Third Eye Blind baits Republican audience at Cleveland fundraiser

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‘Boo all you want – I’m the artist up here,’ said Stephan Jenkins, after riling RNC attendees with quips including: ‘Raise your hand if you believe in science’

Third Eye Blind baits Republican audience at Cleveland fundraiser
Stephan Jenkins of Third Eye Blind: the Republicans are ‘dedicated to exclusion’. Photograph: Peter Kramer/AP

The rock band Third Eye Blind antagonized a crowd of Republican national convention attendees during a charity concert at Cleveland’s Rock and Roll Hall of Fame on Tuesday night.

During the Musicians on Call fundraiser, held to aid in bringing live and recorded music to patients in healthcare facilities, the singer Stephan Jenkins continually blasted the GOP by condemning Republican ideology (according to Billboard, he said he “repudiates” what the party now stands for) – and making remarkssuch as: “Raise your hand if you believe in science.” Clips uploaded on to social media show Jenkins exclaiming to booing audience members: “You can boo all you want, but I’m the motherfucking artist up here.”

The Musicians on Call event wasn’t officially affiliated with the RNC, but its sponsor, the Recording Industry Association of America, had emphasized in a press release that the gala was explicitly tied to the convention.

The actions of the group, best known for their 1990s alt-rock hit Semi-Charmed Life, don’t come as a huge surprise: four years ago, Jenkins penned a commentary piece for Huffington Post titled Why We Aren’t Playing at the RNC, in which he explained why his band didn’t accept an invitation to perform at a private party during the 2012 Republican convention because “they are, in fact, a party dedicated to exclusion”.

“The Republican party is on the wrong side of Lilly Ledbetter, fiscal responsibility, unions, civil rights, climate change, evolution, the Big Bang theory, stem cells, Medicare, and me, and that’s why we will let them be, in their government-funded event center, to sell their song and dance without me,” he wrote.

Jenkins also took an opportunity to take aim at Senator Marco Rubio in a 2015 video interview with Rolling Stone, warning of the effects of climate change.

According to Billboard, the only hit the band chose to perform was Jumper, a song inspired by the suicide of Jenkins’ friend, who was gay. In introducing the song, he said: “To love this song is to take into your heart the message, and to actually have the feeling to arrive and move forward and not live your life in fear, [not] imposing that fear on other people.”

Many attendees expressed their displeasure with the tone of the concert, including one fan who tweeted her disappointment regarding Tuesday’s show. “Good,” the band responded on Twitter.

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