GREG'S UPDATE BLOG!

10,000 Maniacs (Part I)
(September 2005-May 2006)

Recent blog entries (May 2009-present)
Slightly newer blog entries (May 2006-May 2009)
Even older blog entries (September 2004-September 2005)
Really old blog entries (July-September 2004)

"In his heartfelt and thoughtful mimicry, he is more honest and inspired than most pop artists today....Maybe that's who Weird Al is at heart: a music critic of the best kind....His rock and roll criticism is rock and roll itself."
--Kate Sullivan,
LA Weekly

May 8, 2006, 12AM EST

Hey, it's been a while! Have you sent your letter to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Foundation yet??

As we're waiting for lots of different kinds of news--petition news, new album news, tour news, Weird Al Show news--I thought I would pass along a plea from our good friends at the Weird Al Star Fund.

So far the campaign has raised $11,000 to get Al a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, leaving just $4,000 left to be raised. This is the home stretch! It is imperative that the remaining amount be collected as soon as possible, as the filing deadline to get Al nominated this year is drawing very near (as in within the next couple of weeks).

If you haven't donated to the Star Fund yet, go there now and do so! Any amount is appreciated, $5, $10, $20, anything! They accept Paypal, check, or money order. Or, if charitable donations aren't your thing and you need to have something to show for it, you can go to the campaign's Cafepress store and order some really cool authorized, licensed Weird Al merchandise! Choose from shirts, mousepads, mugs, stickers, calendars, and other neat Al stuff available nowhere else.

Help out the cause and help get Al a star!

April 17, 2006, 12AM EST

Ever wonder what one can do with a pen, a piece of paper, a stamp, and an envelope? Why, one can write a letter to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Foundation!

I hope everyone not only had a safe and happy Easter (that is, to those who celebrate it) but also had a good time at Tuesday's Weird Al Star Fund benefit show (that is, to those who attended). According to our "field operative" Melissa, the petition got a very positive response from the folks there, and we can't wait to add the signatures she obtained into our collective like the proverbial Borg that we are (hey, it's midnight on Easter Sunday and I'm hopped up on Jelly Bellies, so give me a break here).

Anyhoo, once again I am so very proud to announce our latest celebrity signer, the one and only Emo Philips! I really don't think I need to explain to Al fans exactly who Emo is, especially if they've seen UHF, Al's Behind the Music, the "It's All About The Pentiums" video, or two specific episodes of The Weird Al Show. For everyone else, though, Emo is one of most unique and most outstanding stand-up comics of the last three decades, and having his support on this just blows me away. What a cool guy! If you'd like to join us in thanking Emo, be sure to pick up E=MO2/Live at the Hasty Pudding Theatre, the CD debut of his two classic '80s albums.

Thanks Emo!!!!

April 8, 2006, 7PM EST

You know what people don't do too much anymore? Write letters, specifically letters to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Foundation.

Well, I have some excellent news. We have a petition volunteer all ready to go for Tuesday's Weird Al Star Fund benefit at The Mint in Los Angeles. Just look for Melissa after the show (don't worry, they'll point her out to everyone). It'll be a festive night, one everyone will no doubt enjoy...and we've been told the place has great macaroni and cheese. Have fun!

April 4, 2006, 1AM EST

Why, I do believe there's some letters that need to be written and sent. Wouldn't you agree?

If you've been following Al news lately, then you no doubt know that our good friends over at the Weird Al Star Fund are going to be hosting a benefit concert at The Mint in Los Angeles on April 11.

Make the Rock Hall "Weird" will definitely have a presence there one way or another, and we need a volunteer or two! If you are planning on attending the show and would like to represent the group, please e-mail me as soon as possible. All we're looking for is a fan, or two tops, willing to be a petition circulator for the night. I'll go into the details with you via e-mail, but needless to say the same requirements are needed as for our normal petition volunteers (Adobe Reader, printer, ability to send mail).

It looks like a fun night is lined up, and we definitely want to wish the Star Fund good luck on its first event!

March 30, 2006, 11PM EST

Hey look! It's time to write a letter to the Rock Hall!

Even though this year's petition drive has yet to officially commence, we've already got some momentum going! I'm so excited to finally spill the beans about our latest celebrity signer, King of Queens star and "Comedian of Comedy" Patton Oswalt! Die-hard Weird Al Show fans may remember Patton for his fleeting cameo in the show's first broadcast episode, "Bad Influence," just in case you needed some justification. We're all just so jazzed about having him on board!

In addition to signing the petition, Patton went one better and became one of our "field operatives," taking the petition with him on his travels through the comedy, comic book, and animation communities. Among the additional signatures Patton obtained are those of members of the cast and crew of none other than SpongeBob SquarePants, including veteran voice artist and character actor Rodger Bumpass (Squidward!) and Mr. Krabs performer Clancy Brown (who is also equally known for his creepy roles in the horror flicks The Bride and Pet Sematary II, not to mention also starring in HBO's Carnivale and providing the voice of Lex Luthor for Bruce Timm's various animated Superman shows of the last decade).

We are so truly grateful for Patton's help and his willingness to take that extra step. If you'd like to thank Patton yourself in some way, the Comedians of Comedy tour will be making its way across the Great Lakes beginning in April (and if you have either Showtime or Comedy Central, be sure to check out the respective documentary movie and series chronicling the tour!). And of course this summer there will be a certain DVD coming out that Patton will be appearing in.

Thanks Patton, and thanks to everyone who helped him along his way!!!

March 22, 2006, 7PM EST

Remember, you need to write your letter to the Rock Hall Foundation!

I'm in the middle of trying to do something technical with this makeshift blog page that will hopefully increase our visibility. I don't want to jinx it by going too much into it just yet, so stay tuned.

I'm also waiting patiently for the official press release on the specs for the upcoming Weird Al Show: The Complete Series DVD set. Once we get a 100 percent confirmed release date, I will immediately add a pre-order link for the DVD to the action calendar on the main page.

In the meantime, we'll soon be starting a new linking program, so fellow Al fans can proudly announce their support to the campaign right on their web sites. I'll probably be seeking input on it over on WOWAY soon, so if you haven't been there lately, be sure to log on!

March 18, 2006, 12AM EST

There's still plenty of time to send your letter if you haven't done so yet!

I hope everyone's having or had a pleasant and fun St. Patrick's Day night. Just be careful out on the roads through Saturday morning.

I was originally just going to mention that I added a new old article (if that makes sense) to the press page, but I also have some cool petition news!

We've increased the official signature count to four today...hey, give me a break here. The tour hasn't even started yet!

But anyway, I am thrilled to announce that our latest signer is another friend of Al's, veteran character actor and Naked Gun funnyman Leslie Nielsen! We asked Leslie to sign the petition to help show how important comedy is to any art form, music included, and I just wanted to take a moment to sincerely thank him for helping out. If you'd like to join in and send good vibes, and SAG royalties, Leslie's way, remember that the Airplane!: Don't Call Me Shirley Edition DVD is now in stores. Thanks Leslie!!!

Speaking of the petition, we still need more volunteers for this year, so be sure to speak up!

Finally, do yourself a favor and check out V for Vendetta this weekend. For once, it's an actual good movie based on the works of Alan Moore.

March 15, 2006, 10PM EST

Don't forget to send your letter! Told ya the reminders were coming.

Naturally, as the Rock Hall induction ceremony has come and gone this week a couple of online articles have popped up focusing on the questionable nature of the induction process. Surprisingly, our site has been mentioned here and there in passing to illustrate the lengths fans have been willing to go through in order to try to influence the vote. Usually the mentions have been if not favorable than at least not negative, so that's something. I'm easily pleased.

But anyway, I just wanted to welcome those who have been kind or brave enough to wander over here by following a link, such as the direct link to the blog from the Plastic.com article. Kick off your shoes and sit down for a while, make yourself at home, and I'll see if we have any lemonade to serve.

I just checked. We don't. Sorry.

But in the meantime, do look around a bit. Be our guest and have a slice of the Rock Hall Foundation address we have chilling on the windowsill throughout the site. It might be to your liking, whatever your musical taste may be.

Hopefully I'll have some petition news in the coming week or so, so keep checking back. I'll even try to whip up some lemonade for you, or maybe even a Cookiepuss ice cream cake.

March 13, 2006, 4AM EST

Did you send your letter yet? Fair warning: you're going to get sick of reading reminders like that at the top of every new blog entry, so you might as well get your letter written and sent out now before it really annoys you.

Tonight is the annual Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction ceremony in New York, and as everyone knows by now Al has been snubbed for the second year in a row. So far the local press has been light on the coverage of the ceremony, which isn't surprising considering how all other news about this year's inductions had been handled so far. This morning's Cleveland Plain Dealer contained very brief bios of the artists to be honored, and that was about it outside of a small and confusing congratulations ad to Black Sabbath and an indirect mention in today's Crankshaft. Wouldn't one think the museum's hometown paper would make a bigger deal out of this stuff?

So anyway, get cracking on your letter. The nominating committee will be meeting very, very soon (if they haven't begun already) to start discussing 2007 nominees!

March 8, 2006, 8PM EST

I always stress that Make the Rock Hall "Weird" is organized solely by fans and is not sponsored by Al, his management, or his associates in any way, but I thought it was kinda cool that the campaign was mentioned yesterday for the first time on Weirdal.com!

Added to the fan art section was the winner of our 2005 art contest, the great full-length Al drawing by Kristine Slipson, and as with all of the fan art posted in the gallery there was a short little intro explaining what it was originally used for.

Again, that should not be interpreted as an endorsement in any way, shape, or form, as we're still proudly independent, but still I thought it was a pretty cool, and unexpected, mention. T'anks Jon!

March 6, 2006, 11PM EST

And letter season is upon us! Aaaaiigghh!

I've added to the site some help guides for those having trouble writing their letters.

Get crackin' everyone and get your letters sent out! There's only a week or so left before the nominating committee sits down to begin discussing next year's nominees! Let's get them talking about Al!

March 2, 2006, 4PM EST

Lousy Smarch weather!

It's just about time to get things started again for this year's campaign. Of course, our main goal for 2006 will be obtaining 10,000 petition signatures (we're going to need volunteers for this to happen). This probably won't really start moving until the summer (when a certain tour might, hopefully, commence), so in the meantime there are other things we can do.

As you probably know, later this month the Rock Hall will induct this year's class of performers. Traditionally the Rock Hall nominating committee begins discussing the next year's artists right after the latest ceremony. How about we give them something to discuss?

Beginning March 6, one week before this year's induction ceremony (so that they arrive right on time), through June 3, we want everyone--everyone--to send a letter to the Rock Hall Foundation in care of Suzan Evans. As always, politely ask them to consider Al for Rock Hall induction and explain why. We will have up here sample letters and suggested talking points one can use.

I can't stress the word "letter" enough this time. We love postcards very much, but the purpose of this new drive will be to clearly articulate Al's role in rock and roll. If you want to include something else with your letter (with many Suncoasts and Sam Goodys closing across the country, Al CDs and DVDs are probably dirt cheap right now), that's fine, but again, please, write a letter this time.

Once again, the address to write to is....

Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Foundation
Attn: Suzan Evans
1290 Avenue of the Americas
New York, NY 10104
USA

Think of this project as our first line of offense. We need to make it absolutely clear that we will not rest until Al gets inducted for his role as rock music's foremost satirist. Get your pens, paper, envelopes, and stamps out...it's letter-writing time!

February 18, 2006, 2AM EST

As webmaster I tend to check the site's viewing statistics every night, which mainly tell me how many page hits the site gets a day, which other sites it's been linked from, etc. I'm always curious when I see a link coming from a message board, such as tonight when our site was linked from the forum over at none other than Rolling Stone's web site.

Unless a given forum is comedy- or novelty-centric, you'll see the usual mix of supporters and naysayers in a Make the Rock Hall "Weird" thread, and the latter are usually those tired two-dimensional souls who think they're "music experts" just because they don't like Weird Al, and usually for "ripping off" other people's songs. Sigh, whatever, and I've also heard the Monkees don't play their own instruments.

Such a discussion took place on Rolling Stone's message board late last month, and first of all it just struck me funny that people on the forum will gripe about the Rock Hall being this monument to corporate greed and corruption, yet they'll still use the web site owned by the guy whom most attribute the Rock Hall's crookedness to, Rolling Stone publisher Jann Wenner. Sorry guys, I'm no fan of the museum's bias either, but you can't have it both ways. That's like using a megaphone bought at Sam's Club to picket outside of Wal-Mart. Hypocrisy is always funny.

Anyway, one such member on there, "Kristy" (it would have made my night if it was "Kristi" with an I, with a smiley face used to dot it), alleged that "Song parody is nothing new but he took it to unacceptable heights of plagiarism..." I'm not quite sure what an "unacceptable height" is (or an "acceptable height," for that matter), but no doubt it was probably marked by Al parodying this person's favorite artist.

But what I did take exception with was this simple-minded charge of "plagiarism." To plagiarize something, as I and most dictionaries understand the concept, is "to put forth as original to oneself the ideas or words of another"...in other words, to steal something and pass it off as your own without due credit to the person responsible. And as anyone with a basic if not rudimentary knowledge of modern pop music could tell you, Al gets full permission from both the artists and the songwriters before recording and releasing a parody, and they are always credited and thanked on the albums. In fact, I do believe a certain FAQ page on a certain site (this one) has also detailed many of the ways the artists parodied have then shown their appreciation for Al's work.

If someone wants to have a serious discussion or debate about Al's merits and whether or not he should get inducted, it's not too difficult to get a hold of me. But don't lie about what Al does just to satisfy your own snobbery.

So if anyone out there is going to fling a scummy accusation like "Kristy I-don't-need-a-last-name-so-when-I-talk-out-of-my-ass-people-will-just-write-it-off-as-some-bimbo-ranting-about-music" did, then be sure to do your homework first. You just might learn something.

February 6, 2006, 3AM EST

I just wanted to end the weekend by mentioning a minor update to the press page, as I have added a couple of links to key articles, including an Australian one that simply didn't get its facts straight despite...well, I'll let you see for yourself.

I'm still digging through my archive of articles to see if there's anything else worth posting. A lot of times our newspaper mentions have been nothing more than blurbs based on our press releases. I'm completely fine with that, but is it really necessary to post every single variation?

Anyway, remember that Tuesday is the release date for the new Simpsons DVD, Kiss and Tell, which includes Al's Emmy-winning episode "Three Gays of the Condo."

February 1, 2006, 6PM EST

Well, the art contest winners are finally announced! Go check it out!

I hope everyone had fun both entering and judging. We've got two very big projects to do this summer, but maybe sometime later, later, later in the year we'll try something like this again!

I'm still in the middle of overhauling parts of the site, so as always, bear with me.

And remember, we're still looking for petition volunteers, so if you haven't already done so, raise your hand (virtually, of course...hey, I said "hand," not "finger").

January 28, 2006, 2AM EST

Hola amigos! It's been kind of a busy month around here.

First, congrats to Al and the band for finally scoring a Platinum Record for Off The Deep End, not to mention a Gold for The Food Album! WAY to go!!!

And as long as we're going to be talking about fan campaigns, can you believe it that The Weird Al Show is finally coming to DVD this year?!? I am ecstatic!! I do hope whatever letters and e-mails people sent, as we had urged elsewhere on All Things Yankovic, helped make all the difference.

As most of you regular surfers have probably noticed, the FAQ page is finally all completely updated for this year's phase of the campaign. There is still a lot of tweaking left to do around the site, so please bear with me. I was for a moment toying with the idea of turning these makeshift blog pages into real, official, RSS-based blogs, but after researching how one goes about doing so I concluded that I simply did not have the time, energy, or expertise to be able to do it without making this look even more amateurish than it already does.

And no, I have not forgotten about the art contest! It's all up to me now, unfortunately...but I am doing everything in my power to be able to announce the winners by the end of the month, so please just be patient a little while longer.

More and more fans have been volunteering to help circulate the petition, and I cannot thank everyone enough! Hopefully when Al's new album is announced, there will be a surge of new folks lining up to help out. But until then, I extend my heartfelt thanks to those who are already volunteering this year, and I hope more will speak up very soon.

Finally, I tend to check out Wikipedia's Al entry from time to time, and it's always a fun read...heck, really anything on Wikipedia is fascinating! But I must express my slight disappointment that a section from Al's entry, titled "Recognition," had been completely removed, a section that described not only Al's eligibility for the Rock Hall and our campaign, but also the Weird Al Star Fund. I was half-tempted to restore it, but it looks like the entry's regular editors did a good job reattributing most of that section's other info elsewhere in the entry, so adding it back would just be redundant. I really hope it wasn't just a way to remove info on the fan campaigns.

But oh well. Regardless, I do want to finally thank anyone who has been brave enough to venture out to our site from the link on the Wikipedia entry. Thanks for your interest, and hopefully you'll want to help out in any way you can!

January 2, 2006, 10PM EST

Hey gang, I hope everyone had a happy holiday and is looking forward to the new year. I know I am.

Again, I can't thank everyone enough for all the work they've done for the campaign in 2005, from letter-writing to arts and crafts to just general support. This was a year without a new Weird Al album, a year in which Al did not tour, and a year in which things were relatively quiet on the Al front, yet we were still able to get people talking about him and his merits as an artist. Things can only get better from this point on.

We've got a big year of campaigning coming up, as we not only have 10,000 signatures to collect but we also need to start gathering video footage of our fellow Al fans around the world for our first ever documentary. We're currently looking for volunteers to help us out with both, so be sure to e-mail me to let me know you want in!

Meanwhile, judging is still going on for our first ever art contest, so don't think I've forgotten about it! Of course, this means we won't be able to announce winners until a little later than I had originally wanted, but I'd rather make sure all of our judges have plenty of time to fairly look at each entry than have them rush through it. There were some really cool entries, and I can't wait to unveil them all on here.

And in the meantime, some key sections of the site will be updated within this next month, including the FAQ page and the press section.

We'll also be starting a new campaigning program, one utilizing linking web buttons and fun little promotional tools. If you have a Weird Al, music, comedy, or pop culture web site (or one in any other category, for that matter), we want you! We're still figuring out the details, but you can e-mail me in the meantime to let me know you want to participate.

Finally, it's probably no surprise to die-hard fans that Al will most likely deliver his new studio album, his twelfth, sometime in the first half of the year. Last time Al released an album, he debuted in Billboard in the top twenty, the first time in his career he has been able to do this. Anyone up for a bigger goal?

Right now, take fifteen dollars out of your wallet or purse and put it into an envelope and seal it. On the envelope write whatever you'd like, be it "Weird Al," "Album 12," "New Album Dough," or whatever. Put this envelope in a safe place; one you'll remember. This is your Al money, money you are not allowed to touch until the release date of the new album.

I know what you're thinking already..."Oh come on, I'll make sure I have enough money for the new album," or "I'll remember when it gets announced." Baloney, do it now. Let's take every step we can to help ensure that Al debuts in the top ten. It will be just the thing we'll need to officially kick off a year celebrating Al's role as rock and roll's premier satirist, not to mention Al's 27th anniversary!

As soon as the new album's available online to pre-order, I'll have links up here on the site, and the weekend before its release I'll try to keep track of whatever sales will be listed in the Sunday newspaper circulars. Let's do everything we can to give Al his best debut ever.

We all have a big year coming up. Let's have fun, let's work hard, and let's all dare to be stupid!

December 1, 2005, 3AM EST

WHEW!!!

Well, the cat's finally out of the bag! I hope everyone feels it was worth the wait. Hopefully this will make a fun year for our lil' fan base.

And of course, just to make this big announcement even bigger, I have some great news right from the start. I am proud to announce that the members of the Presidents of the United States of America, as in the band and not the actual group of elected and non-elected leaders, have come on board and signed the new petition! I can't express how grateful I am for their help and how relieved I am to finally have been able to reach them about our cause, as it had been a long, long time coming.

So it's pretty cool that the first signatures to arrive for the new petition, as indicated by the resurrected counter on the main page, came from the PUSA. I'll take that as a good omen.

With December now upon us, I want to thank everyone who entered our first ever art contest. There were some really funny, really cute entries, and I hope everyone will like them when we do our big presentation later in the month. Thanks contestants!!!

And with the holiday season now in full swing, over on the main All Things Yankovic site I've added a new holiday gift guide, this time specifically themed around Make the Rock Hall "Weird." Go check it out.

Speaking of gifts, the Weird Al Star Fund currently has a really cool item on eBay at the moment, the ultra rare Placebo "Another One Rides the Bus" EP! The auction ends December 4, so bid now and bid often.

We've got a lot in store for the site in the coming weeks and months, so keep popping in, okay? It'll be worth it! I'm going to bed.

November 28, 2005, 5PM EST

Hey gang! It's been a while, hasn't it? I hope everyone had a safe and enjoyable 'Querque Day. There's still a couple of days left to enter our first ever art contest, so hurry up and get your entries done!

Perhaps not surprisingly, the 2006 Rock Hall inductees have been announced, about two weeks early this year! Needless to say, with that weird secret "middle of the night" announcement of odd nominees and now this really early induction announcement, this has been the strangest year for the Rock Hall induction process in quite some time. Maybe there's been a change of management at the foundation? Who knows.

And hey, unlike the nomination announcement, this time the induction news is actually being widely reported in the press! The 2006 class of inductees include Black Sabbath, Blondie, Miles Davis, Lynyrd Skynyrd, and the Sex Pistols, plus A&M Records co-founders Herb Alpert and Jerry Moss in the "non-performers" category. Even though I still thoroughly disagree with Miles Davis being classified as a rock and roll performer, all of us here wish to congratulate those who made the cut this year.

So, now that people can finally stop whining about Black Sabbath and Lynyrd Skynyrd not being inducted, let's start whining about Weird Al not being inducted!

I promise, this week we'll announce here on the site our big project for 2006. Keep checking back!

November 6, 2005, 3PM EST

I just wanted to mention that today the Plain Dealer ran the results of its Rock Hall readers poll. As has been the norm of this year's attitude to the Rock Hall inductions, the paper downplayed the significance of the poll, burying it in the middle of its "Sunday Arts" section (in previous years news of the results could easily be found on the front page of the section or the paper itself). The article claims that "more than 250 ballots were cast," which is pathetic for a metropolitan area of three million.

Not surprisingly, the winner of the poll was one already on the nominees list, Lynyrd Skynyrd. In the main article, there was barely a mention of any artists not already on the ballot. In fact, in total the write-in option, once a heavily spotlighted part of the paper's readers ballot, was vaguely summed up in two sentences, and neither mentioned the fact that the paper refused to allow write-in votes to be sent online.

More interesting were the blurbs of reader comments that complemented the article. Probably showing the music editor's bias a bit, the comments that were presented focused mainly on the annual shunning of yet another group that has been given the shaft, the Moody Blues. And nope, none of the comments of Al fans were printed, and I know several were submitted.

What can I say? I'm not a bit surprised about anything in the results. Did the several ballot entries we collectively refused to submit make any difference? Were other fans of other groups put off by the Plain Dealer's removal of a write-in space on the online ballot? Without any unique artist to really rally behind, are folks simply disillusioned by the Rock Hall induction process? Do we need to be louder and more assertive about trying to get Al in?

These are things to ponder I guess. Oh well, we've got bigger fish to fry.

Hey gang, in case anyone forgot, there's an art contest going on!

October 31, 2005, 12AM EST

HAPPY HALLOWEEN!

I hope everyone has a safe night, whether you're out clubbin' or trick-or-treatin'. Just remember, I have a huge garden hose, so you better keep those eggs in that carton and move along.

I just wanted to announce that we are NOW accepting entries for our first ever art contest! Click here for all the rules and guidelines! Good luck, everyone!

Hopefully very, very soon, we'll be able to announce our big plans for 2006. Trust me, gang, it's worth the wait!

October 23, 2005, 11PM EST

First of all, HAPPY BIRTHDAY AL!

Hey, at least Al's name was finally mentioned in the Plain Dealer this year, eh?

I'm currently in the middle of updating a lot on the site, including the FAQ, the press page (some actual articles will finally be posted), and of course details about our really big 2006 campaign!

In the meantime, I am proud to announce the first ever Make the Rock Hall "Weird" Art Contest! Hopefully this will keep the creative juices of our fellow Al fans a-flowin' until we get the 2006 campaign into gear.

We'll start asking for entries on Halloween (which makes sense, because that way it's...um...err, extra...uh, special? I dunno). I hope everyone's able to have fun with this.

Click here for all the information you'll need to know about the contest!

And of course, keep checking back, as not only will the contest actually start very soon, but I'll hopefully be able to spill all the beans about our next campaign. It's gonna be big!

September 30, 2005, 11PM EST

It's the end of September, one month since our 2005 grassroots campaign ended, and not even two weeks since the Rock Hall announced its 2006 nominees.

Now that I've finally had time to take a breath and gather my thoughts, I feel pretty good about this past year. Despite the disappointing outcome, there is no way this could be looked at as a failure. No, we didn't get Al nominated for an honor that he truly deserves, but if nothing else, we set the gears in motion. We created a dialogue, and we got people to notice our efforts. When Al does finally get inducted in the near future, it will be in part because of all the letter-writing and postcard-sending we have done.

This week the Plain Dealer ran an article about, oddly enough, Rock Hall campaigns, specifically one organized by Kiss fans. Unfortunately, we were not mentioned in the article. In fact, Al seems to have been the only overlooked artist not mentioned in the course of the article, but it was because of one key problem. The article's writer, who is also the paper's resident "baby boomer" columnist, had interviewed some of the higher-ups at the Rock Hall museum here in Cleveland about whom fans write in about. And as any of our regular readers know by now, it is the Rock Hall Foundation in New York that decides which artists to induct. If the writer had instead asked the organization one is supposed to write to in order to suggest artists, then most likely Al's would have been the first name brought up.

I had written to the writer shortly after the article ran, politely and respectfully explaining his error and about our efforts. I suggested that he might want to include the Rock Hall Foundation address in one of his future columns, so people know where to really send induction requests. He sent back a short but polite "good luck" kind of answer, so who knows if the information will be passed on before people stopped caring about these inductions for another year.

As anyone who runs an online-heavy grassroots campaign can tell you, one must spend numerous nights researching, Googling, and Yahooing information. Well, in the course of my web surfing, I had become curious as to how much Make the Rock Hall "Weird" has resonated with the public, so I did some ego-surfing.

I came upon some pretty funny results, which are below. Now, keep in mind these searches were done a little while ago, so your own individual results may vary. After all, it is the Internet.

If one was to go on Yahoo and search for the phrase "Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Foundation," our site would be the thirteenth result if you use quotes around the name, and the thirty-seventh result without them. If you had just searched for "Rock Hall Foundation," regardless of formatting, we would be the second result you'd see!

Just for comparison, and just to show the difference in public presence between the foundation and the museum, if one was to search for "Rock and Roll Hall of Fame," we'd be the thirty-eighth result with quotes and the 106th result without. And just searching under "Rock Hall," we would turn up as the twenty-fourth result without quotes and the twenty-first result with them.

Are you going to search for "Rock and Roll Hall of Fame campaigns?" We would be the fourth web site you'd see. Just "Rock Hall campaigns?" We'd be second.

And just to show how clearly we've been driving the point home as far as whom you should write to, if one was to search for Suzan Evans's name, with quotes, we would be the second result that comes up. And the capper of them all, we would be at the very top if you searched for Ms. Evans's name without quotes!

I'm not sure what all that proves exactly. Maybe our meta tags are really that good. Or it could mean that in the last year Make the Rock Hall "Weird" has become synonymous with the Rock Hall induction process. Whichever works.

Anyway, we've got a big autumn coming up. We have the first ever Make the Rock Hall "Weird" art contest coming up soon (don't worry, there'll be plenty of time for everyone to enter). There will also be some polls up in the coming weeks to find out what folks want to see on the web site. And although it has already been discussed in part over on WOWAY (another reason why any Al fan should register over there), very soon we will announce our 2006 campaign. It's big, it's ambitious, and it'll be very fun.

Keep checking back!

September 26, 2005, 11PM EST

Hey folks, I just wanted to update everyone on the Plain Dealer's recent refusal to provide a write-in option for its annual Rock Hall readers poll.

On Sunday, the newspaper did in fact add a write-in space to the ballot...but only to the print version that appears in the actual paper, as in the one a person must clip out and provide the postage for to send in the mail. Even though the article announcing the poll invites readers to go online to vote for their preferred artists ("...we're asking all good citizens of the rock 'n' roll capital of the world to do their civic duty and weigh in on the latest slate of Rock Hall nominees...your vote counts with us. We welcome write-in candidates and comments, too. Just fill out our reader's-choice ballot and send it in by Monday, Oct. 10. You also can vote online..."), the only way a person can add an additional artist is to use the print ballot. Hm, interesting how they neglect to mention that little drawback, eh?

I still urge our fellow fans to boycott this year's readers poll and to contact the paper's customer service department and tell them why (additional details are in the blog entry below). This is an underhanded, devious way to prevent the paper's many online readers from speaking their minds, all the while inviting folks to do so. It's bait and switch.

If the Plain Dealer doesn't really want its readers' opinions, then it shouldn't ask for them...because you know what they say about being careful about what you wish for.

September 23, 2005, 12AM EST

I was hoping this call-to-action was going to be much different for a number of reasons, but alas here we are.

Even though it had been up but hidden for a number of days already, the Cleveland Plain Dealer has finally made public its annual Rock Hall readers poll, in which readers and visitors to the web site are invited to select from the list of induction nominees who they feel are the most worthy to get in. The results don't affect the actual list of inductees at all, but it's become a fun tradition for the paper.

Every year the poll had included a "write-in" option to allow fans to add the name of an artist the foundation had neglected to nominate. In late 2003 we were able to stuff the ballot box with votes for Al, which resulted in a special mention in the paper's article on the poll results.

Well, this year they removed the write-in option. Big surprise...surely the foundation didn't request for the removal in fear of Joe Blow in Parma coming up with a better choice of a nominee than they did, right?

This is a slap in the face to not only Al, but to all of the other worthy artists the foundation ignored this year because they wanted to experiment and mix in "eclectic" styles that aren't even next to rock music in the bloody record store.

I urge everyone to not only boycott the poll and refuse to take part in it (we will not be including a direct link to it), but also to do one more special thing.

Contact the paper's customer service department, which can be e-mailed by clicking here. Once there, select "Entertainment + Living" from the subject menu. Since we're not submitting messages for publication we can leave the address/phone space blank, but do fill in your name and a valid e-mail address.

As for the zip code space, if you're from out of town, two of the main Cleveland zip codes are 44113 and 44114, but feel free to use any of the following other Northeast Ohio zip codes:

44011, 44012, 44017, 44022, 44023, 44026, 44028, 44039, 44040, 44044, 44056, 44067, 44070, 44072, 44087, 44092, 44094, 44095, 44102, 44103, 44104, 44105, 44106, 44107, 44108, 44109, 44110, 44111, 44112, 44115, 44116, 44117, 44118, 44119, 44120, 44121, 44123, 44124, 44125, 44126, 44127, 44128, 44129, 44130, 44131, 44132, 44133, 44134, 44135, 44136, 44137, 44138, 44139, 44140, 44141, 44142, 44143, 44144, 44145, 44146, 44147, 44149, 44202, 44286

Unless you actually live in a nearby area with a different zip code, please do not stray from this list. They'll most likely know a phony zip code when they see it.

And of course, in your message, explain your disappointment in the survey's abrupt and unexplained lack of a write-in space, how you will not select from any the offered choices, and how you would have gladly liked to have been able to write Al's name in.

The poll will end October 1, seemingly much earlier than usual, so no doubt the results will be published shortly after that. We got Al an honorable mention before...let's do it again in protest!

September 16, 2005, 3PM EST

Okay, ha ha, you've got me. Boy, that really was a great joke you pulled on us, Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Foundation.

Seriously, now, where's the real list of nominees?

What do you mean that's it?

Wait, wait, wait, I'm talking about the list of nominations for the 2006 class of inductees into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

That's it?!?

Well, gang, it's unfortunately true. The Rock Hall has again turned Al away in favor of such other rock acts as Miles Davis, Cat Stevens, Joe Tex, Sir Douglas Quintet, and the Paul Butterfield Blues Band.

Again, this is for the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

You know something's out of whack when a Weird Al fan is questioning the merits of Rock Hall nominees.

First of all, let's go into the fact that the nominations were announced literally in the middle of the night. Just a few short hours after my last blog entry, my local paper arrived, the Cleveland Plain Dealer. Right there on the front page: "Miles Davis Nominated for Induction into Rock Hall."

I had to do a double and then a triple take. "It's already in the paper??" I asked aloud. Why wasn't it on the AP wire? Where was the Yahoo News story? Where was the press conference? Why did it seem as if every measure was taken to make this announcement as covert as possible?

I'm not big on conspiracies or anything, but gee, I wonder whose attention they were trying to avoid.

Sure enough, the only other news outlet to report the nominations at that moment was the Los Angeles Times. Not in any New York paper, where the foundation is located and where most likely such an announcement would have been made; not in USA Today; not even on MTV News. Surely any one of these news services would have covered this as soon as possible, right?

Clearly the Plain Dealer had to have the information early enough to make last night's publication deadline. So, was the list revealed earlier in the week and there was some kind of press embargo? If so, why? Why would the Rock Hall want to sit on the nominations being reported? Why were they hoping to keep this as quiet as possible?

Now, I can see if the Rock Hall was preferring to just give the Plain Dealer an exclusive, allowing them to report it first. I can appreciate that. But if so, then how come the LA Times also reported it at almost the same time? I can't believe someone there was keeping a sharp eye on the print edition of the Cleveland Plain Dealer on the off-chance that it's the first paper to report the Rock Hall nominations.

Again, what was the Rock Hall hoping to avoid by this...for lack of a better term, backdoor announcement?

And now, eleven hours later, not a single additional news outlet has reported the news. Who knew what and when, and more importantly, who didn't??

This bizarre "surprise" announcement has certainly been representative of the confusing lack of information both the museum and the foundation have offered this year about not only the induction process, but also about the museum's own tenth anniversary.

But anyway, let's take a look at this list. Is it wrong to say that I haven't heard of about a quarter of these acts?

The newbies this year are Blondie, the Dave Clark Five, Miles Davis, the Paul Butterfield Blues Band, the Sir Douglas Quintet, and Cat Stevens. And returning friends include Black Sabbath, Chic, Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five, the J. Geils Band, Lynyrd Skynyrd, John Mellencamp, the Sex Pistols, the Patti Smith Group, the Stooges, and Joe Tex.

Out of the new additions, Blondie is the only one that makes sense to me. And that's not meant to be a slam on any of the other artists, but Miles Davis? The Paul Butterfield Blues Band? Cat Stevens?? And let's be honest, the Dave Clark Five, for all of the good music they recorded, didn't really do anything different from the hundreds of other groups that emerged in the British Invasion. Sheesh, as long as we're seemingly going to nominate every group from the '60s, then where are the nominations for the Monkees, the Box Tops, and the Archies, for that matter?

And again, Cat Stevens?!? I have nothing against the guy, but Cat Stevens is not what I think of when I hear the phrase "rock and roll"...and I think deep down more people are willing to associate Weird Al with rock and roll than they are Cat. For the last few months I've had to argue and defend Al's place in the genre, yet Cat Stevens gets in without question? And he's already being look at as a shoe-in! So, is every mellow artist who ever used a sitar going to get in? What, was nominating Buffy St. Marie too much of a stretch?

The Sir Douglas Quintet? I really have no idea who they are. I just read an extensive biography and history on them, and I still have no idea who they are!! Apparently they had a hit with a Tex-Mex version of the Beatles sound. So again, another Beatles wannabe gets nominated. Now, I like to think I have a more-than-rudimentary knowledge of pop music history, but for the life of me, I don't know who this group is. Isn't it a requirement of being inducted into a hall of fame that you have to be...FAMOUS??

The Paul Butterfield Blues Band...woo boy. Their claim to fame, apparently enough to be nominated, is that they backed Bob Dylan at the 1965 Newport Folk Festival, the legendary performance that gave birth to folk rock. Granted that very short show was important (despite the boos), but isn't all credit usually given solely to Bob Dylan? It wasn't even the whole group on stage, either! That would be like, to again use them as an example, nominating the Monkees solely on the fact that Michael Nesmith pioneered country rock and music videos during his later solo career.

So, as long as you've played back-up to a previous inductee, you're in, eh? Someone better tell Doc Severinsen.

No, clearly they were nominated because the foundation is hoping that, if they get enough votes to be inducted, then ol' Bob would want to come out to present them.

And Miles Davis. Again, there's nothing wrong with Miles Davis, but never, and I'm talking after decades, no matter how one wants to spin it around or backstep, has he ever been considered to be part of the rock and roll genre, unless rock and roll is the same thing as jazz. There's no question that rock and roll is a complex and varied genre of music, but that doesn't mean that it includes every other genre as well.

Even the people who worked with Miles Davis don't agree with the nomination. Tommy LiPuma, who had co-produced three of Miles's albums and is now chairman of jazz label Verve Music Group, said, "I'm not sure you can look back at the guy's recordings, maybe with the exception of 'Bitches Brew,' and put anything in the rock category."

Needless to say, I'm disappointed, but not just because Al has been shafted again. I'm also disappointed because of this year's pathetic list of nominees. The Rock Hall inductions used to mean something. Now the nominations are a haphazard mix of leftovers from previous years and artists who were selected by seemingly nothing more than places on a dartboard.

"It's probably the most eclectic list we've ever had," explains Terry Stewart, the Rock Hall museum's president and CEO. Okay, being eclectic is fine, but shouldn't the list also make sense? If you're going to sacrifice reason for the sake of being eclectic, then where's the honor in the induction? What will it say when the reasoning for inducting an artist is "They're the best out of this motley crew list of nominees" instead of "They deserve to be in?"

It seems to me that if they really wanted to go for the eclectic, then where is Weird Al? Heck, where's Alice Cooper? Where's Yes? "Eclectic" doesn't mean "obscure."

Well, I'm done ranting for the day. Keep checking back here at the site. This clearly isn't over, as we've got a lot of work to do. We will get Weird Al inducted one day very soon.

September 16, 2005, 12AM EST

Hey, anyone see any nominations around anywhere?

Well, you've got me what's keeping the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Foundation this year, as we're quickly getting way past the time when they usually announce the induction nominations for the next year.

Perhaps there's an artist on the list who's causing some last-minute arguing back and forth?

My excitement over hearing the nominations has been dulled to a confused numbness and has now most of the time settled into a nice apathetic frustration. Maybe that's what they want. Could it be they want all of us fans to just no longer give a crap, so that they can then quietly pull Al out of the running and not worry about facing our wrath?

Eh, who knows.

I must admit a small mistake, though. I have been erroneously saying lately that history has shown that the nominations have been announced on September 13 of every year for the last few years, so we should have expected them on that date this year as well. Well, after some extensive research, I discovered my original source was incorrect. In the last couple of years, September 13 has not usually been when nominations have been announced.

It's been sooner!

Believe it or not, but there is not any one web site one can go to in order to look up information on the annual nominations. You can't just enter "rock hall nominations date" into Yahoo and expect to find one web site for all your Rock Hall needs. I know, it's crazy...this has only been a museum that's been around since 1995 and has been inducting artists of a very popular art form since 1986, yet there's no one database for this very important part of the induction process.

So, after much Googling and Archive.orgies, I have assembled a list of dates of the Rock Hall nominees of the last several years (believe me, it is impossible to look up anything before the 1999 class of inductees), including both the dates and the artists nominated (underlines indicate artists inducted that year)....

September 13, 2004 - 2005 nominees (Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five, Buddy Guy, the J. Geils Band, Wanda Jackson, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Randy Newman, the O'Jays, Gram Parsons, the Pretenders, the Sex Pistols, Percy Sledge, the Stooges, Conway Twitty, U2)

September 12, 2003 - 2004 nominees (Black Sabbath, Jackson Browne, the Dells, the 5 Royales, George Harrison, Lynyrd Skynyrd, John Mellencamp, Gram Parsons, the Sex Pistols, Prince, Bob Seger, Patti Smith, the Stooges, Traffic, ZZ Top)

September 12, 2002 - 2003 nominees (Abba, AC/DC, Black Sabbath, Chic, the Clash, Elvis Costello and the Attractions, the Dells, Kraftwerk, Lynyrd Skynyrd, MC5, the Police, the Righteous Brothers, the Sex Pistols, Patti Smith, Steve Winwood)

September 14, 2001 - 2002 nominees (AC/DC, Black Sabbath, Jackson Browne, the Chantels, the Dells, the 5 Royales, Isaac Hayes, Brenda Lee, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Gram Parsons, Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, the Sex Pistols, Gene Pitney, the Ramones, Patti Smith, Talking Heads)

September 18, 2000 - 2001 nominees (AC/DC, Aerosmith, Black Sabbath, Solomon Burke, the Flamingoes, Michael Jackson, Brenda Lee, Lynyrd Skynyrd, the New York Dolls, Queen, Lou Reed, Bob Seger, Paul Simon, Patti Smith, Steely Dan, Ritchie Valens)

September 20, 1999 - 2000 nominees (Aerosmith, Black Sabbath, Solomon Burke, Eric Clapton, Earth Wind and Fire, the Flamingos, the Lovin' Spoonful, the Moonglows, the O'Jays, Queen, Bonnie Raitt, Lou Reed, Steely Dan, James Taylor, Ritchie Valens)

September 22, 1998 - 1999 nominees (Black Sabbath, Solomon Burke, the Flamingos, Billy Joel, Darlene Love, the Moonglows, Curtis Mayfield, Paul McCartney, Gene Pitney, Del Shannon, Dusty Springfield, Bruce Springsteen, the Staple Singers, Steely Dan, Ritchie Valens)

So, yes, clearly the nominations have been much later in the past, but we're talking several years ago. You can even kinda see the nominations creeping up the calendar little by little every year. As it stands right now, this will be the absolute latest the nominations have come this century!

Of course, knowing my luck, watch that the nominations will be announced later this afternoon, and I'm just griping for nothing.

Either way, I'm still excited.

September 8, 2005, 9PM EST

If any one blog entry could be described as strange, surreal, exciting, and awesome all at once, it would be this one.

Today's news came from fellow fans Grant from Throwing Toasters and Vikki, both of whom attended last night's What's My Line? stage show in Los Angeles. For those of you who have no clue what I'm talking about, there was a classic game show in the 1950s and 1960s called What's My Line? in which panelists had to guess the professions of not only a given contestant but also a celebrity "mystery guest." Well, the show has been recreated by Beat the Geeks host J. Keith van Straaten, who hosts a live version at the ACME Comedy Theatre.

Take a wild guess who was last night's "mystery guess." I'll give you one hint: we're trying to get him into the Rock Hall.

Having been well received by the audience, Al stayed for the duration of the show. Afterward, he participated in a Q&A session. J. Keith, either having really done his homework or after quickly checking Wikipedia, asked Al about both the Weird Al Star Fund and Make the Rock Hall "Weird." To my knowledge, this is not only our first theatrical mention, but also the first time since our launch that Al has openly talked about it!

After being asked about our little shindig, Al pulled out the Milli Vanilli joke and then said he was flattered that fans are out there trying to do this. Being eternally modest, he then added that he wasn't holding his breath (hey, we'll do that for you, Al) and expressed that being inducted into the Rock Hall would be "odd."

Thanks Al for the kind, daffy words, and thanks to J. Keith for bringing it up.

Pictures from the show will soon be up at J. Keith's web site. Go check it out!

Speaking of exciting, we're less than a week away from the announcement of the 2006 induction nominees! Can you believe it? Will Al get the nod??

So you heard him, folks. Let's make the Rock Hall "odd!"

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