Efforts by Team Trump to secure music talent for Donald Trump’s inauguration as president on Jan. 20 — and enlisting top industry insiders to help book those performers — do not include Irving Azoff, the manager tells The Hollywood Reporter.
Despite a recent article stating that Azoff and veteran producer David Foster were recruited to wrangle music acts for the Washington, D.C., event (the latter later denied his involvement), Azoff says he has no “official” function or responsibilities related to the inauguration plans. But, like always, he will happily field calls related to performances involving his clients (such as The Eagles, John Mayer and Jon Bon Jovi).
“The inauguration is a celebration of our democracy,” says Azoff. That it’s “scaring off” potential performers — among them: Andrea Bocelli, suggested by Steve Wynn, and Garth Brooks, both of whom reportedly considered the gig but backed out — he says is a shame, though understandable when you “look at what happened to the Dixie Chicks” after they criticized then-President George W. Bush’s stance on Iraq in 2003. “And that was just country radio,” says Azoff, a longtime liberal, suggesting that the stakes are higher if perceived as a Trump endorsement, “even though President [Barack] Obama and Hillary Clinton have already taken the high road.”
So far, the only performer confirmed for the inauguration is 16-year-old America’s Got Talent alum Jackie Evancho, who is set to sing the national anthem.
The inauguration festivities are being overseen by Apprentice producer Mark Burnett, The New York Times reported on Dec. 8, with Colony Capital CEO Thomas Barrack, Laurie Perlmutter (wife of Marvel chairman Ike Perlmutter) and casino mogul Wynn serving on Trump’s presidential inaugural committee.