Phil Anselmo says he regrets using the controversial Confederate flag as band imagery in the past.
Pantera were regularly associated with the banner, while the cover of side-project Superjoint Ritual’s debut album included it.
The flag has been at the centre of widespread debate in the US for its historic links with proponents of oppression and racism.
Anselmo tells Hard Rock Haven: “I think where the use of the rebel flag or Confederate flag with us really came from was from our love of bands like Lynyrd Skynyrd.
“There was never a time when it was okay to promote hate without a little bit of the tongue-in-cheek. It was never this blatant thing unless I was completely out of my mind – which I was at points in time. But that was a long-ass time ago.”
The flag was removed from the grounds of South Carolina’s statehouse last week after weeks of protests and debate. Anselmo says he understands why it upsets people, since flags can be used as symbols of extremism.
He says: “Would we be flying the Nazi flag? I don’t think so. I wish fucking everyone would get along.”
On Superjoint’s use of the Confederate symbol, Anselmo reflects: “In hindsight I would have not used it.”
And he regrets calling the band’s second album A Lethal Does Of American Hatred – to the extent that he wishes he’d never released it. “Truthfully, that’s how I feel right now,” he says. “Either that or I would have called it something completely different. It’s regrettable. It’s probably my least favourite of any album I’ve ever done as far as lyrical content.
“I’ve got a crazy sense of humour and I do do a lot of tongue-in-cheek shit. But when something reads in black and white, people most of the time are going to read it in black and white.
“That particular record is a tough one for me to stand behind, that’s all I’ll say. That’s why the majority of the stuff that we’ll be playing is probably off the first record, not the second one.”
The reactivated band, now called simply Superjoint, are currently touring North America.