Tuesday, July 16, 1996 "Weird Al" Yankovic coming to Waukesha Pop parodist quit job after 'Eat It' made Top 100 By Patrick Meirick Freeman Staff WAUKESHA - Polka fans be Wednesday, July 17: Ricochet, warned: The Yankovic coming with opening act Kevin Douglas, to the Waukesha County Fair 8 p.m. on July 2 isn't Frankie, it's Thursday, July 18: Ricky Van Weird Al. Shelton, 8 p.m. "I do get a few middle-aged Friday, July 19: Merle polka fans at every concert who Haggard and the Strangers, think I'm Frankie's boy," the 8 p.m. 6-year-old pop parodist said. Saturday, July 20: "Weird Al" "They hear the first power Yankovic, 8 p.m. chord and run screaming for Sunday, July 21: Loverboy, the exits." with opening act Survivor, Yankovic is Al's real name, 7 pm. but he's not related to polka- meister Frankie Yankovic. The confusion is understandable, When " Eat It," a spoof of Mi- since Al cut his musical teeth on chael Jackson's "Beat It," accordion lessons from ages 7 climbed onto the Billboard Hot to 10. In fact, Al and Frankie in 1984, Yankovic quit plan to play together on an up- day job. When it hit the Top , coming duet album of Frankie's. his career took off. "I try to do a polka medley on He's obviously not sleeping every album," Al said, "a dozen on Murphy beds anymore - he or so rock tunes played the way apologetically interrupted this God meant them to be played." telephone interview to give in- Of course, Al is better known structions to his gardener. Yan- for his parodies of pop hits, like kovic has now released nine "Eat It," "Like a Surgeon," and comedy albums and four compi- "Amish Paradise." He's been lation albums and a "Weird Al" spoofing songs since he was in version of "Peter and the his early teens. Wolf." Yankovic was a big fan of His latest album, "Bad Hair Doctor Demento, who still plays Day," features "Amish Paradi- an extensive collection of nov- se," a parody of Coolio's rap elty records on his syndicated "Gangsta's Paradise." In this radio show. In the early '70s, politically correct era, the song Yankovic was one of the first is raising some eyebrows. fans to send Demento tapes of "A lot of people think 'Amish his own music, recorded in the Paradise' is in bad taste," Yan- bathroom. The good doctor kovic said. "I'm not mocking played the tapes and encour- Amish people. I am poking a aged young Al to keep working little fun at them. Obviously, on his music. it's not historically accurate, He did, but he didn't focus but that's the difference between solely on his music. He grad- what I do and a PBS docu- uated as valedictorian of his mentary. high school class, then went on "I honestly don't want to of- to get a degree in architecture. fend anyone, but I don't want to "I was a typical nerd, a bow to the PC police and never straight A student," he said. "I poke fun at anything," he said. fit the Unabomber profile." Yankovic's good intentions He achieved some fame with carry over to the artists whose a couple of national releases, songs he skewers. Yankovic has "My Bologna" in 1979 and "A- obtained the songwriter's per nother One Rides the Bus" in mission for every parody he's 1980. He landed a record deal made, even though the courts in 1982 and first appeared on have tended to protect unath- the budding MTV network with orized parodies. In the cases a video of "Ricky" in 1980. of "My Bologna" and other early "My first video was $3000 songs, the permission came well said Yankovic, who now directs after the fact. his own music videos. "That "At the time, I wrote them on would barely cover catering on a whim," he said. "It was only most shoots these days." after they became popular that I Then again, Yankovic didn't had to go crawling to them and have a lot of cash to throw ask them, 'Can I have permis- around back then. He was still sion to do this thing I already working in a mail room. did?'" "Unfortunately, rich and For now, Yankovic's song- famous don't go hand in hand. writing is on hold as his "Bad You get notoriety long before Hair Day Tour" twists wildly the checks start coming in, "he back and forth across America said. "I was still living in a like an economy-sized hair $300-a-month apartment with a weave. Murphy bed until 'Eat It' came "This is my favorite part of out. People would come over the job," he said. "It's com- and say, 'you live here?'" pletely brainless."