It’s definitely an unlikely pairing but it happened. Song satirist Weird Al Yankovic has teamed up with indie rock band Portugal the Man for a new PTM song “Who’s Gonna Stop Me” which explores the plight of the indigenous people.
Besides being well known hit makers, the members of the band are also social activists and champions of the indigenous people. With October 12 being Indigenous People’s Day, they decided it would be the perfect time to release the song which features personal influence Weird Al Yankovic and fellow Portland artist The Last Artful.
Portugal the Man lead singer John Gourley explains the reason why he chose to include Weird Al in the song. “I grew up listening to The Beatles, David Bowie, Motown, and “Weird Al” Yankovic, They are my pillars for music and now Al is featuring on one of our songs. Al is America to me. He is for everyone, he has the most diverse fanbase, the guy is in his fifth decade of hit records.”
Yankovic also gave his input saying, “I’ve jammed with them at Bonnaroo, I’ve produced remixes for two of their songs, and now I’m doing vocals on ‘Who’s Gonna Stop Me.’ Portugal. The Man are not only my friends, but they’re one of my favorite bands in the world, and I’m thrilled to be featured on their new single.”
Those expecting Weird Al to appear in the video as his usual, jovial self will be in for a surprise. “Who’s Gonna Stop Me” marks his first non-comedic and featured credit. In the video, he is shown in one scene where he creeps around a room and attempts to jump a fence while transforming into an animated wolf. This is in line with the lyrics that repeat,
“Sneaking out jumpin over backyard fences
Sneaking out jumpin over backyard fences
We’re all just lookin’ for freedom
I got an appetite for livin’ but the man gonna eat me alive”
Another scene shows Yankovic writhing on the floor in frustration.
The video, which was directed by Aaron Brown and Josue Rivas also features indigenous artists and leaders around the world expressing their culture as well as their frustrations. Another notable guest is Acosia Red Elk, world champion jingle dancer of the Umatilla people of Oregon.
Rivas describes his experience working on the video saying “Working on this video was all about the process for me, being able to collaborate and make something with Portugal The Man, Weird Al and our Indigenous relatives was healing. We are in a moment in need of weaving, collaboration, and building bridges. We are all future ancestors and when make things together, we are powerful. Tlazocamat.”
Portugal the Man released a statement explaining that the imagery in the video “represents the trickster and the maker of new worlds. The trickster is an archetype that can be found in nearly all indigenous and ancient cultures; the trickster not only is playful and a comedian but through their playfulness, they connect people.”
The song has a tribal beat that starts off subtle and becomes uplifting at the end. Check it out for yourself at the following Youtube link.