I understand that punk rock bands are supposed to be edgy — and push the boundaries of good taste — but one punk rock band took those boundaries and crapped on them while performing at a music festival in Las Vegas on Sunday.
Long-time punk rock band NOFX made some very egregious comments while performing at the Punk Rock Bowling festival, which has drawn the ire of many in the Vegas area. The band’s lead singer Michael Burkett — also known by fans as “Fat Mike” — thought it would be super clever and edgy to make a “joke” about the October 1, 2017 Las Vegas shooting that resulted in 58 people dead and hundreds of others injured.
After distastefully “joking” about how you get shot when you “play a song about Muslims,” Burkett commented on the Las Vegas shooting.
“That sucked,” Burkett said, “but at least they were country fans and not punk rock fans.”
Local Las Vegas morning radio hosts “Dave and Mahoney” tweeted out video of Burkett’s comments:
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. pic.twitter.com/am3R8QJIE6— Dave and Mahoney (@DaveAndMahoney) May 30, 2018
While fans of punk have come to expect comments like this from bands like NOFX, it’s just a tad insensitive to make a joke about a massacre that happened in the same city you’re playing. It would be tantamount to a band denigrating all those killed in the Parkland shooting at a concert in South Florida.
The founders of the Punk Rock Bowling festival issued a statement sent to the Las Vegas Review-Journal.
“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,” Mark and Shawn Stern said in the statement.
Also in response to Burkett’s comments, the Stone Brewing Co. — a beer company that funds NOFX’s music festival in San Diego — dropped their sponsorship of the band and the festival.
“We at Stone Brewing are aware of NOFX’s insensitive and indefensible statements this past weekend,” the company said in a statement, according to Billboard. “As a result, we are severing all our ties with NOFX, including festival sponsorship and the production of our collaboration beer.”
Sorry — not really — but even though punk rock band are supposed to be “edgy,” it doesn’t make it okay to joke about a massacre in the same city that it happened in just because you’re trying to stay relevant.