“Weird Al” Yankovic Excited By Breakthroughs In Viral Technology

Jun 18th, 2008 // 14 Comments

AP04020804182.jpgThe online efforts of Jack White, Trent Reznor, and Thom Yorke have been interesting, but it’s not like their music is necessarily improved by eliminating corporate middlemen or pre-release waiting periods. To find someone who could truly benefit from new technology, one must look to visionaries who truly strive to capture a cultural moment. Like “Weird Al” Yankovic. “Certainly there is the possibility of me being a lot more topical,” Yankovic told Billboard. “Before I would have to wait until I was getting ready to put an album out and hope I’d be able to latch onto something that was topical and timely–and even then it would be a couple months before I’d be able to get an album in stores. Now, with iTunes and portals like that, ostensibly I could come up with an idea, record it and get it out in the marketplace within a week. That’s exciting.” It most certainly is.

Yankovic says he’s having “an ongoing discussion” with his label, the Zomba Music Group subsidiary Volcano, about ways to achieve that. “I don’t have a deal in place with my record label right now where that would make sense,” Yankovic acknowledges, “but the technology is obviously there, and that’s a direction I could certainly see my career going if we could figure out how to make that particular paradigm work.”

Yes, he uses the word “paradigm.”

Digital Delivery Could Help Weird Al Get Topical [Billboard]
My Bologna [YouTube]

  1. Lax Danja House

    The more topical Weird Al gets, the more lame he gets. That ‘White And Nerdy’ song is probably the most painful 3 minutes I’ve ever endured. I could have changed the channel, but I felt like I deserved it.

    He needs to get more epics like ‘Albuquerque’ on. That song was gold.

  2. Marth

    God bless him.

  3. Al Shipley

    @Lax Danja House: Yeah, but as far as the parodies go, timely is better; “White And Nerdy” beat the hell out of that Rage Against The Machine pastiche about frivolous lawsuits that was on the same album about 10 years too late.

    I’m gonna see Yankovic live next month! So excited!

  4. Maura Johnston

    No way, “White And Nerdy” was awesome! That said, I wish he would use the Internet technologies available to him to make some more Al TV-like segments from the comforts of his own home.

  5. Chris Molanphy

    @Lax Danja House: I think you’re alone on the “White & Nerdy”-hating. Very, very alone.

  6. Chris Molanphy

    Also: Al’s being too hard on himself. He got “Smells Like Nirvana” into stores and on the radio about six months after Nevermind came out and three months after “Teen Spirit” really exploded. For recorded parody in the early ’90s, that’s damn impressive.

    And as for “Nerdy,” Chamillionare’s “Ridin’” topped the Hot 100 only three or four months before that one came out.

    I mean, a one-month turnaround would be great and all, but part of me wants him (and the culture at large) to take a few weeks and digest stuff before he parodies it.

  7. MayhemintheHood

    If Weird Al had some sort of outlet for new material, songs or otherwise, i’d totally watch it. He should hook up with a site like funnyordie.com or the like.

    It’s strange to think there’s even a place in our musical tastes for parodies, but there is, and he’s the best.

  8. Lax Danja House

    I mean, a one-month turnaround would be great and all, but part of me wants him (and the culture at large) to take a few weeks and digest stuff before he parodies it.

    Maybe, but the fact he’s competing with anybody who owns a video camera on Youtube with no lead time at all kind of constricts. I mean, his parodies are probably better than anything those people could muster, but it’s not worth much if the joke has already been run into the ground.

    I think you’re alone on the “White & Nerdy”-hating. Very, very alone.

    It’s one joke I’m glad I don’t get!

  9. SAShepherd

    @Lax Danja House: I’m gonna have to agree with Chris on this one — good parodies need a little time for the originals to make their way into the culture at large. The downside is that I just don’t see much music ever having the impact of Weird Al’s biggest targets from the ’80s. The upside is that he doesn’t have to deal with the 3-6-month turnaround time from recording to getting an album in stores.

    I agree with Maura that a more AlTV-like videocast would be very much welcome.

  10. RaptorAvatar

    I generally don’t give a shit when his records come out, but I’d totally be down for paying $10-$20 a year to subscribe to whatever his take (video/parody/whatever) on the culture of the moment is.

  11. noamjamski

    @MayhemintheHood: He plays Uncle Muscles on Tim and Eric’s Awesome Show.

    If Weird Al is excited, then I am excited. Woo hoo!

  12. Captain Wrong

    I want a UHF sequel. (Hmm…wonder if Al and Michael Richards still talk?)

  13. Maura Johnston

    @Captain Wrong: Man, you know, every time I see UHF these days I wonder how many stations like that there still are as we enter the cusp of the digital-TV era. (Same with To Die For.) How would the plot have to be “modernized,” do you think?

  14. Lawson

    soz Al, but it’s not timeliness that is your problem…

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