Phil Anselmo “Disavows” Confederate Flag at Live Show: “Keep Politics Out of Sh*t”
Groove metal legends Pantera have rarely been shy about their usage of the Confederate flag on merch and in other imagery for the band, but their stance may be changing. During a performance in Sofia, Bulgaria, singer Phil Anselmo thanked the crowd but also called out a fan who was holding a confederate flag in the audience before the band played “Cowboys From Hell.”
“Sofia, I gotta say this: incredible audience. One more thing: there’s a person over here holding up this sign trying to ruin the fuckin’ show. I disavow, I disavow the fuckin’ flag. I’m sorry. It’s ridiculous, man. Keep politics out of shit. It’s boring.”
Two things worth noting here. First, Pantera’s “Hesher Dream” shirt, which features a nude woman covered up by a pot leaf and against a Confederate flag backdrop, is still sold in one of the band’s merch stores. Second, Anselmo’s statement is about keeping politics out of metal because it’s “boring” but it doesn’t make an actual statement about the band using Confederate flag imagery for decades.
The Confederate battle flag represents the Confederate States of America, a breakaway confederacy of states who broke away from the United States in 1861 and led to the Civil War. The flag is still flown by some today, though it is controversial. To some, it represents Southern heritage, states’ rights and United States history, while detractors say that it represents slavery, treason and white supremacy.
In 2016, Pantera discussed their use of the Confederate flag on the back of The Great Southern Trendkill, with bassist Rex Brown saying:
“The Confederate flag is on the back cover of [1996’s] ‘The Great Southern Trendkill’. That was the ‘Southern’ part of it. There were still states that had that on their state flags. Nowadays it’s forbidden to use it. It’s not so politically correct. But it had nothing to do with racism. None of us were like that. It was just a tie-in to the artwork on the back cover. Even back then, I said, ‘This is not the way to go.’ Lynyrd Skynyrd used one for years and still do. Now people confuse it with racism and hatred. That’s not what this band is about at all; quite the opposite. But it’s the only thing I would say in the P.C. days that I have any regrets about.”