The B Street Band certainly got a lot of attention for being included on the lineup for the Garden State Presidential Inaugural Gala on January 19th, at a time where Trump has been having trouble finding musicians willing to perform. Today, the band has formally dropped out of said lineup, citing Bruce Springsteen’s affiliations and unwarranted personal emails as reasons.
“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,” says bandleader Will Forte in an interview with Rolling Stone. “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.”
To the band’s credit, they did get caught up in something without it really being their fault. The B Street Band has been touring regularly since 1980 and has been a fixture at the New Jersey-based inauguration celebration at the last two events. Their presence is distinctly representative of New Jersey, and they signed the contract for this year’s event way back in 2013.
Still, the band ultimately had to make a decision about whether to show up to a Trump-hosted event. Though Springsteen himself never publicly weighed in on the issue, he is an outspoken critic of a Trump presidency. In that spirit, the band decided to remove themselves from the controversy surrounding the performance.
“When I started this band 37 years ago, it was only about performing and making people happy,” said Forte. “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. Even with all the support and publicity, I would trade that all in 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 has gotten the attention of something this big.”
Clearly they haven’t heard Joe Russo’s Almost Dead.