Conan O'Brien Drops Late-Night Turncoat Max Weinberg


Was it something he did? In the wake of Movieline's report that Max Weinberg met with Jay Leno to become his new bandleader -- a potentially traitorous move, considering that Leno shoved his former employer Conan O'Brien out of the Tonight Show -- word is now emerging that Weinberg will not make the move to TBS alongside O'Brien. The main question is when did this all go down, and we've got the answer.

First, the semi-official confirmation. City Pages just interviewed music legend Al Kooper, and when Kooper mentioned that one of his bands shares members with O'Brien's house band, he dropped a tidbit about Weinberg's firing:

CP: So those guys went off [to Los Angeles] with Conan and Max Weinberg?

Kooper: There's a name you can't say anymore. He's not in that band anymore.

CP: Max? What happened there?

Kooper: They let him go. This is a big transition, and they're all signing new contracts and everything so they replaced him, as far as I know.

CP: Is the band gone as a whole?

Kooper: No, not at all. That's the only change. But I mean, there was a lotta conflict because of Springsteen. So now he can play with Springsteen whenever he wants.

Indeed! Some might think that Weinberg was dropped when word leaked of his meeting with Leno, but from what Movieline hears, it was common knowledge after O'Brien's ouster that were he to mount a new show on Fox or another network, Weinberg (who was disliked by most of the staff) would be jettisoned. With the writing on the wall, perhaps Weinberg's hail-mary pass to Leno becomes a little bit clearer -- even if it didn't pay off. Better luck next time, Max! Perhaps Bruce Springsteen has some rivals you can approach?

Al Kooper talks Dylan, Conan, Hendrix, and lifetime in the music business [CityPages]