Tue. Sep 26th, 2023

On May 26, Philip Anselmo publicly repudiated the Confederate flag during a concert in Bulgaria. He observed a fan in the audience waving a sign depicting the Confederate flag. Pantera used this symbol earlier in stage production and merchandise designs, such as the Hesher Dream shirt, which was available on the band’s website in 2015. Phil addressed the audience just before the final song at Sofia: “I have to say, Sofia: you have an incredible audience.” One more thing: there’s someone over here with this sign, attempting to derail the f*cking show. I deny, I deny the f*cking flag. I apologize. It’s absurd, guy. Keep politics out of the muck. It’s tedious.” The Pantera frontman is clearly upset about politics interfering with his music.

This isn’t the first time the band has run into trouble because of the Confederate flag. During an interview with Rolling Stone in 2016, Anselmo and bandmate Rex Brown were forced to confront a Pantera stage show from their 2001 Reinventing the Steel tour. The symbology of the Confederate flag was called into question once more. According to Philip: “If we’re going to get into this, yes, I see the projected Confederate flags.” For one thing, I’ve always stated, ‘Flags don’t signify anything to me.’ Two, whatever what anyone says — and I don’t care because no matter what I say, I’m damned if I do, damned if I don’t — the fact of it all is that it was about as innocent as innocent could be. We weren’t admitting to some secret power of structure or whatever you morons call it these days.

I believe we used the Confederate flag only for Lynyrd Skynyrd’s sake. We had learned from those who had gone before us. And it’s never been about anything else.” The band states that they used the flag to pay homage to bands such as Lynyrd Skynyrd. Brown went on to express their previous thoughts about the flag, saying: “The Confederate flag appears on the back cover of [The Great Southern Trendkill] in 1996.” That was the southern section. That was still on the state flags of some states. It is now illegal to use it. It’s not quite politically correct. It has nothing to do with race, however. We weren’t like that. It was only a reference to the artwork on the back cover. Even back then, I told myself, ‘This is not the way to go.’ Lynyrd Skynyrd utilized and still uses one. People now associate it with racism and hostility.

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