Max Weinberg was happy to play the proud papa at Saturday’s Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction ceremony, accepting well-wishes about his 18-year-old son Jay’s appointment as his fill-in in the E Street Band for a selection of dates on Bruce Springsteen’s current world tour.
“What can I say? I’m very proud,” Weinberg told Billboard.com after inducting Elvis Presley’s drummer DJ Fontana into the Hall — while E Street Band bassist Garry Tallent did the honors for Presley’s bassist, Bill Black. “I never taught him to play drums. He did it all by himself. He did all the work. He started less than four years ago and basically taught himself. He’s like a prodigy or something.
“I give my wife more credit than me. Maybe it’s in the genes. It could be genetic.”
Weinberg, who has to miss the shows to help Conan O’Brien make his move to “The Tonight Show,” acknowledged that he idea of an E Street Band concert happening without him was odd — but less so because it will be his son filling in for him.
“As Bruce said to me one night, ‘It’s good to know there’ll always be a Weinberg on the drums in the E Street Band,” the drummer said. “It’s just a scheduling thing, but to have your child acquit himself so well and do it his own way…it’s a wonderful feeling. There’s nothing negative about it. He sounds great with the band.”
And the silver lining? “I’ve never seen the band,” notes Weinberg, who during the recent rehearsal shows in Asbury Park “stepped down front to watch, and it’s a helluva show.”
The Springsteen tour, he reports, is off to a strong start, too.
“We found that with very little rehearsal, the first night it was largely there, the second night, boom, it was all there,” Weinberg says. “The new material’s going over great. ‘Kingdom of Days’ is an instant, epic song for us. People seem to really respond to that song. ‘Outlaw Pete’ has taken on a whole other dimension playing live. It’s quite a different show for us, very exciting.”