The Schmooze

Q&A: Max Weinberg on Springsteen and Conan

Legendary drummer Max Weinberg, one of the original members of the E Street Band, took a night off from Bruce Springsteen’s “Wrecking Ball” concert tour on March 27 to talk about his life and lessons learned at the National Museum of American Jewish History in Philadelphia. Weinberg improbably started a second career at the age of 40 as bandleader on “Late Night with Conan O’Brien” when Springsteen disbanded the band in 1989. He then followed Conan to the “Tonight Show.” What most people don’t know is that the musician voted best drummer in the 1986 Rolling Stone critics poll can’t read music. The Arty Semite had a chance to catch up with the maestro during his visit to the museum.

Laura Goldman: Could you describe your first meeting with Springsteen?

Max Weinberg: The ad in the Village Voice caught my eye because it said that the band had a Columbia Records contract. That was more than I had. To get to the audition, I had to climb up four long flights of steps with my drum. After I arrived tired and sweaty, Springsteen greeted me, “How are you doing? Let’s play.” I knew half way through the audition that we clicked.

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Q&A: Max Weinberg on Springsteen and Conan

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