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Rob Thomas

Michael Loccisano/Getty Images

Rob Thomas' attempt at humor during a concert in Australia did not go over well.

The 44-year-old rock singer and Matchbox Twenty frontman, who is on a solo tour to promote his new album The Great Unknown, made a racist joke unintentionally while performing at the Rod Laver Arena in Melbourne Saturday. He later apologized for his remark and said he "cried" when he found out the meaning of what he had said.

At the show, Thomas told the crowd he had figured out how to combat the jet lag that accompanies a flight from the United States.

"When you get on the plane on your way here, you start drinking," he said, as seen in a video posted by TMZ. "And then I drink till I think I'm Australian. And then I keep drinking till I think I'm a black Australian."

His comment was met with a mix of laughter, groans, murmurs and boos.

"Don't be racist," he said.

"And then I drink until I think I'm a pretty little girl," he continued, drawing laughs. "And then my wife starts to get worried about me and I stop drinking for a minute."

Following an online backlash, Thomas said on Facebook Sunday he "did not intend to make a joke ABOUT race."

"I have seen people comment that after coming here for so long I should know that there is a connection between the indigenous peoples of Australia and a stereotype involving drinking," he said. "Embarrassingly, I truly didn't."

"The joke I made was meant to be at no one's expense but my own," he added. "I made a comment about drinking so much on the long flight over that I started to think I was something I'm not...I'm not Australian. I'm not black and I'm not a little girl. Again, if I had any idea of the stereotype I would have chosen another example. There was absolutely no malice even in jest."

Thomas said he was "so ignorant to the situation" that when he heard people groan, he "actually thought THEY were being racist."

"I didn't know until TODAY that just the phrase 'black Australian' was racist all on it's own," he said. "I sat in my room and I cried when I found out."

"I am truly sorry for how this came across, most of all to the indigenous people here," he added. "Australia has been so good to me for so long that I'm embarrassed I don't know more about the history and the culture. While I'm here I'm going to use this opportunity to rectify that. I promise you this!"