The fact that 23 years after breaking on the scene, Al Yankovic had the best year of his career in ’06 is obviously strange. Weird, even. But most bizarre, Al was nominated not just for Best Comedy Album, but in the Best Surround Sound category as well. Who listened to Straight Outta Lynwood on surround sound?! NARAS, apparently. Rolling Stone talked to Yankovic about the honor.
Rolling Stone: Were you surprised by the surround sound nomination?
“Weird Al” Yankovic: That did come a little out of left field ? I would have thought that outside of the Comedy category, I might have had my best shot with Best Short Form Video (for ?White & Nerdy?) or Best Pop Collaboration (for my duet with Kate Winslet). But I?m thrilled to be recognized for my work on the surround sound mixes, because I?m very proud of the way they turned out. It?s also the first time my engineer Tony Papa has been nominated (I?ve been working with him since 1982)? so I?m very happy he?s getting props from the Academy as well.
RS: What lengths did you go to insure that the surround sound was extra good?
“Weird Al” Yankovic: After we finished the stereo mix for each song on the album, Tony and I would formulate a plan on how to give dimensionality to the 5.1 mix. When the mix was extremely dense and complicated (as it was for my Brian Wilson homage ?Pancreas?) it allowed for parts to breathe more, because tracks could be isolated or featured more than in the stereo mix. We found that we could also have fun moving instruments on more than one axis at once ? which meant that we could have footsteps or bird calls or weird sound effects flying diagonally across the room. I?m so happy with the way that the 5.1 mix for ?Pancreas? turned out that I really consider that the definitive version of the song.
Think we might buy a 5.1 set up just for “Polkarama.”