Natalie Maines’ comment about President George W. Bush during a London concert has resulted in a firestorm of controversy among Dixie Chicks fans while prompting an explanation on the band’s official Web site. Maines’ remark was first reported when a London newspaper, The Guardian, reviewed the Chicks’ Monday night (3/10) concert at Shepherd’s Bush Empire.
In the review published Wednesday (March 12), Guardian writer Betty Clarke began by stating, “The Dixie Chicks are the good-time girls the country establishment loves to hate. Too direct, too old-fashioned, too modern … you name it, it’s been slung at the Texan trio.”
After Clarke referred to the trio as “renegade ladies of country,” Maines’ comment surfaced in the second paragraph. From The Guardian review: And they don’t know when to stop. “Just so you know,” says singer Natalie Maines, “we’re ashamed the president of the United States is from Texas.” It gets the audience cheering — at a time when country stars are rushing to release pro-war anthems, this is practically punk rock.
Maines’ comment has become a hot topic at country radio stations and on Internet message boards devoted to the group. Later Wednesday, the Chicks posted a joint statement on their Web site regarding the reports in the British media.
They wrote, “We’ve been overseas for several weeks and have been reading and following the news accounts of our governments’ position. The anti-American sentiment that has unfolded here is astounding. While we support our troops, there is nothing more frightening than the notion of going to war with Iraq and the prospect of all the innocent lives that will be lost.”
Maines added, “I feel the president is ignoring the opinions of many in the U.S. and alienating the rest of the world. My comments were made in frustration, and one of the privileges of being an American is you are free to voice your own point of view.”
The London concert was the first of two European shows scheduled prior to the North American leg of the band’s Top of the World tour that kicks off May 1 in Greenville, S.C. The Dixie Chicks perform next Wednesday (March 19) in Munich.