After 30 years in the music business, Weird Al Yankovic still is drawing big laughs for his comedic parodies of songs, satires of singers and his original music.
At 8 p.m. Friday, May 11, Weird Al will take the stage at the House of Blues at Showboat Casino-Hotel and give his fans a chance to see his music videos come to life. The tour celebrates his newest album, "Alpocalypse," which includes parodies of songs by Lady Gaga, The Doors, White Stripes and more.
Weird Al is most famous for taking popular songs and changing them to lyrics that sometimes poke fun at the original artists. His biggest hits include "Eat It" and "Fat," parodies of Michael Jackson's "Beat It" and "Bad"; and "White & Nerdy," a parody of Chamillionaire's "Ridin' Dirty.
The lyricist also puts a lot of work into his videos, such as the claymation video for "Jurassic Park," and his Star Wars-themed "The Saga Begins," a parody of Don McLean's "American Pie."
No artist is safe from Weird Al. He has parodied everyone from Aerosmith to M.C. Hammer to Taylor Swift. And after branching out and writing a best-selling children's book, there's no sign of him stopping anytime soon.
Q. What can fans expect to see when you come to Atlantic City? Will it mostly be songs from your new album, "Alpocalypse"?
Weird Al: We're certainly going to be featuring Alpocalypse but we're also going to give an overview of songs from my entire career. We'll do a few random songs for the hardcore fans. It's always a little bit of a puzzle getting everything together because it's such a large assortment of music from over the last 30 years to choose from.
Q. How many costume changes do you go through during one of your shows?
A. I haven't counted but there's a costume change for just about every number. So, I guess probably about more than Lady Gaga.
Q. Has it been tough getting your videos and music heard since MTV took away its music content?
A. I don't really make my videos for MTV since they don't play music anymore. It's more for people to discover online now. YouTube has become the new MTV. Now you look for hits, like "White and Nerdy" got over 100 million hits. That's what people want to hear and they'll find it.
Q. What's the craziest thing a fan has ever done to get your attention?
A. Slaughter a pig? No, a few dozen fans have gotten my face or an image or my name tattooed on them; that always surprises me. I'm flattered but I'm also weirded out because I'm told those things are fairly permanent. That's a lot of pressure to live up to those tattoos.
Q. Are there any songs or videos you've done that you wish you could go back and change?
A. Probably every single one. Every artist has an impulse to go back and make things better. I think George Lucas is a good example; he's always going back and changing things. But I also think you should let things be finished and just be. My first album was pretty horribly recorded. I wanted to redo the entire first album. But when I recorded "Another One Rides the Bus," the way it was recorded, in the bathroom, it was so spontaneous that if I put a whole band with it, it would just ruin it.
Q. How did you end up writing a children's book? Was it mainly for your daughter?
A. You know, that was probably part of it, but I think I always wanted to write a children's book throughout my career. But I didn't get serious about it until I got an offer. This woman from Harper Collins said she would love to see me write something for her because she said that she found a whimsy in the wordplay that I use in songs and it would be good for children's literature. So she made the very generous invitation that she would love to put it out if I was ever ready. A while later, I emailed her and said 'Let's do that!' and I gave her a few ideas and she really liked "When I Grow Up," so that's what we went with.
Q. What's the one question you're tired of answering the most?
A. Oh, there's so many. But probably, "Where do you get your ideas?" A lot of creative artists get asked that question, and you can't really answer it, because who knows? These things just come from your head.
Q. If you were stranded on a desert island and you could only bring along the music from one artist besides yourself, who would it be?
A. That's really tough. I might have to go with The Beatles. They have a pretty large discography and they have been a big part of my life. I don't think I'd ever get sick of them.
Q. You've done everything from writing a bestseller to directing your own videos. What's next? Rock and Roll Hall of Fame? A fashion line?
A. It's hard to say. I mean, I've been really fortunate doing TV shows and movies and books. I might try to do some kind of musical play, so to either write one or be in one, or both. I want to do more things online, more features on TV, there's a few things I'm working on that I'm not at liberty to talk about but I'd love to branch out and do all kinds of things.
Q. So can we expect you to make more TV cameos like you did in "How I Met Your Mother"?
A. That's certainly something I love to do, I was just recently on 30 Rock, too. I always enjoy popping up in places that people don't expect.
Accordions, the next big thing
Q. As popular as you've become playing the accordion, you seem to be the only one playing it in the mainstream. Do you think there's a reason it never caught on in other bands?
A. The accordion has gotten plenty of exposure, but I think Lawrence Welk (right) gave it a pretty bad name after people saw him play. But, prior to that, the accordion was a fairly sexy instrument. There was this one musician, Dick Contino, who popularized it, and he would be on his album cover with semi-naked women draped all over him, and not in an ironic way. He was a really good-looking guy. So, I think my main mission is to bring sexy back to the accordion.