CLEVELAND, USA – Republican convention delegates expecting some carefree 1990s nostalgia from Third Eye Blind had an unwelcome surprise when the band used a show to attack the party as intolerant.
The rockers headlined a charity concert Tuesday night on the sidelines of the Republican National Convention in Cleveland, which nominated real estate tycoon Donald Trump as the party's presidential candidate.
But frontman Stephan Jenkins had choice words for Republicans as he went into one of the band's best-known songs, 1997's "Jumper," written about a gay man struggling with suicidal thoughts.
"To love this song is to take into your heart the message and to actually have a feeling to arrive and move forward and not live your life in fear and imposing that fear on other people," Jenkins said, according to a video posted on social media.
Watch some clips below, including one from Third Eye Blind guitarist Kryz Reid:
Third Eye Blind tonite at #RNCinCLE event: We believe in tolerance, acceptance (Followed by boos) pic.twitter.com/WPRIEMZmEp — Tina (@tinpant) July 20, 2016
Jenkins said he had gay cousins who he hoped would be accepted "fully... into the American fabric."
The Republican Party's platform opposes last year's Supreme Court decision that legalized gay marriage across the United States, calling "traditional marriage and family" the "foundation for a free society."
Jenkins at another point asked for a show of hands of attendees who "believe in science" – a likely allusion to the Republicans' rejection of the scientific consensus on climate change.
Some crowd members responded by booing, to which Jenkins shot back: "You can boo all you want, but I'm the... artist up here."
Third Eye Blind, whose members have made no secret of their political views in the past, was playing a charity show at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland.
The event, which was timed for the convention but not affiliated with the Republican Party, raised money for Musicians On Call, which puts on shows for hospital patients.
The band clarified this in a Facebook statement, saying: "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."
The statement continued later: "We have Republican friends, family members, and fans, and we love them all. 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."
The unexpected protest marked the Republicans' latest struggle with popular musicians.
Artists including Adele, The Rolling Stones, Neil Young, R.E.M., Aerosmith and most recently Queen have all asked Trump to stop playing their songs at his rallies. – Rappler.com