Was Max Weinberg Played Off Conan's New Gig?

O'Brien's reps deny rumors of strife between bandleader and host, say nothing (and no one) has been locked down for TBS show

By Gina Serpe May 03, 2010 6:19 PMTags
Max Weinberg, Conan O'BrienMichael Loccisano/Getty Images; Jake De Golish/WireImage

The short answer is no. At least, not yet.

The long answer is so much more interesting.

While Conan O'Brien paid lip service last night to turncoat successor Jay Leno, it's apparently not the only feud that's been brewing in the wake of his Tonight Show loss

Rumors that bad blood has been circulating between CoCo and his longtime string dance accompanist Max Weinberg have been gaining ground this week, so much so that O'Brien's camp has gone out of their way to deny reports that the bandleader won't be joining Conan when his TBS tenure kicks off in November.

Reps for the once and future late-night host confirm to E! News that absolutely no details have been set for the new show—including whether or not a certain drummer will have a place on the stage—as everyone is far too busy with the tour.

The tour which, incidentally, features every member of the Max Weinberg 7 except the one in the title. Is that telling? Well, depends on who you ask.

Take Al Kooper (never heard of him? You have now). The veteran New York musician regularly jams with Jimmy Vivino, a longtime member of the Max Weinberg 7 and current tourmate of Team CoCo. In other words, the guy's connected and seemingly knows of what he speaks.

"There's a name you can't say anymore," Kooper let slip when asked about O'Brien and Weinberg. "He's not in that band anymore.

"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…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."

But the Boss may not have been the only source of conflict between the duo.

According to Movieline, Weinberg—who has already announced the formation of the all-new Max Weinberg Big Band on his official website—racked up quite the strike against himself earlier this year, when he reportedly did the unthinkable and "made overtures" to Leno about replacing Kevin Eubanks as the Tonight Show's resident music man.

Apparently, he thought he could fill Eubanks' giggle-happy shoes. Bet he's not laughing now.

Follow us on Facebook and Twitter.


Did you miss Conan's first interview about the late-night shakedown? Get the details now.