'Weird' Al hoping to catch a viral wave

Parodist says digital tools allow him to stay topical

DETROIT -- As a parodist, "Weird" Al Yankovic notes "timing is off the essence." So the accordion-playing artist, who has lampooned "Star Wars," Michael Jackson, Chamillionaire and Queen, is hoping to use viral tools in the near future to keep things even fresher.

"Certainly there is the possibility of me being a lot more topical," Yankovic said. "Before I would have to wait until I was getting ready to put an album out and hope I'd be able to latch onto something that was topical and timely -- and even then it would be a couple months before I'd be able to get an album in stores.

"Now, with iTunes and portals like that, ostensibly I could come up with an idea, record it and get it out in the marketplace within a week. That's exciting."

Yankovic said he's having "an ongoing discussion" with his label, the Zomba Music Group subsidiary Volcano, about ways to achieve that.

"I don't have a deal in place with my record label right now where that would make sense," Yankovic acknowledged, "but the technology is obviously there, and that's a direction I could certainly see my career going if we could figure out how to make that particular paradigm work."

Yankovic has plenty to keep him busy in the meantime. He launches a nine-week summer tour June 27 in Henderson, Nev., and has been taking time off for family and remodeling a home he recently bought in Hawaii.

He said he also "took a few minutes off to do a few projects which I can't really talk about yet, but they'll be coming out in the next year;" one of those, he said, "is a film which incorporates a little bit of music."

As for his next album, Yankovic -- whose 2006 release, "Straight Outta Lynwood," was his first top 10 album ever -- said "it's planned in a very broad sense, but I've given very little thought to it. I've kind of slowed down a bit as I've gotten older. I don't quite have the fire in my belly like I did when I was 23. I don't put out albums every year; now it's like every three or four years. But I'd like to do another album, and I'm sure my record label would like me to as well, and that certainly is the plan."