On the beat: 06/16

Some weird moments with Weird Al

By Jim Bucher

Photo: Weird Al Yankovic will perform Sunday at Fraze Pavilion

A few weeks ago, I was perusing the TV dial — wait who says “dial” anymore?

OK, I was scanning the 350 satellite channels and ended up watching the umpteenth version of the Odd Couple with Matthew Perry and Thomas Lennon, which actually is surprisingly funny.

Where is this going, Buch? Well, there’s a scene in a yoga class and one of the students looked exactly like Weird Al Yankovic—you know, the song parody guy.

“Holy cow!” I said, “it is Weird Al!” Who, by the way, is performing this Sunday night at Fraze Pavilion.

Weird huh?

“I’m friends with Tom Lennon, who plays Felix on the new Odd Couple,” Yankovic said during a recent phone conversation. “He’s one of my best friends in the world and asked if I’d come on the show. I’m always open to doing fun things like that and working with Tom was a thrill for me as well.”

Wait. Do I call you “Al”? “Weird Al”?

“I don’t mind being called Weird Al, or Al. Just don’t particularly like being called just ‘weird’ though. I’m really not on a first-adjective basis with anybody,” he says with a hearty laugh.

Call him successful—a guy who made and makes a living out of song parodies.

“When I first started doing this it was sort of a way to amuse my friends,” he says, “and then I discovered the Dr. Demento radio show when I was in my early teens. I would send him recordings I did in my bedroom with my accordion on a little cassette tape recorder and he’d play them on the radio. I got a bit of a cult following, but never thought I’d make a living doing this, that at some point I would have to grow up and be an adult and get a real job. I graduated with a degree in architecture, but tried to solicit a record deal, got one and haven’t looked back since.”

Al’s been cranking out song parodies since “My Bologna” hit record stores in 1979. Now some three decades later, he’s more popular than ever.

“My wife and I joke about it and this last year alone so many crazy things have happened,” he says. “I mean I’ve had a very nice career up to this point, but the past year it’s been mind boggling with a Grammy and a number one album.”

As mentioned, Weird Al is bringing his 35-plus-year catalogue of comedy parody classics live at Fraze Sunday evening in The Mandatory World Tour.

“Well, basically it means it’s mandatory you attend the tour,” he says. “There’s no choice in the matter.”

It’s a nice mix of his popular parody pop classics, plus all new Al too.

“The most gratifying thing is the people that have been in the business as long as have are most often nostalgic acts and certainly there’s a nostalgic component to what I do,” he says. “People love hearing the old songs; it reminds them of their childhood, but the new stuff gets just as big a reaction, if not bigger, so people care what I’m doing now it’s not like if I say, ‘now here’s the stuff from the new album’ that’s not the bathroom break.”

The Mandatory World tour promises to be a multimedia extravaganza.

“It’s a real production where we try to be as theatrical as possible. It’s not just us on stage doing a rock and roll show,” Yankovic says. “It is that, but there’s a ton of costume changes, props, a big LED video screen in the background. It’s two hours with as much entertainment as we can cram into it.”

But all those songs, all those lyrics, how in the world does he remember all of them?

“It’s amazing, I don’t need a teleprompter, I just look out to the front row and everybody’s mouthing the words to the songs,” he says. “It helps me remember.”

My final question to Al is, does it ever get old?

“You mean this interview? No, it’s fine.”

Seems like Al is a bit of a smart ‘AL’eck

“It never gets old or tired because of the reaction from the fans,” he says. “People are going nuts, singing along, having a great time. That never gets old. Some songs I’ve done over a thousand times, and I don’t get tired of it because the fans are not tired of it.”

Gosh, that’s not weird at all!



Weird Al Yankovic will perform on Sunday, June 21 at 8:30 p.m. at the Fraze Pavilion, 695 Lincoln Park Blvd. Tickets are $30 in advance, $35 at the door. For more information, please visit weirdal.com.

A regionally known and loved local television icon for over 25 years, “Buch’s” followers describe him as trust-worthy, fun, the guy next door, a friend and role model. You can promote your business with Buch and grab your customer’s attention! Reach DCP freelance writer Jim Bucher at JimBucher@DaytonCityPaper.com.

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For over 25 years, Jim Bucher has been a regionally known and loved local television icon. “Buch’s” followers describe him as trustworthy, fun, the guy next door, a friend and role model. You can promote your business with Buch and grab your customer’s attention! Reach DCP freelance writer Jim Bucher at JimBucher@DaytonCityPaper.com.

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