Kevin Eubanks Leaving “Tonight Show”? Pick Leno’s New Sidekick

February 17th, 2010 by Daniel Kreps Leave a reply »

Photo: McIsaac/Getty

Jay Leno may have beat Conan O’Brien in the battle of The Tonight Show, but one of the casualties of the late-night war may have been his bandleader Kevin Eubanks, who will reportedly abscond from the 11:35 p.m. time slot to pursue other opportunities. According to the New York Times, while Eubanks will have guitar in hand and be eager to laugh at all of Leno’s jokes when The Tonight Show returns on March 1st, his status after those transitional first weeks is still unknown. Eubanks has professed a desire to tour and record; he last released a new album in 2006.

However, Eubanks might just be seeking an agreement similar to the one Max Weinberg had with Conan O’Brien, which allowed him to rejoin Bruce Springsteen’s E Street Band whenever they went on tour. If this is the end of Eubanks’ tenure as The Tonight Show’s bandleader, Rolling Stone is here to help Leno and his producers think up a worthy replacement. Rumors that Hootie & the Blowfish’s Darius Rucker was in talks to replace Eubanks have been quickly shot down. Instead, taking a page from Jimmy Fallon’s playbook by hiring the Roots, here’s some of the artists we’d recommend as the next Tonight Show rocker-in-residence.

Steven Van Zandt:

Pros: Has television experience thanks to his run on The Sopranos. Infectious laugh would enhance Leno’s jokes. Plus, with O’Brien — and Weinberg — getting the boot, Little Steven would fill the E Street void on late night.
Cons: Would make things awkward on the Springsteen tour bus. Rules out Sopranos reunion show. Lives in New York, but NBC proved with Conan that money could convince anyone to move anywhere.


Pros: Los Angeles native. Bandleader position would give him easy access to talk to musical guests about whether the...

Article Source: Rolling Stone : Rock and Roll Daily


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