This episode Jason chats with Jon "Bermuda" Schwartz, author of the new book Lights, Camera, Accordion! from 1984 Publishing, a 256-page, 25-year "Weird" Al Yankovic visual retrospective. Say the publishers:
Lights, Camera, Accordion! contains over 300 color photographs (newly scanned from the original negatives) by Schwartz, Al's longtime drummer/photographer, along with a foreword by Drew Carey and an afterword by Al. Anecdotes and stories are featured throughout, organized by year, album, and tour.
Schwartz has been the drummer with "Weird" Al Yankovic since 1980 and is seen and heard on all of Weird Al's albums, videos, and concert and television performances. He is also the group's archivist with an unmatched collection of photos, memorabilia, and audio & video releases from around the world. Bermuda authored the 2020 book Black & White & Weird All Over which features his black-and-white photos of Weird Al. Visit BermudaSchwartz.com and follow Jon "Bermuda" Schwartz on Facebook.
The author and drummer says the book came from photos he'd taken on film over the years, beginning with photos he took randomly and would post on early websites. With the new book, Schwartz has gone back to the negatives to produce the highest quality. He says that the process of going through decades of photos results in a strange mix of nostalgia and reliving and sometimes regret. Old photos can act as a time machine, and suddenly the person picking up the photo finds themselves reliving an entire period of their lives. The book is arranged essentially by tour.
The book came about as the band had time off during the pandemic, as the author set out to catalog these plus all his photos taken since the early 70s. The fans of the Weird Al band are fiercely loyal– almost as emotionally invested as the followers of the Grateful Dead– and Schwartz's photos manage to provide a collection that is both specific to this obsession, but joyful enough to translate to the casual fan.