Fat Mike and NOFX were not banned from playing in the U.S. because of a tasteless joke, but his comments did cost the band a planned fall tour with a major beer sponsor and put a pretty big dent in his wallet.
The longtime NOFX frontman came under heavy criticism for an insensitive joke about the 58 people who died last year at the Route 91 festival, made while the singer was playing in Las Vegas during Punk Rock Bowling. NOFX was not, however actually banned in the USA, as Fat Mike (real name Michael John Burkett) claimed on Instagram yesterday. Sources are telling Amplify that the singer definitely paid the price for his insensitive remarks, but the idea that he was banned from every venue in the 50 states is preposterous and ridiculous.
What actually happened, Amplify has learned, was that the second leg of the band’s Punk in Drublic tour had been cancelled because of the insensitive remarks, causing Fat Mike to take to Instagram to vent his frustration.
“We did not drop off the shows…. we were told that NOFX is not welcome to play ANY big venue in the United States. No joke!” Fat Mike wrote. “NOFX has effectively been banned in our own country. This is not our choice, but it is our reality. We are very sorry to our fans, especially the ones in Austin.”
That last note, about Austin, is a clue about what Fat Mike was actually talking about — a potential makeup show on the original Punk in Drublic tour that was cancelled due to bad weather and was to be rescheduled on a yet-to-be-announced fall tour. Earlier this week, promoter SGE worldwide issued refunds for the Austin show, causing many fans to take to the internet to complain.
Losing the makeup Austin date is likely what prompted Fat Mike to say he was being banned from playing in the U.S. Sources say Fat Mike lost some serious money because of the cancellation, and while he could still play clubs and smaller venues, his Public in Drublic tour and deal with Stone Brewery is pretty much dead.
Not cancelled was Fat Mike’s European Punk in Drublic tour, which he opened earlier this week and includes a show tonight in Slovenia. That tour has a different promoter than the U.S. tour.
Also important to note — by the time Fat Mike made the Route 91 joke, he had already played all but one of the dates on the first leg of the Punk in Drublic tour. Days before the final show of the spring tour, Fat Mike told fans “I guess you’re only getting shot in Vegas if you’re a country band” and “I mean, that sucked. At least they were country fans and not punk rock fans.”
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
His comments faced near universal condemnation, and caused a panic about the last date of the tour, a camping event in Legend Valley near Columbus, Ohio. Major sponsors including Stone pulled out of the event, leading to significant losses. The promoter of the show, Synergy Global Entertainment Worldwide, kicked Fat Mike’s two bands — NOFX and Me First and the Gimme Gimmes — off the final show and then quietly cancelled plans to back a yet-to-be-announced fall tour.
Cancelling the fall tour meant cancelling the makeup date for the Austin show, and when fans were issued refunds, many took to social media to voice their anger.
“Was he really banned? I doubt it,” said Kevin Lyman with Warped Tour, who has booked the California punk rock band in the past. “The problem the band ran into had to do with Stone Brewing’s decision to protect their brand,” said Lyman, who added that the San Diego brewer had to react to the comments and basically had their hands forced.
“The Punk in Drublic Festival is still happening in Europe and other continents,” Fat Mike wrote on Instagram, albeit with a different promoter. “I’m trying my best to bring it back to the US but a lot of people don’t want it to happen. It fuckin sucks! We made a mistake, we apologized, and we gotta suffer the consequences.”
Fuck it! I’m not supposed to talk about it, but because of the comments we made in Las Vegas… every NOFX show has been cancelled in the US. We did not drop off the shows…. we were told that NOFX is not welcome to play ANY big venue in the United States. No joke! NOFX has effectively been banned in our own country. This is not our choice, but it is our reality. We are very sorry to our fans, especially the ones in Austin. For now, we are playing in Europe, Mexico, and Canada. The Punk in Drublic Festival is still happening in Europe and other continents. I’m trying my best to bring it back to the US but a lot of people don’t want it to happen. It fuckin sucks! We made a mistake, we apologized, and we gotta suffer the consequences. Maybe it ain’t fair, but whoever said life was. We are just very thankful that our fans are being so supportive. Thanks to all of you!!!!! See y’all in Slovenia tomorrow! #punkindrublicinternational #whendidpunkrockbecomesosafe #IhatednotbeinginOhio
Another promoter tells Amplify the idea that NOFX was banned from all venues in the country is ridiculous. “How would you even do that across the country? There’s too many people involved.”