Ths first contact I had with Al's music was one of Disney's DTV specials- it had a VERY hacked-up version of Eat It on it- but I got hooked immediately. Sadly 2 things came against me: #1 I was only about 5 years old then and back than I didn't give a rip who sang a song as long as there was a song to sing- thus I didn't connect with the name Of Weird Al Yankovic. #2 being age 5, an only child, and a *very* picky eater naturally Mom tried to use to song to get me to stop being so picky. Sadly the plan backfired- whenever she started singing the chorus while I had food around I ended up growling and ended up avoiding the song altogether.
The second contact has now sort of become an inside joke with my friends. I was about to go into the 4th grade and me and my new friend Ann were at her house (next door- our families are still great buddies) watching some Micheal jackson marathon on MTV (back when MJ was still popular before all those scandals). At that point in time, I was still listening to the Oldies stations that my parents listened to adn had never heard of MTV. Ann always listened to mainstream stuff and was obsessed with Madonna- so naturally I thought she was a bit strange. We watched this ontorage of MJ vids (including Beat It and Bad) for over an hour when we decided to head into the kitchen for a snack. I left the kitchen early and headed back to the tv (which was on the other side of the house). When I got there- I stood in the dororway kind of stumped because Ann had told me that MTV never plays the same vid twice in a row, much less in the same hour, and there it was- what seemed to be Beat IT was playing again. I called Ann to see if she knew what was going on w/it & just as soon as she got there- it showed the guy laying on the bed & singing but the guy was WHITE!!!!!!!! "*That's* not Michael Jackson," we both said. This rather perplexed us and I asked her "Ann do you know what this is?" She said (sort of a bit disgusted and confused) "I dunno but I'm turning it off." And she did.
The third contact was Headline News. My parents and I were sitting down to dinner in the den in front of the tv (as usual) and we were watching Entertainment Tonight. At that time, I was very involved with eating my dinner that I wasn't really paying attention to the tube & I was also going thru a tough time at school being that it was an 'inner city' type school with all the guns an stuff- so naturally I was stressed. While I was eating, I heard something about some guy doing a music video (still a foreign concept to me at the time) about Tonya Harding- Nacy Kerrigan and lorena Bobbitt. This struck me as rather bizarre- especially since when I looked up it was showing one of the takes that was never used in the final vid- Bobbitt actually 'cutting it off.' I thought "Who the hell *wants* to do a video about *those* creeps?" So I went nback to eating and forgot the episode for a long time.
The fifth time (isn't this getting pathetic?!): Another friend of mine- Lauren, whom I had met on the bus to & from that inner city school, was also having trouble with our surroundings although MUCH less than I was & the only way we could cope with the inner city school crap was to REALLY zany whenever we were on the schoolbus. She noticed that I was becoming more than just a bit disturbed by all the crap that was going on & during a sleepover she pulled out 2 cassette tapes that she said I should listen to. They turned out to be Off The Deep End and Alapolooza. She only played a couple songs & I thought they were amusing but still being off tilt & VERY distracted from the hectic shcooldays, the momentary humor became just that- momentary.
The sixth time: Lauren is a VERY persistent person. She brought the tapes out again at another sleepover a few months after the first time. I remembered them better because this time she pointed out Airline Amy to me & I almost never heard the end of it because my real name is Aimée the French spelling for Amy!
The seventh time: Thankfully for all of us this time did it!
In early 1996, Lauren and I were at my house for the weekend and had been at it again with the schoolbus zaniness so when we got to my place, we started doing zany Star Wars cartoons and just plain goofing off. She brought the tapes again & THIS time I actually asked her who the artist was & actually listened to the tapes in their entirety. After awhile of listening it FINALLY hit me- could this be the guy who did Eat It? Luckily, we had taped that old DTV and I immeadeately pulled it out & went searching for the song. Sure enough Lauren's silly singer was the guy who sang one of my favorite songs from the old days! Even more thank fully, Mom had long since stopped trying to use Eat it against me so I was free of that little mess.
After this incident, I used the newfound knowledge of the name "Weird Al" Yankovic to use Eat It in a literary project and that led me to search for him in the music stores. At this time, I was more of a 'curiuos cat' than an actual fan.
On the way to our other house (for we hadn't completely moved out of oue old house into the new one- damn thing took forever to sell) we stopped by a record store, where I saw Permanent Record on the shelf. We asked them to put it on hold until we got back from the weekend. Once at our other house, I phoned Lauren & told her the news, and she convinced my Mom to go on and get it. *I* was convinced- but the thing cost $33! So on the Eve of April Fool's Day 1996 I bought Permanent Record. *
It took me a week to go through every song- cuz I was a homework-aholic at the time so I barely had time for anything else. Besides after some startling and bad experiences, I'm the kind of person who (70% of the time) hears a song, then goes out to do research on the artist before buying an album(s). I had also set the booklet aside (which at the time was to provide me with the most info and finally make me a fan) because it didn't contain any lyrics in it :( .
So I didn't get to reading it until sometime in June...but when I did read it- it 'sealed the deal' because I was totally blown away by how many similaritites both in many places *escpecially artistically* there were between us. A lot of basic aspects of Al as an *artist* I had grown up with and cherrished all my life (and I'm a natural-born artist) and I had had almost no knowledge of him whatsoever.
* In the meantime, I had heard Amish Paradise, which further boosted my curiosity.