With the recent movement to remove the confederate flag (and, yes, we know it wasn’t the real confederate flag but that is how it is known now) from much of society,
Tom Petty has looked back on his career and wishes he had never used it to promote his album Southern Accents.
At the time of the album’s release in 1985, the flag was used as part of the marketing campaign because of one song on the album, Rebels. At the time, Petty said he thought “the best way to illustrate this character was to use the Confederate flag.”
Now, in a new essay in Rolling Stone, he says that was “a downright stupid thing to do.”
I used it onstage during that song, and I regretted it pretty quickly. When we toured two years later, I noticed people in the audience wearing Confederate flag bandanas and things like that. One night, someone threw one onstage. I stopped everything and gave a speech about it. I said, “Look, this was to illustrate a character. This is not who we are. Having gone through this, I would prefer it if no one would ever bring a Confederate flag to our shows again because this isn’t who we are.
He goes on to applaud the removal of the flag from the statehouse grounds and says “I’m sure that a lot of people that applaud it don’t mean it in a racial way. But again, I have to give them, as I do myself, a “stupid” mark.”
Tom also commented to the magazine on Kid Rock’s adament stand to keep using the flag. “Isn’t Kid Rock from the Midwest? I think they were on the other side of the Civil War.”