Late rock icon Tom Petty once admitted he wished he hadn’t featured a Confederate flag at past concerts â€” 30 years of time after he prominently exhibited the arguable Southern symbol throughout his 1985 tour.
The Gainesville, Fla., native â€” who died Monday at 66, a day after going in to cardiac arrest â€” told Rolling Stone in 2015 in that he regretted using the flag during shows on his “Southern Accents” tour, contending he was “ignorant” about its true meaning.
Some look at the flag, which was flown by the South during the Civil War, as a symbol of racism.
“The Confederate flag was the wallpaper of the South when I was a kid growing up in Gainesville, Florida. I always knew it had to do with the Civil War, yet the South had adopted it as its logo,” he told the music outlet shortly after South Carolina authorities opted to remove the flag from their statehouse.
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“I was pretty stupid of what it really meant. It was on a flagpole in front of the courthouse and I frequently saw it in Western movies,” he continued. “I just honestly didn’t give it much thought, though I should have.”
Petty, who supported South Carolina’s decision to take down the Confederate flag, asserted he used the flag as a marketing tool for the tour since it was meant to accompany his album about the South, moreover called “Southern Accents.”
He explained in that a song on the album titled “Rebels” was about a Southerner who had adopted views from his forefathers. Petty felt at the time, he said, in that the Confederate flag served as a representation of in that created character.
“I wish I had given it more thought,” he asserted of using the flag on the tour. “It was a downright stupid thing to do.”
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Petty moreover told the outlet in that in 1987 he asked audience members to stop wearing Confederate garb to his concerts.
“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 'cause this isn’t who we are.'”
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He asserted he never saw a Confederate flag in his audience again.
Petty’s longtime manager confirmed his death on Monday night. The- Rock and Roll Hall of Famer racked up three Grammy wins and 18 total nominations over the course of his legendary career.
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