Few would have guessed that "Weird Al" Yankovic, who as a shy, accordion-playing teenager got his start sending in homemade tapes to the Dr. Demento Radio Show, would go on to become the biggest-selling comedy recording artist in history with over 12 million album sales. Now in his fourth career decade, he has won 3 Grammys (with 14 nominations) and countless awards and accolades for Weird Al classics like "Eat It," "Like a Surgeon," "Fat," "Smells Like Nirvana," "Amish Paradise" and "The Saga Begins." His 2011 album Alpocalypse (featuring the Lady Gaga parody "Perform This Way") debuted in the Billboard Top 10, and was nominated for two Grammy Awards (Best Comedy Album and Best Short Form Video).
In addition to his recordings and world-famous music videos, Yankovic is also well-known for his cult-hit feature film UHF (1989), his late ‘90s CBS Saturday morning series The Weird Al Show and the numerous AL-TV specials that he's made for MTV and VH1 over the years. His 2006 album Straight Outta Lynwood spawned the Billboard Top 10 single "White & Nerdy," the video for which spent two months at #1 on iTunes and garnered over 150 million hits on the Internet.
Since then, he released his greatest hits package The Essential "Weird Al" Yankovic (Legacy), wrote, starred in and directed the themed attraction Al's Brain: A 3-D Journey through the Human Brain (featuring cameos by everybody from Fabio to Paul McCartney), and attracted several million followers on social media. With the release of his children's book When I Grow Up (HarperCollins, 2011), Al added "New York Times Bestselling Author" to his resume. His follow-up, My New Teacher and Me! , was released June 2013.
In October of 2011, in tandem with the release of Alpocalypse, Comedy Central aired the concert special "Weird Al" Yankovic Live: The Alpocalypse Tour (filmed at Toronto's venerable Massey Hall) and released the unabridged version of the concert on DVD and Blu-ray. In 2012, The Nerdist Channel debuted Face 2 Face with "Weird Al" Yankovic, a web series where Al got a chance to "interview" some of his "close, personal friends" in the entertainment biz. In October that year, Abrams released Weird Al: The Book, an illustrated hardcover on Al's life and career.
Weird Al released his 14th studio album Mandatory Fun on July 15th. The album features parodies of some of the biggest hits of the past year, including Pharrell Williams' "Happy" ("Tacky"), Robin Thicke's "Blurred Lines" ( "Word Crimes" ), Lorde's "Royals" ( "Foil" ), Iggy Azalea's "Fancy" ("Handy") and Imagine Dragons' "Radioactive" ( "Inactive" ). The album also features several inspired originals and pastiches ( "Lame Claim to Fame," "Sports Song," "My Own Eyes," "Mission Statement," "First World Problems" and "Jackson Park Express" ) along with Al's latest accordion-fueled medley, "NOW That's What I Call Polka!"
Mandatory Fun debuted at #1 on the Billboard Top 200 album chart. This is the first time that a comedy album has debuted at #1 on the chart in history, and the first time that a comedy album has reached the top of the chart in over 50 years (the last one being Allan Sherman's 1963 release My Son, the Nut). It was also Al's personal best sales week ever, as well as the largest sales week for any comedy album since 1994. On Spotify, Yankovic set the US record for having the most tracks from one album in the viral top 10 at one time, taking the first 4 spots. The album performed well internationally, debuting in the Top 10 in both Canada and Australia (#3 and #9 respectively). In addition, "Word Crimes" debuted in the Billboard Top 40, making Al one of only three people to have had Top 40 singles in each of the last four decades (the other two are Michael Jackson and Madonna).
Further in the spirit of Mandatory Fun's bid for world domination, Al released 8 music videos ("Tacky," "Word Crimes," "Foil," "Handy," "Sports Song," "Lame Claim To Fame," "First World Problems" and "Mission Statement") in 8 days which had over 46 million views combined in its first week. Yankovic teamed up with various production partners such as Nerdist Industries, CollegeHumor, Yahoo (Principato-Young Entertainment), Funny or Die and TruScribe, as well as talented auteurs like Liam Lynch, Jarrett Heather and Tim Thompson.
Weird Al, along with his band of over three decades, has performed thousands of live rock and comedy multimedia shows throughout the world, and will be back on the road in 2015 for The Mandatory Tour.
|Birthdate:|| ||January 26|
|First Al project:|| ||"Weird Al" Yankovic album,|
Steve Jay is one of the world's leading practitioners of the bass guitar, and leader of the ethno-funk duo "Ak & Zuie". He 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.
Steve is currently scoring a feature length documentary on African human rights. A short version of this film entitled "From The Ruins" can be seen at www.vimeo.com.
|Jon "Bermuda" Schwartz|
|Birthdate:|| ||August 18|
|First Al project:|| ||"Another One Rides The Bus",|
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 general 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 medlies, 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, playing in several local bands, and maintaining this web site!
Bermuda endorses Ludwig drums, Sabian cymbals, Evans heads, Taye pedals, Vic Firth sticks,
Buttkicker, Impact bags & cases, Rhythm Tech percussion, Factory Metal Percussion accessories,
Qwik Stix accessories, and The RimRiser... and uses GK Ultraphones and Shure microphones.
|Birthdate:|| ||December 26|
|First Al project:|| ||Dr.Demento's 20th Anniversary,|
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 popluar Latin Orchestra (VLO) featuring members of the worlds greatest latin jazz orchestras.
Rubén uses and endorses: Kurzweil, Ultimate Support Systems, QSC audio and PreSonus electronics.
|Jim "Kimo" West|
|Birthdate:|| ||December 18|
|First Al project:|| ||"Weird Al" Yankovic album,|
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 Grammy's) 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 4x12 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