Third Eye Blind trolled an audience filled with Republican National Convention attendees during a charity concert at Cleveland’s Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Tuesday night, with singer Stephan Jenkins continually blasting the GOP and antagonizing the crowd with remarks like, “Raise your hand if you believe in science.”
Although the Musicians on Call fundraiser, a nonprofit that brings live and recorded music to the bedsides of patients in healthcare facilities, wasn’t officially affiliated with the RNC, the RIAA, who sponsored the charity event, made it clear that the gala was tied to the Donald Trump victory party down the street, and many of those in attendance were members of the Republican Party.
Knowing his audience, Jenkins used the microphone to condemn Republican ideology and perform a set list that refrained from playing any Third Eye Blind hits. At one point, after someone in the audience loudly booed the band, Jenkins responded, “You can boo all you want, but I’m the motherfucking artist up here,” Cleveland.com reports.
The one Nineties hit Third Eye Blind did play was “Jumper,” a song inspired by the suicide of Jenkins’ gay friend. The singer prefaced the performance by telling the crowd, “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.”
After the concert, Third Eye Blind’s Twitter continued to prod Republicans. When one fan tweeted their disappointment regarding Tuesday’s show, the band responded “Good.” Another tweet asked whether the band was concerned that their actions would hurt the charity, to which the group replied, “Great question. We were not, as Musicians on Call were well aware of who we are and our take on things (like science and rights!)”
Jenkins has a long history of berating Republicans: In a September 2015 video interview for Rolling Stone, Jenkins educated Marco Rubio about the effects of climate change.
In 2012, Jenkins penned a Huffington Post op-ed about the band’s decision to decline an invitation to play the Republican National Convention.
“The Republican National Convention is not a private event … It’s a public sales pitch, and everyone is supposed to deliver the script,” Jenkins wrote at the time. “This whole hustle is peppered with music bits meant to wed policies like forced births of rapists’ babies and minority voter suppression to song. Even the private party my band was asked to play at the RNC is not some innocuous event. Though I am happy to play for Republican fans, like my lifelong 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.”