Drummer Max Weinberg and his band are taking requests of tunes from the 1950s-70s in their Jukebox show. (Courtesy photo)

Max Weinberg plays classic rock on Jukebox tour

Interactive show keeps drummer in good shape

Longtime E Street Band drummer Max Weinberg should be spending time off from touring behind his boss, The Boss — whose concerts run typically four hours or more — curled up in his den, in rejuvenating slumber. Yet he’s on the road again with another physically demanding project, Max Weinberg’s Jukebox, wherein he and a four-piece combo play impromptu versions of several hundred classic rock anthems, as requested by the audience. “Actually, the E Street Band tours are energizing and create in me a desire to play more and more,” he says via email. “And staying in good shape is important. You lose your chops pretty quickly if you don’t keep them up.”

What did you want to accomplish with this tour?

Pretty simple, really. I just wanted to play the songs I grew up with and enjoyed, whether I was listening to become a drummer or in many cases analyzing to become a better drummer. In this group we were so fortunate to come up during the golden age of rock and roll — the ‘50s through the ‘70s — that we play this music with respect, even though we and the audience have heard this material perhaps a thousand times.

Any songs you refuse to cover? And the Bruce Springsteen catalog is fair game?

Well, the guys are so good, and I’m pretty adept at faking it, so it’s pretty hard to stump us. We’ll give pretty much anything a shot. The idea is, we have a continuously revolving video screen of a couple hundred songs from which you can choose. And Bruce material? A nice sampling, but one song I won’t do is “Born to Run.” That’s Bruce’s, and Bruce’s alone! But it’s a very performer-audience interactive evening, and I also tell stories about what the songs mean to me.

What’s you favorite Bruce song to play, then?

Certainly, playing “Ramrod” from “The River” album in a stadium of 80,000 moving to that beat is pretty fulfilling. And that’s all I ever wanted to do, actually — get people up out of their seats and onto the dance floor.

Are you glad you didn’t pursue that career in law now?

I can say that in my month of law school in 1991 I learned some basic concepts that have been useful at times since. It might not be a bad idea if all musicians had a law degree.

Your VIP package offers a meet and greet with up to two items autographed. What if some scofflaw brings five?

Great question! I’ve not been asked that before. I guess they just have to answer to the queue of others! (LOL).


Max Weinberg’s Jukebox

Where: Chapel, 777 Valencia St., S.F.

When: 8 p.m. Friday, Aug. 16

Tickets: $55 to $115 VIP

Contact: (415) 551-5157, www.eventbrite.com

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