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Last Updated:  Friday, 4 April, 2003, 09:17 GMT 10:17 UK
Pearl Jam Bush stunt angers fans
Eddie Vedder
Vedder asked to be able to speak his mind
Dozens of fans walked out of a Pearl Jam concert in the US after singer Eddie Vedder impaled a mask of President Bush on a microphone stand.

Several members of the audience booed and shouted for Vedder to shut up as he told the crowd he was against the war and Mr Bush.

The incident happened during the encore of the band's opening show of a US tour in Denver, Colorado.

Vedder used the mask during the song Bushleaguer from Pearl Jam's latest album, Riot Act.

We looked at each other and realised he really did have George Bush's head on a stick and was waving it in the air
Kim Mueller, Pearl Jam fan
The song's lyrics say: "He's not a leader, he's a Texas leaguer."

Vedder, who had used the Bush mask at previous shows in Australia and Japan, said that the band was behind the efforts of US soldiers in Iraq.

"Just to clarify... we support the troops," he said.

"We're just confused on how wanting to bring them back safely all of a sudden becomes non-support.

Just to clarify... we support the troops
Eddie Vedder, Pearl Jam singer
"We love them. They're not the ones who make the foreign policy. Let's hope for the best and speak our opinions."

But it was too much for some fans who left the venue in protest.

One, Kim Mueller, told Denver's Rocky Mountain News: "I wasn't sure if it was really happening.

"We looked at each other and realised he really did have George Bush's head on a stick and was waving it in the air, then slammed it to the ground and stepped on it."

Madonna
Madonna has reacted to criticism of her video
Fan Keith Zimmerman added: "It was like he decapitated someone in a primal ritual and stuck their head on a stick."

Pearl Jam manager Kelly Curtis was not available for comment.

Pearl Jam are the latest music artists to get caught up in controversy about the war in Iraq.

Country superstars the Dixie Chicks have had their CDs destroyed and their shows boycotted after singer Natalie Maines said the group was ashamed of President Bush.

Madonna is withdrawing a promotional video for her forthcoming single, which shows her in combat gear and a grenade being hurled at a Mr Bush lookalike.




SEE ALSO:
US musicians rally round the flag
02 Apr 03  |  Entertainment
Dixies dropped over Bush remark
20 Mar 03  |  Entertainment
Madonna pulls 'war' video
01 Apr 03  |  Entertainment
Stars speak out for peace
24 Feb 03  |  Entertainment
Pearl Jam: Festival deaths 'avoidable'
27 Jul 00  |  Entertainment


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