background image
13
segment of the audience will stop. I'm one," said Simmons. "I've bought Pearl
Jam records. I'm out. He crossed the line."
Simmons added that he had previously pulled a feature on the Dixie Chicks
from his magazine Tongue following the band's statement against President Bush
in London several weeks earlier. He said that he would place Pearl Jam under
similar censure in the future. Explained Simmons: "In time of war, to aid and give
comfort to the enemy, on stage and in a public forum is perfect fodder for any-
body's press overseas that has a slightly different agenda, and I think it's repre-
hensible."
10
Outside of the national political talk and opinion circuit, and especially back in
Denver, feelings about the "Bushleaguer " dispute were decidedly mixed.
On Denver's 103.5 "The Fox," radio hosts Rick Lewis and Michael Floorwax
invited listeners to call-in about the budding controversy. Some complained about
the politics of both Pearl Jam and opener Sleater-Kinney , others wondered openly
why the event was such a big deal.
11
Pearl Jam maintains a large catalog of concert set lists and fan reviews on its
Web site. In the dozen fan reviews posted for the April 1
st
show in Denver, many
fans didn't take much notice of Vedder's "Bushleaguer " antics. Those that did
mention the event felt Vedder was making a drunken fool of himself while others
interpreted it as par for the course from a band well-known for being outspoken
on political, environmental, and social issues.
Several fans (and band members) we also incensed by the title of Brown's April
3
rd
article "Concert-Goers Jam Exits After Anti-Bush Display," which they per-
ceived to be highly insensitive to the band's recent history.
12
They also took issue
with Brown's characterization of the concert's events and the impact it had on
attendees' decision to stay or leave.
In her fan review of the Denver show, Stephanie Hamilton said, "Whatever
you are reading in the papers about fans walking out is total B.S. I mean, yeah this
was the encore, and a weeknight, and a show going on 3 hours, so of course some
people are going to leave to beat the traffic. The press is making WAY TOO BIG a
deal out of what Ed said and did. We all know PJ [Pearl Jam ] is a political band.
We all know they oppose Shrub [Bush] and his warmongering. Why are they
trying to make him out as some villain? Whatever happened to freedom of
speech?? As Ed said in Denver, it IS going away, and I too am going to make damn
sure I make the most of it while its still here."
13
Fan Joanne Owens added: "After reading the CNN [AP] story on Ed `impaling'
a Bush mask pllleassse there was no `impaling' on the stage that evening."