‘Max Weinberg’s Jukebox’ tour comes to Daryl’s House in Pawling, N.Y.

November 29, 2017

Max Weinberg’s gig as Bruce Springsteen’s drummer recently kept him and the E Street Band on the road for more than a year. They rolled through 15 countries and played 89 shows, nearly four hours long each night.

“Last February we finished and I came home to do what I do — decompress and sleep,” he said. “When you’re on a tour at that level, you never relax.”

But after hanging out a few weeks, he was ready for a new adventure. “Drummers have to drum. It’s no fun playing by yourself,” he said in a phone interview.

That in mind, the Rock and Roll Hall of Famer embarked on his own tour, “Max Weinberg’s Jukebox.” It comes to Daryl’s House in Pawling, N.Y., on Sunday, Dec. 3.

“Max Weinberg’s Jukebox” delivers an interactive party, where the entire rock/pop set list is chosen by the audience. Fans pick their favorite tunes from a video menu of more than 200 choices.

“These are the songs that are the soundtracks of our lives if you’re between 40 and 80, which is predominantly the demographic that comes to see me. They bring their children, too.”

Weinberg’s quartet does it all — from The Beatles and The Monkees to The Rolling Stones and AC/DC. And he’s a natural ringmaster, gabbing with the audience and overseeing the fun.

“They just yell them out. I try to create an atmosphere of pandemonium. I ask them where they are from and why they want to hear a certain song. Sometimes they say, ‘It was my favorite at the prom in 1970.’”

Weinberg, 66, said someone once said he’s like a combination of television host Dick Clark and drummer Dave Clark; he feels it’s true. “I get real close and go out into the audience and ask, ‘What do you want to hear?’”

As for playing all those songs on the spot, Weinberg said, “We know them all. It’s like speaking English. If you grew up in the United States, it’s in your soul. I have the kind of brain or musical memory that if I hear a song once or twice, I can play it and I won’t forget it.”

His dual role as ringmaster comes easy, thanks in part to a 17-year stint with Conan O’Brien, as his bandleader and comic foil on late-night TV. From 1999 to 2009, he juggled both gigs — working with O’Brien and drumming for The Boss on tour.

Weinberg said he and his wife were fortunate to see Springsteen’s new Broadway show on opening night. “The funny thing is, I’ve worked with this guy for over 40 years, and I still found out things about him during this show that I didn’t know.

“When you’re on stage with him you hear what he’s saying, but you’re not really absorbing the stories. You’re waiting for your cue, or to see what he wants to do next. So for me, this was an experience unlike any other — what he brought out in some of those stories about his early childhood. It’s an incredible masterpiece of work and what he chose to highlight ties it all together.”

lkoonz@newstimes.com; Twitter: @LindaTKoonz