In part four, more hilarity ensues and we see the backstory behind the first failed attempt at an Al interview, as visualized by “famed court reporter Ben Pjorn”…
Russell: So, now, there’s also something that really got me. It was seeing Steve Cropper….I want to talk about your band a little. There’s that kinda joke audition thing in your video and then all of a sudden Steve Cropper tums up. I mean, did you hang with Steve?
Al: Not too much before—
Russell: —Cause those guys are some of my heroes.
Al: I forget the connection, there. I think he’s either friends with Jay Levy, my manager, or more likely, Rob Weiss, who co-directed The Compleat Al and he’s like a major Hollywood producer. Actually, I think that was it. Was Steve Cropper in The Blues Brothers? ‘Cause Bob produced The Blues Brothers.
(14 years later, Al played tambourine in Hanson’s amazing Blues Brothers homage “Thinkin’ Bout Something” -YDG ed.)
Russell: Okay, so you’re not friends with him or anything?
Al: Well, not close. But I’ve hung with him a little bit.
Mike: And what about Rick Derringer? (Derringer produced and played guitar on Al’s first six records, which is why the earlier “Rock n Roll Hootchie Koo” reference was….somethin’. -YDG ed.)
Russell: Isn’t he like, slowly shrinking? (laughter)
Al: I haven’t talked Rick for a couple years.
Russell: What’s up with “State of Shock”‘s Harvey Leads. I mean, there’s actually something in the video that’s funnier than what you do and he’s doing it. Who is he?
Al: He was an executive at CBS Records. CBS used to distribute all of Scotti Bros. products. He was one of our friends at the label.
Russell: You just got him to do it because he was some executive?
Al: He was a friend of ours at the label. I mean, I forget why exactly we wanted him to do it. We just thought it would be funny to have him singing “State of Shock”. The gag was Michael Jackson wasn’t going to a video for “State Of Shock”, so it was somebody at the label doing it for him. It was just basically him singing it with a cheesy drum track and some really cheesy lighting.
Russell: It’s amazingly funny. It seems like he’s reading the whole thing.
MAKING HIS FOURTH ENTRANCE IN TWENTY MINUTES, SPIKE HAS RECOVERED FROM HIS LAUGHING FIT AND IS READY TO DO BUSINESS. “THERE WAS SUCH A WEIRD ENERGY IN THE AIR AT THAT TABLE…I FELT LIKE I WAS THAT GUY, TAMARA. I HAD BECOME A DIFFERENT PERSON ALTOGETHER….” SPIKE SAID LATER.
Mike: Yasoo, you’re back.
Spike: I got a little freaked out.
Al: Oh. that’s okay. You see Yoko Ono walk by?
Spike: I did. That was really her?
Spike: (pause) Wow. (Al giggles) I was going to tell you, when I went upstairs I thought of a few ideas for you.
Al: You did?
Al: —Oh. this is great! (Russell and Mike laugh)
Spike: I’m, don’t…you’re probably going to think this Is dumb.
Al: Should we work you the deal before you tell me? Because I don’t want to hear a great idea and then we can’t come to a business arrangement.
Spike: Ohh, you’re teasing.
Al: Okay, you can tell me the idea first.
Spike: Okay. Well, you know that new song?
Al: Yeah! Oh. I (makes slapping sounds), what, what what is that? Shoot. No. Wait.
Spike: “Dead Man Walking”?
Al: Uh huh.
Spike: I was gonna do…say you (Spike begins breathing funny) you could one (breathing harder) called….(on the verge of losing it)…it might be too silly. (laughter)
Russell: That’s a good one—”It Might Be Too Silly.”
Spike: No no no. “Bread Man Walking?”
Al: “Bread Man Walking”?
Spike: Yeah and it’s a guy…
Al: He’s made out of bread?
Spike: No, he’s, he’s, yeah. Well, he’s either the Pillsbury dough guy? Or he’s a loaf of bread? (Al begins giggling) And they start it out like “Bread man walk-in’…” (Al starts cracking up, everyone follows)
Spike: You think it’s funny?
AI: Yeah, “Bread Man Walking”? Are you kidding me? That’s entertainment there.
Spike: And I was gonna say then you’re handcuffed in shackles and bread suit—
Al: —In bread soup? What?
Spike: In a bread suit.
Al: In a bread suit. Oh, sorry. That makes more sense. In a bread suit.
Russell: I like bread soup.
Spike: And they’re gonna execute you. They’re gonna execute the bread.
Al: They’re gonna execute the bread.
Mike: Like burnt toast?
AI: Uh huh.
Spike: Yeah, that could be funny. (laughter) Uhm, then I had another one too.
Al: Oh, okay, alright.
Spike: Then I’ll let you get back to it. These are probably too silly for you. I don’t know. How silly is too silly for you?
Al: I don’t think there’s such a thing.
Spike: Really? Then this could be good. “Truth Or Dare” you know, the new song by Hootie and the Blowfish. It’s on TV?
Al: Uh huh. You a big Hootie fan?
Spike: You like Hootie?
Al: Oh, me and Hootie. Like this.
Spike: Have you met ’em?
Al: Met them?
Al: I’m an honorary Blowfish!
Spike: Oh no. (pause) Whoa…okay. so their new song is “Truth Or Dare” and this would be really funny ’cause you could do the song. They’re in a bus station playing their acoustic guitars. You could do the one called “Shoe Repair”, where you’re in the bus station…
Al: Repairing shoes?
Spike: Yeah. You like it? (long pause, then AI responds in almost spooky, wacky tone of voice)
Al: Love it!
Al: Shoe. Repair. That’s amazing. What do you do for a living?
Spike: I’m actually doing, riding with a bike team. I’m on a bike team.
Al: I think you’re wasting your talents.
Spike: Really, nooo, nooo. You can have those. Those are yours, for keeps.
Al: For free?
AI: For nothing?
Spike: No, no problem.
Russell: Is your lawyer F. Lee Bailey?
Spike: Uhm. No.
Mike: F. Lee Jaily?
Spike: Will you sign my bread?
AI: I’d love to.
Spike: Okay, this is, if you ever do the “Bread Man Walking” I’ll have the piece of bread that started the whole thing.
Russell: That’s kind of a hard thing to sign, there. (Al carves into the bread with a pen)
Spike: You’re a machine. (pause) What nationality is Yankovic?
Spike: Is that true? ‘Cause my father’s Chinese.
AI: Here you go.
Spike: Thank you.
Al: You’re welcome.
Russell: Right, now we gotta let Al eat his food.
Spike: Oh, sorry.
Russell: Sorry, yeah.
Mike: You’ll just be over in that area. (Jenna laughs)
Spike: I’m, I’m gonna go back to…oh…to my room. But hopefully I will see you guys later. If you need anything. I’m listed—Yasoo.
Al: Okay. Thanks Yasoo.
Russell: We’ll be sure to call you.
Spike: I have those photos of you, too. Can I please take another photo of you guys?
Al: Suuuure. (laughter and focusing noises) Mmmm.
Russell: Anyway (laughter)….
Mike: I have a question, Al. This might be personal, but, as we’re coming off this disturbance, so it might be good. Now, with your hair, you’re talking about all these different outfits on tour. Have you ever considered going with the process, like Barry White? You know, ’cause right now, I’d have to say it’s kinda jehri curl lite in appearance.
Al: I’m for the natural look. A lot of people think this is a bad perm but it’s actually just bad hair.
Al: It’s the way it really is. I was dating a girl for awhile who wanted me to cut the sides of my hair really short and then, luckily for me, I read your last issue and I realized she wanted to mulletize me and (Jenna gasps) I cut that in the bud, nipped that in the bud.
Russell: What do you put in your hair?
Al: Water, usually (laughter). Water helps. Actually, I use a little macadamia nut oil now. That’s supposed to be good for it.
Mike: That’s good, that’s natural.
Russell: I use coconut oil, just a little bit.
Mike: Russell also uses coconut lotion.
Russell: Yeah, but that’s personal. (pause) Well, what else? You know those Yoda pillowcases? (Jenna moans)
Russell: Are those yours? Where’d you get those?
Al (disinterested): Where was that? Was that an album cover?
Russell: No. It’s in a video. It’s in “Midnight Star”.
Al: Oh, that. I don’t know where they got those. They just went crazy with the set design and just found all the tacky stuff they could.
Russell: Okay ’cause that’s pretty fresh stuff.
Al: I should keep better track, you know. When you do a video, the props just kinda disappear afterwards.
Russell: Especially your videos. Those props…those will be in the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame one day. Let’s hope so.
Mike: Speaking of videos. We’re friends with this guy Spike Jonze—
Al: —Oh! Love Spike Jonze. Yeah. (and the other one. -YDG ed.)
Mike: …and he just wanted to forward to you that he’s a big fan of your work.
Al: Are you serious?
AI: Oh man, that is so cool.
Russell: He’s a huge fan.
Mike: He just wanted to tell you that…’cause we work on our ideas with him.
Al: He’s brilliant. He’s doing a feature now?
Al: What’s that about?
Mike: It’s called Harold and the Purple Crayon. It’s based on, have you ever heard of that children’s book? I don’t know if you’re familiar with that…but anyway, it’s part animation, part real action.
Al: Oh. Looking forward to that.
Russell: Also, if you’ve ever wanted to do a Blues Explosion video…have you heard the Blues Explosion album? Alight, well, someday you might.
Mike: We can send you the Blues Explosion stuff.
Russell: Yeah, we’ll send you the Blues Explosion stuff. That’s the main band I’m in.
Al: (slyly) I know, you got the flavor.
Mike and Russell: Ahhhhhh. (Mike appears in the JSBX “Flavor” vid -YDG ed.)
Russell: He’s on it.
Mike: Why wasn’t there a Weird Al in the “Flavor” video?
Russell: Well, I wanted to. What we originally wanted to do… do you direct videos? Are you directing all these videos you’re doing?
Russell: Well, I was hitting up Chris Lombardi—
Mike: President of Matador (Records)—
Russell: …to get you to direct one of our videos and he was all into It but we just never got around to it.
AI: Oh, god. I’d love that. I’m trying to get that…’cause you know, I’ve directed most of my own videos. I’ve been directing videos for Jeff Foxworthy, which is cool. I mean, he sold a lot of records.
Russell: That’s the guy…
Al: “You know you’re a redneck…” Yeah. But yeah, I’d love to break into the more alternative/120 Minutes kinda genre and prove myself there. (Al went on to direct video by Hanson (the Titanic sequences in “River“), The Black Crowes (“Only a Fool“), Ben Folds (“Rockin’ the Suburbs“), The Presidents of the United States of America (“Mixed Up S.O.B“) and, hot damn, the Blues Explosion’s “Wail”, where he makes a cameo. -YDG ed.)
Russell: Well, there’s this band called Butter coming out soon, which is a band that I’m in with the girls from Cibo Matto. You ever heard of that band? Anyway, we’re gonna come out on Grand Royal so maybe we’ll hit you up to direct our video.
Al: Oh, I’d love that.
Russell: WOW. (pause) But you have to be in it…(laughter)…dressed as James Brown. It’s good to know you’re available and that you’re into it. That’s pretty exciting.
Al: I probably wouldn’t be available until after I got off the road. though…
Russell: No no no. I know. I know.
Mike: Yeah. Russell, we don’t need to make any concrete plans (laughter).
Russell: I know it’s a limited agreement.
Mike: Russell doesn’t want to mean any disrespect to James Brown but I have to say, Russell is the hardest working man in show business right now. Playing with Yoko Ono and the Blues Explosion and Butter…. doing interviews for Grand Royal…
Russell: This is not work though. This is pure pleasure. (pause) Do you like Sting?
Al: Yeah. His album actually came out of the same day as mine, on Tuesday. So we’re battling it out on the charts.
Russell: How do your records do, generally?
Al: Thin. (hesitantly) They average between 500,000 and a million, usually. Some sell more, some sell less. (pause)
Mike: That’s good.
Russell: That’s all you need. So you’ve been on Letterman, right?
Al (sadly): Actually, no. Letterman and Saturday Night Live are two of my favorite shows and I have not been on either one.
Russell: Have you been asked, or…?
Al: I don’t think I’m Letterman’s cup of tea. I think he thinks I’m too silly, juvenile or something.
Russell: That word comes up a lot in this interview.
Al: Wacky! And zany, too. Russell: Did you ever play CB’s?
Al: No (laughter). Are they still doing punk rock there?
Russell: Yeah, all the time. But it seems like bands who used to play CBGB’s can now fill up bigger clubs, just because the music is…whatever. More mainstream.
7:45pm With NO IDEA WHATSOEVER that in 15 minutes, they’re scheduled to conduct the interview of the century, Mike and Russell hit the courts.
8:10pm MEANWHILE, ACROSS TOWN Al has arrived at the upscale Trader Vic’s and orders a fruity (nonalcoholic) drink.
8:22pm D AND RUSSELL TOWEL off to avoid sweating on the leather seats.
8:32pm AL PONDERS while nibbling (vegan) appetizers.
8:41pm RUFUS (Mike’s dog) greets Mike and Russell on the lawn of Club D.
8:43pm AL IS ANNOYED and noticeably checks his watch, in case onlookers wonder why Weird Al is sitting alone in a Hawaiian restaurant on a Saturday nignt.
8:45pm RUSSELL CHILLS in the lounge while Mike mixes up the carrot-beet-ginger smoothies.
8:56pm AL STORMS OUT, speed-dialing his manager on the cellular.
9:01pm TRANSFIXED by America’s Castles on A&E. Mike and Russell are oblivious to the fact they have just dissed Al Yankovic.
Thought for sure that Russell was gonna say that he thought Al would love Cibo because of their food-centric stuff. Besides Butter, he played quite a few shows with Cibo, which is enough of an excuse to post one of my favorite clips of all-time, with none other than Sean Lennon on bass.