“Weird Al” Yankovic made the pilgrimage to Jack White’s Third Man Records during a recent tour stop in Nashville, stepping into the label’s 1947 “Voice-o-Graph” booth with his band and recording the a cappella chant that’s become a live staple of his Star Wars homage, “Yoda.”
While no amount of squeezing would allow Al and his three band members — keyboardist Rubén Valtierra, bassist Steve Jay and guitarist Jim “Kimo” West — to all fit inside the booth, the quartet let loose a crystalline rendition of the latest iteration of the “Yoda” chant. Introduced during live performances, the chant has evolved over the years from primarily mnemonic syllables to include portions of songs, like The Trashmen’s “Surfin’ Bird,” and chants such as “Aussie, Aussie, Aussie, Oi Oi Oi.”
The version “Weird Al” and Co. delivered at Third Man included snippets of “Grim Grinning Ghosts” (the theme song for Disney theme park’s Haunted Mansion attraction), “Frère Jacques,” the Mighty Boosh’s “Four Way Crimp” and a hilariously harmonized “La, la, la — nice lady!” delivered nasally à la Jerry Lewis.
The clip ends with the band listening to the scratchy six-inch phonograph disc the Voice-o-Graph churns out and “Weird Al” remarking, casually, “It sounds like that Neil Young album!” (Young recorded his 2014 LP, A Letter Home, entirely on the Voice-o-Graph at Third Man).
“Weird Al” will continue to tour North America throughout the summer in support of his 2014 LP, Mandatory Fun. The album debuted at the top of the Billboard 200, marking the musician’s first Number One album in his three decade career. “Weird Al” is scheduled to tour Europe in the fall, and will reportedly announce dates in Australia and New Zealand soon.