Weird Al Yankovic, outside Bedrock.LA. Photo by David Goggin. Los Angeles, CA (July 16, 2014)—For his new album, Mandatory Fun, released on July 15, “Weird Al” Yankovic chose to record at Bedrock.LA studios in Echo Park, Los Angeles’ creative neighborhood. “There is just nothing like the natural reverb in Echo Park,” he deadpanned.
All kidding aside, Yankovic noted, “This was my first visit to Bedrock. It’s really a wonderful experience to be here where there’s so much art going on, so many musicians, so many people rehearsing, recording. The equipment at Bedrock is state-of-the-art, and the studio just feels like home. I’ve been in situations before where I felt like I was in the middle of nowhere and sequestered away. That’s another way to work, but I prefer to be around creative people and feel like I’m part of a community.”
For the vocal sessions at Bedrock.LA, Yankovic chose a new Telefunken C12 large diaphragm condenser microphone. “This mic is great, with all the characteristics of the classic C12,” said Yankovic’s recording engineer Brian Warwick. “If anything, I feel a little more secure using this one versus a vintage C12, because you never quite know the age of the tube. You don’t know when the last time the capsule was redone or if you have the right power supply. With a beautiful new C12, it just gives you a little more confidence when you walk into the studio.”
Pictured with a Telefunken C12 microphone at Bedrock.LA are (L-R) “Weird Al” Yankovic, Bedrock.LA partners KamranV and Phil Feinman, recording engineer Brian Warwick, and studio manager Eric Rennaker. Photo by David Goggin.
“Bedrock has been so accommodating,” Warwick continued. “It’s got a great vibe, like working in an old studio where you constantly have people around, where there’s always something happening. Al and I were walking around here late one night, just trying to find out who was playing the interesting music we were hearing. And everything we’ve recorded sounds great. This room in particular is really well designed for doing vocals and overdubs.”
The new Mandatory Fun album features parodies of some of the biggest hits of the past year, including Pharrell Williams’ “Happy” (“Tacky”), Lorde’s “Royals” (“Foil”), Iggy Azalea’s “Fancy” (“Handy”) and Imagine Dragons’ “Radioactive” (“Inactive”). The album also features several inspired originals and pastiches (“Lame Claim to Fame,” “Sports Song,” “My Own Eyes,” “Mission Statement,” “First World Problems” and “Jackson Park Express”) along with Al’s latest accordion-fueled medley, “NOW That’s What I Call Polka!”
Coupling with the album release, Yankovic is releasing eight music videos in eight days. Yesterday’s offering was “Word Crimes,” a jaunty grammar lesson parodying Robin Thicke’s “Blurred Lines.” As might be expected, the writers and editors of PSN rather enjoyed it.