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Tag: Q&A (21-30 of 100)

'Weird Al' Yankovic talks Lady Gaga, 'Alpocalypse,' and why he's funnier than Madonna


Today, “Weird Al” Yankovic celebrates the release of Alpocalypse, his 13th proper album and his best, most consistent release in years. (And thanks to a day-long Internet dust-up with Lady Gaga over his “Born This Way” parody “Perform This Way,” also his best publicized.)

Always the underdog and, by his own admission, a trafficker in extra-disposable culture, Yankovic has made a career of not only making fun of specific songs and artists but also of topical trends and musical styles.

All of that (plus a massive mash-up of polka versions of pop songs) are on Alpocalypse, highlighted by the surprisingly dark “Skipper Dan,” a narrative about an out-of-work actor serving as the host of a jungle cruise ride at an amusement park. Yankovic discussed his new album, his long career and the secrets to a great parody when EW caught up with him recently.

ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: What are the secrets to a great parody?
Timeliness, sustainability and independence. That third one is really important. It needs to be funny even if you’ve never heard the original song that’s being parodied. It needs to work just as a funny song without having any reference to the source material.

And I think the best example of this personally was when I did “American Pie” as “The Saga Begins.” It was about the Star Wars prequels, and it was a huge hit on Radio Disney. And the people that listened to Radio Disney, I would guess, were not intimately familiar with a Don McLean song from 1971. But they enjoyed the song even without really knowing it was a parody.

And what made that even funnier was that the year after I did my parody, Madonna did her techno-pop cover version of “American Pie,” and all these kids were going, “How come Madonna’s doing an unfunny version of a Weird Al song?” So that was odd.


Duff McKagan gives us the lowdown on reuniting with Axl Rose, his band's new CD, and how to invest your poker winnings

Duff McKagan is best known for playing bass for Guns N’ Roses in their Appetite for Destruction heyday—a period during which McKagan abused his body so badly that his pancreas ultimately exploded.

These days, McKagan’s extracurricular activities are of a more sober stripe: He has written about finance for Playboy; regularly contributes columns to both and Seattle Weekly; and is even now available for hire as a public speaker.

“I spoke to a bunch of businessmen in Seattle,” says McKagan. “Titans of industry. The thing is that business and success, and how hard it is, doesn’t look any different whether you’re playing a gig at eleven o’clock at night or you’re going to work at nine in the morning at a law firm. So I talk about that. But ultimately all those guys want to know about is how many chicks I’ve f—ed!”

The man is also still rocking hard as the frontman for his band, Duff McKagan’s Loaded, whose latest CD, The Taking, is out tomorrow. After the jump, McKagan talks about his new release, his forthcoming memoir, his recent reunion with Axl Rose, and why he is very much not “the Bernie Madoff of metal.”


Jack White Q&A: He talks to EW about life after the White Stripes, becoming a mogul (or not), and more

With the White Stripes officially retired, Jack White could spend his days having cocktails on his tropical lanai if he wanted to. But he is, famously, not that kind of guy.

Instead, he’s running a musical empire in his adopted hometown of Nashville, keeping his hands in two well-established bands (Raconteurs and the Dead Weather), and taking his Rolling Record Store, which he debuted at this year’s SXSW, on the road — while also raising a family and proselytizing for vinyl nearly full-time. EW catches up with him below.

ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: Now that the White Stripes are done, you actually seem more busy than before.
Younger musicians might look at someone who’s quote-unquote “made it,” and think well, that’s it, they won the lottery now they can do whatever they want, and that means go to the Bahamas and just party all the time. But my opinion has always been if you call yourself an artist, you have a responsibility to that liberty that you’ve given yourself.  You don’t have a day job where you work 9 to 5 at a factory because you’re an artist? Well, okay, well then you better make some art. That doesn’t mean you can sit around all day and do nothing. That’s the way I treat myself, and those are the artists I respect who do that. And it doesn’t have anything to do with being a workaholic or anything like that; it’s about creating all the time, because that’s what you can’t help but do.

You have built up sort of a sovereign Third Man nation down in Nashville…
We have a live venue, which is the only live venue in the world where you can record on analog tape in front of an audience and it comes out on vinyl four weeks later. There’s gonna be a lot of special shows on Record Store Day I can’t tell you about yet — I did one with [rockabilly legend] Wanda Jackson. Everyone’s playing there, it’s great for up-and-coming punk bands and all that.

If you’re a producer and a label-runner, does that mean there will there be less music-making for you? READ FULL STORY

Lee DeWyze Q&A: EW talks to the 'American Idol' champ about this year's batch, what he's up to, and defending his season

It’s been almost one year since former paint salesman Lee DeWyze became the ninth victor of American Idol—and the last winner crowned with crotchety Simon Cowell piloting America’s top-rated TV show.

After DeWyze performed his latest single “Beautiful Like You” for the new panel of Idol judges a few weeks ago, Live It Up returned to the Top 100 albums chart. Currently on a lengthy tour, the 25-year-old Illini spoke with us about his favorite singers from this season, how his life has changed, and what he has to say to those who criticized his season. READ FULL STORY

Rebecca Black Q&A: EW talks to the 'Friday' viral video star about getting compliments from Gaga, donating her song profits to Japan, and using her dad as a 'bodyguard'

In the two weeks since since it began its viral rise to Internet infamy, Rebecca Black’s “Friday” music video has amassed a staggering 42 million views on YouTube and shows no sign of slowing down.

That’s an absurdly high number of hits for any singer, but it’s jaw-dropping when you consider that Black is an unsigned 13-year-old from Orange County who only made the video for fun with her friends (and a little help from a vanity production company).

With her song in the iTunes Top 40 and a guest spot on The Tonight Show under her belt, we caught up with Rebecca (after she got finished school for the day, naturally) and talked to her about what she’s doing with all this money, how her dad scares off gawkers in public, and how she felt to hear Lady Gaga call her a “genius.”

ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: On Leno you said that you are donating most of your YouTube and iTunes proceeds to earthquake and tsunami disasters in Japan. That’s really cool. What made you decide to do that? I don’t think anyone would hold it against a 13-year-old for keeping the money from her first hit record. READ FULL STORY

Beady Eye: Liam Gallagher talks about his new band's CD, the last time he spoke to Noel, and why he 'likes the Gaga'

BeadyEyeImage Credit: Steve GullickIt has been eighteen months now since Oasis broke up following a backstage blowout between singer Liam Gallagher and his guitarist brother Noel before a scheduled show in Paris.

That’s a long enough period of time for Liam to form a new band, Beady Eye, with Oasis members Andy Bell, Gem Archer, and Chris Sharrock, and for that act to record their debut CD, Different Gear, Still Speeding, which was released March 1. However, a year and a half is apparently not a lengthy enough period for the Gallagher brothers to have kissed and made up.

In fact, Liam says that he hasn’t spoken to his brother since that night in Paris, and that there wasn’t a lot of “speaking” going on then. “We screamed at each other,” he recalls. “It wasn’t speaking, but sort of shouting at each other. And that was it. Never mind.”

After the jump, Liam and Andy Bell talk about the debut Beady Eye CD, the royal wedding, and Lady Gaga.


Slash talks about his tour with Ozzy, the search for Velvet Revolver's singer, and Axl's latest accolade

slashImage Credit: Paul BrownBreak out the top hats and Les Pauls: Slash kicks off a tour with Ozzy Osbourne on Jan. 16 in Omaha, Neb., in support of his 2010 solo album, Slash. Before he hit the road, the Velvet Revolver guitarist and ex-Guns N’ Roses axeman riffed on a variety of music topics with EW.

ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: What can fans expect from the set list this time around? It sounds like you’ve been playing a wide swath of material from your career.
The tour started last March and we took a break, and now we’re starting up again. We’ve been doing a lot of songs off this new record, some Guns stuff, some Velvet stuff and a couple Snake Pit songs. And it’s really cool when we’re doing a headlining set [Slash will perform on his own in some cities] because we really f—ing dig in there and pull out these cool gems. But for the Ozzy tour, it’ll be combinations of those things. It’s a 50-minute set, so it won’t be a lot of either. But at the same time it’s going to be a really cool, very entertaining, dynamic 50 minutes.

Any surprises you can tease?
There are a couple songs that I broke out for this next leg which we haven’t played on the whole tour, so there will be a couple surprises if you went to any of the other shows. If you’ve never been to a show, the whole thing’s a surprise. But give you hints? No.

Will you play with Ozzy? READ FULL STORY

Josh Groban speaks on his musical tribute to Kanye West's tweets: The Music Mix Q&A

groban-kanyeIt’s the viral hit of the week: Josh Groban crooning selected bons mots from Kanye West’s Twitter account in his most sonorous tones. Since airing on ABC’s Jimmy Kimmel Live! and being posted on YouTube, the hilarious skit has racked up more than 1.2 million views.

“I’ve been blown away by the response,” Groban tells the Music Mix. We spoke with him today to find out how “Josh Groban’s The Best Tweets of Kanye West” came to be. Hit the jump to see the clip again and read our Q&A. READ FULL STORY

Trent Reznor on his Golden Globe nomination, what's wrong with the Grammys, and what it really means to be 'independent': An EW Q&A

Trent-ReznorNine Inch Nails may be on semi-permanent hiatus, but Trent Reznor—erstwhile prince of sonic darkness, emperor of industrial, master of non-metric measurements—has hardly been sitting on idle hands.

Among other things, the past year saw him forming a new band, How to Destroy Angels; welcoming his first child; and garnering a Golden Globe nomination for his film score for David Fincher’s The Social Network (due on DVD Jan. 11), with longtime collaborator Atticus Ross. Will he be wearing a tux to the Jan. 16 ceremonies in Los Angeles? “For sure,” he says. Does that mean his famously tetchy stance towards industry awards shows has changed? Read on.

ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: First off, congratulations on being nominated for a Golden Globe—you are now officially a multi-hyphenate.

TRENT REZNOR: Oh, thank you very much.

How does it feel to be recognized in an area of entertainment you’re not generally known for?

It’s been surprisingly nice to see this stuff go down. I’m really thinking about how to proceed from here, because the experience of working with David Fincher couldn’t have been better. It was just working with a really smart guy with a really smart team that challenged us, the work was rewarding, and it was a cool experience not being the boss for a change, realizing you’re working in a supporting role. David knows what he wants, and when we started this thing I went into it with that in mind—he’s not winging it. [The feedback] wasn’t all “yes yes yes yes great,” there was some back and forth. But it was fun to witness, and it was an education.

His next project of course is The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo, and I’m sure that movie needs a soundtrack, too. You seem like you might be a good candidate…

[Benevolent pause] Well, we’ll see how that plays out.

On a sadder note, we were speaking about what’s on your iPod [for a piece in this week's EW print issue], and you mentioned [legendary experimental outfit] Coil, which I’m guessing may be in part because of a recent death

Yes. I just lost a dear friend, Peter Christopherson. We’ve known each other over the years to varying degrees, and I reached out to him this spring, because I wanted to make sure that it was OK that I pilfer the name to use for my new band because a) I love Coil and b) I just thought that was a really cool name, and I wanted to get his blessing on that before I moved forward, so we touched base. He had stayed with me in New Orleans for a while back in the mid to late ’90s, and I always had an immense amount of respect for the guy, not only as a musician but as an artist. He has a very big influence on my life; he did some videos for us way back, and I was just really saddened to hear about his passing.

I only heard that he died in his sleep, no other details… READ FULL STORY

Avril Lavigne talks about her new album, (sort of) working with Rihanna, and where she'll be New Years Eve: An EW Q&A

Avril-LavigneImage Credit: Jason LaVeris/FilmMagic.comWhen EW last talked to Avril Lavigne in July 2009, the Canadian pop-punk star spoke happily of collaborating with her then-husband, Sum 41 frontman Deryck Whibley, on her fourth album, scheduled for release that November.

Some seventeen months later, Lavigne and Whibley are no more, but the long-delayed Goodbye Lullaby is very much on—with an official release now slated for March 8, 2011.

We caught up with the 26-year-old singer as she finished recording a pre-taped segment for Dick Clark’s New Year’s Rockin’ Eve, the annual year-end TV tradition whose bicoastal Dec. 31 celebration will also include the likes of Drake, Willow Smith, Jennifer Hudson, La Roux, Far East Movement, Fergie, Natasha Bedingfield, and Train.

EW: So you just finished performing the first single from Lullaby, “What the Hell,” for the first time in public—can you tell me about it?

Avril Lavigne: Yes! The song is more pop and uptempo and kind of reminiscent of my old stuff, and the rest of the record is more stripped and raw and a little deeper. So this album is less pop-rock than the previous stuff, but the first single is a more like that.

EW: So is it true that the album has been done for over a year? You sounded pretty frustrated in a letter to fans last month…

Yeah, pretty much. [laughs].

Has that been hard for you, to stand by, or did you just set it aside?

Yes, somewhat. I’ve been really anxious just to get back out there and to sing and to tour, so I know that the fans were all really waiting, being super supportive, and I really appreciate that. You know a lot of people run into complications with their record companies sometimes where they have their vision, but I’ve always had my own vision for my music and I put my foot down, and you know, had to be strong about that, and overall I made the record that I wanted to make, so I’m very happy with it and very excited to finally be putting it out.

Are you tempted, when you have this lagtime, to go back and keep messing with it? READ FULL STORY

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