From Cleveland to Conan: Scott Healy

3:07 PM, Feb 5, 2006   |    comments
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Scott Healy is one of the Lucky 7 -- The Max Weinberg 7 -- the house band on Late Night with Conan O'Brien. "Working with all the great talented people and doing a show that happens every day, it always happens and it is always really good,” Healy said. On the show, his dazzling keyboard work has backed up some of the best musicians of all time. But much earlier than Late Night, a young Healy grew up in Shaker Heights. And then he met the piano. "He didn't mind lessons at all,” his father, Tom, said. “In fact, he became anxious to get better teachers as time went along. "He was always playing in his room or down on the piano," his brother, Jeff said. Healy graduated from Hawken School in Gates Mills in 1978, and the yearbook shows his music passion. He headed to Manhattan after graduating from the Eastman College of Music in Rochester, New York. "As the guys like to kid him, you know, he studied privately, you see, so he really knows his stuff," Max Weinberg said. Scott went to work playing, composing, arranging, meeting other musicians. One of those, a guitarist named Jimmy Vivino called him when band leader Weinberg was looking to put a band together for Late Night in 1993. “We just sort of all got the gig together, you don't see advertisements for gigs like this,” Vivino said. “They just happen.” The unique thing about Healy is his musical vocabulary is so wide that he can play everything from Basie to Beatles. Most musicians' days start at night, in the evening hours. But for Healy and the rest of the band, their day starts at around noon when they head into work at 30 rock. After rehearsal, the band waits in the wings outside Studio 6a. Then, like a sports team heading into a playoff game, they jog into the studio, getting the Late Night audience ready for Conan’s unique brand of humor. Humor that sometimes includes Healy. “He singled me out when I drop a water bottle on my piano and it goes ‘bonk,’ and he's like ‘What was that?” Healy said. “And then I see like l 5 cameras come on to me.” Outside of late night, he scores films and arranges music. He arranged the raucous horns on Ricky Martin's "She bangs" single. Healy’s future looks even brighter. O'Brien is set to take over the Tonight Show from Jay Leno in 2009. “I imagine we'll be asked to go, I hope we are,” Healy said. “I'll go. I'm there.”


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