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DogBreath 05-20-2006 08:09 PM

Jon "Bermuda" Schwartz here!
 
1 Attachment(s)
We are honored to have Jon "Bermuda" Schwartz join us on our forum. He was one of the first artists to be added to the DrummerWorld site when Bernhard first started it, and hopefully now he will be willing to share some knowledge and wisdom with us from his many years as a pro drummer and clinician. If you ever do have an opportunity to talk with Jon, come prepared and bring your thinking cap. His insight into the world of professional drumming is staggering, and even though his clinics are known to run over in length (because of his thoughtful and complete answers to questions), he always leaves his audience wanting more.

Visit his personal website for more information and dates, and of course check out DrummerWorld's page for pictures and a bio.

Jon "Bermuda" Schwartz's web page

Jon's page on DrummerWorld

T.Underhill 05-20-2006 09:32 PM

Re: Jon "Bermuda" Schwartz here!
 
This guy rules, I would love to catch one of his clinics someday. Such a great amount of recording, and on really fun music too. Growing up in the 80's, Weird Al was pretty much a staple in my music consumption and Jon was layin down the beats. Welcome Jon!

fourstringdrums 05-20-2006 11:21 PM

Re: Jon "Bermuda" Schwartz here!
 
Jon is a great drummer and a great guy. I actually sold a 16" Zildjian K Dark Crash to him a few years ago when he made an appearance on another forum.

Welcome aboard Jon :)

Mediocrefunkybeat 05-21-2006 01:57 PM

Re: Jon "Bermuda" Schwartz here!
 
Hey Jon, good to see you kicking around our forum. Loving your Sabian 30" Ride. You've got a great body of work and you're a great guy; wonderful to see you!

bermuda 05-30-2006 06:15 PM

Re: Jon "Bermuda" Schwartz here!
 
Thanks guys! What a busy place, and a great resource of knowledge and ideas! If anyone has a specific question, I'll do my best to answer. Otherwise I'm enjoying reading the posts and commenting if I can add anything to the discussion.

Bermuda

DogBreath 06-02-2006 06:19 AM

Re: Jon "Bermuda" Schwartz here!
 
Very cool, thanks. I was wondering how much creative input you have when you guys are doing an original song. I just assume (and correct me if I'm wrong) that when doing a parody that Al allows you the freedom to do whatever you need to do to recreate the sound of the original, but what about for new songs? Who is involved in the writing and how much input do you have?

bermuda 06-02-2006 05:16 PM

Re: Jon "Bermuda" Schwartz here!
 
Al's originals (which account for 50% or more of the material on each album) each have a specific style, and are often a homage to some of Al's favorite artists (DEVO, Zappa, Aerosmith, Talking Heads, Boingo & MANY many more...) So from the start, we know the feel he wants, and the kind of signature parts and sounds that will help convey that. Sometimes we are left to our own devices, and sometimes Al wants a very specific part or fill. So there's a certain amount of input that we have on the originals, and over the years we've learned there are certain little things he likes, so we don't require a lot of direction. But as the writer/artist/producer, Al always has the final word.

The process is also very efficient: Al makes a demo for us with 5 or 6 originals, we think about parts for a few weeks then get together once to rehearse and massage the parts. Then the band records a demo and we privately ponder the songs a little more and zero-in on parts. Then we're in the studio, ready to cut them all, usually in one day.

With the parodies, there's no input whatsoever, since we're copying existing parts & sounds. If Al says we're doing "Pretty Fly For A White Guy" (Offspring,) we use that recording as a road map, possiblly incorporating arrangement or key changes. We do a huge amount of pre-production on our own in terms of writing-out parts, assessing sounds, and in the case of sequenced songs, creating samples and sequences. No rehearsal is necessary, since there are no subjective parts to work on - we are copying another song note-for-note - and we show up at the studio playing the songs for the first time as a band, typically tracking them all the same day.

With respect to the parodies, copying parts and sounds is difficult work. We aren't permitted to just 'get the flavor' or play a few signature parts. Our version has to be as close as possible to 100% accurate, with the knowledge that 99% is probably not acceptable. It's often a trying process where we have to 'backwards engineer' recordings to decipher parts and how sounds were achieved. I'm pretty sure that there are no other guitarists, bassists, or drummers who have the sense of purpose (or the patience!) to chart every note, every dynamic, every mistake, and every tempo change for their recordings.

Bermuda

T.Underhill 06-02-2006 06:08 PM

Re: Jon "Bermuda" Schwartz here!
 
The production going into just the parodies does sound like tons of work. Figuring out a part and playing it usually isn't that tough, you do it in a cover band all the time. But to get the total feel and sound of the drum track you're copying? No thanks! What exactly do you mean by "Our version has to be as close as possible to 100% accurate, with the knowledge that 99% is probably not acceptable."? One thing is certain, I would love to watch you guys hash this stuff out and spitballing the originals.

bermuda 06-02-2006 06:42 PM

Re: Jon "Bermuda" Schwartz here!
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by T.Underhill
What exactly do you mean by "Our version has to be as close as possible to 100% accurate, with the knowledge that 99% is probably not acceptable."?

Fortunately for Al, we all have good ears and are very persnickity in our approach to parts & sounds. But Al is this much more meticulous than we are, and has caught us a few times on something that we somehow missed. It's rare, but it does keep us on our toes. I said 99% because in hindsight I know there are a few instances where something wasn't 100% and somehow got by Al and us at the same time. However, on a literal level for me, 99% allows for at least one wrong note every 8 bars, and that would indeed be noticeable and unnacceptable to both me and Al. My accuracy is far better than that though, and while I may not always be 100%, I'm at least 99.9%. :)

I probably should have said "Our version has to be 100% accurate, but 99.9% is probably acceptable."

Bermuda

DogBreath 06-03-2006 04:59 AM

Re: Jon "Bermuda" Schwartz here!
 
I've been a Devo fan for decades, and one of my favorite Devo songs is "Dare To Be Stupid," which of course isn't even a Devo song but your tribute to them. Both the song and the video perfectly captured their essence in a playful way that was still respectful of the music.

infernal drummer 06-04-2006 03:45 PM

Re: Jon "Bermuda" Schwartz here!
 
hello jon.
regarding the huge kit you used with al yankowich, on the "money for nothing" song. dont remember al's name for song hehe... do you have more pictures of it? it looked awesome.

bermuda 06-04-2006 08:07 PM

Re: Jon "Bermuda" Schwartz here!
 
Thanks, that was "Money For Nothing / Beverly Hillbillies" (the TV show lyrics sung against Dire Straits' "Money For Nothing") There were only a few stills taken on the set, these are the only decent pictures of the kit:

http://www.bermudaschwartz.com/images/mfn1.jpg

http://www.bermudaschwartz.com/images/mfn2.jpg

Apart from the gongs, I don't recall any special attempt to copy the kit from the original video very closely - I'm pretty sure he didn't have octabons, for instance - but we sometimes take a little artistic license in the videos and just wanted the kit to look big. The Straits' Mark Knopfler and Guy Fletcher played on our track (from the sanity and safety of London) and the actual kit I recorded with was a 5-piece, which is now on loan to my brother who plays guitar with Mark Knopfler! Small world.

Bermuda

PreppieNerd 06-10-2006 09:48 PM

Re: Jon "Bermuda" Schwartz here!
 
I saw you post elsewhere that you have hundreds of cymbals so you can get the different sounds necessary. What do you do on the road? do you have one set of versatile cymbals, or do you swap them out between songs? I think in your case it would be advantageous to have an electronic kit, then you could push a button and have your kit for "I Love Rocky Road," then after the song is over push the button and it switches to the pre-programmed set for "Amish Paradise," etc.

bermuda 06-11-2006 02:21 AM

Re: Jon "Bermuda" Schwartz here!
 
On tour I use one kit (no triggers) and one set of cymbals. The tuning and cymbal sounds are fairly generic so they mesh well with everything we play. My live sound doesn't need to be quite as specific as the studio tracks, so there's some leeway.

I'd considered samples for each song in order to be completely true to the original vibe. After all, the guitar, bass & keyboard players change patches as needed. But there are too many potential problems with relying on triggers/pads for a main kit. If a trigger breaks or a cable goes bad, let's say on the snare, that sound is gone, essentially until the problem can be troubleshooted and cables/pads replaced. With a live kit and mics, if the snare mic goes out, the overheads and vocal mic will still pick it up... the sound doesn't vanish.

I can't think of anyone who uses an electronic or triggered kit onstage with complete success. Even one glitch is one too many.

Bermuda

jazzsnob 07-18-2006 02:21 AM

Re: Jon "Bermuda" Schwartz here!
 
Jon-
I have to say thanks for the inspiration. I've been a fan for 7 or 8 years now and I still listen often. I have two questions:

A: How do you practice you time keeping and mimicing(sp?) time feels? How do you practice listening? How time do you spend setting up drum sounds in the studio?

B:What do think about Polka Party? Because I know it didn't too well commercially, but I've been listening to it a lot recently and it's really damn good.

bermuda 07-18-2006 05:16 AM

Re: Jon "Bermuda" Schwartz here!
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by jazzsnob
Jon-
I have to say thanks for the inspiration. I've been a fan for 7 or 8 years now and I still listen often. I have two questions:

A: How do you practice you time keeping and mimicing(sp?) time feels? How do you practice listening? How time do you spend setting up drum sounds in the studio?

B:What do think about Polka Party? Because I know it didn't too well commercially, but I've been listening to it a lot recently and it's really damn good.

Thanks!

A: Mimicing feels is sometimes tough. It's one thing to play the parts, and another to play the feel. In some cases I've had to be a little loose, in others, dead on tight, and for Genius In France (Zappa homage on the Poodle Hat album) while copying various drummers from Ralph Humphrey to Bozzio to Wackerman, and Chad's in particular has a deceptively light touch with a very matter-of-fact style, it's almost choppy. I guess 'deliberate' is the best word to describe it. That was a tough one, and I'm very proud of my work on that.

For listening, it's always been natural to me. Even as a kid, I focused on the drum parts, and played along to whatever was on the radio (mid-60s) or the family turntable: Beatles, Gene Krupa, and a host of Afro-Cuban albums from the late 50s.

For the studio, I pre-select toms and kick/s, snares, and cymbals that fit the material, and may bring additional heads as required. I've got everything tuned when I come in, and our engineer has been with us for over 20 years (and also happens to be a drummer) so we get sounds in 10 or 15 minutes per song. We'll cut 5 or 6 tracks in a day.

B. I thought the Polka Party! album was good as well, one of my favorite tracks is Dog Eat Dog. There's some nice programming too, despite having to trick my Yamaha RX11 into playing certain parts. Not sure why the album didn't do well though, and it's one of only a few that failed to even go Gold, which after literally 20 years in print isn't too much to ask!

Bermuda

PreppieNerd 07-30-2006 03:32 AM

Re: Jon "Bermuda" Schwartz here!
 
Just curious about your Drummerworld habits.

1. Do you answer silly questions? (such as the next two)

2. Do you ever check out the videos on drummerworld

3. Do you ever look at the off topic section of the forum?

bermuda 07-30-2006 06:52 PM

Re: Jon "Bermuda" Schwartz here!
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by PreppieNerd
Just curious about your Drummerworld habits.

1. Do you answer silly questions? (such as the next two)

2. Do you ever check out the videos on drummerworld

3. Do you ever look at the off topic section of the forum?

Yes.... rarely.... no.

Synthetik 09-18-2006 02:07 AM

Re: Jon "Bermuda" Schwartz here!
 
Hi,
I read that you have a Tempus snare drum in your arsenal. I ordered a 14x5.5 fiberglass snare. I was totally blown away by it's tuning range and power. Do you have any comments to share on that specific snare?

Thanks!

bermuda 09-18-2006 04:14 AM

Re: Jon "Bermuda" Schwartz here!
 
I have 3 Tempus snares - 4x12, 6x13, and 8x14 - and I've also been playing Impact fiberglass drums and snares for 21 years, so fiberglass is nothing new to me.

You'll find the drum to be very versatile, and with the appropriate heads and tunings, you should have no problem getting a variety of sounds. I think you'll be very happy with it.

Bermuda

jazzsnob 09-18-2006 06:43 AM

Re: Jon "Bermuda" Schwartz here!
 
The new songs sound awesome Bermuda. Excited to get the record.

bermuda 09-18-2006 03:33 PM

Re: Jon "Bermuda" Schwartz here!
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by jazzsnob
The new songs sound awesome Bermuda. Excited to get the record.

Thanks! The album's out next Tuesday and we think it will do well.

The video for "White & Nerdy" premieres on aol.com tonight at 9pm Pacific time (go to http://music.aol.com/videos/newthisweek)

Bermuda

SusanCarter 10-11-2006 05:07 AM

Re: Jon "Bermuda" Schwartz here!
 
Jon is awesome..he knows I'm picky about my drummers so he is in good company...we look forward to the opportunity to see him play live again.

Take care my friend,

Susan

bermuda 10-11-2006 05:40 AM

Re: Jon "Bermuda" Schwartz here!
 
Thanks!



:)

somedrummer 10-11-2006 05:46 AM

Re: Jon "Bermuda" Schwartz here!
 
Well, I just watched the "White and Nerdy" video, and I must say, I'm impressed. My local Tower is closing down. Maybe I'll head by and see if I can get the new CD at a discount... Cheapo me.

Synthetik 10-14-2006 02:06 AM

Re: Jon "Bermuda" Schwartz here!
 
Bermuda,
We all need professional help... (snicker,giggle)
There is a debate over the use of drum muffling in a recording studio. If you find time, could you please weigh in on this issue?

http://www.drummerworld.com/forums/s...869#post222869

As I stated in the post, I find it hard to believe that 99% of recordings are done without drum muffling. If I am wrong, I am wrong--but I wanted the voice of experiance, not speculation.

Thanks!!

KalashnikoV 10-14-2006 05:34 AM

Re: Jon "Bermuda" Schwartz here!
 
Talk about someone who you can hear play literally tons of different musical styles with great success! You're a great a drummer, and I think having your pool of knowledge to learn from around the forum is great luck for just about every other member! :)

bermuda 10-14-2006 07:01 AM

Re: Jon "Bermuda" Schwartz here!
 
Thanks! I've been chatting online since 1993, so it's always been normal for me to join forums and tap into the knowledge that's out there, and also contribute where I can. As the saying goes, 'nobody knows more than everybody', and I've learned a lot from the tens of thousands of other drummers out there who listen to bands and drummers I don't know, who've found some cool products I haven't seen, and who can answer questions that I have.

It's great being an up & coming player these days, because of the info and answers available at the click of a mouse. When I had questions and could have used some guidance early in my career in the 70s & 80s, I had very limited access to people who could help.

Bermuda

Synthetik 10-23-2006 11:47 PM

Re: Jon "Bermuda" Schwartz here!
 
We can now refer to Bermuda as a "Top ten recording artist"

'Weird Al' Yankovic finally hits the top 10
http://us.cnn.com/2006/SHOWBIZ/Music...eut/index.html


CONGRATS!!!!

bermuda 10-24-2006 01:03 AM

Re: Jon "Bermuda" Schwartz here!
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Synthetik
We can now refer to Bermuda as a "Top ten recording artist"

'Weird Al' Yankovic finally hits the top 10
http://us.cnn.com/2006/SHOWBIZ/Music...eut/index.html


CONGRATS!!!!

Thanks. actually "Top-10 charting, two time Grammy award-winning drummer" will suffice! :)

It's funny to see any hoopla about the chart positions at this point since it's kind of old news - well, 2 weeks old on the net is ancient by most standards - but of course we're still jazzed about it.

Bermuda

Synthetik 11-02-2006 09:59 AM

Re: Jon "Bermuda" Schwartz here!
 
I am amazed. With the reaseach I have been doing for my website for synthetic drums, the name and picture of Bermuda's came up a LOT.

I have material from both Tempus and Impact on my site, both have lots of pics of you.
(with stack of Tempus snares, Impact drums, and so on)

I am also working on getting sounds from various synthetic drums put up as well.

...Perhaps some Weird Al clips... :-O

Impact page: http://www.synthetictubs.com/impact.htm

Tempus page: http://www.synthetictubs.com/tempus%20milestone.htm

bermuda 11-02-2006 03:07 PM

Re: Jon "Bermuda" Schwartz here!
 
Thanks for the mention there! The line: ..."Weird al" Yankovich's band has been playing Impact for over 15 years." should read: "..."Weird Al" Yankovic's band has been playing Impact for over 20 years." (note spelling corrections.) I began endorsing the drums in August, 1985.

You may also want to note that Impact was the first company to put sound holes in their tom and snare shells (not to be confused with Ludwig's split-shell snare c1980) and also the first to put a large vent on the kick - at my suggestion - back in 1985. Other companies have only recently discovered how cool that is.

Bermuda

Synthetik 11-02-2006 03:12 PM

Re: Jon "Bermuda" Schwartz here!
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by bermuda
Thanks for the mention there! The line: ..."Weird al" Yankovich's band has been playing Impact for over 15 years." should read: "..."Weird Al" Yankovic's band has been playing Impact for over 20 years." (note spelling corrections.) I began endorsing the drums in August, 1985.

Bermuda

FIXED! Really, the whole site is a rough draft. Some web designers wait until everything is included and perfect before they publish, and still stuff needs fixing. I decided that I would post it as a "works in progress." I will be constantly adding submissions and tweaking.*
In the meantime, I am in the mass-production phase, attempting to get as much material togeather before it gets honed.

The next thing in works are Dunnett Titanium drums.

Thanks for checking it out and the feedback!

(* That's another way of saying that I am building it on the fly and have not totally rationalized the final concept...)

lagwagon99 12-25-2006 08:05 AM

Re: Jon "Bermuda" Schwartz here!
 
Hi Bermuda, longtime fan. I was curious on the recording process of "Albuquerque" (sorry if i misspelled it) anyways, its a fast paced song and it lasts 22 minutes. i was just wondering if you recorded it all at once, or parts at a time, and how many times you had to play it to get it right. thanks a lot!

bermuda 12-25-2006 05:37 PM

Re: Jon "Bermuda" Schwartz here!
 
The song was actually 11 minutes, but at that tempo (190 I think?) it may as well have been 11 hours! It's a workout, one reason why we never normally performed it live.

I think most of it was one take, it's pretty straight ahead part but incessant. I think the ending was re-recorded a week later, but the rest of the song was probably one take.

Bermuda

lagwagon99 12-28-2006 07:28 AM

Re: Jon "Bermuda" Schwartz here!
 
awesome! thanks. p.s Are you and al and the boys planning on making a run through the states any time soon?

bermuda 12-28-2006 06:33 PM

Re: Jon "Bermuda" Schwartz here!
 
We'll be touring the states over the summer. Dates will posted at weirdal.com when they're confirmed.

NUTHA JASON 01-12-2007 01:20 PM

Re: Jon "Bermuda" Schwartz here!
 
hi bermuda

i'm asking all the pros this question. i think the answers could be very instructive to many of us.
let's say there was a totally new drum rudiment that was suddenly discovered and was so totally applicable that any drummer worth their salt would quickly try to learn it, master it and use it in recordings and gigs. this hypothetical new rudiment is quite hard to play and totally unrelated to any other rudiment. it is so good that you know that the next time you sit in on a session the writer is probably going to ask you to use it somewhere in their song.
my question is: starting from scratch what would be your way of learning it?

thanks
j

bermuda 01-12-2007 06:25 PM

Re: Jon "Bermuda" Schwartz here!
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by NUTHA JASON (Post 262764)
my question is: starting from scratch what would be your way of learning it?

If available, I'd have the written notation and sticking, and simply practice it starting slowly and gradually speed-up until it sounded natural.

With only an audio sample and no notation, my approach would be somewhat the same. I'd dissect the sound and play it in the manner I felt replicated it. However, the sticking would likely - though unintentionally - be different.

For some, that raises the question of whether it's more important to play the part, or to make the sound. In other words, if doing an open roll, is it more important to do the technically 'correct' doubles, or singles, if they both end up sounding the same anyway?

For me, it's often a 'means to an end' proposition, the primary goal being to make the sound. That doesn't mean there are necessarily shortcuts or easy fixes, sometimes there aren't. But it does mean that some parts that sound difficult, are actually quite easy to work out if I don't agonize over sticking, or feel daunted because of who's playing it.

As for physically being able to play something beyond one's current technical expertise, that's just a matter of practice. It may require a little work... or a lot. For example, the idea that someone like Terry Bozzio is playing stuff that's impossible to attain, can be daunting and maybe discouraging. The fact is, Terry lives and breathes drums, and practices his butt off - I'm sure would tell you that he's still learning and growing - and that's why he's at the top of the heap in terms of ability.

So, could any of us play like Terry? Or Vinnie? Or Danny Carey? Or (insert name here)?

Well, in theory, yes! Why not? In its most basic conceptual form, drumming is simply hitting things with sticks, and stepping on pedals. That's really all they're doing. Obviously, there's a level of dedication & drive & creativity that propels those players to the top, and most drummers - me included - just don't work that hard at it. But remember, they're just humans with 4 limbs, using the same sticks, heads, drums, cymbals and pedals that we have access to... so it's not impossible. (Whether the world needs a bunch of Vinnie's or Terry's is quite another question!)

So, in terms of doing something new to me that's ostensibly difficult, I figure that if another drummer can play it... so can I. Well, eventually,

BTW, my favorite rudiment is the single stroke. Not a single stroke roll... just a single stroke. I use it all the time on the 2 & 4 of each measure, and get paid handsomely for doing so!

Bermuda

NUTHA JASON 01-12-2007 07:40 PM

Re: Jon "Bermuda" Schwartz here!
 
lol great answer thanks. particularly the fourth last paragraph.

Quote:

So, in terms of doing something new to me that's ostensibly difficult, I figure that if another drummer can play it... so can I. Well, eventually,
sounds like the mantra in the movie 'the edge' with anthony hopkins killing a bear. what one man can do another can do. if a masai teenager can kill a lion so can i. if bozzio can play a corscrew of a time signature so perhaps can i.

but as you say...first i'm going to be really good at the bread and butter of drumming. i know i sometimes over reach myself before i've really nailed down what matters.

Quote:

and simply practice it starting slowly and gradually speed-up until it sounded natural
how would you do this? how do you keep track of your progress and what kind of schedules do you use?

j


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