Max Weinberg Jilting Conan O’Brien to Join Jay Leno?

Hot on the heels of news about Bruce Springsteen’s possible matrimonial misdeeds comes word that E Street Band drummer Max Weinberg may be dumping Conan O’Brien to play bandleader on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno.

According to website Movieline, Weinberg has made “overtures” to Tonight about replacing current bandleader Kevin Eubanks, who announced earlier this year his intention to leave the show.

The site notes that Weinberg told an interviewer shortly after O’Brien’s tenure as Tonight Show host began: “I think one of the biggest thrills in my life was seeing my name in the same sentence as Doc Severinsen, who, in my view, is the gold standard forTonight Show bandleaders …. I used to think when I was a kid what a great job that must be — you know, same place, every time, everyday. Lo and behold, here I am 40 years later, doing it. That sounds deep, deep, deep, deep, deeply satisfying to me.”

Personally, I always preferred when Jimmy Vivino subbed for Weinberg when the E Streeters were on tour, but the fact remains that Weinberg’s is the bigger name.

Just how much Max will be missed by O’Brien and company in the future remains the subject of some debate. Though several members of Weinberg’s band will be joining O’Brien during his tour this summer, Weinberg’s name has been noticeably absent.

The Movieline report went on to publish some of the long-standing rumors about Weinberg’s sometimes contentious presence on set: He “would send interns to do gardening work at his house on the New Jersey shore, and would involve staffers in his pay disputes with the network — at one point, even enlisting an intern to tabulate every minute of screen time Weinberg had racked up over two years in an argument for a salary raise.”

If Weinberg does end up with Leno, he may have to force himself to laugh more often than he did on O’Brien’s broadcasts, on which he usually maintained a stone-faced presence.

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