“Weird Al” Yankovic, the undisputed king of pop culture parody, has sold more comedy recordings than any other artist in history. In a career spanning nearly three decades, he has amassed 28 Gold and Platinum albums, 7 Gold and Platinum-certified home videos and 3 Grammy Awards (with 9 nominations).
The singer-songwriter’s first real brush with fame came in 1979 when he recorded "My Bologna" (a spoof of The Knack's "My Sharona") in the bathroom across the hall from his college campus radio station where he had a weekly DJ shift. A devoteé of musical satirists Spike Jones, Tom Lehrer, Allan Sherman and Stan Freberg, Yankovic's budding career took off when the song became a sensation on the nationally syndicated "Dr. Demento Show." Just a few years later, Al landed his first recording contract and has since created an extraordinary legacy of music and ground-breaking videos, including hits like "Eat It," "Like A Surgeon" and "Amish Paradise."
An accomplished director, Al has helmed many of his own award-winning music videos as well as clips for Ben Folds, Jeff Foxworthy, The Jon Spencer Blues Explosion, Hanson and The Black Crowes. His video for “Smells Like Nirvana,” nominated for an MTV Video Music Award in 1992, was chosen by Rolling Stone as one of the “Top 100 Music Videos Of All Time.” Al also created the critically acclaimed title sequence for the Leslie Nielsen feature film “Spy Hard.”
Making a successful transformation from pop music satirist to multimedia star, Al created his own television specials for MTV (“AL-TV”), Showtime and the Disney Channel, among others. His feature film “UHF” (1989) became an instant Top Ten best-selling DVD upon its release in 2002, and his CBS network series “The Weird Al Show” reached cult-classic status and was released on DVD earlier this year. Al has been featured on numerous TV shows and specials, and his profile on VH-1’s “Behind the Music” remains one of the most popular installments in the history of the series.
Yankovic’s 12th studio album Straight Outta Lynwood (Way Moby/Volcano) is a DualDisc release brimming with special features. The DVD side contains six brand new Weird Al music videos produced by some of the world’s top animators, including Academy Award-nominated filmmaker Bill Plympton, “Ren & Stimpy” creator John Kricfalusi, acclaimed media artist Jim Blashfield, the creative team behind Cartoon Network’s Adult Swim show “Robot Chicken” and popular Internet animators Thomas Lee and David C. Lovelace. The package also features a 9-minute behind-the-scenes documentary, as well as PCM Stereo, 5.1 Surround Sound and karaoke/instrumental versions of the entire album.
The centerpiece of Straight Outta Lynwood is “White & Nerdy,” a parody of Chamillionaire’s No. 1 smash hit “Ridin’.” Al directed the highly-acclaimed video clip, which features hilarious cameos by Donny Osmond, Seth Green, Judy Tenuta and Mad TV’s Keegan-Michael Keys and Jordan Peele. The “White & Nerdy” video went straight into heavy rotation on VH-1 (debuting at #5 in their Top 20 Countdown) and quickly racked up a few million hits on YouTube.
Straight Outta Lynwood also features parodies of Green Day (“Canadian Idiot”), Usher (“Confessions Part III”), Taylor Hicks (“Do I Creep You Out”) and R. Kelly (the 11-minute epic “Trapped in the Drive-Thru”), as well as the now-traditional polka medley (“Polkarama!”), which this time includes accordion-fueled renditions of hits by such artists as 50 Cent, The Black Eyed Peas, Snoop Dogg, Coldplay, Weezer, Pussycat Dolls and Kanye West.
“Don’t Download This Song,” the first song and video released from the album, is a tongue-in-cheek look at the hot-button issue of mp3 piracy, set to original music inspired by the celebrity-driven charity benefit songs from the ‘80s. The song was ironically offered as a free download on Al’s web site (weirdal.com) and MySpace page (myspace.com/weirdal), and quickly became a viral worldwide hit. Other original compositions on the album include an homage to both Brian Wilson and internal organs (“Pancreas”), an ode to computer-based paranoia (“Virus Alert”), a headbanger about frivolous lawsuits (“I’ll Sue Ya”), an anthem for the relationship-impaired (“Close But No Cigar”) and a cheery ditty about the most festive time of the year (“Weasel Stomping Day”).
Straight Outta Lynwood debuted at #10 on the Billboard charts, making it Al’s highest charting album to date.
“Weird Al” Yankovic and his band (the same talented group of musicians that has performed with him since 1982) will be embarking on their next major North American concert tour in the summer of 2007.
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 recording debut 22 years ago. 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. 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 first three solo albums feature his unique blend of funk, jazz and progressive pop with world music influences: Sea Never Dry, Tangled Strings, and Self Avoiding Random Walk on the Ayarou label.
Alembic SC model (short scale 4 str.), and the Martin B-1 acoustic. Strings: Dean Markley. Processing/effects:
Korg AX-30B Toneworks, Amp/Spkr: Mesa-Boogie D-180, and Mackie 1530 powered cabinets.
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. He also spent two years at a community college taking such diverse courses as photography, the stock market, computer programming and human relations in business. By 1977, 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 projects. Not much was heard from most of those artists, though Jon did record albums with Jim Silvers, and Rip Masters. But Jon preferred the recording, touring, and general notoriety that came with being Weird Al's drummer, and it remains his primary focus. Some of his favorite recorded work with Al includes The Plumbing Song, Cavity Search, George Of The Jungle, Airline Amy, Bedrock Anthem, It's All About The Pentiums, The Night Santa Went Crazy, all of the polka medlies, and everything on the Poodle Hat album!
When traveling with Al, Bermuda seeks out Indian restaurants, thrift shops, CD stores, and old friends. At home, he can be found surfing the net, designing web pages, buying CDs, listening to '60s pop & Motown, '70s classic rock, and '80s & '90s alternative music, taking day trips with his wife Leslie and their dog Pepper, and maintaining the weirdal.com web site!
Asked if he had anything to say to the kids out there, he replied "Hi kids!"
Vic Firth sticks, Rhythm Tech percussion, Slicknut cymbal fasteners, Impact bags & cases,
Shure microphones, and Buttkicker, Kurzweil, Kat, Yamaha, Roland and Crown electronics.
More info at www.bermudaschwartz.com
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 Valtierra Latin Trio/Quartet featuring members of the worlds greatest latin jazz orchestras.
You can visit Rubén's website at rubenvaltierra.com
JBL speakers, Mark of the Unicorn products, Apple Computers
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, Italy, Australia, Costa Rica and Mexico, Micronesia 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, surprise, playing guitar!
When not playing or recording with Al, Jim has a busy career as a composer for TV and film. He has numerous credits, which can be seen at his web site, westernmostmusic.com.
Another hat Jim wears is the one of an accomplished “slack key" guitarist, having spent many years travelling back and forth to Hawaii. His CDs, "Coconut Hat" and "Slack Key West" are available on Amazon.com, CDBaby.com, or via his web site.
Jim is particularly proud of his work on “Let Me Be Your Hog" and “Genius in France", and urges everyone to "Come to an Al show...you'll never be the same."
Taylor 512CE Acoustic and Washburn acoustic/electric, Deering 6 string banjo and Epiphone 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, Cry Baby wah wah and Roland volume pedals, Shure UHF wireless system, Boss tuners,
SIT and Elixir strings, Dunlop picks