Published Jan 16, 2017In addition to an America's Got Talent runner-up and that band who sang about Superman, United States president-elect Donald Trump had lined up Bruce Springsteen tribute act the B-Street Band to perform at this week's inauguration event on January 20. Now, the cover group have decided to drop off the bill.
Speaking to Rolling Stone, B-Street Band keyboardist, manager, agent and publicist Will Forte revealed that the band came to the decision out of respect for Springsteen himself, who has voiced his displeasure with the president-elect.
"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," Forte told the publication. "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."
Rolling Stone points out that Forte and the band had played the gala for President Obama twice before, and signed the contract for this year's inauguration back in 2013. However, the band "felt like we were out on our own on an island" following the "thousands of emails from both sides" after the announcement that they would play.
Springsteen had not spoken about the band's involvement in the inauguration, though the E Street Band's founding bassist Garry Tallent tweeted, "Please tell me this is more fake news. Or at least a joke." E Street Band guitarist Steven Van Zandt also weighed in on Twitter to say, "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."
Forte continued, "When I started this band 37 years ago, it was only about performing and making people happy. I never thought the distortion of what we do as a band would've been so intense. I wish it never would've happened. 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."
In a statement, executive director of event organizer New Jersey State Society Nancy Fatemi told Rolling Stone, "We are very disappointed, but we understand the decision based on all the questions and attention this has brought to the B-Street Band. Our mission has always been to bring people together in a congenial, nonpartisan way. In New Jersey, we are always stronger than the storm."