Max Weinberg left Conan due to heart issues

Drummer also says he prefers living on East Coast

Max Weinberg, longtime drummer and bandleader for late-night talk show host Conan O'Brien, is speaking out about his decision not to return to Los Angeles for his counterpart's new TBS show, "Conan," which premieres Nov. 8.

"On Feb. 8, I came to the end of a 26-year watchful, waiting odyssey that culminated in 12 hours of massively invasive open heart surgery," Weinberg says in an interview with Fancast.

At the age of 59, the drummer for Bruce Springsteen's E Street Band since 1974 says it ultimately came down to family and his health.

"Frankly, I do prefer living in New Jersey and that was one of the problems I had. 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 [and have a job in Los Angeles]," he explained.

Weinberg also discussed the sudden end to O'Brien's "The Tonight Show."

"At my age, just being in this business for as long as I've been, nothing really surprises me, particularly in the landscape of television. [But] any abrupt ending to anything is shocking," he said. "It was very weird and awkward and, of course, I felt really bad for some of the people who moved out there -- over a hundred people from New York who really took the hit, people who had purchased homes."

Weinberg had made the move to L.A. from the East Coast, where he and his family reside, for O'Brien's seven-month gig as "The Tonight Show" host. O'Brien ended his run as host of the NBC show in January.
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