Story: Liz Ohanesian
Photos: Shannon Cottrell
Recently, Andrew W.K. has taken an interest in My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic. Like many others, he found a certain sense of wisdom in the series that was made for little girls, but became wildly popular with adults. He has a particular fondness for party-loving Earth pony Pinkie Pie.
“I now consider Pinkie Pie to be my role model,” says W.K., while sitting poolside at the Marriott Marquis during San Diego Comic-Con. “She’s not a pony version of me. I am a human version of Pinkie Pie and I’m here to learn from this pony and promote this pony.”
W.K. says that some fans have compared his own party philosophy with that of Pinkie Pie. This makes sense. Pinkie Pie is the jovial pony, known for parties and goofy, off-the-cuff statements, but she’s also incredibly intuitive. For at least a decade, W.K. has been known as the party guy. He released songs like “Party Hard” and “Party til You Puke” and has appeared on Aqua Teen Hunger Force chanting “Party Party Party.” But, if you read W.K.’s “Party Tips” on Twitter, you know that he’s really onto something. The “Andrew W.K. Philosophy,” as he calls it, isn’t just about partying. It’s about finding happiness.
“I went through a pessimist party stage,” says W.K. “This was a darker stage in the party adventure for me, where I encountered face-to-face the lack of meaning that’s implicit in the universe.”
He continues, “It’s upsetting, stressful, to realize that there might not be any reason to do anything.”
W.K. describes his struggle with depression as a “wrestling match,” between the party side and the dark side. Partying won. “I was saved from a very severe depression by partying, by realizing that we make the meaning. We choose what’s fun,” he says. “Partying triumphed over a very powerful and very rational way of thought.”
He confesses to the occasional bout of melancholy, but he parties through the bad times and that’s what W.K. tries to impart on his audience. “Let yourself feel what you’re feeling and keep moving forward,” he says.
“Keep being glad that you aren’t dead. It’s easy to take that for granted,” he adds. “That’s probably the most important thing about being alive, you aren’t dead.”
W.K. has been spreading his message to the rock crowd for years, but now he’s moving into the convention circuit. This fall, he’ll be at Canterlot Gardens, a My Little Pony convention near Cleveland, Ohio. Last weekend, he stopped by San Diego Comic-Con to perform a Friday night concert at Franki Chan’s Check Yo’ Ponytail SDCC party. It was his second year at the mega-event.
W.K. has collected comic books since he was a child and he had attended conventions in other parts of the country prior to San Diego’s extravaganza. When he finally made it to SDCC last year, where he was working with Cartoon Network, his mind was blown.
“If you are working or interested in a part of culture, you’re not just shooting yourself in the foot, you’re actually shooting yourself in the crotch by not coming here,” he opines. “You’re destroying your reproductive abilities, to continue to be a part of this culture and flourish within it.”
Last year, W.K. made a promise to himself that he would attend SDCC every year. So far, he’s made good on it. “The folks who are here, their enthusiasm, their passion and their way of expressing it,” he says, “that’s what I want to be around.”
Follow Hard Road to Rad on Facebook.