Interview With The Pirate of Parody - How A
Parody is Born
By Doak Turner, MusicDish.com
are in Charleston, West Virginia, after a performance by "The Pirate
of Parody." This songwriter's name is a mystery to preserve the
identity as a result of a parody song he wrote about the governor
of West Virginia.
[Doak Turner] Tell us
the story about the "Bob Wise Song."
Pirate of Parody You might call the song
a political parody. I am a parody artist, having written parody
songs for the past ten years about a variety of characters. I love
to write about politicians who "screw up" and have extra marital
affairs or do other politically incorrect things. Bill Clinton is
a prime example.
I recently wrote a song about the governor of West
Virginia, Bob Wise, who confessed to having an affair with one of
his employees. Bob is a married man, and his employee is a married
woman. They used to go on trade missions together to places like
Italy, Spain, Canada and who knows what was happening on those trade
missions between these two people. Probably not the kind of trade
that taxpayers thought should be happening on these trips! I decided
to write a little parody song about the two of them. I was in a
friend's vehicle cruising down the road one day when the governor's
name was mentioned on the radio. It suddenly dawned on me that maybe
I should write a parody about the governor's affair.
[Doak Turner] When and
how did you find out about the Bob Wise affair?
Pirate of Parody The newspapers, radio and
TV, even national TV. The governor had an affair with the wife of
a Charleston, West Virginia, musician (who is, by the way, an excellent
guitar player). The husband had been observing the governor for
several months, learning what was going on between the governor
and the musician's wife from a private investigator he had hired.
They collected a tremendous amount of evidence, and didn't reveal
anything for several months.
When the musician was ready to "spill the beans" to
the media, the governor announced that he had an affair, and had
been unfaithful to his wife and family. Governor Wise did not reveal
the woman's name, and it later was revealed in the paper who the
woman in the affair actually was and that she was an employee of
the State of West Virginia. There was an article in The Charleston
Daily Mail today actually with the husband of the woman involved
in the affair, details of how he found out about the affair, and
when she admitted to it.
The press hit the affair pretty hard for a couple weeks, then it died
down, THEN a local radio station in Charleston, WV, WQBE - 97.5 FM
received a parody song in their mailbox! It was a random drop of a
CD. The radio station began playing the song, and it brought the affair
back to everyone in West Virginia's attention, as the power of radio
can do to many controversial issues.
MusicDish Network Sponsor
WQBE put the song on their website, and have averaged
250,000 hits per day as a result of the song! They had over A MILLION
hits in ONE WEEK as a result of having the song on their website.
The normal average number of hits to their site is 6,000.They took
it off the web, which is good, because now I have my own website.
[Doak Turner] What is
your site and where can someone order the song?
Pirate of Parody At
www.piratesofparody.com . The site offers everyone the opportunity
to purchase a CD of the song. The site, of course, has this particular
song, as well as one that I wrote about Bill Clinton about five
years ago. The Bill Clinton song was played on the nationally syndicated
John Boy and Billy Big Show that is broadcast to nearly 100 radio
stations across the country. You can go to the website and download
a couple 30-second sound bites, and then order the CD. I just like
to make people laugh, and that's what parody is all about.
[Doak Turner] How did
you start writing this particular Bob Wise song?
Pirate of Parody When I was thinking about
doing a song about the governor, the key was to choose the right
song for the subject. The first song that came to my mind was to
the tune of "Barbara Ann" by The Beach Boys. The words "Bob, Bob,
Bob" just hit me and I knew that it was a great hook. I did a rough
draft, and after a couple days I finished it. I do write serious
and legitimate songs also, and understand the craft of songwriting.
It took me a week to craft the song to the point where I was happy
with the lyrics.
Once I had the song crafted and did not think I could
improve it, I recorded it in my living room with a sixteen track
digital Yamaha recorder. I downloaded a drum track from the Internet.
I did the bass on my electric guitar, and the same guitar for the
rest of the song. There are a couple harmony tracks on the CD. I
mixed and played the song back to myself and thought the song was
pretty cool. I played it about 50 times and knew I needed to get
it to the radio station ASAP. I had a hunch it would be a big hit
on the radio station, but had no idea it would be so big on the
Internet and be heard throughout the country.
[Doak Turner] What about
the legal aspects of the song - using the theme from the song "Barbara
Pirate of Parody There is a fair use law.
You cannot be denied the right to use the song. Just like any song,
you have to pay royalties. I got a mechanical license for the song
and pay eight cents per copy, or $80.00 for 1,000 discs that I had
duplicated. I went through the Harry Fox agency to obtain the license.
[Doak Turner] How did
you find out the license information?
Pirate of Parody Bob Noon, who is an attorney
and songwriter from Logan, West Virginia, shared the information
with me. He has a site called
www.lawsongs.com that features parodies, and he also performs
around the country. He informed me that you can obtain mechanical
licenses online at
[Doak Turner] The CD
is available from your website. How did you pick the production
house for your CD's?
Pirate of Parody Friends of mine that have
studios recommended a couple places for me. I called Disc Makers
in New Jersey, and they gave me the best package for the project.
[Doak Turner] I heard
the computers at the State of West Virginia offices were banned
from going to the WQBE - FM radio station website - is there any
truth to that subject?
Pirate of Parody That was only at the State
Capitol Complex in Charleston. That encompasses several blocks of
buildings with state employees. The computers there were blocked
from accessing the radio station's website. Some of the state's
computer gurus configured it so the computers would not go to that
particular website. I heard the song was running crazy once it was
loaded on the computers from the website, then the block on the
computers was enforced. The word had spread like wildfire to the
[Doak Turner] What would
you like to see in the future?
Pirate of Parody This song launched my career
as a parody artist. I have been a closet parody artist for years.
I've listened to Weird Al Yankovick, Pinkard and Bowden, and other
popular parody artists for several years. I told myself that I could
do these types of songs, but never had the motivation until now
to sing the songs in public.
[Doak Turner] You played
the song live for the first time tonight in a songwriters round
in Charleston, WV. What are your thoughts on playing it live, as
it is a mystery.
Pirate of Parody I perform around town, and
if I play it, the media will [probably] discover me. Until now it
has been a mystery. There was a big article in The Charleston Gazette
a week or so ago, I think it was June 1st, as I was in Nashville
working on a couple other songs and playing the famed Bluebird Cafe,
the Mecca for songwriters. After that particular story broke, a
couple days later, the TV stations got interested in the story and
went to WQBE - FM to interview the morning DJs. When the TV crew
left the radio station, they said they were on the way to the governor's
office to try to get an interview with Governor Bob Wise. Of course,
the governor declined to comment on the song.
The TV station made it a headline for that evening's
news, promoting it all evening to be sure and stay tuned for the
latest information on the song -" Film at 11" type of thing. It
was the top story, "Flash - top story," as the TV news aired that
night. They alternated between playing parts of the song and interviewing
the DJs at the radio station. They nearly played the entire song
on the TV. It was a five-minute story on the local Charleston, West
Virginina, news that particular night!
[Doak Turner] For the
hot question of the interview, Mr. Pirate of Parody, "What do you
do for a living besides write songs"?
Pirate of Parody I work for The State of
West Virginia (laughter). That is all I am going to say about my
day job! Many of my friends have told me to leave the song a mystery.
I am protected by the first amendment. Of course, the governor was
a former US Congressman, serving in the House of Representatives
for approximately twenty years. He knows all about first amendment
rights. That and the state civil service code protect me. They can
always black ball a person and make life miserable though. The fact
it is a mystery is great.
[Doak Turner] Thanks,
Mr. Pirate of Parody, for your time and best of luck in your parody
and songwriting career!
by the MusicDish
Network. Copyright © Tag
It 2004 - Republished with Permission