Tom Petty recently discussed the decision of South Carolina to take down the Confederate flag that was hanging over its statehouse with Rolling Stone. The legendary musician actually used the flag while on tour in 1985 in support of his Southern Accents album. When asked about Kid Rock’s recent comments to protesters about his use of the flag (“Please tell the people who are protesting to kiss my ass…), Petty responded with, “isn’t Kid Rock from the Midwest?….I think they were on the other side of the Civil War.”

While his 1985 album Southern Accents began as a concept album, an idea which he eventually did away with, the Confederate flag stayed. “The Confederate flag became part of the marketing for the tour. I wish I had given it more thought. It was a downright stupid thing to do.” And that was mainly due to the song “Rebels,” as the song is “spoken from the point of view of the character, who talks about the traditions that have been handed down from family to family….He still blames the North for the discomfort of his life, so my thought was the best way to illustrate this character was to use the Confederate flag.

Petty went on to discuss the decision of South Carolina to take down the flag from over its statehouse, “Lowering the flag from the statehouse grounds was the right decision. That flag shouldn’t have any part in our government. It shouldn’t represent us in any way. The war is over. You know, it’s a bit ironic: It’s the only time that I know of where we defeated a country in a war and then flew their flag. But Americans were on both sides of the issues. I’m sure some people still carry it to their graves.”

To read the full interview, click here.