Party punk Andrew W.K., the musician best known for his super rowdy and enthusiastic personality both on and off the stage, has been named Person of the Year by the American Association of Suicidology, an organization that promotes research and scholarly work in suicide prevention. In a post on his website Tuesday, it was revealed that W.K. will receive their inaugural award “due to his consistent and powerful use of positivity to improve the lives of those who read his writings, attend his lectures, and hear his music.” It’s hard to think of an artist more deserving!
Mental health awareness has been an undercurrent to Andrew W.K.’s mission throughout much of his career, especially true of his upcoming album (and first in eight years), You’re Not Alone. Its lead single “Music Is Worth Living For,” likens the power of music to a higher power and a reason to survive, while still being fun as hell. The message isn’t a far cry—if a bit more generalized—than an excellent advice column he penned to a reader contemplating suicide for the Village Voice in 2014, and shows his commitment to the issue on both across the board.
He also attached a lengthy statement to the post on his website, which tackles his own personal struggles and lifelong battle with converting despondency into something meaningful and worth sharing with others. You can read his note below, and find out more about AAS here.
“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 everyday 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.”