And Finally Artist News Beef Of The Week

CMU Beef Of The Week #315: Third Eye Blind v The Republican Party

By | Published on Friday 22 July 2016

Donald Trump

You may have thought that I was going to write about that whole thing with Taylor Swift and Kanye West this week. But, come on. Unless Kim and Kanye actually end up going to prison, I don’t think there’s any more humour to be drawn out of that story. People are dicks. The end. Hurling abuse at people because of their political views though? That I can get on board with.

Yeah, alright, it does little to further any debate, but politics is a scary place at the moment, so you’ve got to take your laughs where you can get them. Luckily, in the UK we can just watch videos of politicians being asked why the fuck Boris Johnson is the new Foreign Secretary at high profile events.

Theresa May has been praised by some for stepping up and providing decisive-looking leadership in a time of crisis. But just look at how she stumbles her way through the answer to this question about Johnson. And then from earlier in the week, Johnson himself trying to get around the thorny issue of all the insults he has thrown at the people he’s now supposed to be working with is amazing. Look at John Kerry wince. How often do you get to see a politician actually wince? It may not solve any of our problems, but it is glorious nonetheless.

All this Brexit nonsense has been so all consuming that you could almost forget that America has its own stupid vote coming up. I mean, imagine how much heat would be taken off us and our silly decisions if the US was to actually elect the actual Donald Trump as its actual president. He does awkward so much more efficiently than any of our politicians too. I’m starting to think it might be in our interests to lobby for him to defeat Hillary Clinton.

Luckily, not everyone shares my view. Not least Third Eye Blind frontman Stephan Jenkins, who, as we found out this week, would really rather the Republican Party and all of its supporters go away.

People in the UK might remember Third Eye Blind as ‘that band that did that song’, though in the US they are somewhat more well known. As a result, they get asked to play the odd high profile event.

Jenkins has previously made his views on the Republican Party more than clear, writing an article for the Huffington Post in 2012 on why he had refused an invitation to play the Republican National Convention in Cleveland. It’s because they are “a party dedicated to exclusion”, if you were wondering.

However, this year he did agree to appear at an event linked to the same party’s big convention. Although not actually politically affiliated, the benefit show for the Musicians On Call charity, hosted by the RIAA and headlined by Third Eye Blind, was nevertheless billed as being part of said convention’s festivities. It also coincided with Trump being named the official Republican presidential candidate.

Knowing full well that the audience would therefore be filled with Republicans, Jenkins set about letting them know his disdain for their views. He apparently said repeatedly through his set that he “repudiates” what the party stands for. Plus there were quips like “raise your hand if you believe in science”, which drew boos from parts of the audience. “You can boo all you want, but I’m the motherfucking artist up here”, he told them.

As well as changing the lyrics of songs to further criticise the Republican Party, he resolutely refused to play any of his hits, except 1998’s ‘Jumper’, which was written about the suicide of his gay cousin. “To love this song is to take into your heart the message and to actually, actually have a feeling to arrive and move forward, and not live your life in fear and imposing that fear on other people”, he said, introducing the song.

In a statement the following day, the band said via their website: “We did not play an RNC event. We performed at a benefit for Musicians On Call because we support their mission in bringing music to the bedsides of patients in hospitals. Given that the benefit was held in Cleveland, we suspected that convention types might show up and we let it be known we were there to support Musicians On Call and that we in fact repudiate every last stitch of the RNC platform and the grotesque that is their nominee”.

Listing the beliefs they feel are at odds with the Republican viewpoint, they went on: “Science is science. Coal is not clean. Black Lives Matter. LGBTQ = equal. Separation of church and state (still a good idea). We could go on”.

“We have Republican friends, family members, and fans, and we love them all”, they added, recognising the offence they caused some during and after the show. “What we reject is what their party has come to stand for. But in keeping with Musicians On Call’s message, we believe in the gathering power of music. With that spirit we don’t step back from our audience wherever or whomever they are”.

Speaking to Rolling Stone, Jenkins said that he hadn’t expected the performance to draw the attention it has. Explaining the introduction to ‘Jumper’ at the event, he said: “To engage with that song means that you are participating in the belief system that all people are equal and deserving of dignity and protection, which is not what the Republican platform is. They think my gay cousin should be in conversion therapy”.

“The fact that I’m on stage nineteen years after I wrote [‘Jumper’] and we’re still talking about equal dignity for the LGBTQ community is absurd”, he continued. “But we are. And to yell ‘who believes in science?’ and have half the room boo is… their ideology is crumbling”.

Well, their ideology is something, certainly. We’ve still got another four months of campaigning in which to see if it’s actually falling apart at the seams. Only four months, guys! Yes, after what seems like most of the existence of life on Earth, the 2016 US presidential election campaign is now only four months away from being over.

And if I could just reiterate again, if you’re reading this in the US, it would really help us out over here in the UK if you would ignore Third Eye Blind and elect Donald Trump as your hilarious and terrifying leader. I believe that is what the ‘special relationship’ is all about.