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 dogs Pepper and Nigel, and playing in several local bands!
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. As a composer for television and film, he has scored over fifty episodes of PBS specials and series, and is a three-time recipient of the George Foster Peabody Award. At USF in Tampa Steve majored in composition studying and performing with noted composers John Cage, Lucas Foss, and Max Neuhaus. His work in the Avante Garde movement of the early 70’s earned him a graduate fellowship. His connection with world grooves began years ago in West Africa, where years of study with master drummer Isah Hamani culminated in his being accepted into the otherwise hereditary caste of drummers known as “griots.” From there he journeyed deeper into the continent, making archival field recordings which have been available on three highly acclaimed Nonesuch albums: Africa: Drum, Chant and Instrumental Music, Ghana: Ancient Ceremonies, Songs and Dance Music, and Dances of the World. These recordings have recently been re-released as part of the Nonesuch Explorer Series.
Steve has recorded and performed with an eclectic range of noted artists including Wayne Shorter, Alex Acuna, Hugh Masekela, Joe Higgs, Rick Derringer, Jimmie Haskell, and Demola Adepoju. His five solo albums feature his unique blend of funk, jazz and progressive pop with world music influences: Sea Never Dry, Tangled Strings, Self Avoiding Random Walk, Outer Voice, Physical Answer and Chaos, Clouds and Tongue on the Ayarou label.
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” guitar master, having spent many years traveling back and forth to Hawaii. “Kimo,” as he is known in Hawaii, has performed at many of the legendary Hawaii Slack Key Guitar Festivals as well as concerts and festivals here on the mainland. He is a winner of the Hawaii Music Awards and a two-time Na Hoku Hanohano nominee (Hawaii’s Grammys) and is also a two-time winner of the LA Treasures Award from the Los Angeles Dept. of Cultural Affairs. His CDs Coconut Hat, Slack Key West, Kimo-Style, Kimo’s Hawaiian Slack Key Christmas, Na Lani O Maui – Maui Skies and Ki Ho’alu Christmastime are available on Amazon.com, CD Baby.com, iTunes or via direct links on his web sites, www.jimkimowest.com and www.reverbnation.com, where you can also see his performance schedule. Jim’s music has been featured in many films, TV show, commercials and documentaries over the years!
Jim 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 equipment: Custom Tom Anderson “Classic” Strat and Tele-style guitars, Taylor T5 acoustic/electric, Taylor Solidbody, Deering 6 string banjo and Dean mandolin, Marshall JMP-1 preamp and stereo 4×12 cabinet, Mesa Boogie 50/50 power amp, RSP Intelliverb FX unit, DBX 160x compressor, Ground Control Mix Plus mixer, Rocktron All Access MIDI switcher, Mackie mixer for acoustic instruments, Wilson wah wah and Roland volume pedals, Sennheiser wireless system, Boss tuners, SIT and Elixir strings, 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, Ultimate Support Systems, QSC audio and PreSonus electronics.