Powered by i.TV
October 31, 2014

Who Should Replace Kevin Eubanks On 'The Tonight Show'? Our 8 Choices

by Steve Baltin, posted Feb 17th 2010 1:30PM
Kevin EubanksJay Leno may have got his coveted 11:35PM 'Tonight Show' time slot back, but he'll be looking for a new band leader shortly after he goes back to late night on March 1. Kevin Eubanks, the jazz guitarist who's been with Leno since 1992 and took over over for Branford Marsalis as band leader in 1995, is expected to leave the show sometime in March to resume his recording and touring career.

Since Leno and Eubanks teamed up in 1992, the ante has been upped tremendously for late-night musicians, with Conan O'Brien first bringing in E Street Band drummer Max Weinberg to head his band. And then Jimmy Fallon found the best part of his show, convincing revered hip-hop group the Roots to be the house group.Kevin EubanksJay Leno may have got his coveted 11:35PM 'Tonight Show' time slot back, but he'll be looking for a new band leader shortly after he goes back to late night on March 1. Kevin Eubanks, the jazz guitarist who's been with Leno since 1992 and took over for Branford Marsalis as band leader in 1995, is expected to leave the show sometime in March to resume his recording and touring career.

Since Leno and Eubanks teamed up in 1992, the ante has been upped tremendously for late-night musicians, with Conan O'Brien first bringing in E Street Band drummer Max Weinberg to head his band. And then Jimmy Fallon found the best part of his show, convincing revered hip-hop group the Roots to be the house group.

Now, Leno may have taken a PR beating in recent months, but if Fallon can get the Roots, 'The Tonight Show,' still the most respected brand name in late night TV, should be able to draw from the top of music. And, let's face it, after both his prime time fiasco and the war of words with O'Brien, Leno could use a big name to make a splash. So here are eight choices:

Clarence ClemonsClarence Clemons
Weinberg might be the obvious choice as he has late night experience and is now looking for work. But we're going with the big man. The E Street Band saxophonist has the musical chops, has long been a staple of the legendary E Street Band shows, has been more visible in recent months with his autobiography, and is due for his turn in the mainstream spotlight as guitarist Steve Van Zandt had his moment on 'The Sopranos' and Weinberg had Conan. Take it away, big man.

Eric ClaptonEric Clapton
Yeah, it's a long shot, but then who ever thought Bob Dylan would host his own satellite radio show? And now 65, the current 'Rolling Stone' cover boy (with Jeff Beck) is slowing down as a recording artist, having not released a new studio album since 2006. And the clincher, he looked surprisingly comfortable doing that current T-Mobile commercial. See the way he nailed that "just hanging out" line at the end? He's a natural on TV.

Kanye WestKanye West
Another long shot, but what a splash; it would be an Oprah-esque moment -- West, still recovering after his MTV VMA Taylor Swift debacle and Leno, looking to regain the Team Coco members, teaming up on late night. Plus, if West's blog has proved anything, it's he loves the sound of his own voice and doesn't shy away from the spotlight TV would bring him.

Shania TwainShania Twain
The Taylor Swift of the '90s is looking to come back after an eight-year hiatus from recording new music. She's aware TV makes a perfect entryway after her successful stint guest judging on 'American Idol' and taking over band leader duties on the 'Tonight Show' would make her a fixture in her homes and remind everyone that country was once her domain.

Lemmy KilmisterLemmy Kilmister
The Motorhead frontman is a metal icon, a legend of the Sunset Strip that could bring in any number of huge rock guests. And while a lot of fans might say "Who?" at his name, 'Lemmy,' a documentary look at his career, will premiere at the SXSW Film festival March 10 and with big-name admirers like Dave Grohl, Slash and Ozzy Osbourne interviewed for the film it will change that anonymity.

Taylor HicksTaylor Hicks
The silver-haired Hicks would bring in his "Soul Patrol" following, ensuring some new fans for a show that might need them for reasons we already stated. In addition, he is obviously comfortable on TV, has the musical chops to lead a band having been a professional musician pre-'American Idol' and, at the risk of angering the Soul Patrol, Hicks' solo career hasn't exactly gone the way of Carrie Underwood.

PrincePrince

His parties are legendary for their jam sessions and we could only dream of seeing him and Stevie Wonder or whatever friend he invites on TV together. He would create can't miss You Tube moments every night as evidenced by his Super Bowl halftime show, which many believe is the best ever. Oh, and can you imagine a better band leader?

Stewart Copeland

Weinberg proved a drummer can lead a late-night band and Copeland is one of the most respected stick men in the world, as skilled at jazz as he is with rock. His droll sense of humor, displayed in 'Strange Look Back,' his often humorous look back at his days with the Police, would be an asset to Leno, and, he is another one who would bring in top-level guests.

Add a Comment

*0 / 3000 Character Maximum

Follow Us

From Our Partners