Recognizing his seemingly boundless talent for positivity in the face of adversity or pain, a national suicide prevention group has named Andrew W.K. its person of the year. W.K.—whose new album of life-affirming party anthems, You’re Not Alone, arrives on March 3—has been recognized by the American Association Of Suicidology, who cited “his life-affirming music and work, which promotes celebrating all life has to offer.”
W.K. responded to the award with a typically thoughtful response, thanking the association for its recognition, and issuing a frankly beautiful reminder that his well-known mantra of “party party party” is not a call for mindless self-indulgence or hedonism, but an acknowledgement of the life-saving role of joy and connection in all our lives:
Words cannot adequately convey my astonishment at having been selected for this unique recognition. I’m grateful to the American Association of Suicidology for the incredibly valuable work they’ve done for so long, and continue to do now, when it’s needed more than ever.
My story is a familiar one: from a young age, I felt consistently uneasy in the world, and thus began an ongoing search for something to quell the sense of wrongness inside of me. I was lucky enough to discover a life’s work which not only transmuted my darker tendencies into something brighter and more deserving of my energy, but also allowed me to amplify and share that quest with others. In my mission to find joyful meaning in life, I never imagined my rock and roll destiny would become a source of inspiration for those who also dwelled in the shadows. To reach into the abyss and somehow make contact with the unknown is both terrifying and miraculous, but even more terrifying and miraculous, is to reach into yourself and somehow make contact with your fellow man. It’s in this quintessential form of contact—this primal physical and emotional connection—that the Truth about life must surely be found. This is our challenge—to see if we can find the other person inside of us, and us in them, and to let this process of enlightened discovery open our hearts, and purify our minds.
I’d like to humbly accept this award on behalf of all the people who work every day at forging this sacred human bond. I’d like to accept this award on behalf of music itself, and on behalf of the mysterious life-force feeling I simply call ‘partying.’ I’d like to accept this award on behalf of every person who has struggled and overcome, and struggled and fallen—for I have been both. I’d also like to accept this honor on behalf of every person who’s lost someone - or lost themselves - to seemingly insurmountable darkness. In a world of confusion, distress, and extraordinary challenges, there are few efforts more worthwhile than devoting oneself to the raising of the collective human spirit. If any of our work can contribute to this vast emergency—this crisis of joy—then may the Party Gods grant us ever more strength, so we may all help make the world a partier place.
The AAS will be presenting W.K. with his award at its annual meeting this April.