-political way by making it partier—by improving our attitudes. So even if you are already invested in a particular candidate or in the political process itself, you can still be part of the Party Party.
You don’t have to abandon whatever political affiliations you already have. We’re here to bring people together to get everyone more engaged in becoming the best country we can be, and that can happen within the political system or outside of it.
In some ways I think it’s even more powerful if we don’t have to even participate in the system. We can transcend the system.
On a practical level, how do you think the Party Party can make discourse more civil and optimistic?
It takes the individual effort of each person deciding to feel that way, and we can encourage it through something as simple as a “party mindset,” where we celebrate the things that are good rather than focusing on the things that are bad.
It doesn’t mean that we are overlooking the things that are bad. It doesn’t mean we’re discounting their importance.
It means that we’re re-prioritizing the good things first, so that we improve our state of mind. Because as we have seen, trying to address to issues, trying to fix problems, trying to save the world—when you’re in a bad mood, it doesn’t tend to go very well.
And again if you think about it, who wants to go into an ice cream store that only offers vanilla and chocolate? What about all the other colors? What about all the other flavors? What about rainbow sherbet? Why does it have to be so limited? Why do we have to make our thinking so binary? It’s a natural instinct of the mind to separate and divide, but the heart has its natural inclination to unify and to pull things together.
Have you been contacted by either of the main political parties?
No. I don’t think that, for better or worse, they want to have very much to do with me. And I don’t blame them. They have a lot on the line, and as often is the case when people associate themselves with me, they risk lowering themselves down to my level. And I get maybe raised up to their level.
But this exists outside of that realm in a way that I think is very beneficial for us.
We’re trying to create an atmosphere more than we’re trying to create a certain particular point within the conversation. I had talked to people very close in politics, people I’ve met over the years primarily doing television stuff and MTV news. Many of them were very polite and even encouraging, but no one wanted to have anything to do with it because it was too risky for them.
And that says a lot right there. Just how stiff this whole world has become. The more institutionalized something becomes, the closer it gets to death, and we’ve got to breathe new life in by reinvigorating the atmosphere.
What’s been the most encouraging thing that anyone has said to you since this whole thing has kind of picked up steam?
Well just the fact that anyone has cared about it at all has been very very encouraging, and that people have related to it in a way that I could relate to.
They didn’t want to tune out. They didn’t want to be completely disgusted or disillusioned with the entire process. They wanted to stay engaged, and this was a way to get back into it. Not just into politics, but into what it means to be a nation.
That has felt great to have someone say they don’t normally talk about politics or even want to think about politics, but the Party Party has given them some sense of hope. Sometimes a situation that seems like it’s devolved just into complete absurdity requires a radical, absurd response—and that radical, absurd response might in fact be more sensible than even the thing it’s responding to.
If you had an ultimate end goal to see what the Party Party could accomplish, what would that look like?
Total and complete liberation of the human spirit to provide everyone with the chance to become themselves.
And I think that is completely, 100 percent consistent with the original vision of the United States of America—with western civilization in general, which the United States has seized upon and amplified throughout its short, but very intense history so far.
This is about each human being having the chance to become the best version of themselves. And nothing should stand in the way of that, and everything that we can do to facilitate that process, we should do. But, it’s ultimately still something that each of us has to do on our own. No one can do that work for you. No one can become you for you.
It’s almost like the pursuit of happiness idea that ultimately it’s back in our court. It’s something that we have to pursue actively.
Absolutely. And thank goodness it’s the one thing that we’re responsible for. We wouldn’t want to give anyone that much power over us.
We wouldn’t want to give anyone that responsibility to do it for us, because even if it’s hard and painful work, as it is in every case to different, varying degrees, part of that hard work and that pain is what makes us actually stronger and makes up grow and makes us become who we are.
So we don’t want it to be easy either and anyone who tells us that they’re going to make it easier for us we have to be very suspicious of.
Jesse Carey is a mainstay on the weekly RELEVANT Podcast and member of RELEVANT's executive board. He lives in Virginia Beach with his wife and two kids.