Rubén Valtierra (born December 261954 in San Rafael, California) is the keyboardist best known for working with "Weird Al" Yankovic. The two met at the Dr. Demento 20th Anniversary special in October 1991. Shortly after, Yankovic invited him to join his band as a touring keyboardist, and they have worked together ever since. Valtierra can also be heard on the most popular tracks of Yankovic's albums and videos.
Valtierra began classical studies at the age of ten. After playing in his high school orchestra, he attended the University of California at Santa Cruz
, and later was a member of the award-winning Cabrillo College Big Band. Upon graduation, Valtierra led the popular jazz/funk fusion group, Rush Hour, until moving to Los Angeles
where, soon after arriving, was playing, recording and travelling the world with members of groups such as Santana
, Aretha Franklin
, Tom Jones
, Natalie Cole
, Tower of Power
, Chick Corea
, Elton John
, and Red Hot Chili Peppers
After world tours with rock legend Glenn Hughes/Deep Purple and Blues Icon[Charlie Musselwhite, Valtierra found himself touring and recording with Al Yankovic.
When not touring, Valtierra is active in the studio, writing and producing, along with leading his popular Latin Orchestra (VLO), featuring members of the worlds greatest latin jazz groups.
- Despite having played and toured with the band since 1991, Valtierra is still considered the new guy, and as a result, many practical jokes are pulled at his expense.
- Valtierra is playfully bullied by Yankovic and the rest of the band during live shows and other band events.
- The upper half of Valtierra's face in Yankovic's music video for "The Saga Begins" is always covered by the hood of the robe that he's wearing, much like the Sith Lord Darth Sidious. When asked why, Yankovic stated that "They didn't want to scare small children."