If you're like us, you probably owe the first wave of your most brutal hangovers to partying as hard as Andrew WK did in his music videos in the 2000s—bloody face and all. The man is a party god, and now, 15 years after his anthem "Party Hard" was released, he remains the earth's foremost authority on the art of having fun.
But how does food and diet play into his way of life?
MUNCHIES caught up with the legend to find out how exactly he fuels his lifestyle, how he throws a party, some tips and tricks on giving the best damn toast possible, and why the party never really stops.
Fair warning: Things got deep.
MUNCHIES: To you, what is a party? Andrew WK: In some ways, it's an event that involves active expressions of gratitude and celebration regarding something specific—a holiday, the weekend, whatever. But in the larger sense, or maybe the simpler sense, you can party about the ultimate event, which is being alive. In that way, it's a mindset that is continuous. It's my desperate struggle and effort to live that way.
What do you think parties are all about? It really can be whatever helps express that essential excitement and gratitude and awareness. Anything that brings that sort of enthusiasm. That type of unbridled joy seems appropriate for a party.
Partying on an empty stomach can increase the strength of your party choices and get more out of them, more bang for your buck.
How does food play into your party philosophy? Food is an essential part of the life experience. You can't live without it. And, in this way, it is the most important… as fundamentally important as anything could ever be, and perhaps, also because of that, it's often overlooked or taken for granted, until you don't have any, of course. Once food is scarce, you realize how crucial it is. But, for so many people, it is something they can put into the background to a degree because we live in a land of plenty and it's a great privilege to have so much access to so much fantastic food.
Do you have any pre-partying food rituals? Well, I do personally enjoy a kind of starvation approach to pre-partying. I put off eating to develop an empty stomach. It seems that partying on an empty stomach can increase the strength of your party choices and get more out of them, more bang for your buck. Plus, then eating food, [with] a real big appetite when you're very, very hungry has a type of natural high to it. So I think kind of creating that dynamic contrast between not eating and then getting to eat a lot of food is quite thrilling.
What about post-partying? Well, that's when you can gorge. And there's a type of recovery process where the body needs that fuel to rebuild and recharge and rejuvenate. And just about any food will do, but I think those very rich foods, very vibrant foods packed with flavor and fats and high in calories, those are really enjoyable. Especially if you can have, again, that kind of back and forth contrast. Maybe eating very savory foods, then eating very sweet foods. Then once you're overdosing on the sweets you can go back to the savories, and you just gorge and gorge and gorge. And your body can really use that to replenish itself.
Any foods in particular? I've been vegan before, years ago, but at this point I've fully embraced the omnivore approach to eating, for better or worse. I do like eating sweets immediately after a high-intensity physical exertion. So, cake, very simple carbohydrates, cookies, anything sweet, chocolate, candy, ice cream, milkshakes. And I would eat something more savory and hearty like, you know, involving cheeses and rices and grains, pastas, fishes, loaves.
I've heard that you are providing pizza for your "Power of Partying" speaking tour. Yes, we've been very fortunate to have pizza sponsors for almost every date of the tour and this has usually been a local pizza place that's donated these pizzas out of the kindness of their heart.
I wanted to try to devote my life to something that was about getting cheered up and about feeling good about existing. And try to change that inner feeling of fear and darkness into something more joyful and light.
Why pizza? Well, I feel like almost every party event, in a way, is a pizza party, even if there isn't pizza there. And to actually have the pizza physically there really just puts it over the top. I think even people….it seems like everybody likes pizza, even people who don't like it still like the idea of it. It's round, most of the time. I mean, it literally brings people together. And it's one of those rare things in life that most people can agree on. It's easy to eat. You don't need silverware, you don't even really need plates. And it's great even when it's cold.
I couldn't agree more. It's proof that life life can't be 100-percent a bad experience if there's pizza in existence. It sort of proves a kind of essential value and joy about life. And I don't think it should be taken lightly at all. I think it should be really put on a pedestal in that regard and say that, just like music, pizza is proof that life is beautiful.
What got you started in this partying lifestyle? Was there a certain "a-ha" moment that made you choose this lifestyle? Just feeling so bad about life so much of the time, I wanted to try to devote my life to something that was about getting cheered up and about feeling good about existing. And try to change that inner feeling of fear and darkness into something more joyful and light.
If you could give people a single piece of advice on how to experience a party to the fullest, what would it be? Take that leap of faith. And decide, truly decide for yourself, that despite the pain, despite the challenge, despite the difficulties of life, that we wouldn't exist unless we were meant to. And we might not have the proof, this kind of factual, definitive proof that tells us the meaning of life, or tells us that life is good, or gives us a sense of purpose. But that using our free will and our imagination, we can take that ultimate leap and decide that life is good. To live with that as the foundation of all our other beliefs.
Has being sober impacted your ability to party? I think to a large degree, every state of mind counts and I love alcohol very, very much and really enjoyed all the insights it provided, all the different points of view and all the textures it gave to experiences. I thought it was fantastic, but there's no real prerequisite necessary to this party mindset, other than deciding life is good and celebrating that.
What's the greatest party you've ever been to? It's the one right now. Whatever day it is is the greatest party I've ever been to. Because everything's lead to that, to this, it's the only one that's actually happening so it has to be the best.
What's the worst party? I've never been to the worst one either. Never been to a worst party, no. Because it wouldn't have been a party if it was the worst.
As a host of a house party, what would you do? Some of the most important things when it comes to house parties are a variety of offerings that are easy to eat, not messy. Finger food or food that can be eaten without utensils is key. And then plenty of trashcans and napkins and options: pretzels, chips, nuts, candies—those are all fantastic. Things that don't need to be refrigerated. Cheese is great. But if cheese sits out for a long time, it gets kind of that…room-temp sweaty cheese? That's no fun.
What's the most important part of being a host? Just that your version of the party is to make sure everyone else is having as much fun as they possibly can. You're there in a role of service. You're not there to be the center of attention. You're not there to have everyone serve you. You're there to serve your guests in whatever way you can. Within reason.
As a human, what kind of party guest do you think we should all be? As considerate and as thoughtful as possible. As polite as possible, as kind as possible, as unintrusive as possible, but that's just me. I'm sure there's people out there that specifically would like a very outrageous, confrontational kind of guest. But, I don't know, just uh, civilized.
If we can't celebrate our own existence, as something we're thankful for, and that we have to strive to be worthy of, how are we going to tackle any of these problems?
Can you give me some pointers for when it's your turn to give a toast? Yes. Speak with as little preparation as possible. Speak without any notes, without any thoughts going into it. The more off the cuff, the more extemporaneous, the better. And even if there's an awkwardness that comes from that, that's all good. That shows that it's raw, that it's really happening. You want to know, as the speaker, just as little as the audience does, as far as what you say next. Because then you're truly in it together and it's truly something happening, in that moment, with everyone else. Even though it's more scary and it's more risky and you might mess up, those mess ups with actually bond you with the rest of the people there through a sense of humble openness.There's this real pressure to prepare because you don't want to mess up your speech, but if you're amongst friends and family, you can't really mess up. And the more that you just open up your heart and speak from there, the better it will be
Looking forward to 2017, what place do parties hold in our future? I think they're as important than ever, not more important. They're always a crucial, underlying…. They provide an underlying value for life. And we need that, unflinching, belief in the sanctity of life, the value of human life, the value of the idealistic power of human beings to be a force of good in the universe. And if we can't celebrate our own existence, as something we're thankful for, and that we have to strive to be worthy of, how are we going to tackle any of these problems? How are we going to have the motivation, or the desire to overcome or outgrow our circumstances? We have to believe that life is worth living if we're going to be able to continue to live.
What do you do when the party ends? You start partying.
Thanks for speaking with me.