Recent controversy surrounding the Confederate flag has brought attention to groups who incorporate it into their merch and stage shows, including defunct headbangers Pantera who still sell T-shirts sporting the emblem. Now the group's former singer, Phil Anselmo – who is currently performing with the reactivated metal group Superjoint – says he's thinking twice about his past associations with the rebel flag.
"It'd be like, Would we be flying the Nazi flag?" he asked a reporter for Hard Rock Haven. "I don't think so, because flags are looked at whether it be nationalism or symbols of something. Truthfully, it's like...I wish fucking everyone would get along."
The singer went on to explain that the reason he and his former bandmates might have used the Confederate Flag in the first place was "our love of bands like Lynyrd Skynyrd." (The band's now-deceased guitarist, Dimebag Darrell, was known for using a guitar that sported the design.) But he also acknowledges that "there was never a time when it was OK to promote hate." That said, he also offered, "It was never this blatant thing unless I was completely out of my mind, which I was at points in time."
Anselmo, who was born and raised in New Orleans before joining the Dallas-based group, went on to explain his evolving sentiment about the flag. "These days, I wouldn't want anything to fucking do with it because truthfully...I wouldn't," he said. "The way I feel and the group of people I've had to work with my whole life, you see a Confederate flag out there that says 'Heritage, not hate.' I'm not so sure I'm buying into that."
A 2014 photo of Anselmo standing in front of the Confederate flag with his group Down can be seen here. Anselmo went on to say, "People can point out flaws in any social group, any ethnic group, any ideology." In his opinion, people should talk things through rather than take sides.
The interviewer also pointed out that Superjoint had incorporated the flag into the artwork for their 2002 debut, Use Once and Destroy. "In hindsight, you know what, I would have not used it," Anselmo said. He also said that the title of the group's follow-up, A Lethal Dose of American Hatred, was "fucking regrettable." He said he'd hoped people would interpret it as tongue-in-cheek but later realized people would take it at face value.
A rep for Pantera did not return Rolling Stone's request for comment about the status of the Confederate flag merch the group is currently selling.
Recently, Kid Rock – who was born and raised in the former Union-aligned state of Michigan – supported using the Confederate flag. "Please tell the people who are protesting to kiss my ass," he told Fox News.
In an interview with Rolling Stone last month, Anselmo said he was working on new songs with Superjoint. "We've got about four or five songs we've been messing with," he said. "They have potential – I just don't think they're completely nailed down yet." Although he did not think the group was ready to do an album, he said it was considering an EP.