Mighty Max Weinberg being inducted into the NJ Hall of Fame
in Asbury Park. (Photo by Mike Coppola/Getty Images)
New Jersey is the home for some major talent in not only the entertainment and sports fields but in business, philanthropy and the arts.
Max Weinberg embodies all of those areas, so much so that he could be inducted into the New Jersey Hall of Fame in each one of those categories.
Max Weinberg, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame E-Street Band drummer who was inducted with Bruce Springsteen and the rest of the E Street Band into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2014, will now be inducted into the 2022 class of the New Jersey Hall of Fame with the induction ceremony scheduled to take place in October 2022.
Max was born in Newark and raised in South Orange, NJ. I have had the opportunity to talk with and host a few charity events that Max has participated in.
One conversation I had with him was about his musical influences. Max said that he got hooked on the drums after watching Elvis’ drummer, the great D.J. Fontana, perform on TV. He received a conga drum and started playing at the age of 6, made a makeshift strap for the conga and played it all over the house.
A teacher who was moonlighting doing bar mitzvahs and weddings invited him to sit in and he eventually became a local child star. For Max, playing music was a way he received some acceptance from friends and family and he has said that experience opened him up to a whole new world.
In 1974, Bruce Springsteen held an open audition after E-Street Band drummer Vini Lopez left the band. It was a time when Bruce was writing "Born to Run" and Bruce had been working on the title track for months and hired Boom Boom Carter to play drums on the title track of Born to Run. Max was hired and he played on the remainder cuts of the classic album.
Max purchased a 5-acre lot in Monmouth County and while on tour studied books about design and architecture as well as real estate. He became versed in building up his own property and lending advice to his close friends and family.
Max developed a tendonitis that was affecting his drumming on recordings, which resulted in a need to develop a healing program and rest to fix the major problem. When the Born in the USA tour kicked off, Max was rested and healed and he needed to be to bang those drums over 3 hours a night and perform on a grueling tour that took them all over the world.
Mighty Max and his band The Max Weinberg 7 was the house band for "Late Night with Conan O'Brien" and in 2010 after O’Brien decided to move to another network Max decided not to join him.
Max was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2014 as a member of the E-Street Band.
Max suffered some heart problems and was out for a while only to have his son Jay step behind the kit and tour some dates replacing his Hall of Fame dad. Jay incidentally is the drummer for the band Slipknot.
Max has given quite a bit to the New Jersey community in the way of his time and money. He was an advocate for conservation in Monmouth County and has given a tremendous amount of his time to the Lakehouse Academy to teach and mentor young wannabe drummers and musicians.
I’m thrilled that the New Jersey Hall of Fame has decided to honor Max and proud that he’s such a big part of our music community. Congratulations Max!
The post above reflects the thoughts and observations of New Jersey 101.5 weekend host Big Joe Henry. Any opinions expressed are Big Joe’s own.