Wednesday, May 14, 2003

Eminem refuses to allow Yankovic parody video

By Nekesa Mumbi Moody
The Associated Press

Eminem may poke fun at himself in videos, but he doesn't want "Weird Al" Yankovic doing it.

Eminem won't give Yankovic permission to shoot a video for his new song, "Couch Potato," a parody of Eminem's Oscar-winning tune "Lose Yourself," Yankovic said.

"The only reason I could glean was that making a Weird Al music video would detract from his legacy as a serious hip-hop artist," Yankovic said. "It's very disappointing. This could have been my best video ever."

Eminem parodies himself and other celebrities in some of his most famous videos, including "Without Me," where he depicts himself as a fat Elvis Presley.

But an Eminem spokesman said "Lose Yourself" was special to the rapper, who didn't want the song's serious tone undermined by Yankovic's humor.

"It's an important personal piece of music for him, a piece of art," spokesman Dennis Dennehy said. "He doesn't mind him doing the song, (but) he didn't want to change kids' visual perception on what that image was. He wanted to make sure the image would remain intact."

Artists who have allowed Yankovic to parody their songs and videos over the years include Michael Jackson - whose hits "Beat It," and "I'm Bad," became "Eat It," and "I'm Fat" - and Madonna, whose "Like a Virgin," which became "Like A Surgeon."

Yankovic said the rapper allowed Yankovic to redo the theme song from the hit movie 8 Mile, but said he would need to hear the final mix before granting the video rights. After receiving the final version of the parody - which pokes fun at television addicts - the rapper's representatives said he would not allow a video.

"We started preproduction on (the video) already, because we just assumed that there wouldn't a problem," Yankovic said.

Yankovic said Eminem also refused to allow him to release the song as a commercial single. It's the first cut on his 11th album, Poodle Hat, which also parodies songs by Avril Lavigne and rapper Nelly. It's due Tuesday on Way Moby/Volcano Records.

"You'll just have to listen to the song and close your eyes and imagine what might have been," chuckled Yankovic.

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