Former PANTERA and current SUPERJOINT and DOWN frontman Philip Anselmo says that he "wouldn't want anything to do" with the Confederate flag since the South embarked on an emotional debate over the flag's symbolism in the aftermath of the massacre of nine blacks by a white gunman in a Charleston, South Carolina church last month.
White supremacist and suspected killer Dylann Roof had been pictured holding the Confederate flag before he allegedly carried out the murders.
While some people see the flag as a divisive symbol of the South's proslavery legacy, supporters insist the flag is a honorable symbol of regional pride, a mark of respect for Southern soldiers who died in the American Civil War.
In light of the fact that the cover artwork of SUPERJOINT RITUAL's "Use Once And Destroy" album and a lot of PANTERA's merchandise incorporated the Confederate flag, Anselmo was asked by HardrockHaven.net for his opinion on the current backlash against the flag. He responded: "Uh, I think there's some legitimacy to it, man. If it's something that… you know, I guess… At my age… It is a symbol… It'd be, like, you know, would we be flying the Nazi flag? I don't think so, because flags are looked at as… whether it be nationalism or symbols of something, you know? And, truthfully, you know, it's like… I wish fucking everyone would get along. I wish that more than anything, but we all know, as logical human beings, that that's pretty much impossible. You know, everybody has different ideas about stuff."
He continued: "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. I'm coming up on 47 years old… and I think that if it's upsetting enough to people in general, you know, I guess… This is tough to say without taking any side… Like I said, I can see where if people see it as a symbol of hate, then…"
Anselmo added: "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? But I can look at any… People can point out flaws in any social group, any ethnic group, any ideology and anything like that, and being that's, once again, because everybody has different ideas about things…
"At this point in time, I just wish everybody would chill the fuck out man and realize, you know, maybe a good dose of love, for lack of a better word, would do us all friggin' a lot better instead of pulling sides, taking sides. You know, everybody wants to have a firm stance on things, but maybe sometimes we should sit back and listen for a change, you know?"
SUPERJOINT RITUAL — now known simply as SUPERJOINT for legal reasons — played its first-ever European show at this year's Hellfest on June 21 in Clisson, France.
SUPERJOINT has just embarked on its first tour in over a decade. Presented by Anselmo's own Housecore Records, "The It Takes Guts Tour" commenced on July 10 in Oklahoma City and will ravage its way through more than a dozen cities.
SUPERJOINT's current lineup includes Anselmo alongside guitarists Kevin Bond (CHRIST INVERSION, ARTIMUS PYLEDRIVER) and Jimmy Bower (DOWN, EYEHATEGOD),drummer José Manuel Gonzalez (WARBEAST, PHILIP H. ANSELMO & THE ILLEGALS) and bassist Stephen Taylor (PHILIP H. ANSELMO & THE ILLEGALS, WOVEN HAND, 16 HORSE POWER).