On the Beat

July 22, 2014

Southern Culture on the Skids enter “Weird Al” Yankovic’s pantheon of parody greatness

“Weird Al” Yankovic’s new album parodies the earthy roots-rock of Southern Culture on the Skids with “Lame Claim to Fame.”

Southern Culture on the Skids aren’t just for local museum exhibits anymore. In fact, the Triangle’s roots-rock kings of the trailer park might even be ready for the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame because they now have something in common with Nirvana, Michael Jackson, R.E.M., Madonna and a host of other hall of famers: They’ve been the subject of a “Weird Al” Yankovic parody.

Yankovic’s chart-topping new album “Mandatory Fun” (which debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard charts this week) includes “Lame Claim to Fame,” a comedic number in the style of the Skids’ mid-1990s hit “Camel Walk” that pokes fun at the tangentional fame of name-droppers. The lyrics refer to acquaintances who claim to have had a brother who was an extra in the movie “Wayne’s World 2,” bought a toaster from someone who said they know Brad Pitt and so on.

“It’s cool, although my first thought was, ‘Why not just cover one of our songs and make us some money?,’” Skids guitarist Rick Miller says with a laugh. “It’s ‘Camel Walk’ minus one note, basically, and the video has him in the hat and the overalls with the sound. I think it’s funny, and the video is great. Seeing Christian Slater get thrown up on is fun to watch, I love the claymation and the bit about, ‘I know a guy who knows a guy who knows a guy who knows a guy who knows a guy who knows Kevin Bacon’ is pretty classic.

“But still,” Miller concludes, “It’s a lame claim to fame. We’ve had a bunch. Dunno if it will resuscitate our career, but it did get us our first mention in Rolling Stone in a while.”

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David Menconi
News & Observer music critic David Menconi's random (and we do mean random) musings about all things related to music and culture of the popular variety.

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