Wednesday, February 02, 2011

Childhood Hero Revisited

Thought it be nice to blog about something other than my artwork. I assure you this a rare thing! lol

I'm sure that many of you are unaware but I am a huge Weird Al Yankovic fan. Have been for nearly 25 years. I first saw him in concert in 1986, when he opened for The Monkees. Memory is a little fuzzy but I do remember him sawing a woman in half while performing "Like a Surgeon" and giant potato costumes when he sang "Addicted to Spuds". I've probably seen him 8 or 9 times in concert. If you have an opportunity, I highly recommend seeing him live. His shows are quite funny, particularly the video skits in-between costume changes. It's refreshing to see a comedic performance without cursing or vulgar language.

At any rate, I remember the first time I met him. I was 14 years old and I saw him with a few friends at the Count Basie Theater in Red Bank, NJ. This was 1994. We waited after the show near his bus for an hour and he came out to meet & greet his fans. He took photos and signed stuff, it was such a blast. I totally geeked out and blathered on about something to him. You know, the kind of yammering that makes you look like a complete idiotic weirdo. I'm still embarrassed about it to this day. We were just kids, bringing a camera didn't even enter our minds. This woman, whom we didn't know, kindly offered to take our picture with him and mail us the printed photo. A few weeks later this came in the mail!

I wish I could remember her name, so I can thank her for all the internet to see, but I did write her a thank you letter. It was the single coolest day in my young life. And proof that not all people are mouth-breathing jerks.

16 years later, I got to meet the man again and I have to thank Twitter. If I didn't create a twitter page and start following Weird Al I would have never know that he:

A. Wrote a kid's book


B. That he'd be 20 minutes from my house last night

Needless to say that I was much more poised than when I was 14. It was a long wait, but worth it. Weird Al was kind enough to not only sign his new book, "When I grow up" but also my CD Cover for his retelling of Peter and the Wolf.

Not many people know about this album, it wasn't music and as far as I know didn't do well and is hard to find. He said "Wow, where did you find this?" I replied, "Bought it the day it came out, a little over 20 years ago." I handed him a few copies of Shrek #2, which I drew a short story in back and told him I looked forward to the new album.

I just wanted to say that I've been a fan for a long time and I've met many "famous" people over the last 10 years working the convention circuits and I have never met anyone more professional, genuine and polite as Weird Al Yankovic.

Whenever someone asks me, "Who are your influences?" I rattle off a few comic creator's who artist style influence me, but to be honest that's not the reason I draw comics. Comedians. Comedians are why I draw comics. Granted animation and film are also influences but I never wanted to direct a film or draw an animated movie. Comedians can make you visualize a story simply with words. I grew up on The Marx Brothers, 3 Stooges, Abbott & Castello and Weird Al. I know it sounds weird but the visual aspects of comics and animation influence my artwork, but comedy made me the storyteller I am today.


Mr. Hawthorne said...

Dude, that's an awesome story!! :-)


Anonymous said...

Actually the classical CD of Weird Al reciting "Peter and the Wolf" was a Christmas present that I bought you and I know because I remember finding it at "Rock Dreams" in Hamilton NJ.


Rob Reilly is a said...

Well i remember getting a long long time okay.

Thanks Dad!