Friday, April 22, 2011

"Weird Al" Yankovic

Daniel's favorite contemporary musical performer was weird Al. This was pretty amazing to me because I remember Weird Al when he was fairly young, performing at my college.I missed his concert then but my friends said he was “brilliant” and “fantastic”. How amazing to not only make a living so long at essentially song parodies, but after this many years, to still be at the top of one's game and have what is such an impressive body of varied work. He is listed as a songwriter, music producer, comedian, satirist, singer, and parodist. He is best known for parodies of popular songs in which he makes light of popular culture. Interestingly, weird Al was born in Downey, California, which was home to the Carpenters for so many years. He is extremely bright and holds a degree in architecture.
Daniel asked one year for his birthday, to go to a Weird Al concert and as much as I thought this might be on my list of things I really didn't want to do, we took the entire family. Adam and a date came, Stephanie, Matthew, Daniel, my husband and I all travelled out to an area north of Richmond in Virginia, Glen Allen, I believe it was, for Weird Al's concert. Everyone enjoyed it. The man is apparently very close to my own age, yet has somehow escaped the ravages of time which would make it difficult for me to perform for three hours like a teenager. He had remarkable energy in his performance. (I want whatever he's eating) He was truly engaged in everything he was doing, and managed set changes, costume changes and a wide variety of happenings on stage as if this was a once-in-a-lifetime performance. He also is so intelligent and so mentally quick that he engaged different members of the audience at intervals during the performance. I honestly count our seven tickets as an excellent investment in entertainment. This was really saying something because it rained through part of the performance, and we were in open air seats ! When we departed, Daniel, who strangely wore a cowboy hat that evening, was solidly a fan with a new dimension than he had been before. Daniel had always been a commercial jingle writer since about two, and a parody writer from about six. Daniel wrote excellent parodies of his own, and was a great singer. Somewhere here there is a video of Daniel doing a parody of a Weird Al song. Weird Al was the pinnacle of that career to him. That night, we had planned to go to dinner with Daniel afterward, but decided to go another night because the concert had been long and the weather had been bad. It;s funny that I can't remember the birthday dinner out which must have followed a week or so after.
When Daniel passed suddenly, I notified weird Al, telling him of Daniel as if his biggest fan, had passed as if he would want or need to know. I never heard anything back. Perhaps the sudden loss of weird Al's parents a few years ago makes it hard for him to address death. I'll never know. This week Weird Al is releasing a new album following a dispute with the camp of Lady Gaga. Apparently, Weird Al has ethics which preclude him from using the songs of other artists in parodies without their permission, even though Fair Use Laws make this legally unnecessary. I admire that this intelligent, and creative man has ethics in a business in which I can personally tell you, often does not. It appears now that all permissions have been granted and that the new album with the Gaga song will be released soon. Daniel was wise to select an ethical and intelligent man as someone he admired. I wish Daniel were here to buy the album. We have all of Weird Al's other CDs and DVDs in his room.

I recently received a very nice e-mail from a fan of "Weird Al's" who has ties to his group. She says that he is dealing well with the passing of his parents and always focuses on "how supportive they always were" on all of his endeavors. She also says that Al does not always have something helpful to say when something terrible happens, and she thinks he might choose sometimes, rather than to say the wrong thing, to say nothing. She thinks this may account for why we did not hear anything after we informed Al of Daniel's sudden passing.//

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