Beck regrets turning down “Weird Al” Yankovic’s request to parody his out-of-nowhere Top 10 hit “Loser” back in the mid ’90s. In a preview of his upcoming Audible Original premiered by Billboard, Beck revealed that he was already afraid of not being taken seriously as an artist due to the reaction to his music.
“‘Weird Al’ Yankovic tried to do a parody of it. It was going to be called ‘Schmoozer,’” he remembered. “I regret denying him permission to do it. I think it would have been an amazing video. I’m actually really sad it didn’t happen.”
As Beck explained, he was at a crossroads in his career despite the breakout success of “Loser,” which unexpectedly took off when it started getting radio airplay. The hit led to his signing with a major label and launched a successful career. At the time, however, the words of critics and people in the industry were ringing in his head.
“I had a lot of people who were veterans in the business telling me at 20, 21, 22, ‘You should go back to school. You don’t really have the talent to do this. The songs, as they are, aren’t going to work. They’re too rough. They’re too raw. They’re not real songs. These are kind of, like, sort of hodgepodge ideas,’” Beck remembered. “It wasn’t really taken seriously at all. And when it came out and it was popular, it still wasn’t taken that serious at all.”
He continued, “I mean, you can go back to the press of the day. I just remember myriad articles and headlines of ‘one-hit wonder joke band Beck,’ ‘novelty act.’ I remember there was a review in a big paper in LA once, and it was not a lot of kindness. I felt very dismissed and kind of, like, a bit of a footnote.”
In the end, Beck’s music was taken on its merits and his subsequent studio album Mellow Gold was a critical and commercial success. “Schmoozer” would’ve likely appeared on Yankovic’s 1996 album Bad Hair Day.
Both artists are still going strong in the present day. After opening for Red Hot Chili Peppers this summer, Beck is set to go on tour with Arcade Fire starting in October; grab your tickets via Ticketmaster. His last album was 2019’s Hyperspace
Meanwhile, Yankovic is set to appear in LEGO Star Wars Summer Vacation, out August 5th, and has a graphic novel called The Illustrated Al: The Songs of “Weird Al” Yankovic expected for release in November — not to mention the Daniel Radcliffe-starring biopic he wrote called WEIRD: The ‘Weird Al’ Yankovic Story debuting later this year.