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I was really hoping that this blog entry would be all about me announcing the release date of my new album.

Sadly, it’s not.

In a metaphorical nutshell, here’s what happened.

I wrote and recorded what I thought was going to be the first single off of my new album: a parody of “Born This Way” by Lady Gaga called “Perform This Way.” But after hearing it, Lady Gaga decided not to give me permission to release the song, so… it won’t be coming out commercially anytime in the near future. Sorry.

Okay, now the long version.

I had written, recorded, mixed and mastered 11 of the 12 songs for my new album and was just waiting to come up with that one elusive “big idea” for a parody that I thought I could turn into the lead single and video. I was well aware that “Born This Way” was coming out, and I thought that just might be the pop culture juggernaut I had been waiting for… but after hearing the song, I was reluctant to tackle it. Because it was such an earnest human rights anthem, I thought some people might consider a parody to be in poor taste. Plus, I was really kinda predisposed not to do a Lady Gaga parody anyway because, well, that’s what everybody in the universe was already assuming I would do, and I hate to be so predictable.

But a few weeks later, a parody idea popped into my head, and I thought it had a lot of potential – enough to warrant telling my record label that I’d finally found my next single. Based on my concept, I was reasonably sure that my parody wasn’t really going to offend anybody… but I still decided, as an act of good karma, that I would donate all the money from sales of the song and music video to the Human Rights Campaign.

I was very excited now, because I knew that the second I got the official blessing from Lady Gaga, I could lock in an official release date for my album and announce it to the world. (My record company needs 8 weeks of advance notice to confirm an album release date – so in order to be as timely as possible, I almost always have to lock in the date before I’ve even started writing the lead single.)

I had my manager contact Lady Gaga’s manager to see if she would okay the parody. Here was the exact pitch:

I’d like to do a parody of Lady Gaga’s “Born This Way” called “I Perform This Way.” The basic concept is that I, as a Lady Gaga doppelganger of sorts, describe the incredibly extravagant ways in which I perform on stage. Meat dresses and giant eggs would most likely be referenced, but also much more ridiculous made-up examples of bizarre wardrobe and stage production. As with all my parodies, it would be respectful of the artist, while having a bit of fun with her larger-than-life image.

I hadn’t written a single line of the song at this point, but that was the concept I had in my head. Because of my 30-year track record, most artists know that my songs are all in good fun and they’re more than happy to approve a parody just based on the concept alone.

We eventually got a response from the Gaga camp: she would need to “hear it” before she would approve it.

Okay, I thought, she wants to know exactly what the lyrics are going to be before she signs off on the parody. Some artists just are a bit more protective of their material and don’t want to take any chances. Fair enough.

I was right in the middle of my Australian tour and I didn’t have a whole lot of free time, but I cranked day and night until I had a set of finished lyrics.

We send the lyrics to Lady Gaga and wait on figurative pins and needles for her to give us the go-ahead. After a few days, we get our answer: “She actually needs to hear it. Otherwise the answer is no.”

Hmm. Well, this was mystifying to me. At this point she has the lyrics… and hopefully she is familiar with her own song… and the parody is basically her music… with my lyrics. It really shouldn’t be that hard to decide – based on having the lyrics right in front of you – whether or not you’d be “okay” with a parody. But, alas, we’d been given an ultimatum. If she didn’t hear it, she wouldn’t approve it.

Okay then. I decided – based on my belief that people are basically good – to go through the trouble and considerable expense of actually recording the song. Now, I never do that – never. But because I was really excited about this parody, I decided I would faithfully jump through as many hoops as Gaga deemed necessary.

After the Australian tour, I was supposed to go on a long-awaited family vacation over my daughter’s spring break – but because I now had to record what ostensibly was going to be my “hit single” as quickly as humanly possible, I cut our vacation short and came back to L.A. to spend long days and nights in the studio. The band and I worked around the clock. On April 11, I put the finishing touches on the mix and mastered the track. Done.

Or so I thought.

A couple days later we got the final word: Lady Gaga says “no.”

*silent scream*

And that’s it. As of this posting, I still don’t know specifically what kind of problem she has with the song (obviously I take a few jabs at her, but y’know, it’s satire – that’s how it’s supposed to work). And I’m especially confused as to why she waited until I actually recorded the song (at her insistence!) before saying no. It’s not like there were any surprises in the finished song that she couldn’t have foreseen by, you know, READING THE LYRICS.

A conventional release for the song and video would have also raised a nice chunk of change for the HRC – an organization which I have to assume Gaga supports. Hopefully, if fans enjoy hearing the song online, they’ll make a donation anyway.

My parodies have always fallen under what the courts call “fair use,” and this one was no different, legally allowing me to record and release it without permission. But it has always been my personal policy to get the consent of the original artist before including my parodies on any album, so of course I will respect Gaga’s wishes. However, given the circumstances, I have no problem with allowing people to hear it online, because I also have a personal policy not to completely waste my stinking time.

So I uploaded the song to YouTube, and will be making free mp3 downloads available on shortly. Hope you enjoy it.

Man, I wish you all could have had a chance to see the video we were going to do for this thing. It was going to be BEYOND AWESOME, and disturbing on many levels. Oh well.

Anyway, I realize that this may be way more information than many people would care to know about the whole situation, but I just wanted to set the record straight before any crazy rumors started. There’s really nothing more that I have to say about it now, so hopefully I won’t have to be answering questions about Lady Gaga in interviews for the next 20 years.

I know this news is disappointing to many of you. Believe me… nobody is more disappointed than I am.

Thanks for listening. I’ll keep you posted.

Your pal,

*** UPDATE!!! ***


  1. My friend put together my small business website in dreamweaver for me. However, I now want to maintain it myself—my friend recommended putting it into wordpress. However, I am not a web designer and have no idea what I’m doing—is there an easy way to convert my current website from dreamweaver to wordpress (for someone who can’t read code, etc). . Thanks!.

  2. I made a few songs and I want to know how to alter the copyright content on an MP3 file so I can share it online? I want to add (p) Swagers Studios (2009) to the copyright content and was wondering if it was possible. Any help is greatly appreciated.. It’s still not letting me edit the copyright content. Ive noticed that some MP3’s I downloaded off the net have unofficial copyrights like ZOMG company. If you can’t help it’s okay.

  3. I have some videos that say “includes third party content” and others that say “blocked in some countries” (due to copyright).. Is it still possible for me to become a partner (considering I have all of the other requirements filled).

  4. I’m looking to spike my journalistic career and thought that a blog might be a good idea. But I also know that there are ways to set up a paypal account attached to the blog for payment to read it or donate. I guess I was inspired by the movie Julia and Julie and I want to do it on my own. Any ideas on how to get started?.

  5. Im curious about how much it costs to start websites such as Facebook or Twitter. I have been thinking about starting a website for a while now, but i feel as though the initial prices that website design firms give you are for a very low tech and sparsely populated website..

  6. I work for a small business and they don’t have a website. What is the easiest, cheapest way to start a professional looking website?.

  7. I already have a college degree so I don’t need the credit. I don’t want to pay a ton of money for it, but I do want an actual class with actual assignments. And that’s creative writing as in FICTION. Thanks for your help. A class on the Northside would be great..

  8. I’m wanting to download some videos from various different sites like youtube, Google videos, and a few other sites for my entertainment at home. I’ve downloaded an extension from Media Converter for Firefox, but I don’t see it anywhere. Can someone recommend an extension to allow me to download online videos?.

  9. I’m just having this crazy idea, I’m planning to post comic pages or strips on Blogger, since its generating revenue from Google Adsense, I might profit from this, hehe (me gloating like an alien Ferengi). Will this idea work?.

  10. I currently am running two blogs, one is for design & development and I have a pagerank of 4 on it and I have loads of good articles. . And I have another blog where I have rants, health tips and photography.. . Should I merge them or should I keep it seperate?.

  11. I own a .info web domain hosted on 50webs. I have tried uploading via FTP from Blogger but I keep getting java errors. Is there an easier way of having Blog type software on my website? Or what is your suggestion for the BEST blog site to use that lets you use your own domain as a homepage for your blog..

  12. Why do copyright holders only allow people from certain countries to view their content?

  13. Engaging post. Might you send me to more of your blog posts.

  14. I have heard that you can make money from blogging, but i really don’t understand the concept. How do you make the money? How much can you make? Is it hard? Is it easy? Is it time consuming? Is it worth it? If you could answer that would be great, thanks..

  15. Either double major with journalism and creative writing, or a “good” school in an urban area where I could major in journalism and minor in creative writing? I’m only a sophmore in high school but I know I love to write and I don’t know what I’d enjoy more as an actual career, journalism or creative writing. What would be the best college for someone like me?.

  16. I’m looking for clothing and style ideas at a reasonable prices for a woman over 25.. . Anyone know any good sites or blogs?. . Seems like everything I find is either geared toward teens or is insanely expensive couture.. . Thanks!.

  17. In Blogger’s new Template Designer there is no template which contains fluid width in for the text body. Does anybody know how to change to fluid width in the new templates? Any suggestions are greatly appreciated..

  18. I work for a small business and they don’t have a website. What is the easiest, cheapest way to start a professional looking website?.

  19. I am visiting Hollins University very soon because I’ve researched all the aspects of the english/creative writing department and love it to death. But I am looking for a couple good safety schools with the same strenghts. Any ideas?.

  20. I’m an experienced pro author (of science fiction) based in the UK, and I’m looking into setting up a creative writing course at a local arts centre focused on sf and fantasy. Are there any resources out there in book form or otherwise I might find useful in teaching about both science fiction/fantasy and creative writing in general?.

  21. Our business has been mentioned on a blog in a negative way and I am not sure how I can get the anonymous blogger to remove the post.. I’ve emailed her but have had no response. What are my options and what should my next step be?.

  22. How could Weird Al possibly help with this? Idiot.

  23. I wonder why those servers with copyrighted content stay up. I see a lot of “don’t post any US content” but they don’t care at all about content from japan.. . Is it just that Japan doesn’t care much about their copyright laws?. . It is hundreds or maybe even thousands of servers with content from Japan but they only get DMCA warnings for US material or something that got translated by a US company.. . They also often have some content on their website, like images or small archives..

  24. I’ve been looking high and low, and it seems that most liberal arts schools are populated by heavy drinkers and partiers, which I am not interested in. If I can, I’d like to double major in creative writing and journalism.. Thank you!.

  25. I just arrived in Chiang Mai. I wanted to post on my blog, at Blogspot, but all of the headings are now in Thai, not English. Is the problem with my computer, or the hotel’s wi-fi service, or what? How can I get things back to English again?.

  26. Is there a degree that exists for use of music AND creative writing two fields? If there is, do you know the name of it?. . I want to combine these two of my interests (loves) but I don’t know what kind of degree offers the use of both.. . Please help? Approaching college?.

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  29. I have a website I will be updating a few times a week with original animations and short films along with concept art for the animations and other kinds of media. How can I copyright everything on my site so that the copyright info I have on the bottom of every page “All original content (C) 2008 (My Name)” actually means something? Will my logo, site name, all content be copyrighted?.

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  35. I would like permission to make a musical and I want to use some of your songs in it. Can I do that?

  36. Thank you for this article, Born This Way and Performe This Way, similarly are very inspirational.
    Lady Gaga is such a bless I love her so much

  37. I imagined this was a really great blog post. I normally like reading content articles like this 1. I should go through more of your posts.

  38. SS: Sure, on Noriko’s Dinner Desk , Love Publicity and Balloon Club.
    He knows my fashion, he understands.

  39. WOw, I didn’t know that you needed permission but that’s great, at least she heard you sing! Al Yankovic does he get permission too?

    • Posted December 25, 2015 at 7:46 PM
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    • Reply

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  40. Hey AL, I’ve got an idea for an aweome lady gaga xmas parody I am working to record & make! Could you please give me some direction on how to contact an artist to get their approval to make a tasteful parody?

  41. Al I have a idea for a song that you can do.

  42. I am requesting for my sister. She doesn’t necessarily wishes to generate money off them, her aim is to use her blog (once popular) and use it as references to by chance help her to get a magazine story. She has a heading for one named “Ideas for Life’s Issues”. In what way can she post forums and they eventually be interesting to other people already on Blogger but there are 3 million people posting to blogs, hers gets irrecoverable in the sauce. Any ideas?.

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