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Springsteen cover band changes tune, won't play at gala

A Bruce Springsteen cover band has changed its tune about performing at a Washington gala the day before Republican Donald Trump's inauguration.

The B Street Band decided to pull out of the Thursday night performance at the New Jersey State Society's gala.

Band leader Willie Forte said Monday the decision was based "solely on the respect and gratitude we have for Bruce and the E Street Band. That conquers everything else."

Trump's inauguration is Friday, followed that evening by inaugural balls.

Springsteen has called the Republican president-elect a "flagrant, toxic narcissist" and has questioned whether he's competent for the job. Springsteen performed during Democratic President Barack Obama's 2009 inaugural, and Obama presented him with the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2016.

The B Street Band had drawn jeers on social media from Springsteen fans, accusing the band of abandoning the soul of the musician its made a career of following. As the attention reached national proportions, the band decided it was best to cancel the show.

"This whole thing just got blown out of proportion, which is a shame because (the NJSS) are good, nice people," Forte said.

Forte said the show had been planned since 2013, noting that the band twice performed for the nonprofit, nonpartisan society at galas to mark Obama's inaugurals.

The society's executive director, Nancy Fatemi, said in a statement that the group was disappointed to learn of the cancellation, but "we understand the decision based on all the questions and attention this has brought to the B Street Band."

Forte said he believes much of the criticism arose because people mistakenly thought the group was going to perform at Trump's inaugural ball.

The New Jersey State Society brings together those with ties to New Jersey in the Washington area and sponsors networking events. Springsteen is from New Jersey.

Springsteen superfan Gov. Chris Christie and his wife, Mary Pat, are honorary co-chairs of the $225-per-person event. The Republican governor's office did not respond to a question about whether they would attend.

Trump was also invited.

Among those who spoke out against the band's plans to play Thursday night was Democratic New Jersey state Sen. Ray Lesniak, who last week tweeted: "Shame on the #BStreetBand playing at #Trump's inaugural. ... They've profited from #Bruce now they're abandoning the message in his music."

"I understand it. We owe everything we have to Bruce," Forte said last week. "But everything we've done because of Bruce has raised millions of dollars for charities."

The B Street Band is composed of six "hard-working" guys and has been performing Springsteen songs for nearly 37 years, Forte said. It draws its name from the E Street Band, which has backed Springsteen since 1972.

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AP reporter Bruce Shipkowski in Trenton contributed to this story.

Bruce Springsteen Tribute Band Pulls Out of Donald Trump Inaugural Ball

Citing their respect for Bruce Springsteen, the B Street Band will not play the Garden State Presidential Inaugural Gala this week.

Continue reading…

The Latest: Springsteen cover band will skip inaugural event

The Latest on a Bruce Springsteen tribute band that had been scheduled to perform at a gala ahead of Donald Trump's inauguration (all times local):

3:30 p.m.

A Bruce Springsteen tribute band has canceled its plans to perform at a Washington gala before Donald Trump's presidential inauguration.

B Street Band leader Willie Forte (FOR'-tay) said Monday that the decision is based "solely on the respect and gratitude we have for Bruce and the E Street Band." He tells The Associated Press that "this whole thing just got blown out of proportion."

The group had signed a contract to appear Thursday with the New Jersey State Society, but it had drawn criticism for the show because of Springsteen's distaste for Trump.

Springsteen has called Trump a "flagrant, toxic narcissist." Springsteen performed during Obama's inaugural in 2009.

The New Jersey State Society said Sunday it was "very disappointed" by the cancellation but understood the group's decision.

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10 a.m.

Six hard-working guys from New Jersey who make up a Bruce Springsteen tribute band are drawing criticism because they're going to perform at a Washington gala before Republican Donald Trump's inauguration.

B Street Band leader Willie Forte (FOR'-tay) says the group signed a contract to appear Thursday with the New Jersey State Society after performing for the group's party during President Barack Obama's inaugural in 2013.

Springsteen called Trump a "flagrant, toxic narcissist" during a pre-election night rally for Democrat Hillary Clinton in Philadelphia. Springsteen performed during Obama's inaugural in 2009.

The cover band also entertained at the New Jersey gala in 2009 and performed during the Democratic National Convention.

Forte believes much of the criticism arose because people mistakenly thought the group was going to perform at Trump's inaugural.

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