Lynyrd Skynyrd rethinks Confederate flag retreat

September 24, 2012

As of this weekend, Chick-fil-A is no longer the latest commercial interest roiled by an attempt to disengage from the culture wars.

That honor has shifted to Lynyrd Skynyrd, now in its 42 year as the South’s premier rock band.

Earlier this month, in a CNN interview touting the band’s latest album, “Last of a Dyin’ Breed,” guitarist Gary Rossington – the group’s sole original member – explained why band members had distanced themselves from the Confederate battle emblem that had once been so identified with their performances. Said Rossington:

”It became such an issue, you know, about race and stuff, where – we just had it in the beginning as we were Southern, and that was our image back in the ‘70s, late ‘60s. They branded us as being from the South, so we showed that.

“But I think through the years, people like the KKK and skinheads and people have kind of kidnapped the Dixie or rebel flag from the Southern tradition and the heritage of the soldiers, you know. That’s what it was about.


“They kind of made it look bad, in certain ways. We didn’t want that to go to our fans or show the image like we agreed with any of the race stuff or any of the bad things.”

The remarks have not gone over well. On Friday, as Raw Story first reported, Rossington “clarified” his thinking on the band’s website:

“We know what the Dixie flag represents and its heritage; the Civil War was fought over States rights.

We still utilize the Confederate (Rebel) flag on stage every night in our shows, we are and always will be a Southern American Rock band, first and foremost. We also utilize the state flag of Alabama and the American flag as well, ‘cause at the end of the day, we are all Americans.

“I only stated my opinion that the [C]onfederate flag, at times, was unfairly being used as a symbol by various hate groups, which is something that we don’t support the flag being used for. The Confederate flag means something more to us, Heritage not Hate…”

© 2012 The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

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