B Street Band, a wildly successful Bruce Springsteen cover band, has become the most recent Trump inauguration casualty. Despite agreeing to perform at a pre-inauguration event in 2013 (well before anyone had an inkling who would win the 2016 election, let alone dreamed it would be Trump), the group has officially decided to back out of the gig just days before it was slated to go down.
— Raw Story (@RawStory) January 11, 2017
As Fox News reported, the Bruce Springsteen cover band, which takes its name from Springsteen’s iconic E Street Band, was slated to perform Thursday at the Garden State Presidential Inaugural Gala, a New Jersey branch of the Trump inaugural festivities. It’s an event the B Street Band has played twice in the past, and up until today, the cover band had stood by its collective decision to put politics aside and stand by its contractual obligation.
Despite the fact that Bruce Springsteen himself is no Trump fan, having called the President-elect a “flagrant, toxic narcissist.” Incidentally, Springsteen performed at Obama’s 2009 inauguration bash.
It’s precisely Bruce Springsteen’s distaste for and dislike of Trump that the band believes sparked the huge backlash the group faced over its now-cancelled inauguration event performance.
That, and the fact that it had been erroneously reported that the Springsteen cover band would be performing at the Trump inaugural ball itself, put immense pressure on the group to withdraw from the Trump festivities altogether. According to 63-year-old Will Forte, the B Street Band’s agent, manager and keyboardist, the Bruce Springsteen cover band ultimately received thousands of emails regarding the Trump inauguration performance. Forte says that the communications came from people on both sides.
— Willie McBrides (@McbridesWillie) November 3, 2016
The decision of the Bruce Springsteen cover band to skip the Trump inauguration performance, reports Rolling Stone, ultimately came down to respect for The Boss himself.
“We felt that we had to make it known that we didn’t want to seem disrespectful, in any way, shape or form, to Bruce and his music and his band. I don’t want to upset them. We owe everything to him and our gratitude and respect to the band is imperative above all else. It became clear to us that this wasn’t working and we just had to do what we thought was the right thing to do and that was to pull out.”
As far as cover bands go, the B Street Band has done well for itself. The group has reportedly worked as many as 200 gigs every year since 1980, amassing a small fortune thanks to Springsteen. As such, it’s no wonder they aren’t keen on ruffling feathers with the man who paved the way for their success. It’s also worth noting that Springsteen recently received the Presidential Medal of Freedom at the hands of Barack Obama and campaigned for Hillary Clinton.
The Bruce Springsteen cover band "The B-Street Band" backed out of Trump's inauguration.
The fake president can't even get a fake band.
— God (@TheGoodGodAbove) January 16, 2017
There's ostracism, and then there's being-dumped-by-a-cover-band-ostracism. https://t.co/jOma4WBp3U
— Myke Cole (@MykeCole) January 16, 2017
The Bruce Springsteen cover band have pulled out of Trump's inauguration but their slot will be filled by Huey Lewis and the Fake News
— Miss Texas 1967 (@MsTexas1967) January 16, 2017
— Hood Witch (@realHoodWitch) January 16, 2017
When it comes to politics, while Bruce Springsteen has been a vocal critic of soon-to-be-President Trump, his cover band tries to say out of politics altogether. In fact, despite withdrawing from the upcoming Trump inauguration gala, the group says they are still not getting political. Just last week, Forte said of the Springsteen cover band that “I don’t even know if they have any politics.”
In the midst of the Trump inauguration controversy, Bruce Springsteen himself has said nothing publicly about the B Street Band or how they were managing the tough situation. However, founding bassists of Springsteen’s E Street Band, Garry Tallent, did take to social media to criticize the cover band’s decision to play the Trump celebration.
— benmont tench III (@benchten) January 12, 2017
Guitarist Steven Van Zandt wasn’t quite as harsh, but he did refer to the Bruce Springsteen cover band as “naive.”
Nice guys. Met them. I wouldn't say right or wrong. Up to them. But it's naive to think one can separate Art and Politics. Art IS Politics. https://t.co/yoAtWruY9B
— Stevie Van Zandt (@StevieVanZandt) January 14, 2017
Ultimately, Forte learned that Van Zandt called it correctly. While still claiming the decision to play was not political, the Springsteen cover band manager let it be known that the show wouldn’t be going on.
“All this stuff made it clear to us that this event is not worth it. It’s just a job to us.”
— Lynette Rice (@Lynetterice) January 12, 2017
The New Jersey State Society spoke out about the group’s decision to cancel, saying that they’re “very disappointed,” but understand the change of heart.
The Garden State Presidential Inaugural Gala, a $225-per-person shindig, is co-chaired by Governor Chris Christie and his wife. Christie is a known “superfan” of Bruce Springsteen. At this time it is unknown whether Christie (who has had his own share of issues with Trump) and his wife will be attending the Trump inauguration event now that the Bruce Springsteen cover band has cancelled.
[Featured Image by Matt Slocum/AP Photo]