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Friday, May 03, 2024

"Weird Al" Yankovic and me!

Earlier today I was going through a bunch of photos and came upon one showing me with "Weird Al" Yankovic: arguably the most successful recording artist in the history of pop culture.  I say that because not only has Al earned multiple gold albums and several Grammy awards for his work, he has also been part of many other endeavors throughout a career now going back more than forty years.  And awhile back  he said that he might still give us a song parody or two every year from now on (but I'm hoping he produces at least one more full album :-)

I could have met Weird Al in October of 1996.  My best friends in college were driving four hours each way between Elon College and Asheville to see a concert on the Bad Hair Tour.  Ed and Gary tried their best to get me to come with them.  But I stupidly stayed home because it was going to be very late when they came back from the concert and I just HAD to be up early the next day for history class.  That following morning I went by their dorm room.  And they told me that they had met Weird Al!  Ed's dad had called up a radio station doing promos for the concert and told them the hard-luck story about how his son was driving so far to see the show.  The station guys asked Ed's father how many backstage passes did he want.  And that's how they got to meet Al after the show.

I literally kicked myself in the @$$.  I've been a fan of "Weird Al" Yankovic since 1984, when I was nine years old.  And because of my pride I had missed the opportunity of meeting my musical hero.

I made a vow that someday I would make up for that, and meet Al in person.

Five years later, a week and a half before 9/11, I got to interview Weird Al via e-mail for TheForce.net.  That's how I already had his address.  In 2003 Al and the band were on the Touring With Scissors tour.  There was a performance scheduled for Charlotte, two and a half hours away.  I wrote to Al and told him about how I missed meeting him seven years earlier, and I humbly asked if there was a way I could make good on the promise I'd made to myself.

He wrote back a few hours later and asked how many passes did I need for after the show.

And that led to the very first time that I got to meet "Weird Al" Yankovic.  But it would not be the last!  So far I have gotten to meet he and his band five times.  I think it could be easily said that I've fulfilled my vow :-)

So I went looking for pics from the other times Al and I have met.  Unfortunately the photo of that first time is somewhere on another hard drive that I don't have convenient access to.  But I've got photo of the four other occasions.  I thought that it might be fun to put them together on one post.

This first pic is from 2010 when Al was in Knoxville,Tennessee.  And Al remembered me from seven years earlier!  Here we are together, with me wearing the shirt from our local theatre guild's production of The King and I.

The third time we met, it was 2011 in Charlotte during the Alpocalypse Tour  Here's Al and I and my girlfriend at the time:

A year after that Al and his troupe were in Raleigh, North Carolina.  Here is Al and my lifelong best friend Chad (the guy who introduced me to Al's music when we were in fourth grade) and me.  It has meant so much that Chad and I got our pic together with our favorite musical artist :-)

And finally, here's a pic from 2013, also in Raleigh.  Al had come to a bookstore there to promote his children's book.  Quite a few people came out to see him and have him sign their copies.  I had something for Weird Al to sign also: the vinyl Yoda puppet that I'd had since 1981.  Al always finishes his concerts with "Yoda", his parody of "Lola" by The Kinks, so I thought this would be a pretty neat thing to get his John Handcock on.  Al's eyes lit up when he saw the puppet!  He had one of these in his first special on MTV.  He was more than happy to sign it and he even put it on his hand to see if it would still fit (it did indeed):

Unfortunately I missed meeting him during the tour stemming from his Mandatory Fun album.  But Ed and me have seen Al perform twice since that last photo: during the Strings Attached Tour (which Al performed while backed up by a full orchestra) and then the second vanity tour in 2022.

You'll have to ask Ed how many times he's seen Weird Al in concert.  It's gotta be close to ten.

Who knows, maybe someday I'll get to meet Al again.  He has always been a super nice guy.  There needs to be more people like him in this world.

EDIT 5/17/2024: I finally found the very first pic of Al and me together!  From August 2003:

I'm wearing a "What Would Al Do?" shirt that I made myself.  He thought it was pretty funny :-)


Darth Hilarious said...

Chris, you STALKER you!

J/K. That's rather awesome. I'd love to meet Weird Al. someday.

Happy May the Fourth (be with you!)