Viet Cong have announced that they are changing their name.
From now on the Canadian post-punk group will be known as Preoccupations.
The group have faced criticised in the past for their former name, which led to some promoters cancelling their gigs. Viet Cong was the political organization and army in South Vietnam and Cambodia that fought the United States and South Vietnamese governments during the Vietnam War.
Last September, the four-piece said they would change their name before the release of their next record.
In a statement announcing the change earlier today, they apologised for causing offence.
It reads: “We apologize to those who were adversely affected by our former band name. This was never anticipated nor our intent. We are artists and not politicians, we understand that the name reflected pain to some individuals and we are happy to change it and move on and focus on our music.”
Frontman Matt Flegel admitted that the band were not fully aware of the context of their former name.
“We were pretty naive, and pretty ignorant on the subject. We know a lot more now. If we knew what we know now then we would definitely not call the band that,” he told Pitchfork.
Flegel said that conversations with fans of Vietnamese heritage led to the decision.
“I don’t really keep track of what people are saying online or social media. Anything I learned was face to face from people at shows, and directly from protesters, and hearing stories about Vietnamese refugees,” he said.
“We’ve never really read about that side of things; we didn’t know anything about that side of the war. But it was an eye-opener, and it was great talking to people about it, hearing things directly from people who have had the experience of the terrible things coming out of the war.
“It was always civil, and we met some great people because of it. We talked to fans of our band who are of a Vietnamese background. It’s really helpful to have a face-to-face conversation with another human being that has family, or has been directly affected by something, rather than just hearsay on the internet.”
Preoccupations have finished recording their second album and are scheduled to play two gigs in London in June.
London, Shacklewell Arms (June 22)
London, Old Blue Last (23)