Metal Etiquette

Vinnie Paul Thinks Rebel Flag Controversy is Bullsh*t, Pantera’s Merch Company Does Not

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vinniepaulrebelflagIn the wake of the shooting at a black church by a white supremacist that left nine dead in Charleston, SC, there has been a lot of talk about the modern-day use of the Confederate flag. We’ve reported on various musicians’ reactions and discussed the larger can of worms the issue opens within metal. And while some people have reacted predictably — Kid Rock and The Nuge, to name a few — others, specifically Phil Anselmo from Pantera, have come forward with some pretty nuanced opinions.

But seeing as Phil stands for Pantera’ dirty punk rock side, it’s only fair that Vinnie Paul Abbot, former Pantera drummer, current Hellyeah drummer, and more obvious representative of Pantera’s good ol’ Southern boy aesthetic, should weigh in as well.

When asked about the issue, Vinnie said the following:

“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.

“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.”

This is to be expected. Hellyeah definitely thrive on that Southern pride thing. Besides, Vinnie’s smart about not being a confrontational dickhead about a sensitive issue the way Kid Rock was.

However, our boys at Metal Injection have pointed out an interesting development. Even as the controversy surrounding the flag raged, you were still able to buy Pantera’s ‘Hesher Dream’ T-shirt, which features the Rebel Flag:

…Jesus. This is the Pantera equivalent of a Cradle of Filth shirt.

Anyway, if you try to access the item now, it’s unavailable. Same goes for the Pantera Rebel Flag logo Zippo lighter.

So that’s interesting! Even while Vinnie Paul thinks this is all a crock, Bravado, the company that makes Pantera’s merch, obviously considers it an issue worth dealing with. One wonders if Phil, Vinnie, and Rex have any say in merchandising designs and practices these days (or if they ever did — the music industry is squirrely like that).

The thing is, Pantera have enough imagery and atmosphere surrounding them that I’m not sure they need to use the Rebel Flag to represent their music. Sure, the band has always repped being from the South, but it’s the modern South and its modern problems like addiction and politics. I think they’ll be just fine with cowboy skulls and whiskey labels.

In the meantime, if you’re really intent on owning a piece of Pantera merch featuring the Confederate Flag, there’s always the ‘Outlaw‘ shirt, but you’ll notice that the flag hereon is pretty muted and consigned to the background. Maybe if you wash it improperly, the colors will get bleached and stand out more.

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