Jon “Bermuda” Schwartz
Birthdate: August 18
First Al project: “Another One Rides the Bus” (September, 1980)
Jon was born in Chicago and grew up in Phoenix. He began drum lessons at age 9, with The Beatles and other ’60s pop radio artists as influences. Jon and his family moved to Los Angeles a few years later, and it was there he decided he wanted to be a professional drummer. Jon marched in marching bands, performed in junior symphonies, and played in school orchestras and theater arts productions. Soon after completing high school, Jon was drumming regularly with a few bands.
After meeting Al in 1980, Jon became “Bermuda,” and continued to play with other local artists between Al’s projects, recording albums with Jim Silvers, Rip Masters, Ray Campi, Idle Hands and others. But being Weird Al’s drummer remains his primary focus, and he enjoys the recording, touring, and notoriety that comes with it. Some of his favorite recorded work with Al includes “The Plumbing Song,” “Genius in France,” “Cavity Search,” “George of the Jungle,” “Don’t Download This Song,” “Airline Amy,” “Bedrock Anthem,” “Close But No Cigar,” “It’s All About the Pentiums,” “The Night Santa Went Crazy,” “TMZ,” “Craigslist,” all of the polka medleys, and everything on Mandatory Fun!
When traveling with Al, Bermuda seeks out Indian restaurants, thrift stores and pawnshops, used record stores and drum shops. At home, he can be found surfing the net, designing web pages, listening to music, taking day trips with his wife Leslie and their dog Nigel, and playing in several local bands.
Bermuda is also a published author with two coffee-table books of his photographs of Al and the band, BLACK & WHITE & WEIRD ALL OVER, The Lost Photographs of “Weird Al” Yankovic, ’83-’86, and LIGHTS, CAMERA, ACCORDION! Eye-Popping Photographs of “Weird Al” Yankovic, 1981-2006.
Bermuda endorses Ludwig drums, Sabian cymbals, Evans heads, Vic Firth sticks, Beato bags, Buttkicker, Rhythm Tech percussion, Switch Kick beaters, Qwik Stix and Sonall accessories, Kelly Shu, Brite Stuff, and RimRiser… and uses JH Audio in-ear monitors, GK Ultraphones and Shure microphones.
Birthdate: January 26
First Al project: “Weird Al” Yankovic (debut album – March, 1982)
Steve Jay has been the bassist for “Weird Al” Yankovic since the pop satirist’s debut album.
Born into a musical family, Steve began playing and composing music at an early age. After landing a record deal while still in high school, his band “Covington Tower” toured the Southeast, with a notable performance at the historic Miami Pop Festival of 1968.
Majoring in music composition at USF in Tampa, he studied and performed with noted composers John Cage, Lucas Foss, Charles Wuronien, Hilton Jones and Max Neuhaus. His work in the Avante Garde movement of the early 70’s earned him a graduate fellowship. Years later he received the University of South Florida’s Outstanding Alumni Achievement Award for music. As a musical theorist, Stephen’s seminal article, “The Theory of Harmonic Rhythm” (1990) continues to inform and inspire micro-rhythmic research and design.
Steve’s connection with world music began in West Africa, 1973-75, in Niamey, Niger where he studied and performed with master drummer Isah Hamani and his group of drummers known as “griots.” From there, he journeyed deeper into the continent, making archival field recordings that were later released on three highly acclaimed Nonesuch Explorer Series albums: “Africa: Drum, Chant and Instrumental Music”, “Ghana: Ancient Ceremonies, Songs and Dance Music” and “Dances of the World”
As a composer for television and film, Steve has scored over seventy episodes of PBS specials and series, including three Peabody Award winners, and has contributed original music to feature films and commercials. He has been a guest speaker on the subjects of West African folk music, Harmonic Rhythm and rock at universities, music camps, podcasts and on radio, including NPR’s “All Things Considered” with Robert Seigel.
Along with playing on all of Al’s albums Steve has recorded and performed with an eclectic range of noted artists including, Wayne Shorter, Victor Wooten, Hugh Masekela, Marcus Miller, Howard Levey, Luis Conte, Alex Acuna, and the “father of reggae” Joe Higgs.
The bass driven songs on Stephen’s 11 solo albums range from high voltage and hard driving to exotic and delicate with endless wavelengths in between. “Sea Never Dry”, “Tangled Strings”, “Self-Avoiding Random Walk”, “Outer Voice”, “Physical Answer”, “Chaos, Clouds and Tongue”, “El Natural 7”, “Unarranged”, “Spontaneous Symmetry”, “So Do I Sadie”, and his latest album, “Vita Beata” (2022) are available at StephenJayMusic.com, Spotify, Amazon and Nonesuch (and more Nonesuch.)
More information and articles are available at Steve’s official website
Jim “Kimo” West
Birthdate: December 18
First Al project: “Weird Al” Yankovic (debut album – March, 1982)
Born in Toronto, Jim is the foreigner of the band and still retains his Canadian citizenship. He grew up in Tampa, Florida, settled in Los Angeles in the early eighties, and has also traveled quite a bit. His passport has stamps from England, Scotland, Switzerland, Spain, Italy, Australia, New Zealand, Costa Rica, Micronesia and Mexico and he is especially fond of Hong Kong, having spent quite a bit of time there composing music for several feature films.
He started playing guitar at age 12, after discovering his older brother’s guitar in the closet. By age sixteen he was playing professionally and studying visual arts in college. Before long, he decided to pursue music full-time and left university to play in various Florida rock bands. LA was the next step, and was where he met Weird Al and joined the band. While on the road with Al, Jim seeks activities suited to the location, such as hiking, rafting, skiing, biking, etc. His hobbies include scuba diving, snorkeling, fishing and of course-playing guitar!
When not playing or recording with Al, Jim has several other careers – as a composer for TV and film and also as a music producer. He has numerous composer credits, samples of which can be heard at his Soundcloud composer page.
Another hat he wears is the one of Hawaiian “slack key” guitarist, having spent many years traveling back and forth to Hawaii. “Kimo,” as he is known in Hawaii, is a 2021 Grammy® winner for his album “More Guitar Stories, a 2019 Grammy® nominee for “Moku Maluhia-Peaceful Island”, a winner of the Hawaii Music Awards and a four-time Na Hoku Hanohano nominee (Hawaii’s Grammys).He is also a two-time winner of the L.A. Treasures Award from the Los Angeles Dept. of Cultural Affairs.
Kimo has performed at many of the legendary Hawaii Slack Key Guitar Festivals as well as concerts and festivals here on the mainland. His eleven CDs and singles are available on JimKimoWest.com, Amazon.com and via download on Apple Music and Bandcamp, as well as all major streaming sites such as Spotify, Pandora and Sirius XM Spa Channel. Kimo’s music has been featured in many films, TV show, commercials and documentaries over the years as well.
He is particularly proud of his work on “Let Me Be Your Hog” and “Genius in France,” and says “Experiencing a Weird Al show will change your life!”
While playing with Al, Jim uses the following instruments: Custom Tom Anderson “Classic” Strats and Tele-style electric guitars, a ’58 reissue Gibson Les Paul, Taylor 514CE and Washburn acoustic/electrics, and a Deering 6 string banjo. Amplification is via two Fractal Audio AXE FX III systems with FC 12 controllers. A Radial JD6 for acoustic mixing and a Sennheiser wireless system. Strings are Elixirs and he uses a variety of Dunlop picks.
Birthdate: December 26
First Al project: Dr. Demento’s 20th Anniversary (October, 1991)
Rubén, originally from San Rafael, California, began classical studies at the age of ten. After playing in high school orchestra, he attended U.C. Santa Cruz, and later was a member of the award-winning Cabrillo College Big Band.
Upon graduation, Rubén led the popular jazz/funk fusion group Rush Hour, until moving to Los Angeles where soon after arriving, he was playing, recording and traveling the world with members of groups such as Santana, Aretha Franklin, Tom Jones, Natalie Cole, Tower of Power, Chick Corea, Elton John, Red Hot Chili Peppers, and others.
After world tours with rock legend Glenn Hughes/Deep Purple and blues legend Charlie Musselwhite, Rubén found himself touring and recording with rock/comedy icon “Weird Al” Yankovic.
When not touring, Rubén is active in the studio, writing and producing, along with leading his popular Latin Orchestra (VLO) featuring members of the world’s greatest Latin jazz orchestras.
Rubén uses and endorses: Kurzweil, OnStage, QSC audio and PreSonus electronics.