The list of Trump inauguration performers just got shorter. A band that was booked to perform at a gala Thursday night before Donald Trump’s official swearing in pulled out just days before the event.
According to Rolling Stone magazine, Bruce Springsteen cover band B Street Band has canceled their gig to entertain at the Garden State Presidential Inaugural Gala on January 19. The reason: Out of “respect and gratitude to Bruce Springsteen,” says the band’s manager and fellow musician, Will Forte. Springsteen is anti-Trump and has made his position known on that front.
“We’re standing out in the storm right here,” Forte told the band. “We gotta get out of the storm.”
Bruce Springsteen cover band drops out of Donald Trump inauguration party https://t.co/RjT6VBobNk
— Rolling Stone (@RollingStone) January 16, 2017
Being on the list of Trump inauguration performers left the band feeling “isolated,” Forte said. He explained that headlines were “misleading” and stories were “distorted.”
“There were misleading headlines like, ‘Trump Hires B-Street Band,’” Forte said. “We felt like we were out on our own on an island.”
The B Street Band was already slated to be on the list of Trump inauguration performers long before the controversial president-elect or any of the nominees were named. The band signed on to perform at the 2017 inauguration in 2013 after entertaining at President Obama’s second inauguration. As such, they didn’t exactly agree to go on stage for Donald Trump.
Bruce Springsteen is one of the main reasons this cover band exists, and it’s because of him, Forte says, that they can’t in good conscious sing for Trump’s inaugural celebrations.
“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.”
The B Street Band had to do some serious thinking about whether it was worth going ahead with the show. A lot of musicians have run scared from performing at the inauguration due to the severe backlash or the fear of ruining their careers. The band was feeling the heat and didn’t want to go against Springsteen’s position.
Forte best describes the dilemma as the band feeling as though they were in a “hurricane” of sorts.
“As time went by, the complexity of the situation became real immense and intense. The band was caught in a hurricane. We didn’t see this coming, of course.”
It’s noted in the report that although Bruce Springsteen never reacted to the news that the band inspired by him was performing at the Trump inauguration, the founding bassist of E Street Band, Garry Tallent, did, as well as the band’s guitarist, Steven Van Zandt.
“Please tell me this is more fake news. Or at least a joke,” Tallent tweeted.
“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,” Van Zandt tweeted.
— Philly.com (@phillydotcom) January 16, 2017
Forte admits all of this culminated in the B Street Band ultimately deciding to pull out of the Trump inauguration. He said it became clear to them that it just wasn’t “worth it” when they’re in the music business to “make people happy” and not get mired in ugly politics. Forte said it wasn’t planned for them to be Trump inauguration performers but was about upholding a contract they signed years ago. He shares that things were much easier as recent as four months ago.
“We would’ve never got involved in this if I knew how this would turn out. I would trade in all the support and publicity just to go back to where we were four months ago. I don’t think they’ll ever be a cover band of our size in the history of music that will get the attention of something this big.”
As the report concludes, the decision that the B Street Band made about not performing at the Trump inauguration has more to do with supporting Bruce Springsteen than opposing the president-elect.
[Featured Image by Alex Wong/Getty Images]