Weird Al Yankovic Dishes On Gaga, Michael Jackson, McCartney And More
While most comedy artists quickly dissipate into one-hit-wonderdom, Weird Al Yankovic has continued to reign as the accordion-toting king of musical satire for over three decades now. In anticipation of Saturday's show at Verizon Wireless Theatre, Rocks Off chatted with Weird Al about Houston hip-hop, Michael Jackson and his upcoming album.
Weird Al: Helllloo!
Rocks Off: Hi, Al! It's a real honor to be speaking with you.
WA: Well, thanks!
RO: So you were valedictorian of your high school class and have a degree in architecture. We consider you one of our musical heroes, but you literally could have done anything you wanted with your life. What drew you to music?
WA: I enjoyed doing music and comedy, actually. Those were things I was always just drawn to and attracted to. I just never thought I'd be able to make living out of it. I just thought that any kind of career in show business was a pipe dream, that there were so few people who could actually make a living at that and that I shouldn't waste my time considering it, even though that was really what I was interested in.
So I went to college and got a degree in architecture because I had an aptitude for math, and I enjoyed my drafting class. And I had some aptitude for it, but my heart just wasn't in it. I found that other people in college, in the architecture labs, were just really passionate about architecture, and I just didn't have that kind of fire in my belly about it.
But I still enjoyed doing the comedy and music. I got a shift on the local campus radio station. I did the "Weird Al Show" every Saturday night. And I still tended to lean in that direction. And I didn't drop out of college. I got my degree in architecture, and the next couple of years were just a little confusing for me because I had this degree that I didn't think I was ever really going to use now.
And I decided to give the entertainment industry a shot and see what happened. But I just kind of didn't really know how my life was going to turn out at that point, because I was qualified for something I didn't want to do.
RO: We're dying to know what's going to be on your upcoming album. Lady Gaga is rumored to be a prime candidate for parody. Can you tell us a little about it?
WA: I'm really not at liberty to talk about the new album other than the five songs that came out last year in the Internet Leaks collection. The whole Lady Gaga thing is kind of funny to me because a couple weeks ago, some interviewer much like yourself asked: "So are you going to have any Lady Gaga on the new album?"
And I said: "Well, you know, Lady Gaga's certainly a popular artist, and with any artist that's popular, I have to consider that artist. All you have to do is look at the Billboard charts and who's at the top at those charts, and that's who I'm considering." And then the next day, in like 100 papers: "Weird Al's considering a Lady Gaga parody!" So that's how the media works, I guess.
RO: Our very own Chamillionaire was pretty impressed with your rapping chops on your wildly successful parody of "Ridin' Dirty." Are you a fan of Houston hip-hop?
WA: Absolutely, absolutely. I'm a fan of Chamillionaire's music and of him personally. He's a really nice guy, and I got to co-present with him a couple years ago at the American Music Awards.
I really love when I get to do parodies of artists like that because he definitely gets the joke. He understands it's an homage, it's a tribute, it's all done in good fun. And it's really terrific when I get to encounter an artist of that caliber who has that much of a sense of humor.