Thursday, October 18, 2007

The Jersey Shore, Bruuuuuce, and the Max Weinberg 7

Last night I did a show at Uncle Vinnie's Comedy Club, on the beautiful Jersey Shore, which is all abuzz right now because their favorite son, Bruce Springstein (with whom I share a birthday [Sep 23 if you're scoring at home]) is back on tour.

This is great for all the Bruce fans out there, and for rock and roll, as well as the denim jacket industry, but it also has a profound impact on late night t.v. See, Bruce's drummer is none other than Max Weinberg, of the Max Weinberg 7 on NBC's Late Night with Conan O'Brien.

With Max on the road with The Boss, the Late Night band will be free to be... an actual band.

I couldn't put my finger on the problem at first. Back in the 90's when Conan started, there was something about the band I didn't like. The music was great, the players are all awesomely talented, but there was something weird going on.

Then I realized, Max has never made eye-contact with his band in the decade-and-a-half they've been on the air. I've been waiting for the day when he actually looks at his band while playing and it has yet to come. When they play Conan to the desk and Max bursts into a drum roll, he's looking at Conan.

When he winds up with the big finish and pounds on the cymbals, he's looking at Conan.

I've never even seen him nod at the band, or wink, or acknowledge them in any way. Never anything to say "hey, I'm the bandleader, follow me." It's more like "I'm going over here, you probably should come too because they're paying you but I don't really care either way."

All great t.v. bandleaders had a rapport with their band. Doc Severinsen, Paul Shaffer, Remote Control's Steve Treccase (o.k. he only had a keyboard, but he looked at it!)

So now Max is on the road and filling in with the band is James Wormworth, a drummer who seems to enjoy being on the same stage with the other guys. Here's to a long, successful, and long tour!


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Monday, October 01, 2007

On your marks, get set and go now...

Sometimes career milestones can sneak up on you. For example, thanks to today's noontime show at the Milwaukee School of Engineering I have accomplished a career goal I didn't even know I had: I performed in the old Blatz Brewery, which was used as the Shotz Brewery in the opening credits of Laverne & Shirley.

As I performed in the student center I could feel the aura and energy of quality late 70's/early 80's sitcoms in the air, and it made me feel warm inside, like comfort food. Like the mac & cheese comfort food they were giving away free during the show.

But the show was fun for several reasons, mostly because I actually like playing at engineering schools. They're filled with smart, tech-savvy students--o.k. nerds--and I fit in quite well (thanks to my cello playing, honor student past). And after the show, when they handed me the check they had written on the envelope "For the Nooner Fund," a reference to an episode of my video podcast.Hella cool, MSOE!

Now, enjoy the awesome theme song:

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