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Weird Al Yankovic's Signing At Amoeba, Friday July 18th 2014


Weird Al and Andy Dick

It’s difficult to realize that Weird Al Yankovic has been playing this spoof game for more than 30 years, but I actually remember watching his video parodying ‘Michael Jackson’s famous hit  ‘Beat it’ suddenly becoming a story about a picky eater… ‘Eat it’. This is probably my first memory of Weird Al and I can’t say I have followed his career closely since, but the guy has actually released 14 albums in 3 decades and has become a master of the genre.

On Friday afternoon, he was signing his latest album ‘Mandatory Fun’ at Amoeba and the line of fans was certainly as long as for any rock star I had seen there. Yankovic’s fans seem to be the adoring and original type, wearing Weird Al shirts and even foil hats like the one he wears in his latest video ‘Foil’ (a parody of Lorde’s ‘Royals’) making him signs everything from silverwares to ticket concerts. Yankovic has certainly built a career on parodies, spotting every big hit of the moment and turning each of them into a hit of a second level – his latest album has obviously parodied Pharrell Williams ‘Happy’ (‘Tacky’), but also Robin Thicke’s ‘Blurred Lines’ (becoming ‘Word Crimes’ which makes total sense), Iggy Azalea ‘Fancy’  (‘Handy’) and Imagine Dragons’ Radioactive’ (‘Inactive’). At 54, Weird Al still has fun like a kid, making the same juvenile mocking face when posing with each if his fan. He actually looked like the nicest guy around, taking the time to talk with each person reaching the signing table, even arriving in advance for the signing! How many stars do that really?

Even the cover art of the album (inspired from Russian military propaganda) looks like a parody of a Shepard Fairey… His album was blasting in the store during the signing and most of the fans, young and old, were lipsyncing the lyrics,… you could feel the passion for the guy, and you could feel the love when they were leaving the table, with big smile on their face after spending a few minutes with him. Judging from the range of songs, sounds,  he covers, I guess the guy can do it all, his nasal voice has an acrobatic adaptability and flexibility, and I wonder who else could successively sing a song in the style of the Pixies, Cat Stevens, Crosby Stills & Nash and the Foo Fighters in the same recording? Making fun without offending the authors of the song is an art and only Weird Al can get away with so many parodies. It was even reported that Pharrell was ‘honored’ to give Yankovic permission to use his song ‘Happy’.

And because a comedian attracts another one, comic Andy Dick showed up at Amoeba, and I thought we were attending a reunion of Hollywood high, as these two had a lot of love for each other. Weird Al is currently in the middle of a 8 videos in 8 days campaign, the latest one being ‘First World Problems’ in the style of the Pixies, and it’s hilarious… ‘My house is so big I can’t get Wi-Fi in my kitchen’… I hope Black Francis is taking notes. Meanwhile you can watch ‘Foil’ below, as it seemed to be the theme of the day.

More pictures of the signing here

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