Shirt Stains: Obituary Confederate Flag Barn Jamboree


Here in the South-towns, you know that Obituary don’t play.

The South isn’t rising again. I checked. It probably has something to do with 5 out of the 10 most obese states in the US are in the South, the high rate of diabetes and hypertension, and the lowest levels of education. What these states may lack in, well, a whole lot of good things, they make up for in friendliness, delicious but murderous food, and overwhelming pride from being from the South. With that pride usually comes the defacto symbol of the south, the Confederate Flag. Though the actual Confederate States of America flag went through many different iterations, the battle flag is now commonly referred to as just the Confederate Flag or “Stars and Bars”.

Feelings towards the “Southern Cross” or “Dixie” flag as it is occasionally referred it, have shifted in recent years. What is seen as a symbol of Southern culture or Southern Pride (or just Lynyrd Skynyrd) by those who like is none seen by others as a symbol of racism or hate. The flag, along with statues of Confederate leaders, has been taken down in recent years because of its historical context and representations.

Of course, the flag is not just relegated to states in the South. Even in the northeast, I see cars (ok, pickup trucks) with Dixie flag license plates, stickers, flags, and all sorts of other paraphernalia displayed by people who have most likely never even crossed the Mason-Dixon line. Dumb doesn’t know state boundaries. It almost doesn’t know the supreme irony of holding up the Confederate flag while screaming that people should “Trump won the election and people should just get over.”

Death metal stalwarts Obituary have always embraced their southern roots. Some may not think that Florida, Obituary’s home state, as “southern” thanks to tourist attractions and big cities like Miami. In actuality, the state was actually one of the first to join the Confederacy. The band uses the term “redneck” frequently. Their current US tour with Gruesome is called the “East Coast Redneck Run.” They embrace their southerness the way our president embraces a woman’s genitalia without their consent. That big ol’ bear hug has also led the band to display their name and image next to the rebel flag.



Whelp, there it is. The rebel flag, front and center. Since the shirt is washed out in sepia tones and has an overwhelming brown-ness to it, you eyes are instantly drawn to the red, white and blue flag splashed dead center on the shirt. This isn’t the first time the band has used the flag on their shirts. I don’t suspect it will be the last time, either. The band posted the shirt on their Facebook page and what little reactions it garnered has been mixed.

One would be forgiven if they completely missed the name “Obituary” at first glance. The flag is pretty distracting. So is the picture of the band. That’s the best they could do? Sweaty, post-gig picture complete with towel, beer with edited-out label, and a giant fist with a wedding ring on it. They just look like they could use a warm shower, a decent meal, and a comfy bed. I don’t want to worship death, I just want to give them a hug and read them a bedtime story.

The back of the shirt is just silly. Here’s their old smell hound Geech, their pet goat named Jolt Cola, and their trusty tractor which also doubles as their beer-drinkin’ seat. Just try to ignore the weird size differences and odd placements. It’s all just kind of silly, but it is in keeping with Obituary’s not-serious attitude. Just look at the recent music videos. That’s what makes the usage of the Confederate flag that much more annoying.

I don’t believe the band has any sort of ulterior motive with using the flag. I suspect their thinking is Confederate Flag = South = Us. I also think that they know that a large amount of people do not like the flag and are disappointed with the band’s continual usage of it in their merchandise. Heck, fans have said so right on their Facebook page about it. Plus, look at Geech and Jolt Cola’s faces. They want no part of this.

Would this shirt have made it on to Shirt Stains even without the flag? You bet your sweet bippy it would. This thing looks like it would smell like stale Mountain Dew, diesel fumes, and the stained backseat of Ford Ranchero. That being said, the flag just doesn’t need to be there or on any merch for that matter. It’s 2017. If you want to be proud of being Southern, you can do so without using a symbol of oppression and racial discrimination. For their next shirt, Obituary should replace the Confederate flag with the Waffle House sign. Then smother the shirt in gravy for the full effect. Other bands that use the flag should do the same.

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  • Howard Dean
    • TheGranulatingDarkSatanicMilfs
      • Dumpster Lung

        This one’s always been my favorite from them. Album, I mean. Song is a harder one to pick. Find the Arise might be the one I get most excited for.

        • TheGranulatingDarkSatanicMilfs

          Yes, it is their best album. And indeed, it is hard to pick a favorite song from it. I’d probably go with Infected or Turned Inside Out

      • Howard Dean
      • FrankWhiteKingOfNY

        Those first two Obituary albums >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>
        The band was never going to live up to those standards again.

        Hard to pick a favorite, as I love both equally. Though I may hold the softest spot for the debut, since some of the songs barely have any lyrics. Just Tardy, his rotten throat and the vile sounds coming out of it.

        • GoatForest

          The debut is my favorite. Nothing else they’ve done comes close, except maybe Slowly We Rot…

          • FrankWhiteKingOfNY

            Slowly We Rot is their debut. I think the debut and the follow-up, Cause of Death, are by far the best albums they ever did.

          • GoatForest

            Really? I thought Cause of Death was the debut. Huh. The version I have is one of those dual copies that Roadrunner put out a while back.

          • FrankWhiteKingOfNY

            Haha no probz. Slowly We Rot is ’89, Cause of Death is ’90. My Cause of Death copy is a Roadrunner repress, my Slowly We Rot copy is a Roadracer original.

          • GoatForest


          • GoatForest

            How is the sound on the original? Is it really quiet like the old Combat Death releases?

          • FrankWhiteKingOfNY

            Sound’s fine. The reissues often have had some polish so they sound just a bit heavier, but the originals are usually solid enough and the sound still has enough weight. It doesn’t sound thin or anything.

          • GoatForest

            Very good then. So, it’s not just collectible, it’s practical!

        • drug_genosh

          no love for end complete OR world demise?! come on now! end complete is a groove stew & world demise was, IMO, their creative peak! shit, sometimes ill even give xecutioner’s return a spin.

          • FrankWhiteKingOfNY

            End Complete and World Demise are alright albums, but none of them hold a candle against the first two.

    • CT-12
      • Axxon N.

        Ha ha! Good catch!

        • CT-12

          I’m glad someone caught it!

  • Pagliacci is Kvlt

    “This thing looks like it would smell like stale Mountain Dew, diesel fumes, and the stained backseat of Ford Ranchero.”

    • Doc Torluv

      I was waiting for this. Kudos, my good man.

    • ¯_(ツ)_/¯

    • Joaquin Stick

      The backseat isn’t a place, it’s a state of mind.

  • Dumpster Lung

    I didn’t actually see that shirt for sale at the merch table when they came through here last week. I might have just missed it, but it looked like it was pretty much all the same shirts they had from the Decibel Tour a last month.

    Not that I’d have bought one if they had it, but I figured I’d see it there 😛

  • I’d like to point out that here is banging looking Farmall C on the back, too. Which is fucking

    awesome. Old iron ftw!


  • Doc Torluv

    With the currently enormous Bro-Country scene attracting millions of fans (camo, beards, trucks, weed, beer, tractors, fuckin’, fightin’) this shirt design, while terribly ugly, is pretty much marketing 101 put into practice. Cater not only to the audience you have, but the one you want.

  • Mr. Bojangles

    Came here for toilets and got testicles and testicularate flag. Life is good


    P.S. I’m seeing Metallica tonight. Currently jerking off to dead owls while I listen to Blackened.

    Edit: this website looks legit now. 2legit2quit.

  • ME GORAK™✓ᶜᵃᵛᵉᵐᵃⁿ


  • Eliza
  • Óðinn

    Dear South,

    If we promise to take your progressives, liberals, artists, awesome musicians, and otherwise cool people, will you attempt to secede from the United States again? Please. This time, we won’t contest you secession. We promise. Seriously, you’re economically and culturally dragging us down.


    Normal America

    P.S. We’ll give you Trump to run your newly formed nation, Dumbfuckistan. You’re welcome.

  • Th’load&th’road

    Seriously 365? I caught Gruesome/Obituary as I passed through Birmingham AL last weekend- in a tiny 2nd floor venue that was packed and unbearably hot. Seen both bands before and Gruesome was great but imo it was so stiflingly hot that Obituary didn’t have their greatest night. This shirt was indeed for sale there, (I bought a different one) and gotta say, didn’t even notice the tiny rebel flag on it, presumably because of my ever present white privilege blinders? I noticed the tractor on the back, however. Ban GL for liking it, tractors are inherently racist. I love this blog, the community feel and hilarity of the commentors (including the ones that have been, again IMHO, unnecessarily banned, and with the exception of those who insist on piling on Howard Dean for no reason whatsoever other than not towing the imaginary line) I read it everyday, and subscribe to the podcast. But I’ve got to pick on you two a little bit. As much as I am a fan, this article is kind of the last straw in this whole self-congratulating pointing-out-what’s-racist-and-who’s-a-“nazi” schtick. Do ya feel better now? Please don’t turn the beloved Terlet Ov Heck into another click bait MS, pretty please?? I read this in your ultra-whine accent and I could hear Joe’s accompanying Butthead-if-Thurston-Howell-III-was-his-father-frat-boy-laugh. (Told you I was going to pick on you two- it’s no more or less childish than your southern stereotypes). I grew up in the south, and I’ve spent some time in the Providence/Bristol area and Austin as well. I can almost promise you that the 50 year old self proclaimed Floridian rednecks in Obituary have had more meaningful interactions and relationships with black people than there are black people in all of Rhode Island. I can also promise that Providence (and Austin) have the same, similar or worse problems as anywhere in the south. Any safe affordable low income housing in either area? Homeless much? Racism not an issue there? I’m not defending the south, it’s nutballs religiosity is off the charts and that coincides handily with poverty and education. As it does in Islamic theocracies. I just can’t imagine what you think was accomplished with this article, (other than some smug self satisfaction) especially the last paragraph telling us all the manner in which we could acceptably express regional pride. I personally think said regional pride is silly, whether it’s “don’t mess with texas” or New York / New England HardCore or rebel flag southerners, but I seriously doubt anybody gives any more of a fuck what I think about that than what you deem acceptable. Obituary has written and continues to produce defining RIFFS in death metal, for what about 30 years now? Their latest album and animated video are fantastic and fun. Displayed commitment to their craft and fans and touring, and are well regarded as genuinely good people who care about the music and the scene and even helped start and run a non profit called “meow-militia” to help with feral cat population problems in a humane way(capture-spay/neuter-release). And I guess you can proudly say that you…uhm…called them out for a tiny rebel flag on a t-shirt? I’m sure oppressed peoples everywhere applaud your righteous vigilance in this matter. Lolbuttz.

    I live in KC now, Gatecreeper/Pallbearer this Thursday! Woo hoo! I’ll be the one in the Obituary shirt. Also Warbringer/Destruction playing Saturday

  • Jackson

    keep your politics out of my metal.