By Josiah HughesWhen Lady Gaga's management originally denied"Weird Al" Yankovic their blessing to go ahead with "Perform This Way," his parody of her song "Born This Way," it was looking as if the world would be deprived of a new album from the beloved satirist. Fortunately, it was all a misunderstanding; Lady Gaga loved the song and we now have Alpocalypse, which is out now on Jive.
To give the record some context, we interviewed Weird Al for our massively in-depth Timeline piece. The whole thing can be read here, but if you just want a few interesting nuggets we've arranged them for you in an easy-to-digest list.
Five Facts You May Not Know About "Weird Al" Yankovic:
1. Weird Al was compared to MAD's Alfred E. Neuman in elementary school. He's an exceptional student at Woodrow Wilson Elementary, starting kindergarten a year early, skipping the second grade entirely, and developing a proficiency for math. He's deemed a nerd by his peers, who refer to him as Alfred, after the butler in Batman and Alfred E. Neuman, the geeky mascot for MAD magazine, which Yankovic reads voraciously.
2. Weird Al recorded his breakthrough hit "My Balogna" in the bathroom. In the summer of '79, before his senior year, Yankovic is taken by "My Sharona," a huge hit for the Knack that inspires him to craft a song parody entitled, "My Balogna." Using the campus radio station's equipment, he records the song in a men's room (sensing its acoustic advantages) and gets a tape to Dr. Demento; the on-air response is overwhelming, the most in-demand song Demento plays all year.
3. Weird Al would have used his bachelor of science degree were it not for radio personality Dr. Demento's encouragement. "He saw some spark of creativity or originality -- I dunno what -- but he encouraged me to send in more and I did and, by the time I graduated college, I actually had a couple of nationally released records with 'My Bologna' and 'Another One Rides the Bus.' Without that early encouragement, I doubt I would've had the inclination to go for a career in the music industry."
4. Weird Al turned down an opening slot for Michael Jackson in 1988 to make UHF. Michael Jackson offers Yankovic an opening slot on his European tour, which must be turned down because the aforementioned film idea is set in motion; Yankovic is due to star in UHF with [Jay] Levey directing.
5. Weird Al's upcoming shows at Toronto's Massey Hall on July 16 will be filmed for a TV special. "I played Massey Hall before and it was one of my favourite gigs and I love Toronto -- Toronto's one of my favourite cities in the world. My manager gave me a list of three venues in the U.S. and Canada where they were considering shooting the live show and one of them was Massey Hall. It was my first choice and we just made it happen. It's gonna be the Alpocalypse show and we're playing a week's worth of shows ahead of time to warm up and be ready for Massey Hall."