Drummer Max Weinberg brings appeal for cancer research to DC

Famed drummer Max Weinberg has lots of fans on Capitol Hill, but he wishes important issues like cancer research could bring them together the way his music does.

The legendary E Street Band member delivered the keynote address Wednesday at the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network's Leadership Summit and Lobby Day in Washington.

"Cancer does not respect the aisle," said Weinberg, who survived a bout with prostate cancer in 2011.

Now he’s hoping he can bring together lawmakers on the issue.

ADVERTISEMENT
“I’ve seen members of both parties really let their hair down at Bruce Springsteen and The E Street Band concerts,” he told The Hill.

Among the band’s fans are two New Jersey Democrats, Rep. Frank Pallone Jr. and Sen. Cory BookerCory Anthony BookerSenate Dems hold floor talk-a-thon against latest ObamaCare repeal bill Grassley: 'Good chance' Senate panel will consider bills to protect Mueller Overnight Finance: GOP plans to unveil tax framework in late September | Critical stretch for Trump tax team | Equifax CEO called to testify | Sanders unveils single-payer bill MORE, and the state’s top Republican, Gov. Chris Christie.

“New Jersey’s governor is a fanatic,” Weinberg told The Hill. “I can recall, I think we played Madison Square Garden, and he was in the back, on the side, but you couldn’t miss him in a big red sweater, dancing all over the place.”

Weinberg’s seen the bonds music can build. He said he’s often approached by lawmakers who share their love of his music or playing in bands while teenagers.

Weinberg’s even played with former President Bill ClintonBill ClintonGOP rep: North Korea wants Iran-type nuclear deal Lawmakers, pick up the ball on health care and reform Medicaid The art of the small deal MORE, who brought his own sax mouthpiece.

“Everybody has a story about playing drums or playing 'Midnight Hour,'” said Weinberg.

“I would like to see a congressional band spring up of both sides of the aisle and see if they would have a little more success in making music than they do agreeing on the direction of the country,” he added.

He wishes Congress could come together the same way, especially on aiding cancer research.

The leadership summit brought more than 700 volunteers from nearly every congressional district to on Capitol Hill Tuesday to lobby representatives for cancer research funding and other causes.

A Senate spending bill for 2018, which was approved by the Appropriations Committee, would include a $2 billion increase in funding for the National Institutes of Health.

On Monday night, Weinberg played a song with the band at the summit’s kickoff party. He later autographed the drumsticks he used. They’ll be auctioned off to help raise funds.

Weinberg also took time to enjoy the capital.

He walked across the Mall on Tuesday and visited the National Museum of American History, his favorite Smithsonian spot, along with the National Air and Space Museum.

Next time he’s in town, he said he hopes to visit the National Museum of African American History and Culture.