During a recent set at the Punk Rock Bowling & Music Festival in the city, the band spoke out about the Route 91 Harvest Festival shooting last October that left 58 people dead.
“I guess you only get shot in Vegas if you’re in a country band,” guitarist Eric Melvin joked before frontman Fat Mike interjected: “At least they were country fans and not punk rock fans.”
The joke provoked a huge backlash and prompted Stone Brewing Co. – the San Diego Brewery behind NOFX’s beer and music festival both called Punk In Drublic – to sever ties with the band.
“We at Stone Brewing are aware of NOFX’s insensitive and indefensible statements this past weekend. As a result, we are severing all our ties with NOFX, including festival sponsorship and the production of our collaboration beer,” a representative for the company said in a statement.
Now, the band have issued a full apology for their comments, describing the episode as “shameful”.
“There’s no place here to backpedal. What NOFX said in Vegas was shameful. We crossed the line of civility. We can’t write songs about how people in this world need to be more decent, when we were clearly being indecent. Las Vegas has always been a welcoming city to our band, and to make light of the tragedy that occurred there was egregious”, NOFX wrote in a Facebook post.
“All members of the band would like to sincerely apologize to anyone who experienced loss from the Vegas shooting 8 months ago, and to anyone who was at our show who lost a loved one or a friend, or who had to witness the incredibly senseless violence that night.
“We were asked why we didn’t release an immediate apology. Well, we didn’t feel that we could write a sincere apology without reflecting on the actual damage we had done. No press agent was gonna write this for us. That’s why we have struggled with this for the past few days.”
The group added: “We didn’t plan or intend on saying anything so insensitive. It was off the cuff, but just as hurtful. We won’t blame it on drugs or alcohol or Ambien. That’s too easy. NOFX said it, and we own it. We made a tasteless joke. But to be clear, NOFX does not condone violence against ANY group of people, period!
“As sincere as we’ve ever been.”
Founders of the Punk Rock Bowling Festival also apologised for NOFX’s comments.
They said in a statement: “In light of NOFX’s comments during their performance at the Punk Rock Bowling and Music Festival, we would like to offer a formal apology to those in attendance, the City of Las Vegas, the victims and their families of 10/1.
“Las Vegas is home to the Punk Rock Bowling & Music Festival, and we do not condone statements made from our stage on Sunday night. We take the safety of our festival goers seriously and want to relay that, there is nothing funny about people being shot and murdered, ever.”
— Punk Rock Bowling (@PunkRockBowling) May 30, 2018
NOFX’s joke sparked a backlash on Twitter with one user writing: “NOFX thought it would be ‘hilarious’ to joke about the October 1 shootings while on stage in Las Vegas. They said ‘at least they were country fans and not punk rock fans’. This is disgusting and callous. We will never support anything involving this band ever again.”
Another added: “I’ve been a fan of @FatMike_of_NOFX and his band since I was a kid. His comment about the Vegas shooting makes me sick. Fuck you. You just lost tons of fans.”
— Tim Wishart (@ShaolinShogun) May 30, 2018
Dear #NOFX you're not funny and until you've had to run for your life while being shot at for ten minutes, you have no right to utter a single word about that night! Please don't return to Vegas.
— Andrea (@drea1439) May 30, 2018
To this band NOFX who thought it ok to make a joke like this about the 58 killed and more than 500 wounded on #OneOctober I say this: go to Hell. Don’t come back to Las Vegas. .@News3LV #countryfans #CountryMusic https://t.co/5VoVwwsXxL
— Reed Cowan (@reedNews3LV) May 30, 2018
Fuck @NOFXband. SO punk rock of them. They have the right to say whatever they want; but, #Vegas has the right to make sure #NOFX is never welcome there again. #KickRocks #Route91 https://t.co/uhocbfIsKz
— Chris Kael (@5FDPChrisKael) May 30, 2018
— MAREN MORRIS (@MarenMorris) May 31, 2018