Photo by Ben Kaye
We’re only halfway through, but we may have found the winner of the Troll of the Week award.
You might not know it, but Third Eye Blind are a particularly politically minded outfit. (Was anyone else at the Bonnaroo press conference for frontman Stephan Jenkins’ diatribe on guns?) In 2012, they were asked to play the Republican National Convention, to which Jenkins responded with a Huffington Post editorial. “Though I am happy to play for Republican fans, like my life-long Republican mom, playing the RNC convention is a tacit endorsement of the Republican presidential candidate and his party platform, and this is not my mom’s Republican Party anymore,” he wrote, later adding, “…If I came to their convention, I would Occupy their convention.”
Flash forward to 2016, and his band actually did end up at the RNC, and just like Jenkins promised, they Occupied the hell out of it.
Third Eye Blind were playing a charity event for Musicians on Call (sponsored by the RIAA and AT&T) at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame & Museum in Cleveland on Tuesday evening. Though not technically part of the Convention, the show was expected to find TEB “covering several pro-America anthems for the RNC friendly audience in attendance,” according to Cleveland.com. Instead, the band used the platform to speak out against intolerance and the current state of conservatism. They played only one hit, and even that was used to take a shot at the Republican platform.
“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 in fear and imposing that fear onto other people,” Jenkins said of “Jumper”, which he also said was as much about bringing people like his gay cousins “fully into the American fabric” as anything. After concluding the classic ’90s jam, he asked, “Who here believes in science?” The response was a rousing chorus of boos.
Jenkins response to all the jeering? “You can boo all you want, but I’m the motherfucking artist up here.”
Though “Semi-Charmed Life” was apparently listed on the setlist as an encore, the band chose not to reappear after their initial set. However, they did end up playing “Non-Dairy Creamer”, which includes the refrain “Young gay Republicans” over and over.
Later on Twitter, the band was asked if they worried they might hurt Musicians on Call by choosing the charity event to voice their opposition to the Republican party. “Great question,” they responded. “We were not, as musicians on call were well aware of who we are and our take on things (like science and rights!).” When someone else said they’d “never been more disappointed” then by what went down at the RRHF, the band had a one word response: “Good.”
Check out video of the event below, plus a few Twitter reactions from both sides of the aisle, including a hell of an offer from The Mountain Goats.