Mon., Sep. 24, 2012 3:50 PM PDT
Last of a dying breed, indeed.
Talking to CNN earlier this month about their new album, Last of a Dyin' Breed, the members of Lynyrd Skynyrd declared they were going to forego the band's affiliation with the Confederate flag because of its divisive history as a symbol of racism in America's past going back to the Civil War.
But after catching flack from some of its hard-core fans, the band isn't distancing itself from that Dixie banner after all.
Blame it on states rights.
"I wanted to clarify the discussion of the Confederate Flag in our recent CNN interview," guitarist Gary Rossingtonwrote in a message on the band's official site. "Myself, the past and present members (that are from the South), are all extremely proud of our heritage and being from the South. We know what the Dixie flag represents and its heritage; the Civil War was fought over States rights. "
He continued: "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."
In its sit-down with CNN, Lynyrd Skynyrd initially cited the flag's longtime connection to racism and hate groups as the reason for its abandonment.
"We just had it in the beginning because we're Southern and that was our image back in the '70s and late '60s," Rossington told the cable network two weeks ago. "But I think people through the years, people like the KKK and the skinheads…kidnapped the Dixie rebel flag, the Southern tradition and the heritage of the soldiers, you know, that's what it was about."
He added: "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."
Not that they still do, but now the "Sweet Home Alabama" rockers are singing a different tune after longtime Skynyrd devotees weighed in.
"I only stated my opinion that the confederate 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," the ax man explained in his most recent post.
That reasoning didn't exactly sit well with groups like the NAACP, which called for the group to discontinue using the flag as a stage decoration or for any other purpose.
"Obviously, it's disappointing," Vic Bulluck, executive director of the association's Hollywood bureau, tells E! News. "States rights when it comes to the Civil War is code. The states rights that they wanted during the Civil War was the ability to have slaves."