On March 10, 2003, The Chicks (formerly known as the Dixie Chicks) lead singer Natalie Maines nearly ended her and her bandmates’ careers when she said these twelve famous words during a London concert: “We’re ashamed that the President of the United States is from Texas.”
For a little context, Maines – a Texas native – made the comment just 18 months after 9/11, and just days before the United States went to war with Iraq. It was a tense time, and country music fans didn’t want to hear Maines’ dissent.
they got cancelled by their own fan base for criticizing Bush seventeen years ago: https://t.co/B5j0eYSheV
— LRKR (@LRKRmusic) July 16, 2020
At the time, the band had the number one song and number one album on the country music charts, and they were in the middle of a sold-out tour. But, Maines’ comment sparked a Chicks radio ban across the country and fans started destroying their records. One fan went so far as to literally steamroll the band’s albums. And, all three band members – Maines, Emily Strayer, and Martie Maguire – received numerous death threats.
Simply put, in 2003 The Chicks became the first musical act to get canceled. So, how does Maines feel about the controversy today? In a clip from an upcoming episode of Watch What Happens Live with Andy Cohen, Maines says that Donald Trump’s presidency has completely changed her perspective.
“Today I might actually make out with George Bush,” said Maines, adding that she “didn’t want to go to war,” and “weapons of mass destruction were a lie.”
In a new interview with Bustle, Maines says that after she made the comment in 2003, the backlash left her wanting “to bury my head in the sand.” She was just 28 years old at the time, and she described the experience as “an emotional whirlwind” and she felt unsafe in her own home.
“I had to move. That was one thing from the controversy, I didn’t feel safe living in the center of Austin anymore because people knew where I lived,” said Maines. “So I moved 40 minutes outside of Austin.”
Maines also referenced the Chicks interview with Diane Sawyer when she made a “half-ass apology.” She says that now she would tell her 28-year-old self to not do that, and to make no apologies. Instead, she wishes she would have waited another week because she was “too raw.”
The Dixie Chicks were more or less blacklisted from country music after Natalie Maines criticized President George W. Bush in 2003 during a concert in London, saying, “We’re ashamed that the president of the United States is from Texas.” https://t.co/zwtPwZXgX4
— The Lily (@thelilynews) August 27, 2019
If Natalie Maines’ “controversy” happened today, she says that the Diane Sawyer interview would have never happened, and she would have been able to just “tell everyone to f*ck off and get on with more important things.”
“Now you don’t have to go on Diane Sawyer to tell the world [what you want to say], you can just do it in a tweet or Instagram post or whatever,” said Maines.
On Friday, The Chicks released their first album in 14 years, Gaslighter, and it is available for streaming.