Bruce Springsteen’s decision to cancel a planned concert in North Carolina over the state’s so-called transgender “bathroom” law set the stage for Pearl Jam to follow suit shortly afterward, the rock band’s guitarist revealed in a recent interview.
In a conversation with Rolling Stone, Pearl Jam guitarist Mike McCready said the band “thought really hard” about whether or not to cancel their planned concert in Raleigh on April 20.
In a statement released two days before the concert, Pearl Jam said they they had decided to cancel the show — “with deep consideration and much regret” — due to North Carolina’s HB 2, which the band claimed “encourages discrimination against an entire group of American citizens.”
HB 2 mandates that transgender individuals use public restrooms that correspond with their biological sex. The legislation, signed into law by Gov. Pat McCrory last month, also prohibits cities in the state from passing their own non-discrimination ordinances.
“As a band, we just don’t tolerate any kind of abuse or intolerance of any kind of LGBT people by any kind of government,” McCready told Rolling Stone. “We felt we needed to support people that didn’t have a voice.”
When pressed about the band’s decision-making process, McCready said that fellow musician Bruce Springsteen had “set the mark” earlier that month when he made his own decision to cancel a concert in North Carolina.
“It was a long, drawn-out meeting that we had over a period of days. ‘Should we do it? Should we not do it?'” the guitarist said. “It turns out that [Bruce] Springsteen had kind of set the mark there. We felt these transgendered people are being discriminated against under this new law, and there’s just no room for that in my mind. We felt very, very sad that we had to not play. We wanted to play. But at the end of the day, we felt like we couldn’t do it. It was a moral belief. We had to boycott the state.”
Springsteen’s announcement on April 8 that he would cancel a planned concert in Greenboro sparked a wave of cancellations by other artists who had planned to make stops in North Carolina. Nick Jonas and Demi Lovato, Ringo Starr, Boston, filmmakers Michael Moore and Rob Reiner and theater troupe Cirque du Soleil all announced their own boycotts of the state shortly after Springsteen’s move.
A number of artists, including Cyndi Lauper and Jimmy Buffett, have said they will continue to perform in the state, while pop group Animal Collective will sell copies of live performances to raise money for groups working to fight the law.
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