Jon “Bermuda” Schwartz just completed his 39th year with Weird Al Yankovic. And, the band just finished a career-topping, 67-stop “Strings Attached” tour in which they played with full orchestras in every city. This milestone was just one of many in what is no doubt the most successful music and comedy career in our lifetimes. Yankovic’s approach, which combines note-perfect arrangements of the hits with clever parody lyrics, original tunes, and highly popular polka medleys of pop hits has made him a household name and earned a loyal legion of fans across much of the world.
Anchoring the band’s sound is Schwartz, a great drummer and programmer for the band, who has appeared on all the band’s recordings and tours since 1980. He grew up in Phoenix and began taking drum lessons in 1965 at age nine. By the late ’70s he was playing with bands in Los Angeles and taking occasional studio gigs. He met Yankovic on the Dr. Demento Radio Show in 1980, when they were recording their Queen sendup, “Another One Rides The Bus.” The rest is history.
In addition to drums and programming Jon is also the group historian and has kept meticulous notes on over the 39 years. I asked him about the musical challenge of playing with orchestral backing on this tour.
[Ed. Note: See the pictorial overview of the career of Jon “Bermuda” Schwartz.]
What’s been the greatest show in the tour?