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Vinnie Paul: Flag uproar is knee-jerk reaction

Former Pantera drummer says backlash against Confederate banner is "unfortunate"

Former Pantera drummer Vinnie Paul has described the Confederate flag controversy as "a big knee-jerk reaction."

The American civil war-era banner, which has links to racist groups, has been removed from government buildings in South Carolina after weeks of intense debate, following the mass murder of nine black people by a white gunman in a church last month.

Paul's former bandmate Phil Anselmo was one of the first musicians to comment on the issue, saying he regretted using the flag in connection with Pantera and Superjoint Ritual.

Slipknot's Corey TaylorTom Petty and Lamb Of God's Randy Blythe have also commented on the controversy.

Paul tells Sticks For Stones: "All I’m going to say is it’s a big knee-jerk reaction to something that happened. It’s unfortunate that people are like that, they want to point a finger at something.

"Honestly, this country was built on freedom of speech and freedom of expression. When you can no longer do that, then it is no longer based on that. I just think that it doesn’t follow what the country was built on. To me that blows – but that’s how it is."

Paul's late brother Dimebag Darrell often played a guitar emblazoned with the Confederate flag and the band posed with the flag, embellished with the words "heritage not hate."

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