If you didn’t realize I was a “Weird Al” fan, I’d be shocked.
I’ve only been listening to his music since the 7th grade, when a friend introduced me to a couple of his earlier albums. To be more specific, I dubbed parts of “In 3D” and all of “Dare to Be Stupid.” I scrimped and saved to purchase the originals less than a year later, completing the collection with his self-titled debut. Well, I was a kid – and those bootlegs certainly turned me into a rabid fanboi.
I was rather perturbed when my 8th grade music “teacher” (who, I swear, was once an officer in Hitler’s Gestapo) asserted that Yankovich wasn’t a true musician. Mind you, I was probably more upset that she tacked an ‘h’ onto the end of his name. It’s Yankovic – I’ve never needed a spell checker. Either way, I couldn’t make the argument that crafting parodies AND originals made for a well-rounded musician… because she was God’s gift to music.
And then Polka Party was released.
I still remember standing next to a classmate while we were putting our respective bins away for the day. She was singing a few bars from Peter Gabriel’s Sledgehammer – and I took it from there, whirling my way through the maze of a Yankovic polka. She turned to me and said: “You’re weird.” And I responded: “Thank you.”
I’m fairly confident that was the first time in my life I felt normal. It’s been that way ever since. This sense of normality is one of the biggest reasons why I listen to “Weird Al” Yankovic’s music.
Maybe I cling to tradition too tightly: to get up out of bed, drive across town, and walk into a department store to pick up a physical copy of an album. Are they even called ‘albums’ anymore? Maybe using that terminology alone dates me. Even with a digital copy readily available through legal means, I was not dissuaded from the day’s mission.
To tell you the truth, I think the last CD I purchased before “Alpocalypse” was Weird Al’s “Straight Outta Lynwood.”
I’ve met him a couple of times before (backstage), and I’ve talked to him over the phone (for a very brief, relatively-pointless interview on TechTV during the Helpathon). Maybe we’ll meet again at some point in the not-too-distant future. Who knows?