"Weird Al" Yankovic
Alfred Matthew "Weird Al" Yankovic (born October 23, 1959) is a Grammy Award winning American singer, musician, actor, satirist, parodist, songwriter, music producer, accordionist, and television producer. Yankovic is known in particular for his humorous songs that make light of popular culture and that often parody specific songs by contemporary musical acts.
References to Zappa
The cover of his 1983 debut album was a parody of the Over-Nite Sensation album cover.
...back when I had a day job. I was working at the radio-syndication company Westwood One in Culver City, which at the time syndicated the Dr. Demento radio show. It was kind of cool, even though I was basically getting people's lunches and taking out the garbage for them. I got to hang out with DJs, and every once in a while meet some of the rock stars that would come into the building. Frank Zappa was one of them. I got him to sign my tattered copy of Freak Out! He actually knew who I was, which blew my mind, because I had built up a bit of a cult following on Dr. Demento by that time. He said, "Oh, my son Dweezil really likes 'Another One Rides The Bus.'" I think Dweezil was maybe 13 years old at the time. It just blew my mind, because Frank was and still is one of my all-time heroes. And the fact that he knew who this mailroom guy was, was unbelievable to me.
While I've never been a big fan of long solos, I've always admired Frank Zappa's compositional acumen, which I studied religiously while writing my Zappa homage, 'Genius in France.' To create my 'style parodies,' I dissect my favorite artists' work and try to step into their shoes and, I hope, create a composition not unlike something they might have done themselves. I felt extra pressure doing that with Zappa; he's one of my all-time heroes and, frankly, I didn't want to screw it up. One reason 'Genius' is nine minutes long is that Frank's style consists of so many components, I felt it would do him a disservice to try to emulate it in three or four minutes. And he'll always have a warm place in my heart for categorically proving to the unwashed masses once and for all that humor really does belong in music.