Original Artists' Response

He who's tired of Weird Al is tired of life.

Original Artists' Response

by TMBJon » Sun Oct 08, 2006 3:08 am

I want to create an official list of what the original artists that Al has parodied, polka'd, and style parodied over the years have said in response to the song. I am interested in both anecdotes about Al talking to the original artist while getting permission as well as what they've said since they heard the parody.
Everyone knows that Nirvana has said they felt like they finally made it once Weird Al did a parody, but I'm interested in getting as specific as possible with the original quote from the artist. I know there are a good deal of artists that have given some response and I'd like to get that all collected in one place.

I will personally compile this list here in the first post of the thread. If you think you can help, please post in this thread a direct quote or link. Of course, any other comments or suggestions would be great as well. I am looking not only for quotes but any amusing anecdotes that might give insight into the original artist's opinion of the song.

My Bologna
Doug Fieger, The Knack: I don't know how he got my address, but in the mail came this cassette of this guy playing the accordion, Sounded like in his bathroom, singing crazy lyrics to My Sharona. An I loved it, and I took it to Bruce Raven, our A&R guy at Capitol Records and said "You gotta sign this guy".

Another One Rides The Bus
Brian May, Queen: There's been a few cover versions of various kinds, notably "Another One Rides the Bus" which is an extremely funny record by a bloke called Mad Al or something, in the States - it's hilarious.

Ricky
Tony Basil: I'm flattered. I think it's great. I just wish they would have asked me to play Lucy in it.

I Love Rocky Road
Al:"I tracked down one of the co-writers of "I Love Rocky Road", Jake Hooker, who loved the parody the moment he heard it."

I Lost On Jeopardy
Greg Kihn posted a full account of his experience being parodied by Al on his MySpace blog.

Theme From Rocky XIII
Jim Peterik, co-writer of "Eye of the Tiger," on a Reddit IAmA:
Haha. I am big fan of his parody of Eye of the Tiger. Especially like the line "Stay away from the tuna, it smells fishy today." Almost did not grant a license to Al for this song but I am glad that Michael Jackson changed my mind.
I knew Michael through Bruce Swedien - who was Michael's long-time engineer. When Michael heard my song - "Gift of Song" - he said to Bruce "He is writing about me."
When Michael gave Weird Al permission to "Beat It" as the template for "Eat It" - he convinced me that this was a cool thing to do. Never regretted it for a minute.

Like A Surgeon
Al: "Oddly enough that was suggested by Madonna herself. She was talking to a friend of hers one day and happened to wonder aloud when Weird Al was going to turn 'Like a Virgin' into 'Like a Surgeon.' The person she was talking to happened to know Jay and of course word eventually got back to me. As much as I try to discourage people from giving me parody ideas, in this case I made an exception."

Dare To Be Stupid
Mark Mothersbaugh, Devo: I was in shock. It was the most beautiful thing I've ever heard. He sort of re-sculpted that song into something else. And, um, I hate him for it, basically.

Fat
Michael Jackson was pleased with Al's success with "Eat It" and allowed Al to shoot the video on a set he had created for his own parody of Bad in the Moonwalker video.

Money For Nothing/Beverly Hillbillies
Mark Knopfler requested to play guitar on the parody.

Smells Like Nirvana
Al: "I heard that Nirvana was going to appear on Saturday Night Live, so I phoned Victoria Jackson and asked her to grab Kurt Cobain and put him on the phone with me. It turned out that Kurt was familiar with my work and when I asked if I could do a parody of 'Smells Like Teen Spirit' he agreed without hesitation. Then, almost as an afterthought, he asked 'Is it going to be a song about food?' and I said no, in fact it's going to be a song about how nobody can understand your lyrics, and he said 'Oh, that's a funny idea, go ahead!'"
Kurt Cobain told a Chicago interviewer that was the one moment when he felt he'd really made it, when Weird Al did a parody of him.

Jurassic Park
Jimmy Webb began performing the song live in concert and then pretended to forget the lyrics, inviting Al up to the stage to help him out. The two then performed "Jurassic Park" together.

Bedrock Anthem
Flea, Red Hot Chili Peppers: "I didn't think it was very good. I enjoy Weird Al's things, but I found it unimagitive. It wasn't that great. Yabba Dabba Doo. I like Weird Al and everything. But you know everyone is hit or miss, except for me, of course."

Headline News
In a Q&A with the lead singer of Crash Test Dummies, Brad says "I consider being covered by Weird Al a milestone event and a real honor. And i'm very serious. I admire him, and I love his shamelessness."

Amish Paradise
Coolio, 1996: "Nah. I ain't wit that. His record company asked for my permission, I said no, they did it anyway. More power to him. I hope he sells a lot of records. Just stay away from me."
Coolio, 2/14/12: "I was stupid for that. Once again, running my smurfin' mouth when I should've just shut the smurf up and let smurf ride. But, you know, we all do that sometimes. We live and learn. It would've been a lot better for me to not say anything. But at the time I guess I was smurfin' feeling myself."

Everything You Know Is Wrong
Al: "TMBG is one of my favorite groups, and I've met the Johns on one or two occasions. I even asked them several years ago if they'd be interested in co-headlining a concert tour with me, but they weren't into it at the time. (They were also too busy to do The Weird Al Show last year. What, is it my breath?)
Al: "Yeah. [John Flansburgh] denies that it is, sort of 'Oh, no, that couldn't be, he wouldn't do that.' I think that he doesn't want to be associated with us, with 'silly' music...."
John Flansburgh, 7/27/11, asked on Twitter if it was true that he didn't like this style parody: "No. It's flattering!"

The Alternative Polka
When Al asked for permission to use "Loser" in the polka, Beck commented that he was pretty tired of the song already. Al told him, "I'll kill it off for you."

Gump
During several live performance of "Lump," the Presidents of the United States of America changed the final line of the song to "And that's all I have to say about that." Lead singer Chris Ballew also recorded a song entitled "Are You Going To The Weird Al Concert?" for a Weird Al tribute album. In 2005, PUSA invited Al onstage to perform "Gump" with them.

The Saga Begins
The folks at Lucasfilm, on George's reaction: "You should have seen the smile on his face."
While performing "American Pie," Don McLean claimed that he had a hard time remembering the words, as he had the parody lyrics running though his head. He has also commented that his kids used to run around the house singing "The Saga Begins."

Grapefruit Diet
Steve Perry of Cherry Poppin' Daddies: "Honored, I guess. Why Weird Al is such an icon is a mystery to me though. But then again there is much about the universe that I will never understand."

Couch Potato
Eminem declined to let Al do a music video for the parody because, according to Al, he felt it might be "harmful to his image or career."

Trash Day
Nelly donated costumes from his own Vokal clothing line to be worn during live performances of the song.

Genius In France
Al: "I'll never forget when Frank actually asked for MY autograph (for his teenage son Dweezil)."
Although the song was released after Zappa's death, Dweezil is a big Al fan and plays the opening guitar riff on the song.

You're Pitiful
Providence Journal: "Blunt says that the attentions of Yankovic were “a huge compliment in itself.”
(Blunt’s record company didn’t think so. Atlantic Records reportedly forbade Yankovic from putting the song on his latest album, and Yankovic instead posted the song as a download on his Web site.)"
In another interview, Blunt responds to a question about YP with "Yeah, well, y'know, I really enjoyed some of the parodies, but it's not my favorite, actually," then citing "My Cubicle" as one of his favorite parodies of his hit.
Recently, Blunt's manager updated their stance, saying "Thanks for your email, but both James and I will never approve this parody to be released on any label."

White & Nerdy
Chamillioniare: "The Weird Al parody definitely gives 'Ridin' the mega-record status. Weird Al has done parodies for the biggest mega-stars in the game, and to put me in that category is crazy when you think about the fact that, less than a year ago, I was a new artist to the mainstream."

"That parody was the reason I won the Grammy, because it made the record so big it was undeniable. It was so big overseas that people were telling me they had heard my version of Weird Al's song."

Canadian Idiot
Billie Joe Armstrong, Green Day: "I think it's cool. Weird Al's a funny guy and I think sometimes he does the song better than the original. It should be funny I think. It'll probably be about food or something. And uh... Weird Al. [gives thumbs up]"

Do I Creep You Out?
Taylor Hicks: "Well, I found it very flattering and endearing. Any time that you can get "Weird Al" to cover your songs, you're doin alright."

I'm In Luv Wit Da Skipper
T-Pain: "Really? That's awesome. That is awesome. I mean, that is great to have Weird Al do a song and I get-- Makes me feel important enough to have Weird Al do a song."

Whatever You Like
T.I.: I thought it was just as good as any of his other parodies. I think that’s, in pop culture, how you know you have truly affected the days and times of entertainment. If you’re not worth speaking on, then you haven’t adequately done your job.
AVC: So it’s an honor.
TI: Yeah. Absolutely.

Ringtone
Brian May: This is great ! Very clever... very Queen-like and very creative. Perfectly spoofed vocal and guitar harmonies. Weird Al is cool. The lyrics are smart too .. love it ! Ho ho ! Yes, even the cover is a nice Queen spoof. Very good. I have a ringtone which everybody hates too ... I think I should market it! What is it Tella ya later.

Perform This Way
Despite the initial controversy surrounding its release, Lady Gaga told Rolling Stone: "It's great. I love Weird Al. It's a huge honor. It's sort of a rite of passage into the next level of your career, I think, when Weird Al does one of your songs. I actually really appreciate the philosophy behind the song. It's actually very empowering, I think. And he's, in a way, although he's parodying the song, he's kind of standing up for me. And I never would have said no to that. And I never did say no to it."
Last edited by TMBJon on Wed Feb 15, 2012 10:35 am, edited 7 times in total.
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by Bruce the Duck » Sun Oct 08, 2006 4:26 am

One immediately comes to mind:

George Lucas in reference to "The Saga Begins." Quote from George's reps:

"You should have seen the smile on his face."

EDIT: Oh, yeah, here's another:

Coolio in reference to "Amish Paradise."

"Nah. I ain't wit that. His record company asked for my permission, I said no, they did it anyway. More power to him. I hope he sells a lot of records. Just stay away from me."
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by TMBJon » Sun Oct 08, 2006 4:37 am

Does anyone remember the quotes from Mark Mothersbaugh and Flea on Behind The Music?
Also, was it Richard Harris or Jimmy Webb that invited Al to perform Jurassic Park with them on stage? Didn't something like this also happen with The Saga Begins and Gump?
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by weirdojace » Sun Oct 08, 2006 4:41 am

There was a time when the Presidents of the USA performed "Lump" and said "And that's all I have to say about that" at the end.
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by anthontherun » Sun Oct 08, 2006 5:34 am

Don McLean has performed TSB in concert IIRC. Michael Jackson lent Al the set for the "Fat" video. And of course Nelly gave Al clothes for "Trash Day" to be performed in concert. Plus, there's the whole Eminem video thing, and Chamillionaire posting "White and Nerdy" on his Myspace.

Taylor Hicks on "Do I Creep You Out":

That’s funny, that’s cool - I love that.



ETA: Stuff from PR (all quotes Al's)

"When I introduced myself to Doug Fieger as the kid who did 'My Bologna, he said, 'Oh, that's really a great song!' and then he turned to Richard Perry and said 'You guys oughta put this song out on Capitol Records' and Richard said, 'Ok, let's do it!'"

"[Al] tracked down one of the co-writers of ["I Love Rocky Road"], Jake Hooker, who loved Al's parody the moment he heard it."

From Queen: In Their Own Words
Brian May wrote:There's been a few cover versions of various kinds, notably "Another One Rides the Bus" which is an extremely funny record by a bloke called Mad Al or something, in the States - it's hilarious.
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by TMBJon » Sun Oct 08, 2006 5:47 am

Does anyone know if there was ever a quote or any kind of official response from Eminem or his people about "Couch Potato" more specific than the fact that he just didn't want a video to be made?

Wasn't there a quote from James Blunt over the summer?
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by weirdojace » Sun Oct 08, 2006 5:50 am

And don't forget about Nirvana saying they didn't know they'd made it until Al parodied them.
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by Akrovak » Sun Oct 08, 2006 5:51 am

And didn't Madonna herself provide the idea for Like A Surgeon or something like that?
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by TMBJon » Sun Oct 08, 2006 5:54 am

Also, was it Kurt Cobain himself or Krist Noveselic who said that they felt Nirvana finally "made it" when Al parodied Smells Like Teen Spirit, and does anyone have any context for this quote?
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by Orthography Enthusiast » Sun Oct 08, 2006 6:02 am

I believe it was Jimmy Webb who invited Al onstage (if I remember correctly, he started singing, then pretended to forget his own lyrics and pulled Al up on stage).

Don McLean commented that his kids used to go around the house singing "The Saga Begins."

Madonna was talking to a friend and said, "So when is Weird Al going to do "Like A Surgeon?" and the friend got the idea to Al (there may have been another person in that chain of transmission, but anyway Al liked the idea).

Greg Kihn ("Our Love's In Jeopardy") had a cameo in the video for "I Lost On Jeopardy."

If I remember correctly, Beck was pretty tired of "Loser" by the time Al asked permission to use it in the polka, and Al told him, "I'll kill it off for you. " :D
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