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"Weird Al" Yankovic

Asked by Weatherman2111: What is your favorite memory from all of the touring you have done? 

Once, I think it was in 1986, there was this - I don't know, I think it was curried broccoli or something - on the deli tray backstage. Anyway, it was really good. 

Asked by asher: what would we do without you (or why do men have nipples)? 

According to my friend Cecil Adams, every human being gets a unique set of 23 pairs of chromosomes at conception. These fall into two categories. One pair of chromosomes determines sex--the XX combination means you become female, the XY combination means you become male. The other 22 pairs, the non-sex chromosomes (they're called autosomes), supply what we might call the standard equipment that all humans get. These 22 pairs constitute an all-purpose genetic blueprint that in effect is programmed for either maleness or femaleness by the sex chromosomes. The programming is done by the hormones secreted by the sex glands. For example, the autosomes give you a voice box, while the sex hormones determine whether it's going to be a deep male voice or a high female voice. Similarly, the autosomes give you nipples, and the sex hormones determine whether said nipples are going to be functioning (in females) or not (in males).One interesting consequence of the developmental set-up just described is that during the very early stages of fetal life, before the sex hormones have had a chance to do their stuff, all humans are basically bisexual. Among other things, you have two sets of primitive plumbing--one male, one female. Only one set develops into a mature urogenital system, but you retain traces of the other for the rest of your life. It's tempting, therefore, to say that male nipples are yet another vestige of your carefree bisexual youth. Trouble is, male nipples are hardly vestigial. They're full-sized and fully equipped with blood vessels, nerves, and all the usual appurtenances of functioning organs. Why this should be so nobody knows--in some other mammals, such as rats and mice, male nipple development is completely suppressed by the male sex hormones. (Incidentally, don't start thinking that at one time our human male ancestors must have suckled their young. So far as anybody knows, male lactation has never developed in any mammalian species.) Human nipples appear in the third or fourth week of development, well before the sex characteristics. (The sex hormones start to assert themselves at seven weeks.) As many as seven pairs of nipples are arranged along either side of a "milk line," a ridge of skin that runs from the upper chest to the navel. Normally only one pair amounts to anything, but on about one baby in a hundred you can detect some vestige of the other ones, usually on the order of a freckle. There are cases of women who ended up with an extra breast, which made them freak show candidates not so many years ago. Luckily today the women can avail themselves of corrective surgery while the rest of us can watch Jenny Jones. Anyway, both male and female babies are born with the main milk ducts intact--the gland that produces milk is there in the male, but it remains undeveloped unless stimulated by the female hormone, estrogen. Occasionally, a male baby is born with enough of his mother's estrogen in his body to produce a bizarre phenomenon known as "witches' milk," with the male glands, suitably stimulated, pumping away at the moment of birth. In the adult male, the dormant glands can still be revived by a sufficient dose of estrogen. Actual lactation is rare--only a couple cases have been recorded. But at least one writer (Daly, 1978) has suggested that the "physiological impediments to the evolution of male lactation do not seem individually surmountable." 

Asked by An artist in last month's Rolling Stone named you as one of their top 3 songwriters of all time. Do you know who it was? If you do know then who do you rank as your top 3 songwriters of all time? 

I know Sean Lennon was saying really nice things about me in the last issue - maybe it was him. Anyway, my personal top 3 songwriters? Hmm. Do Lennon & McCartney count as one or two? Never mind… I'll say John Lennon, Paul McCartney and… hmm… Ray Davies. 

Asked by Mike Minnick: When you write a style parody, do you write the song first and then figure out who to put it to, or do you say "I'm going to write a song about the pancreas to a Brian Wilson theme"?

I always match a concept up with a song style before I start writing, because the song style usually dictates the nature of the lyrics.

Asked by Paul : Hey Weird Al... you do realize that Straight Outta Compton came out almost 20 years ago, right? Probably a little late for a spoof. 

What… you mean there was already an album out called Straight Outta Compton? Dang! I wish somebody would've told me that. I feel so stupid now.

Asked by Mike: How'd you get so gangsta? 

Well, as the title of my album would imply, I am, in fact, Straight Outta Lynwood. I'm from the hood. I'm representing, boy-eee. I'm all about the street cred now.

Asked by Germish: Weird Al.... What is the meaning of life? and why do I get the feeling it has something to do with Duran Duran? 

Everything is connected. You, me, Duran Duran, that pile of clothes in the corner, the hair in the shower drain... everything. You will come much closer to understanding the true meaning of life once you have assimilated this truth - that absolutely everything in the universe… everything… is connected. Except for Lindsay Lohan. I mean, what's the deal with her? 

Asked by Stephanie: Who gave you the wedgie in the "White and Nerdy" video? 

That was the video's assistant director John Downer. Besides his other talents, he's got a black belt in Wedgie.

Asked by Mike: "What is truth?" 

Truth is anything that conforms to fact or actuality.

Asked by biff rimshott: Al, which current music artist do you think is the most obnoxious? I'll take my answer offline. Thanks

Okay, I'll get back to you then.

Asked by Steven Kostis: Is it possible to make tiramisu without alcohol or sugar in it? 

Yes. Here's the recipe:
Tiramisu?Serves 6-8
4 tablespoons dark rum
2 tablespoons brandy
4 fluid oz (100 ml) freshly made strong coffee
16 sponge fingers
1 pound (450 grams) mascarpone cheese
2 eggs, separated
2 heaping tablespoons golden icing sugar
sifted cocoa powder

Mix half the rum with the brandy and coffee in a shallow plate. Dip both sides of the sponge fingers in the brew and place in a shallow pudding dish. Pour over any excess mixture. Wish the mascarpone cheese with the egg yolks and sifted icing sugar, then add the remaining rum. Beat the egg whites until stiff, stir a spoonful into the mascarpone mixture, then fold in the rest. Spoon over the sponge fingers,sprinkle with the cocoa powder, cover with cling film and refrigerate overnight.

Now, just replace the alcohol with diet root beer, and the sugar with cornstarch, and you're good to go. 

Asked by Dusty: What style of music is it most easy for you to think up parodies for. 

Gregorian chants. Unfortunately, they haven't been popular in a while.

Asked by Mike Minnick: So how in the heck did the video for White & Nerdy get leaked, and what was your initial reaction to it? 

I have no idea how the video got leaked early - it's unbelievable how quickly stuff gets out there these days. I was kinda upset at the time - I thought it was a little shortsighted of AOL to cancel the whole premiere and promotion just because a few people had already seen it on YouTube. And you know, it would have been really nice to get the initial exposure on AOL, but several million people have seen it online now, and it's a Top 5 video on VH-1, so I really can't complain. 

Asked by Jon FROM NJ: ....are you going to put this video on MTV...??? Even though people like new music on there.....1997 was a good year too. 

I… don't quite understand you. If you're talking about the "White & Nerdy" video, MTV told us they "didn't have room" for it in their playlist (I'm not surprised - what do they play, one video a week?) But thankfully, VH-1 has been more than supportive - they immediately put it into "extra large" rotation (that's the best kind).

Asked by Zane: Who are some of your favorite music artists, from years gone by and currently? Your band is amazing, by the way. 

Thank you. Well, if you want to see what kind of bands I like, a whole bunch of them are in the Top Friends section of my MySpace page!

Asked by Blizzy: May I join your band

As soon as one of my guys dies or quits, I'll give you a call.

Asked by Brandon E: What inspired you to start making song parodies? Was it one song in particular that just struck you as really dumb, and you just decided to continue from that point on, or was it something else? 

I think at some point every kid in the world listens to the radio and hears the same songs over and over and just starts making up dumb song parodies to amuse their friends. Everybody goes through that phase. My problem is, I just never grew out of it.

Asked by Brian Riley: Al, After seeing the video for your first single off of "Straight Outta Lynwood" (White and Nerdy), I was just curious as to which equation was it used in the background. (Oh and mad props for an amazing video and vocal skill). 

Thanks. And that's Schrodinger's Equation, as it applies to the hydrogen atom. 

Asked by Terry: Your new song deals with the Internet's impact on music and how some people view it. What you are views on how the internet helps or hurts artists? 

Well, obviously, it does both. I think established artists have certainly lost sales due to peer-to-peer filesharing sites, but the Internet is also an incredible promotional tool, which is a concept the record labels are finally starting to embrace. So in the end, I guess it's kind of a wash. 

Asked by Snoop Kitty Cat: Is it true that Coolio denounced his gangster ways and joined an Amish paradise? Have you ever had anyone else react so negatively to one of your parodies or do most think it's an honor (as it should be)? 

I hadn't heard that about Coolio… interesting if that's true. And yes, most artists are actually honored by a Weird Al parody and feel that it's the one true sign that they've "made it."

Asked by Sara: First off, I love you Al. I own everything you've ever released and your music is so much more important and honest than most of the new popular stuff that is forgotten in 10 minutes after it is off of MTV. Can you tell us your top 5 favorite songs you have ever recorded? 

White & Nerdy
I'll Sue Ya
Trapped In The Drive-Thru
Don't Download This Song


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