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Max Weinberg: From Bruce Springsteen’s drummer to a seat on a Florida zoning board

Weinberg was appointed to the Delray Beach Planning and Zoning Board.

“I have been self-employed as a musician since 2010. Still actively performing from time to time. Desire to serve the community.”

Objective: “To serve on the Delray Beach Planning and Zoning Board.”

The candidate is willing to work for free for two years.

Not many self-employed musicians who perform “from time to time” bash the drums in massive sports stadiums or arenas worldwide fill out applications to run for a South Florida municipality.

But drummer Max Weinberg’s boss is The Boss, aka Bruce Springsteen, and he’s got some experience with city councils.

The man who was a 2014 inductee into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame as a member of Springsteen’s E Street Band and who was music director for NBC’s Late Night With Conan O’Brien and The Tonight Show With Conan O’Brien and who drummed on records by Meat Loaf, Bonnie Tyler and Air Supply, is officially on the Delray Beach Planning and Zoning Board.

Last week, the Delray Beach City Commission voted unanimously to appoint Weinberg, 69, to a two-year term through Aug. 22, 2022.

“As a citizen interested in smart municipal planning whether in Jersey or here in southeast Florida I always held that opinion that responsible planning and zoning must be viewed through a long lens,” Weinberg said in an email to the Miami Herald. “Decisions have consequences so the thought put into those decisions must be thorough and objective. Being prepared and doing your homework is key. I’m looking forward to bringing that posture to the board.”

Commissioner Juli Casale recommended Weinberg to the two-year term. She told the Palm Beach Post she met him while campaigning for her seat on the commission in 2019. “I was impressed with his knowledge and vision of real estate and development. I love Springsteen. Who doesn’t? But this appointment was not made because of his music prowess.”

Weinberg, who was born in Newark, N.J., joined the E Street Band in 1974 and was the drummer on Springsteen’s third album, Born to Run, which broke Springsteen wide in 1975, landing the musician on the covers of both Time and Newsweek.

And now Weinberg has gone from Thunder Road to a listed address of Seaspray Avenue in Delray.

Born to run

Weinberg says the discipline he learned through decades of touring with a world-famous act like Springsteen’s E Street Band serves his appointed position well.

“Actually, the detail required of both are similar. The decisions you make as a recording musician, for example, are long-lasting — particularly for a drummer who grew up in the ’50s and ’60s when the process was much less technically sophisticated. Making statements on a three-minute record takes mindfulness and precision. I feel I always had the former; I like to think through the years I got better at the latter,” Weinberg said.

On his application, Weinberg, who listed he owned two properties in Palm Beach County, said he has been a property owner since 1978 and that he has appeared before many planning and zoning boards in New Jersey, Los Angeles and Arizona.

“On occasion I have found board members who were not thorough when that is required,” he wrote on his application. “For the most part I have experienced board members who take their responsibilities quite serious as I believe I would. I am a long range thinker — a necessary requirement of the position.”

The Real Deal reports his Seaspray home is on the market for $5.25 million and a sale is pending, according to Realtor.com.

In 2018, Weinberg and his wife, Becky, sold a 6,500-square-foot house at 110 Wells Road in Palm Beach for $6.78 million, the Real Deal reported.

“Big picture thinking and a dedication to detail are what you bring to the music. In my real estate avocation I take the concept of due diligence very seriously. With this new responsibility I’m going to do my best to apply that experience to benefit the citizens of Delray Beach and other interested parties that come before the board,” Weinberg said.

Other musicians who entered civil service

Weinberg isn’t the first famed musician to enter civil service. According to Paste, others have included:

Sonny Bono, one half of Sonny & Cher, was elected mayor of Palm Springs in 1988 and served four years. He was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives in 1994 as a Republican candidate to represent California’s 44th congressional district. Bono was killed in a skiing accident in Lake Tahoe in 1998. His widow, Mary Bono, served out his term and was elected seven times on her own.

Beto O’ Rourke, who was a 2020 Democratic candidate for president and a U.S. Representative for Texas’ 16th congressional district, played bass in several punk rock bands while at Columbia University in the early 1990s.

Martha Reeves, who struck gold as a member of Motown’s Martha Reeves & the Vandellas with Nowhere to Run and Dancing in the Streets, ran and was elected as a councilwoman for the city of Detroit and served from 2005 to 2009.

John Hall, a member of 1970s soft rock act Orleans, whose 1976 hit, Still the One, was adopted as WPLG Local 10′s jingle for television commercials in Miami, served as a Democrat in the U.S. House of Representatives from New York’s 19th congressional district from 2007 to 2011. Hall’s entree into the political arena sparked when he performed his tune, Power, with friends James Taylor and Carly Simon, as a member of Musicians United for Safe Energy at the No Nukes concerts at Madison Square Garden in New York City in September 1979. Weinberg also performed at the No Nukes concerts with Springsteen as a member of the E Street Band and was featured on the resulting live album.

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