Pop stars may fade in and out of the limelight, but there seems to be one constant for fans of popular culture -- parodies of the hottest singles by "Weird Al" Yankovic. From "Amish Paradise" to "Gump," we all know his versions of some of the biggest songs to hit the airwaves.
This time around, Yankovic is parodying stars like Taylor Hicks, Green Day, R. Kelly and Chamillionaire on his latest album, "Straight Outta Lynwood." The master of parody took a break from his current tour to talk with ABC News' Gigi Stone on "What's the Buzz" about his new CD, his hit single "White & Nerdy" and living life as "Weird Al."
Representing His Homies
The inspiration for the title of "Straight Outta Lynwood" is drawn from Yankovic's California hometown.
"I am, in fact, from the hood. Lynwood is directly adjacent to Compton, where a lot of famous rappers have come from," Yankovic said. "Lynwood doesn't get the props that Compton does, and I just wanted to represent for my homies."
His Lynwood roots may have also contributed to Yankovic's now infamous parody "White & Nerdy," inspired by rapper Chamillionaire's award-winning "Ridin.'"
Ridin' Dirty With 'Weird Al'
"Chamillionaire's been great [about the parody]. He's had nothing but wonderful things to say," Yankovic said. "I was just reading USA Today the other day and he says the reason he won a Grammy is because of the 'White & Nerdy' video, because it made it undeniable that "Ridin'" was the biggest song of the year."
Not only may it have contributed to Chamillionaire's Grammy win, the "White & Nerdy" video also showcased a talent not many people may realize Yankovic has -- he directed the video himself.
"I've done all of my own live action videos since 1992, and I've directed videos for other artists like Ben Folds, Hanson, the Black Crows," Yankovic said.
In addition to the live action videos he directs himself, Yankovic also released several animated videos for "Straight Outta Lynwood."
"I'm a big fan of animation. I love the medium, and it seems to work well with a lot of my songs," he said.
Another thing fans might not know about Yankovic is that about half of his songs are original nonparodies.
"I'm known as the parody guy. Most of my videos and singles are the parodies, [but] in fact half my stuff is original. It's hopefully funny, but just not based on somebody else's song," he said. "It may sound like another artist, they're pastiches, a lot of them. On the new album there's a Brian Wilson homage ... the previous album there was a tribute to Frank Zappa. I sometimes like to get into the head of another artist and write a song in their style that may be just a little bit more twisted."
Becoming 'Weird Al'
Yankovic began parodying songs at a young age.
I think every kid in the universe listens to the radio and makes fun of the songs with their friends and that was me," he said. "It was just one of those phases that I never grew out of."
He first adopted his famous moniker in college.
"I took ['Weird Al'] on professionally when I did the college campus radio station. Everybody had some kind of wacky name like 'Macho Mike' or 'The Captain' and 'Weird Al' seemed to work and it just kind of stuck," he said.
And what's his secret to picking which song he wants to parody?
"There's no hardset parameters. Generally, I'll take a copy of Billboard magazine and tape it on the wall and throw darts, and wherever it lands, I'm like, 'That's a good one!'" Yankovic said.
Tune in to ABC News Now for the full interview with "Weird Al" Yankovic. For more information on "Weird Al" and his "Straight Outta Lynwood" tour, please visit www.weirdal.com.