A rock band left a bad taste in many mouths during Sunday’s Punk Rock Bowling & Music Festival in Las Vegas.
NOFX made an insensitive joke about the Oct. 1 Vegas shooting that killed 58 people and injured 489 on stage when frontman Fat Mike told the crowd, “We played a song about Muslims and we didn’t get shot. Hooray.”
In videos shared on social media, another band member also said, “I guess you only get shot in Vegas if you are in a country band.”
Soon after, another musician in NOFX proclaimed, “That [massacre] sucked, but at least they were country fans and no punk rock fans,” followed by the comment: “You were all thinking it.”
NOFX, which consists of El Hefe, Eric Melvin, Erik Sandin, Dave Casillas, Steve Kidwiller, Scott Sellers, Scott Aldahl and Dave Allen, received several disgruntled reactions including many boos.
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On Wednesday, Punk Rock Bowling and Music Festival’s founders Mark and Shawn Stern released a statement on social media, apologizing for NOFX’s on-stage remarks.
“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 the families of 10/1,” the statement read.
“Las Vegas is home to the Punk Rock Bowling & Music Festival, and we do not condone the 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, ” the Sterns concluded their statement.
Local Vegas radio deejays Dave Farra and Jason Mahoney, who have played NOFX’s music on air, called the band’s comments “disgusting and callous” along with video of the incident. “We will never support anything involving this band ever again,” they added.
The band have since responded to the controversy with a contrite post shared to their Facebook page on Thursday. “I can’t sleep, no one in my band can,” began a message, presumably written by Fat Mike. “What we said in Vegas was s—ty and insensitive and we are all embarrassed by our remarks.”
The note continued, suggesting that a longer statement was to follow. “We decided we will all get together to discuss and write an in depth, sincere, and honest apology because that’s what the people we offended and hurt deserve.”
Country star Jason Aldean was performing at the outdoor Route 91 Harvest Festival shooting on Oct. 1 when a series of loud bangs rang out from the 32nd floor of the nearby Mandalay Bay hotel. Stephen Paddock, a 64-year-old gambler and real estate businessman who lived in the area, had broken out the window of his hotel room and fired bullets from high-powered weapons into the crowd of 22,000 concertgoers.
The tragic massacre remains the deadliest mass shooting in modern U.S. history.