We've been hearing a lot of interesting opinions of the debate over the Confederate flag lately. Ever since the racist shootings in South Carolina, a debate has spurned over whether the flag should be flying above government buildings or be publicly displayed anywhere.
We think Randy Blythe made the most eloquent point about the debate stating that government buildings shouldn't be displaying the flag, but being anti-censorship, he feels anybody should have the right to express themselves how they want.
The most surprising comments about the flag came from former Pantera frontman Phil Anselmo. Pantera were long associated with the rebel flag, including the above photo and numerous pieces of merch which proudly don the flag. Anselmo said:
“I think, really, where the use of the rebel flag or Confederate flag with us really came from was our love of bands like Lynyrd Skynyrd and whatnot and shit like that, you know. There was never a time when it was okay to promote hate without a little bit of the tongue in the cheek, you know? It was never this blatant thing, unless I was completely out of my mind, which I was at points in time. And I’ll own that for damn sure, but that was a long-ass time ago…
“These days, I wouldn’t want anything to fucking do with it, because, truthfully… I wouldn’t. I wouldn’t want much to fucking do with it at all, and personally, you know I would never… The way I feel, and the group of people I’ve had to work with my whole life, you know… You see a Confederate flag out there that says ‘Heritage, not hate.’ I’m not so sure I’m buying into that, you know?”
Interestingly enough, his former bandmate, drummer Vinnie Paul feels differently about the whole situation. He thinks things just got carried away. When asked by Sticks and Stones about the controversy, Vinnie Paul responded:
"All I'm going to say is it's a big knee-jerk reaction to something that happened. It's unfortunate that people are like that — they want to point a finger at something, you know."
He continued: "Honestly, this country was built on freedom of speech and freedom of expression, and when you can no longer do that, then it is no longer based on that, you know. It's a touchy thing, you know, and that's really all I'm going to say about it. I just think that it doesn't follow what the country was built on [and] what it was based on. To me, that blows, but that's how it, is man."
It's an interesting the choice of words for Paul, who clearly sees the flag as a symbol of his heritage and not one of hate.
When the story was published on Blabbermouth yesterday, the site pointed out that the band were still actively selling this lovely ensemble of a half-naked woman in front of the rebel flag:
However, if you look at their active shirt listings, you will no longer see this item, although you can clearly access a cached version currently. If you go to the link directly, you will get a "Not Available" error. Interestingly, when we reported on Anselmo's initial comments, we linked to a Zippo lighter which contained a rebel flag Pantera logo and that has also been removed.
Of course, it might not have been the band themselves who directly removed the merch, but their merch company, Bravado who could've made the final decision.
The shirt is still available at other retailers like Amazon.