Andrew W.K. is a head-banging philosopher, a paragon of positivity and a raging, sweaty, sometimes-bloody ball of light. He's also a musician, though that's the least interesting part of his personality. His glittery thrash-pop is just an outlet through which to bring his manifestos on the power of perpetual partying to vivid, raging life. (Which is probably the reason he hasn't released a proper album since his 2009 collection of J-pop covers.) In an increasingly cynical world, the man is a beacon of unrelenting optimism. So we tried to get him to go negative for a moment. We asked W.K. about what he considers the worst party fouls one could commit. He gave us several responses, which you can read in full online, but ultimately, he decided just posing that question was the biggest faux pas of all.
"One of the worst party fouls is telling people how to party— meaning, creating rules about what is acceptable, how you're supposed to be when you're enjoying yourself. Trying to tell people how they should dress, or how they should dance, or what music they should listen to, or what they should drink or can't drink, eat this food or that food, creating too many rules in general is one of the biggest party fouls of all, and it really takes the fun out of everyone being able to enjoy themselves and celebrate in the way that appeals to them individually."
"A common party foul I've seen happen many times is when someone decides to have a party and invites a lot of folks to the party, and when the folks get to the party, they're informed they need to pay the host for the party. I don't mean this in terms of a venue or a club or if you go out to a restaurant or anything. That can be different. But if you're going over to someone's house, and they're throwing a party, and they ask you upon arrival to pay $25 toward whatever the refreshments might be or whatever the entertainment might be for the night, I think that would take away from the entire concept of being invited somewhere. And if you are going to charge, it should be understood from the very get-go. Never charge people to party. Part of the joy of throwing a party is the generosity you're going to offer. It doesn't mean you have to spend a lot of money, either. It can be very low-key. It's just the idea that if people are invited somewhere, they should assume it's all free and paid for."
"Not having enough trash cans around. This is for the sake of everybody involved, especially the host or whoever will ultimately have to clean up. The small trash cans you normally have around your house are going to get filled up very quickly, and before long, shelf space, table space, furniture, the floor, all just becomes makeshift trash cans. The more of those big, full-size, rubber trash cans—just not one of those little bathroom trash pails that you can maybe fit two or three cans in— the better.
"It's an interesting thing I've noticed, too, traveling in other parts of the world. I feel like in the U.S., there are trash cans everywhere. Whether you're in a really nice hotel, or outside a restaurant, or just on the street, there's always a trash can somewhere nearby. I've noticed in other countries, there's just not trash cans anywhere. I guess they figure it doesn't look nice or something. If you go to a fancy hotel, or even just a regular old hotel, in Europe especially, you can't find a trash can. You have to ask someone behind the desk to throw away whatever it is you have. That just reminds me that it's always great to have trash cans when you're going to have people around."
"Always have more than enough of everything. Anything that's going to be offered, have more than enough. If you're going to be playing music, have more variety and quantity than you even think you need, because you never want to repeat the same music, for example. If you're offering food and drink, have way more. Worst case, you have leftovers, and you can offer leftovers for people to take home. With liquids and beverages, that's fine, those will last for a long time. So you should always have too much.
"I learned that, again, from going to Europe. During my travels, it was explained to me by a gentleman who's a politician that the tradition of this town—I can't believe I can't remember where it was—that they always had an abundance of everything when they're hosting someone, and it's a huge shame if you invite someone over and don't have way too much of everything. It's considered very embarrassing, and you'll develop a bad reputation. It'll have an actual, very serious negative standing on your reputation in the town. So I thought that was a neat idea, just to be overly generous, and overly everything, I guess."
"Party foul No. 1 is just the idea of party fouls in general. If you're truly in a party state of mind and enjoying yourself, you're sort of invincible to the idea of fouls or insults or anyone taking away that party attitude you've developed. Certainly, fistfights, violence and just bad vibes can shut down a party. But if you're really partying hard, I feel like you're removed from the very idea of critical thought, in a good way. It's a chance to be free of that kind of black-or-white thinking in general. Maybe what we thought of as a party foul could lead to something great. Who knows? Or maybe you're just so out of your head with delight and joy no one can ever upset you, and at that moment, you're invincible."
SEE IT: Andrew W.K. plays Hawthorne Theatre, 1507 SE Cesar E. Chavez Blvd., with Sons of Huns and Black Snake, on Tuesday, Sept. 10. 7 pm. $17 advance, $20 day of show. All ages.