Local artists show their love for Weird Al | News, Sports, Jobs


Christie Hayes has been a fan of Weird Al Yankovic since she was 12 years old.

“My older brother brought home ‘Running with Scissors’ (in the late 90s)”, she says. “When I was a kid, I found his antics very appealing and I never grew up on it.

“We have a little something in common, a chaotic energy. Not only is he a brilliant artist, he’s someone I wanted to be like growing up. I have never seen any other adult have so much energy.

Hayes is a visual artist, not a musician, but she has many musician friends, starting with her husband, Labra Brothers drummer Matt Hayes.

Through those connections, she’s assembled a group of local talent who will perform Yankovic’s originals and his musical parodies on Saturday at Cedars West End.

Joining them will be members of Labra Brothers, The Vindys, Black Wolf & the Thief, Kitchen Knife Conspiracy, JD Eicher’s band, and Ctrl-Alt-Rewind, a rotating ensemble of musicians who play shows dedicated to an artist or genre. a specific genre of music.

“This group is so good” said Christie Hayes. “The band is able to move from song to song.”

That’s something Yankovic’s catalog demands. While Yankovic writes original songs, often led by his accordion, he has parodied artists of all genres over the past 40 years. Paying homage to Yankovic requires a band that can play everything from rock to rap and pop to grunge.

John Anthony, lead guitarist for The Vindys, said they studied Yankovic’s live performances to see how he approached some of this material with a five-piece band.

“That’s part of the fun of something like this, decoding the music and deciding how you’re going to do it,” said Anthony.

Anthony, who has known Christie Hayes since they were in high school together, has also been a fan of Weird Al since he was a child.

“Weird Al was my first introduction to rock ‘n’ roll, which is hilarious” he said. “I got ‘Running with Scissors’ and started digging into his other records. My first exposure to Nirvana and Red Hot Chili Peppers was his parodies. That was my first introduction, then I discovered ( the originals).

Yankovic had already released nine albums before “Running with Scissors” and Fred Whitacre Jr. is making sure his 80s and early 90s music isn’t ignored

“I fell in love with Weird Al when I was a very young child,” said Whitacre. “I was 4, 5 when I heard ‘My Bologna’ and thought it was awesome. I’ve loved him ever since. I think everything he does is awesome, entertaining, stellar and bright.

Whitacre is normally stuck behind the drums with Kitchen Knife Conspiracy, and he’s looking forward to being one of Saturday’s singers and exploring some of his favorites.

“He’s always so good at mixing beloved musical tropes with brilliant satire,” said Whitacre. “His pop culture references are always excellent. He never feels like he’s out of the loop…I’ve seen him live recently and he always does amazing stuff.

Hayes originally had the idea for the Weird Al tribute show in early 2020 and planned it for September of that year before the COVID-19 pandemic began. Despite the delay, everyone she initially approached was still interested in participating.

A Weird Al biopic/fake biopic that premiered last weekend at the Toronto International Film Festival and is slated for release later this year only makes Saturday’s gig more timely.

Expect to hear plenty of radio favorites, but Hayes also plans to make some deep cuts, like Yankovic’s 11-minute opus Albuquerque.

“It’s a huge undertaking, a big challenge”, she says. “But people who love Weird Al, that’s what they would be most excited to hear. It will surprise a lot of people that we do this.

She’s not afraid to forget the words the words for “Albuquerque” or any of the songs, despite the fact that the last time she was on stage was a high school production of “Fat” over 15 years ago.

“I keep telling my friends that I don’t think I can be any better prepared” said Hayes. “I couldn’t know my songs better. As for the nerves, we’ll see what happens, but I feel so comfortable with this group of musicians. Everyone knows music so much.

If you are going to …

WHAT: Tribute to Weird Al Yankovic

WHEN: Saturday with open house at 7 p.m., tribute to Amy Winehouse with Jacqlene May at 9 p.m. and tribute to Weird Al at 10 p.m.

WHERE: Cedars West End, 706 Steel St., Youngstown

HOW MUCH: $10



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