Never mind the E Street Band, Donald Trump inauguration events are so controversial that even the B Street Band has backed out. The veteran Bruce Springsteen cover band has decided to pull out of New Jersey's Garden State Presidential Inaugural Gala on Thursday night, the AP reports. Springsteen has been highly critical of Trump, calling him a "moron" and a "tragedy for our democracy." B Street Band leader Willie Forte says the decision was based "on the respect and gratitude we have for Bruce and the E Street Band." "We had to make it known that we didn't want to seem disrespectful, in any way, shape or form, to Bruce and his music and his band," he says.
The band, which has been covering the Boss' songs for 37 years, had been heavily criticized by Springsteen fans online, some of whom thought they were playing the actual inauguration. The band played the New Jersey event both times President Obama was inaugurated and signed up for this year's ball back in 2013, but Forte says they decided to "get out of the storm" as pressure built. "As time went by, the complexity of the situation became real immense and intense," Forte tells Rolling Stone. "The band was caught in a hurricane." The event's honorary co-chairs are Springsteen fan and New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie and his wife, though it's not clear whether they will attend. (Springsteen says he fears Trump's presidency.)