Dare to be Delighted: Introducing the Music of "Weird Al" Yankovic to my Son
One of the many wonderful aspects of parenthood is being able to share things that you loved as a child with your offspring, to introduce them to the art and entertainment that thrilled you when you were their age in hopes they experience the same kind of joy.
That’s a particularly exciting aspect of parenthood for me, both because it affords me an opportunity to vicariously experience a happy childhood through my son’s big, beautiful eyes and because I am professionally a man-child who has made his living writing about silly things.
Since pretty much the pregnancy test confirming that my wife and I would become parents I have been waiting patiently for the moment when I would be able to introduce my son Declan Haven Dilla Rabin to the music of American pop parodist and my Weird Al: The Book co-author “Weird Al” Yankovic.
My father and I bonded big time over my love of “Weird Al” Yankovic as a kid. One of the very first albums I remembered owning was In 3-D. Along with Michael Jackson’s Thriller and Huey Lewis & The News’ Sports, it was my introduction to the exciting and glamorous world of albums, glorious little discs that spun round and round and filled the world with music and happiness.
At eleven, I cajoled my dad into taking me to the Marcus Amphitheater to see Al and his band open for The Monkees, who I was similarly obsessed with. Our shared love of “Weird Al” Yankovic helped establish music, particular live music, as something special and profound and important that we share.
Declan adores music. He always has. I wouldn’t be surprised if he was grooving in the womb. His first love was Bobby “Boris” Pickett’s “Monster Mash”, a novelty anthem that combines two of his all time favorite things: spooky monsters and fun music. He’s had other musical loves as well, like The Ramones’ infectious cover of the theme song to the 1960s Spider-Man cartoon, but nothing has thrilled me as a geeky parent more than playing “Dare to be Stupid” for my son for the first time and watching his eyes light up with delight.
It helped, of course, that when I first played “Dare to be Stupid” on Youtube for him, it was a homemade or fan video comprised of clips from the 1980s Transformers movie, which famously (in my mind at least) featured on its soundtrack, “Dare to be Stupid” and Stan Bush’s “The Touch”, which Dirk Diggler incompetently covered in Boogie Nights.
My son is like me: if he likes something, he wants to experience it over and over and over again. So every time the video of “Dare to be Stupid” would end he would impatiently implore, “Again!” We’d listen to the song over and over and over again, switching in between the official music video (easily one of Al’s best) and fan videos featuring multiple iterations of the Transformers, as well as My Little Pony and other pop culture detritus.
When we got home, he just wanted to watch “Dare to be Stupid” repeatedly, to the point where even I, a man who has written over one hundred and forty articles about “Weird Al” Yankovic for this site alone, got a little exhausted.
The exciting thing about Declan really taking to the music of a man he adorably calls “Weird Owl” or “Your Friend With The Glasses” is that this particularly amazing, kid-friendly song, is just the tip of the iceberg as far as Al’s oeuvre is concerned. He’s got over 180 other songs to follow up with.
But the excitement stretches beyond that. Because Declan loves Al’s Devo homage so much it seems safe to assume that he’ll dig Devo as well, and because he likes the song where Weird Owl gets fat from “eating too many foods” there’s a pretty good chance he’ll dig that Michael Jackson guy too.
Yes, I’m in geek dad nirvana over Declan’s affection for Al, and perhaps not coincidentally, also excited to share “Smells Like Nirvana” with my beautiful baby boy when the time comes.
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