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Published: Thursday, 6/24/2010

Weird, wily and talented Al Yankovic returning to Toledo Zoo


Here's a nearly impossible trivia question:

What musician has performed with both alt-rock gods the Pixies and the boy band Hanson?

Give up?

It can only be "Weird Al" Yankovic. Who else can straddle the ultra-seriousness of a band like the Pixies and also appear as a goofy tambourine player in a video for a band as relatively trifling as Hanson?

"Weird Al" returns to the Toledo Zoo Wednesday, bringing his unique combination of goofball humor and musicianship - after all, the Pixies wouldn't let him on stage with them if he wasn't good.

It's a return engagement because he played there two years ago.

Yankovic has maintained some pretty serious staying power over the years, recording 12 studio albums, winning three Grammys, and ingratiating himself in the pop culture with his Dr. Demento-inspired parodies of pop songs and videos.

Tunes like "White and Nerdy," a take-off on Chamillionaire's "Ridin," and especially "Eat It," which parodied Michael Jackson's "Beat It" were not only funny, but extremely well received.

"I just basically latch on to whatever the current popular genre is, whatever the current pop culture is, and I shamelessly follow along," Yankovic told The Blade in 2008. "I'm sort of the pop culture Cuisinart. I take all this stimuli and I regurgitate it in hopefully humorous fashion."

He's also an accomplished accordionist, and people generally walk away from his live shows impressed with not only the humor, but the high level of musicianship.

With a recent deal to provide voice work to the Cartoon Network and a double-disc greatest hits release called "The Essential Weird Al Yankovic," he'll have plenty to promote on his current tour.

Yankovic's show starts at 8 p.m. Wednesday with tickets selling for $29.50, $39.50, and $55. Tickets are available at all Ticketmaster locations, by phone at 800-745-3000, online at livenation.com, or the Toledo Zoo's box office. Information: toledozoo.org.

Contact Rod Lockwood at: rlockwood@theblade.com

or 419-724-6159.

rlockwood@theblade.com or 419-724-6159.

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