Tomorrow night, Max Weinberg kicks off his Max Weinberg Big Band Tour at the Count Basie Theater in Red Bank, New Jersey. On the trek, which runs through the beginning of July, the drummer's 15-piece band will mix classics by Buddy Rich and Count Basie with big-band style arrangements of Bruce Springsteen songs like "Born to Run," "Kitty's Back" and "Thunder Road." "The drummers I liked as a kid growing up were people like Gene Krupa, Buddy Rich," Weinberg told Rolling Stone when we tracked him down a Manhattan rehearsal space yesterday (watch the interview above).
As for whether Weinberg will be leading Conan O'Brien's house band when the host's new late-night show comes to TBS in the fall, the drummer has little comment. "I literally have not thought about it," he says. "There have been no discussions. It's kind of an open question. I'm strictly thinking about mounting my big band tour, taking some time off in the fall and getting back on the road with this band. We have dates booked through the summer of 2011. In terms of Conan O'Brien and Max Weinberg, people will have to stay tuned."
Weinberg did reveal that the rumored full-band recording of Springsteen's 1982 acoustic disc Nebraska does exist. "The E Street Band actually did record all of Nebraska and it was killing," Weinberg says. "It was all very hard-edged. As great as it was, it wasn't what Bruce wanted to release. There is a full band Nebraska album, all of those songs are in the can somewhere." He also confirmed that a Darkness on the Edge of Town reissue is in the works. "I don't really exactly know what the stage of thinking is relating to that project seeing the light of day," he says. "But it would certainly be a wonderful thing to come out. A lot it was captured on film. There was always a guy in the studio with a little hand-held camera. If that does make the light of day, it would be something I would heartily endorse."
There's also been a long-standing rumor that Springsteen is preparing another box set of unheard studio recordings — another project Weinberg says he could get behind. "For Born in the U.S.A. there were 65 or 70 songs recorded," he says. "There was a song, I'm not even sure what the title ended up to be, but in rehearsal it was called 'White Lies.' I hope that makes the light of day."
Finally, he says the E Street Band will almost certainly mount another tour with Springsteen at some point in the future. "Bruce will get an itching to go out and play and send signals through the air," he says. "The mist will certainly congeal at some point and I'm pretty sure we'll be back out there."
June 11 - Red Bank, NJ @ Count Basie Theatre
June 13 - Uncasville, CT @ Mohegan Sun (Wolf Den)
June 14 - Philadelphia, PA @ World Cafe Live
June 15 - Cambridge, MA @ Regatta Bar
June 16 - Jim Thorpe, PA @ Mauch Chunk Opera House
June 17 - Easton, MD @ Avalon
June 21 - Evanston, IL @ Space
June 22 - Madison, WI @ Majestic
June 23 - Minneapolis, MN @ Dakota
June 25 - Newport Beach, CA @ Hyatt Regency Newport Beach Summer Jazz Series
June 27 - San Francisco, CA @ Yoshi's
June 28 - Petaluma, CA @ Mystic
July 13 - Lansing, MI @ Common Ground Music Festival
Oct. 8 - Buffalo, NY @ Center For The Arts