Bandleader Max Weinberg says he had open heart surgery two weeks after Conan O'Brien left "The Tonight Show" in a life-changing experience that influenced the famed drummer's decision not to follow O'Brien to TBS.
Weinberg confirmed last week that he was not going to join O'Brien on his upcoming late-night show on TBS, which is set to debut in November. TBS is owned by CNN's parent company, Turner Broadcasting.
In an interview with Fancast.com, Weinberg disclosed that he underwent 12 hours of "massively invasive open heart surgery" to repair a valve that became life-threatening two years ago.
"It was a life-changing experience emotionally and spiritually," he said. "Did it play into my decision to remain where I am? Maybe. I mean I had three months of very difficult recovery. When I say it was life-changing – I’ve always been a person who smelled the roses, but everything looks a little brighter. Everything looks a little bit more manageable. Nothing is really that big a deal to me anymore. I’ve never felt better."
The E Street drummer also admitted that he prefers living in his home state of New Jersey with his wife and children.
"I love playing in L.A., but my kids and my wife are back east, and we live part of the time in Italy, so it was hard to structure my life."
Up next for Weinberg: the premiere Thursday of a new documentary about Bruce Springsteen on HBO – "The Promise: The Making of 'Darkness on the Edge of Town.' "