Fat Mike said something stupid & ill-advised? No, never! [PC: Digital Beard]
In October last year, all over the world media were the images, hot takes, reports and on-ground footage from the tragic Route 91 Harvest Festival shooting, which left 58 people dead and almost 800 people injured in what was one of the deadliest shootings in U.S. history. Despite the weight and seriousness of that horrible situation, in the eyes of NOFX’s Fat Mike, it’s all free-game to joke about at the end of the day.
This woefully callous stage banter took place during the veteran punk act’s performance during the Punk Rock Bowling & Music Festival, which went down in Las Vegas this past Sunday. Footage of this part of their set has only now surfaced and has since gone supernova once the usual suspects over at TMZ picked it up and covered it this week.
From footage shared online by local American DJs, X1075‘s Dave Farra and Jason Mahoney, the bad joke starts up when Fat Mike says to the gathered crowd, “We played a song about Muslims and we didn’t get shot. Hooray.” [Supposedly referencing their song, ‘72 Hookers‘]. To which, fellow member Eric Melvin chimes in with, “I guess you only get shot in Vegas if you are in a country band.” Now, if you know the band’s music well-enough, then you’ll know that Fat Mike is never a frontman to back down and shut his mouth. Ergo, the NOFX leading man poorly added to that comment with this, “at least they were country fans and not punk rock fans.”
Ah, don’t you guys get it? It’s funny because punk rock fans are worth more as human beings than the lives of country music fans. Hilarious, isn’t it? Just to make sure that no one reading this thinks that I actually find this shit funny, I’ll state it clearly that: no, it’s not humorous at all and I detest it with a heavy eye-roll and deep sigh.
The groaning from the crowd in the below video also makes me think that many people present weren’t overly happy with the comment either. Even though old mate tries to play along and say that “you were all thinking it!” Nah man, it was just you, it seems. (Since this has come to light, American company Stone Brewing, who have a partnership drink with NOFX, have made a statement ceasing their business ties with the band – read more here).
Fat Mike – and by extension, NOFX as a band – really do seem like the kind of guys who take the approach of either it’s all okay to make fun of, or none of it is. The “South Park Pricinple”, as I like to think of it. Personally, I’m with that philosophy, and it can be done well. But presented in a wrong or misguided manner, it’s just a stupid and callous move. Especially when your band is, you know, playing a fucking gig at the very city where such an awful tragedy took place.
Then again, this is the same group who quite tastelessly made an all-access pass with Bill Cosby’s photo on it during the Fat Wreck Chords 25th anniversary shows back in 2015. So, really, I’m not surprised or shocked that they did this latest stunt. Regardless of whether it was planned or something that happened in the moment, there’s no excuse.
Now, before the jaded punk fans swoop in and have a little sook that someone said something insensitive, let me say this: yes, punk rock is meant to be rude and it’s meant to piss people off. The genre is just a massive history book full of calling shit out. But not like this NOFX incident. As there are better ways to go about pissing people off that don’t make you look like a jackass. Better ways than mocking the deaths of 58 people who all just wanted to go out for a night of live music and who sadly never came back home.
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