I don’t think it’s any secret where John Rich stands on the political spectrum.
A longtime Conservative, and one of the more outspoken artists on the right side of the aisle, he’s never been the type to pull punches. An avid supporter of first responders and veterans, his Redneck Riviera Whiskey has raised hundreds of thousands of dollars for Folds Of Honor, an organization that helps provide educational scholarships for the families of fallen and disabled service members.
He’s also been very outspoken against vaccine mandates.
It goes without saying, but touring musicians have been some of the hardest hit since the beginning of the pandemic. And when shows get canceled, as many have been in the past two years, and many more will continue to be canceled this year as well, it affects more than just the person holding the microphone.
Band members, crews, promoters, booking agents, catering, sound, lighting, venues, bartenders and servers at the venues… it really takes an army to put together a big tour, and navigating the various mandates (whether it’s vaccines, negative tests, and/or masks), instituted by various entities (whether it’s the city, promoters like Live Nation, the band itself, or the venues) has been extremely difficult.
That being said, a number of artists have opted to mandate vaccinations within their camps, or on the other hand, have left it up to the individuals to make that call.
However, for those opting not to get vaccinated… it might’ve cost them their job.
And John Rich is pissed about it.
In a series of tweets, John cited an “A-list player” who’s been fired by a big time artist for refusing to get vaccinated. He implies that they’re not only one, and has promised that these artists will be revealed.
“Recorded with an A list player today who was FIRED from one of the biggest artists in country music for not taking the jab.
Tears flowed, but in the end she did not bow down. GOOD for her! These “country” artists market to you, but they ain’t you. You’ll find out names, soon.”
Recorded with an A list player today who was FIRED from one of the biggest artists in country music for not taking the jab. Tears flowed, but in the end she did not bow down. GOOD for her! These "country" artists market to you, but they ain't you. You'll find out names, soon.
He followed that tweet up calling out artists who refuse to make their public stances known, calling them “fake as hell”:
“If singers believe in their stances, why won’t they say it in public?
Why do they rain down wrath on their employees in the dark halls of a tour bus, then walk out into the spotlight and give you a high five as they pretend to be like you?
Fake as hell. I bet you can guess who.”
If singers believe in their stances, why won't they say it in public? Why do they rain down wrath on their employees in the dark halls of a tour bus, then walk out into the spotlight and give you a high five as they pretend to be like you? Fake as hell. I bet you can guess who.
Of course, we’ve seen a number of artists argue both sides of the mandate conversation with artists like Jason Isbell refusing to play anywhere that doesn’t require vaccinations and/or negative tests and artists like Travis Tritt refusing to play anywhere that does.
More recently, Dierks Bentley ignited a conversation regarding masks in school after he shared a New York Times article calling for the end of masks in schools once COVID levels drop to pre-Omicron levels.