"Weird Al" Yankovic

Alpocalypse Now… and Then Page 9

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"Weird Al" Yankovic - Alpocalypse Now… and Then Page 9
By Vish KhannaI think that being on The Simpsons is my career highlight because I think that's my one real stab at immortality. The Simpsons will be around long after people have forgotten who I am, because they'll be in syndication for the next thousand generations probably." He has a small, uncredited role as a waiter in the 4-D short film Haunted Lighthouse, which screens at theme and amusement parks in the U.S. and England and, between 2003 and 2005, he has a recurring role as "Squid"/"The Squid Hat" on the Cartoon Network show, Grim & Evil and plays "The Announcer" in the related video game, The Grim Adventures of Bill & Mandy, which comes out in 2006. Poodle Hat is released in May, 2003 and debuts at #17 on Billboard. Yankovic's grand plans for a "Couch Potato" video are dashed during pre-production, when Eminem denies permission for the clip after hearing a final mix of the song. No reason is ever given so the song still appears on the album, but Poodle Hat is the first "Weird Al" release without a corresponding new video or single as Yankovic can't find time in his schedule to conceive and produce another, at least until "eBay" oddly ends up as a single three years later. Eventually, a short video for the Bob Dylan-aping "Bob" is shot for an Al-TV special, mimicking the "Subterranean Homesick Blues" sequence from D.A. Pennebaker's Don't Look Back, with Yankovic adopting a Dylan twang and singing nothing but palindromes.

"Close to ten years ago, it almost made sense for me not to make videos any more," Yankovic admits. "MTV had pretty much stopped playing them and YouTube really didn't exist yet, so there was no outlet and they're really expensive to make. So, when Eminem turned me down for that video, I wasn't that devastated actually. But nowadays, it makes as much sense as it ever did because it's video-on-demand and you can Google it and watch it whenever you want. People are making videos again and it's become a very important way of promoting your work and, for the first time, I'm making a music video for every single song on my new record."

Poodle Hat wins a Grammy for Best Comedy Album and Yankovic tours overseas for the first time ever, playing 11 shows in Australia. Yankovic plays a singing minstrel on an episode of Disney's animated show, Lilo & Stitch: The Series; the episode is entitled "Tank: Experiment 526." Tragedy strikes on April 9, 2004: Yankovic's parents, Nick, 86, and Mary, 81, are found dead in their Fallbrook, California, home, victims of accidental carbon monoxide poisoning from their fireplace. Yankovic is notified by his wife while he's on tour and hours away from playing a show in Mankato, Minnesota. Despite the news, he opts to carry on with the shows. "I had to do a concert that night and it was one of those things where, it was mostly just denial. I had to kind of pretend that 'This is not happening, this is not happening.' So, for a couple of hours every night, I was in this ultimate reality where I was on-stage and everything was okay because I'd put it out of my mind. I cancelled all the 'meet and greets' and everything else and, for a couple of hours every night, we kept doing the show, as we'd promised. It was very difficult obviously. but in a way it was great and helpful to have that kind of distraction at that point in my life. Otherwise, I'd have been a mess. I mean, I was a mess anyway, but it would've been worse."

2005 to 2011
Ben Folds recruits Yankovic to contribute back-up vocals on the Songs for Silverman track "Time," which is released in April, 2005. In July 2005, Yankovic begins work on his next album and has six songs complete by October. That same month, on his web site's "Ask Al" section, Yankovic responds to a concerned, purportedly young listener about his more "explicit" material. Over the years, many horrible, often purposefully offensive song parodies are falsely attributed to "Weird Al" online, in file-sharing networks.

"All of my material is really pretty family friendly," Yankovic writes. "Of course, you would know this if you actually bought my CDs instead of trying to illegally download them off the internet like the amoral-yet-self-righteous hooligan you obviously are! You disgust me!! Ah, the delicious irony of it all." The discussion does raise an interesting point in that, as cutting as genuine "Weird Al" parodies can be, they are often relatively family-oriented. "It's not calculated but it's an extension of my personality," Yankovic explains. "I don't use harsh profanity in every day life, so there's no reason I would do it in my song lyrics. I certainly appreciate humour and songs that do, but it's a personal choice for me to do stuff that's considered more family friendly. And a nice by-product of that is I get a lot of family audiences at my shows. It's not squeaky-clean, G-rated Disney stuff, but it's not something that might traumatize your kids for life."
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I think that "Dare to be Stupid" is a highly underrated album and easily belongs on the list of essential Weird Al records.
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When I saw Weird Al perform at the Del Mar Fair earlier this month, I met Tad Dowd after the show (and before Jay Levey came to escort him backstage to the aftershow). Al is really good about staying in touch with people who were important to him when he was starting out.
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I love being a Nameless Poseur. You might want to consider editing "Don MacLean" to "Don McLean." Just a suggestion.
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I agree about Dare to Be Stupid. It was a close one there for a while but I wanted to pick Even Worse and then felt weird choosing two outta three records from the 80s. Wanted to spread it out a bit. Plus EW, OtDE, and SoL are all amazing. I stand by my Essential picks.
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What a thrill to find such a great and detailed piece
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Excellent article. Well researched and informative.
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Even Worse came out before UHF. If anything, it was a return after the lackluster sales of Polka Party (unfortunate, because that one is even more underrated than Dare to be Stupid, Dog Eat Dog is one of his best).
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Well you could have picked the 2009 Compilation "The Essential "Weird Al" Yankovic you know.. :D
I'd pick that, Alpocalypse and Poodle Hat as my Essentials
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Great article. As noted above, the author misspelled "McLean", but also misspelled "Popeil" by adding an "m". Anyway, loved the article! Al's pal and former producer Rick Derringer (who also played the lead guitar for the studio recording of "Eat It") is now touring with Ringo's All Starr band. Pretty impressive. I wanna add that some years back, VH-1 had people vote for their favorite video moment. Jim West blowing up in the "Eat It" video was one of the choices. I, of course voted for that. Never found out the results, but I thought it was a great moment in video history. Thanks for sharing this article.
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without Weird Al, the world would suck a little harder....
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Al receives his first music lesson on October 22, 1967, the day before his seventh birthday.

59-67 = 8 years !!!!
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i appreciate the effort that went into compiling all the info that went into this piece, but i have to say that the writing itself made me wince.

i'm also surprised that this website doesn't offer any indications as to how long their articles actually are.
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Who edited this article??! While this is very thorough and well-researched, there are spelling mistakes and several run-on sentences. It goes in order until the last page. After mentioning Al's 2011 work, it jumps to mentions of 1988 and 1992.
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One fairly major project that seems to be left out is "Al's Brain." Otherwise a great piece.
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Al's Brain! Good point!
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Like many others out there, "Weird Al" got me through a lot of bad times, and has indeed, made my world so much better. I couldn't imagine life being brilliant, without him around.
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Wait, you seriously want us to tell you how long each article is in advance?!
Wow, someone's really been spoiled by "This Song's Just Six Words Long."
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uh...the references to 1988 and 1992 appear to be the author's top three picks, after the proper article had concluded. Kinda like a sidebar.
Well done, Vish. Excellent piece.
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My parents drove by my elementary school during recess when I was in 4th grade just to show me that they had just purchased "IN-3D" on vinyl for me, which had just come out. I was beyond excited.
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Don't forget that he appeared in an episode of Johnny Bravo!
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He who is tired of Weird Al, is tired of life.
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Ugh, please learn how to use tense before becoming a journalist. Thanks.
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This is awesome :) all the details I ever wanted to know about Al's journey to success, without having to pick up a book. :)
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Hey Nameless Poseur, how should I be using tense?
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Nameless Poseur........ stop being a cynic and just appreciate the article for what it is will you
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Well, let me say, 2 boys in the 80's~~ saw vidioes from Wierd Al and they were hooked. What does a Mother know?? HMM Accordian?? Yeah, my Dad thrust one on me!Hey, Cindy here play this. He was a car salesman. HMMMMM?? must have been his tip??WELL!! I impressed myself, aS i PLAYED!(caps lock)Okay, reply because we want( or I do) to see you on the sunshine coast of Gibsons! BC!
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Saw Al in concert in Birmingham, England. It was his first show on his first European Tour ever. It was amazing! As a kid growing up in Kansas City in the 80's, I'd always wanted to hear Weird Al first hand. I was happy I did, and my son got to experience it too. The lady at the ticket booth never took my tickets so I still have them as a keepsake.
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Nameless Poseur or one of you, your Al messing about!
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qeer
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i love chicken and weird al
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i was here
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Article Published In Jul 11 Issue