More than 30 years into his career as the unchallenged king of pop parody, "Weird Al" Yankovic  hit his best-ever chart position this week with his 13th CD, "Alpocalypse," which bowed at No. 9 on last week's Billboard 200. It's Yankovic's best chart news since - well, his last record, 2006's "Straight Outta Lynwood," which debuted at No. 10, his first-ever Top 10 appearance.
"I'm very grateful that 30 years into my career, I'm still peaking," Yankovic tells Billboard.com.
There are all sorts of metrics these days - Yankovic has more than 2 million Twitter followers and YouTube views reaching numbers you normally only associate with federal debt - but Yankovic says the chart position remains a certain point of pride.
"Part of me starts to rationalize 'It's just a number,' but being on the chart probably means more to me than it rationally should," says Yankovic. "My first appearance in Billboard was when I was still in college - "My Bologna" got a brief mention, and I think there was a typo and it said 'Weird Owl' Yankovic. But even with that, I was thrilled."
"Alpocalypse" sales and buzz were likely fueled by the minor dust-up involving first single "Perform This Way," which was originally nixed by Lady Gaga , resulting in an Internet outcry and his releasing the song for free on YouTube. (Yankovic isn't required to get artist permission to parody, but prefers to before releasing a song).
The video features Yankovic's CGI face plastered onto a Gaga body double. ("All those hormone shots and a low-carb diet paid off, I guess," he says.) Yankovic has released online videos for 10 of the 11 tracks on "Alpocalypse," with a promise that an official video for the record's polka medley, "Polka Face," is coming as well, part of a summertime online Weird Al blitz.
"When I first started using social media, frankly it was because there were Weird Al impersonators there on MySpace and I wanted to have a presence so I could say, "No no, I'm the real Weird Al!" he says. "But I found that I enjoyed it immensely. Particularly Twitter - it's allowed me to interact not only with my fans, but also my peers in the comedy community. I was on 'Conan' last night strictly because I was able to develop a friendship with one of Conan's writers through Twitter."
"Alpocalypse" arrives as Yankovic's pop-culture cred has never been stronger. He's been profiled in the New York Times and dubbed "a prophet" by the Atlantic; he's been spotted sitting in with the Roots on "Late Night With Jimmy Fallon," crashing "Conan" and elsewhere. Which begs the question: Does he ever just sit back and take a minute to gloat?
"My last several weeks have been so busy I haven't been able to schedule a window for gloating into my calendar," he says with a laugh. "(The chart) is a high-water mark for me; plus I'm getting props from organizations and institutions that I never had before. I never had a feature piece in the New York Times before. It's all pretty heady stuff. And I'm just very grateful that still I get to do this and that people still seem to care."
Yankovic and his band of 30 years will perform a week's worth of shows in July, the last of which, a July date at Toronto's Massey Hall, will be recorded. The extended "Alpocalypse" tour resumes in the fall.
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