The Offspring are telling people their drummer, Pete Parada, was NOT kicked out of the band due to being unvaccinated ... but as a practical matter, it may be the case.
Jason "Blackball" McLean -- famous for singing "You gotta keep 'em separated" on The Offspring's 1994 hit, "Come Out And Play" -- tells TMZ ... Pete was never given the boot by his bandmates and a mutual agreement was reached ... but frankly, a return is sounding more and more like a pipedream.
We're told there have been several discussions between Pete and the other band members for months about getting back on the road, traveling and touring again ... which would require getting vaccinated.
More and more venues, cities and countries are requiring proof of vaccination to perform ... and we're told the band needs a drummer who's all-in on getting the shot.
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Pete says he can't get vaccinated due to a medical issue that's gotten worse since childhood, so he's out ... and there doesn't appear to be a pathway for a return in the foreseeable future.
Drummer Josh Freese will be filling in for The Offspring's upcoming shows -- but the band is telling folks it's not permanent and as soon as things get better and Pete's not required to be vaxxed to be in a venue, there's an open invitation to return.
Thing is ... vaccine mandates don't appear to be going away anytime soon, nor does COVID, and with herd immunity seeming further and further away, it's increasingly hard to imagine Pete getting behind a drum set with The Offspring.
BTW ... though Jason's not an official member of the band, he will be appearing at some of their upcoming shows to perform his iconic lyrics, just like he did on a recent ep. of their "Cockpit Karaoke."
Pete, on the other hand, will likely be sidelined for the foreseeable future, even though he and the band might not be ready to accept it.