Friday, December 6, 2013

On Rebels, Rock, Racism and Patches on My Vest

It happens, not very often, but on occasion. We’ll get that one person that points to my rebel flag patch or related Southern symbolism somewhere in our stage show and they express their discomfort. It’s usually a liberal White person hell bent on categorizing me as a hillbilly racist that’s close minded and participating in diabolical meetings trying to enslave people of African heritage again. They treat me like I’m a one man wrecking crew on a mission to go to South Africa and revitalize the chattel slavery era... “White Power” and all that hoopla. They cast judgement and if I don’t fit into their neat mold it throws them for a curve ball. I look the part, I have a camo hat, I’m not a pencil neck in skinny jeans, I have a non hipster beard, sometimes I chew tobacco and I know exactly what top water lure to throw at dusk to nail a huge smallmouth in the crick...Yup, I must be racist. I ride shotgun with George Zimmerman’s neighborhood watch. Oh wait, he’s Hispanic... damn this is getting confusing figuring out which team we’re on. 

Rocklahoma 2012

I’m not an innocent victim though, I do the same shit. When I see vegan warriors or eco-yuppies meandering around Whole Foods, I assume they are suburban trust fund kids who read an essay by Che Guevara and fancy themselves very important in the political process. Yeah, fist in the air, power to the people, I get it, the status quo is frustrating; BUT....I figure they probably can’t fish, they can’t skin a buck, they’ve never shot a gun and they’ve never worked with their hands and I throw my pebble of judgement right back. So we stand there at an ideological/judgmental stalemate. I’d say ‘Mexican Stand Off’ but then I’d be writing an essay explaining that I don’t hate Mexican people and I’ll get tired of writing....political correctness sucks and makes us weak as far as I’m concerned.

Here’s the deal, we’re both wrong. At least I know I am though. Some of my best friends are left wing crusaders and I have friends that would probably be considered racist by mainstream media standards of political correctness. I tend to put more value on your character and actions than on your externally expounded politricks. I typically piss off both sides. The right hates me because I believe in rights for women, I have little time for organized religion and I don’t fucking care if you marry a frog as long as it’s a consenting adult. The left hates me because I carry a gun, I don’t agree with free rides and open borders and I think we should probably bring public hangings back. That’s Adam Joad, I’m a walking contradiction that’s pretty predictable once you know the pattern - I always like Yuengling and Whiskey though. The Whiskey has to be from South of the Mason Dixon line for my liking.... Obviously not because I prefer it that way, it's because I must hate Canada, the Irish and Scots even though by definition they would be “Whitey.” And "Whitey" we all know is the man that has been oppressing people of color for 400 years...Yeah I’ve read Nation of Islam stuff and watched Farrakhan speak, it makes my head hurt truth be told. It’s probably by design since I am the white devil with the patch on my vest to prove it. I have the right to use my Keurig coffee maker "By Any Means Necessary" to get my caffeine just right in the morning. 

So that brings me to the old stars and bars. Like the Gasden Flag (Don’t Tread on Me - no it's not a Metallica Flag dumbases), there are certain organizations that have appropriated the rebel flag. From the Klan to Neo Nazis to the Dukes of Hazzard, fuck the other day I saw it in a Hed Pe video and he’s bi-racial (and a really nice guy + killer performer). A flag only has the meaning that we assign to it. For me, this is the meaning I assign to it. Every SH riff and Rock and Roll in general is born from the South. It’s derived from the blues and it’s primarily built on pentatonic blues scales in a traditional form (at least the good stuff is).... AND the blues originated as a Black Man’s form of expression. If I were racist, I’d have to hate the very roots of what I dedicate my life to playing. So for me, the stars and bars is an homage to the roots of what I do. We didn't invent this shit, we are just part of it. It’s also a geographical location that should be celebrated for its beauty, its people and its diversity. When I get to the South or to similar rural areas, I feel a sense of relief and connection that I don’t get in big cities. That’s just who I am. 

Folks flying the Stars and Bars in the Audience
for us at A2 Festival in Michigan.
I wasn’t born in the South, I grew up Greene County. I could probably shoot the Mason Dixon line with my deer rifle  from there but technically by “Civil War” geography, I’m in the north. You may not want to tell people from there that as there’s not much difference in our Appalachian hillside from the other. If you trace my family tree I have relatives that fought on both sides of the Civil War. I also have relatives who fought in the Revolutionary War, WW I, WWII and Vietnam but I digress. I did none of these things so I’m not claiming any valor by any means just demonstrating a point. I also never participated in the slave trade but now I’m getting off topic because my brain is a terrible place. You know who else isn’t from the South, Ed King.... Yeah he’s the fella you hear counting in at the beginning of “Sweet Home Alabama.” He’s from California. You know who else isn’t, David Allan Coe. Yeah he’s from Ohio and he’s the reigning king of Outlaw Country, well Willie probably is by Coe is a badass. Clint Black is from Jersey.... etc. So yes, there’s a rebel flag patch on my vests. There’s also a Crass Patch, an American Flag Patch, a BLS Patch, A Hell Rider Patch, A Black Flag Patch, an Allman Brothers Patch, an American Indian Movement patch etc. None of the haters care about these though, only the dixie flag. 

The Dukes, the most awesome use
of Southern symbolism 

Anyway, don’t assume we are racists or that we hate any group in general. I think the key to ending racism is eliminating it from the equation and that goes both ways. I say fuck Al Sharpton and those people that are trying to push racial divides rather than bridge them. Fuck, what do I know though, I’m the guy that taunted PETA kids doused in fake blood from the stage at Warped Tour with a real deer skull. I’m not exactly someone you should model your political beliefs around. I drive around the country in a sweet A-Team van and play rock music for a living. I’m sure I’ll drop the ball and cast judgement in the wrong direction again and I’m sure it will be done to me. I’m a human being but hell, we all are and that’s something to celebrate. 

Let’s keep it respectful and oh yeah, If you don’t like the rebel flag on my vest, fuck off I could care less - Don’t look at it. White power, brown pride, black power.. suck it, Joad Power. 

From My Bunker In Appalachia,

Adam Joad 

FYI: We started taking orders for the new embroidered 3.5" SH patch - They will ship right after Christmas, Festivus, Hanukkah, Kwanza or whatever the hell you celebrate. No rebel flags were used or hurt during the patch production process even though they are made by a Southern factory in Florida, not overseas. Though they are 100% made of vegan materials, which should now make Jay Z and Beyonce happy in the event that you are going to buy the power couple one to celebrate the new year, the skull depicted was actually from a deer shot in Mt. Morris, PA. 

SH Patch: Get one Here