Max Weinberg’s favourite Bruce Springsteen song to perform live

There are many drummers with more public acclaim and musical prowess than Max Weinberg, yet few can stand up to his impressive resume as one of the great drummers of rock and roll history. Born in New Jersey, Weinberg would etch his name in the annals of rock history as the full-time drummer for Bruce Springsteen‘s E-Street Band as well as a longtime bandleader for the Max Weinberg 7.

A powerful and precise drummer with enough swing to make a cat-o-nine-tails feel self-conscious, Weinberg can be noted down as a “drummer’s drummer”. With rhythmic prowess and an almost delirious devotion to his craft, Weinberg is a revered percussionist who deserves far more praise than he is afforded in the public sphere.

While Weinberg is blessed with impeccable timing and unbridled energy, his big break came in 1974 when he auditioned for Bruce Springsteen as the stickman for his E-Street Band. Weinberg may have been a mechanically astute drummer and built with an internal undulating sense of rock and roll, but it was his ability to fall in time with Springsteen that would launch a career.

While he would find small celebrity as a bandleader for the Max Weinberg 7 on Late Night with Conan O’Brien, Weinberg’s true home has always been pitched squarely behind Springsteen, becoming an instrumental part of his career, delivering beats for songs such as Springsteen’s masterpiece ‘Thunder Road’, ‘Dancing in the Dark’ and ‘Born to Run’ to name a few.

He may have been a part of some of the most impressive songs in Springsteen’s canon, but only one is considered his favourite to perform. “They’re all like children, particularly the ones I worked on in the studio,” answered Weinberg when asked which is his favourite song to perform live in the clip below.

At this point, one might expect Weinberg to continue on the media-trained repertoire of answers around such a question. However, thankfully, he delivered a response we can sink our teeth into: “Just for pure fun, really, and anybody can play this song. I just happened to be the guy. I’ve said it before my favourite song is ‘Ramrod’.”

The truth behind Weinberg’s love of the song isn’t because it is a comparative rest for his arms, which are often overworked with Springsteen’s famously long shows, but because the track connects with the audience on a physical level. “I love to play that song because you get in a stadium full of people, and you just go like this [plays out the beat on his legs] at that tempo, and you see everybody physically picking up that beat.”

Those moments are what have driven Weinberg throughout his career: “That’s why I got into this business, because when I was a kid and in the late ’50s and early ’60s, I got the biggest thrill out of just getting people up to dance. That was what it was. That was simply what it was about. I had the ability as a drummer to enable people — think of when you’re dancing, you’re not really thinking of anything else, you know. You’re in that moment.”

The vision of an audience dancing seems to have connected with Weinberg on a more spiritual level, providing him with a sense of purpose: “I felt like, well, this is something I can do for people. So, for me, that’s what it was about when I was, you know, eight, nine, ten years old is about was getting people to physically move, and that directed my entire perspective on drumming and what drumming was supposed to do.”

Below, watch Max Weinberg perform ‘Ramrod’ with Bruce Springsteen and the E-Street Band.

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