The New York Times (and St. Louis’ own Riverfront Times) report that Max Weinberg is leaving Conan after 17 years with the late night talk show host.
The good news for Max Weinberg fans is that he’ll have a lot more time to spend with Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band. On Monday, representatives for Conan O’Brien officially announced that Mr. Weinberg, the longtime band leader at NBC’s “Late Night” and “Tonight Show” programs, would not be joining Mr. O’Brien at his TBS series, “Conan,” which is to have its premiere on Nov. 8. Mr. Weinberg, who created the Max Weinberg 7 band for “Late Night With Conan O’Brien” in 1993, and Mr. O’Brien said in a joint statement that the departure was by mutual agreement.
Mr. O’Brien said in the statement that “Max has been a huge part of my life for the past 17 years and he is an incredible band leader and musician. I hope he can find time to stop by the new show, sit in with the band, and pretend to find my monologue funny.”
Mr. Weinberg wrote that his 17 years with Mr. O’Brien represented “a lifetime on TV.” He added that “making music with Jimmy Vivino, Mark Pender, La Bamba, Jerry Vivino, Scott Healey, Mike Merritt, and percussionist James Wormsworth enabled me to become a better musician and bandleader. I thank them for their first rate work on the bandstand. I wish Conan and his show the best and I do look forward to dropping by.”
Jimmy Vivino last week told The Riverfront Times of St. Louis that he would be taking over as Mr. O’Brien’s band leader following Mr. Weinberg’s departure.
I heard rumors that this might be happening months ago, and that he might even take a job as Leno’s new band leader once Eubanks left. While the NYT article doesn’t say anything about that, I doubt he would go from one show to another, especially if he is wanting to spend more time on tour with Springsteen.