We’ve had a sneaking suspicion that Max Weinberg would not be joining Conan O’Brien on his TBS show Conan this November ever since the former was noticeably absent from the latter’s “Legally Prohibited From Being Funny on Television Tour” this summer. Then, Weinberg further hinted at a Conan-less future in June when he told Rolling Stone “I literally have not thought about” his role on the forthcoming late night TV program. Today, the two long-time partners finally made it official as they announced in a joint statement that Weinberg has chosen to end his reign as the leader of O’Brien’s backing band.
“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,” O’Brien said in a statement to The Hollywood Reporter.
Added to Weinberg, “17 years — a lifetime on TV. Conan and I met on a New York City street corner in the Spring of 1993 and my association with Conan, his staff, and crew has been a deeply rewarding experience for me. And, 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.”
Weinberg did not reveal what his future plans hold, but does have dates scheduled through summer 2011 with his new project, the Max Weinberg Big Band Tour. There’s also speculation that he’ll replace Kevin Eubanks as the band leader for The Tonight Show with Jay Leno.
Longtime guitarist and keyboard player Jimmy Vivino will reportedly replace Weinberg as band leader for Conan, which premieres November 8th on TBS. So much late night dramaz.