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'Weird Al' Yankovic: Pharell Williams Was Happy to Give Permission For Parodies
Posted by Jeremy Thomas on 07.15.2014

"Weird Al" Yankovic spoke with Billboard about his new album Mandatory Fun which released today. Check out the highlights:

On getting permission for his parodies: "I was very lucky -- this is my first album in a long time that didn't have any actual drama. It seems like my last few albums have always had some problems around the release, and this is the first time where I've gotten everybody that I wanted, and I couldn't be happier about it."

On getting Pharrell Williams' permission for "Tacky," "Word Crimes" and "Get Lucky": "My manager was having a time tough getting a hold of Pharrell through his representatives. In the meanwhile, I somehow -- and I'm not at liberty to say how -- got Pharrell's personal e-mail address and I sent him an e-mail requesting permission, and he could not have been nicer. He sent me a very sweet e-mail back immediately saying he'd be honored. I was just blown away. He was just the sweetest guy."

On working with Imagine Dragons for "Inactive": "In fact, I was sent a photo of me with their bass player (Ben McKee) when he was, I think, 12 years old. He was a fan from way back, so I would imagine he was happy about the parody."

On his originals on the album: "I always start with the originals, because those age better. So I get those in hand and I always do the parodies last so they can be as fresh and timely and topical as possible. It's difficult to ascertain when something's gone mainstream or made some kind of mark on the zeitgeist. I'm actually using my daughter now -- she's 11 years old and just going into the sixth grade. I used her to figure out when Iggy Azalea had reached the tipping point. I was following Iggy on her rise up the charts and I thought, 'Oh, this might work,' and I asked my daughter, 'Are people talking about Iggy Azalea at school?' and she said, 'No, not so much.' then I asked her again two weeks later and she said, 'Oh, yeah, that's all they're talking about right now.' So I said, 'OK, tipping point! It's time!'"

On a potential parody for Star Wars: Episode VII: "I made an offhand comment many years ago that, 'Oh yeah, I do a Star Wars parody every 20 years like clockwork.' So people are saying, 'Well, how about that?' I don't know. I'll never rule anything out, but I've already got two Star Wars songs in my live set. I don't know how much of a percentage of my live show I want to dedicate to Star Wars. But never say never -- I'll wait and see what happens."


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