When Conan O’Brien makes his TBS debut this fall, his longtime band leader Max Weinberg, 59, will be noticably absent.
While rumors swirled that he was dropped, the E Street Band drummer told Fancast that the exit was due in part to his inability to pull up his New Jersey roots and relocate to Los Angeles, although some weighty health issues played a major role.
“I can make a little news here, which I haven’t talked about to anybody, but on Feb. 8, I came to the end of a 26-year watchful, waiting odyssey that culminated in 12 hours of massively invasive open-heart surgery,” Weinberg said, adding that he knew he had a faulty heart valve for over two decades.
"At the time, there was not much they could do and it wasn’t as serious as it became. As I got older, it got worse," he said. "Two years ago, it became life-threatening and I had to do something about it sooner or later. I did it two weeks after [Conan’s ‘Tonight Show’] went off the air."
Weinberg called the experience "life-changing, emotionally and spiritually."