NASHVILLE SKYLINE: Dixie Chicks, Dixie Chicks, Dixie Chicks

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(NASHVILLE SKYLINE is a column by CMT/ Editorial Director Chet Flippo.)

”I don’t even know what’s played on country radio, but when they tell me some titles, it cracks me up,” laughs lead singer Natalie Maines, sitting in a swank New York hotel as the group promotes its new album, Taking the Long Way, out this week.
New York Times, story from The Associated Press, 5/26/06

”I just feel stupid. I was trying to convince people that that stereotype [about country music] wasn’t real … but it does exist. I thought it was the old school,” she says. ”Now I wouldn’t blame anyone if they didn’t want to listen to it.”
— Martie Maguire, New York Times, 5/26/06

“I don’t think any of us ever trusted Nashville,” Maguire said. “When you’re in that town you know everybody is talking about everybody else. Everybody is wishing for the other guy to fail.”
Los Angeles Times, 5/21/06

”I don’t know that we set out to make a rock record,” says Maines. ”But we definitely didn’t set out to make a country record and I definitely had a bad taste in my mouth.”
New York Times, 5/26/06

”I want (the new album) to be successful to prove to myself that the music matters,” says Maines, ”and radio and organized far right people can’t determine your destiny.”
New York Times, 5/26/06

“I apologized for disrespecting the office of the President,” says Maines. “But I don’t feel that way anymore. I don’t feel he is owed any respect whatsoever.”
Time, 5/21/06

“If people are going to ask me to apologize based on who I am,” says Maines, “I don’t know what to do about that. I can’t change who I am.”
Time, 5/21/06

“I guess if we really cared, we wouldn’t have released that single [“Not Ready to Make Nice”] first,” says Maguire. “That was just making people mad. But I don’t think it was a mistake.”
Time, 5/21/06

“Are we picking the scab of something that’s already healed? Because we don’t know what people are thinking.”
— Maguire, Time, 5/21/06

“I’d rather have a smaller following of really cool people who get it,” says Maguire, “who will grow with us as we grow and are fans for life, than people that have us in their five-disc changer with Reba McEntire and Toby Keith. We don’t want those kinds of fans. They limit what you can do.”
Time, 5/21/06

“If the Dixie Chicks can sing with their foot in their mouths, surely I can host this sucker.”
— Reba McEntire, while hosting the ACM Awards, 5/23/06

Oblique references to the controversy made their way into a few songs, so [songwriter Dan] Wilson suggested they write one that addressed the issue head on. “Natalie said, ’Does that mean we’d have to forgive the people that were so evil to us?’ And I said, ’Maybe it does,'” Wilson recalls. “And with a little wave of her hand, she said, ’Nooooope.’ Then the next morning that phrase ’I’m not ready to make nice’ appeared.”
Time, 5/21/06

“Natalie’s new motto is, ’What would Bruce Springsteen do?'” says [Emily] Robison, laughing. “Not that we’re of that caliber, but ’Would Bruce Springsteen do The View?'”
Time, 5/21/06

“This is obnoxious, obnoxious,” said Vieira. “We started these girls — back in 1998, they couldn’t get arrested. We were one of the first national shows to give them a platform, because they deserve a platform — they are incredibly talented performers.”
— Meredith Viera on the Dixie Chicks dissing her show The View, 5/23/06

Maines: Oh, it was definitely meant as …

Steve Kroft: … lots more people.

Maines: … an insult. But I’m just saying, ultimately, what I said is that I’m ashamed he’s from my state. I think that that is stupid.

Kroft:You’re not sorry at all for what you said that night in London.

Maines: No. Sorry about what? Sorry about what? Sorry about not wanting to go to war and not wanting people to die? And …

Kroft: You’d do it again.

Maines: No. Yeah, I’ve said so much worse than that, I’m telling you.
60 Minutes, 5/14/06

“I’m not truly embarrassed that, you know, President Bush is from my state, that’s not really what I care about,” Maines said in an interview with [Diane] Sawyer, according to The Associated Press. The interview aired on ABC’s Primetime Thursday. “It was the wrong wording with genuine emotion and questions and concern behind it. … Am I sorry that I asked questions and that I just don’t follow? No.”
— CNN, 4/24/03

Maines added one last thought on the Incident: “I’d never take it back.”
Los Angeles Times, 5/21/06

Maines: I’ve never pretended to be country to the core. I’ve always been very honest about my influences.

Kroft: Isn’t that kind of biting the hand that — that feeds you?

Maines: I don’t think so. I think it’s honest, which I never have a problem with.
60 Minutes, 5/14/06

Maines: I can’t say I was a fan from childhood. I think living in Lubbock, and my dad, being in the industry, I rebelled a little bit, but now it’s definitely come full circle and country music and Texas are in my soul and Bob Wills definitely. I used to impersonate. My dad can tell you all about it.
— Maines, syndicated radio show promoting Bob Wills tribute album, Ride With Bob, August, 1999

Maguire: No. But over the years, and especially since country music’s turned into this redneck thing, it’s become kind of a negative. I think for a while, a lot of artists were doing great things … that were broadening the audience so that country was cool because I always thought it was cool. So it makes me sad that it’s kind of reverted back to a place that I’m not that proud of, and this is coming from a true country fan. I can’t listen to the radio right now.
–Maguire, 60 Minutes, 5/14/06

Der Spiegel Online: In view of the campaign against you, did other musicians show solidarity with you?

Maguire: In the country scene practically no one. These people head for the hills fast when there’s trouble, they’re not there for each other. That was very disappointing. Oh yeah, a few weeks ago Merle Haggard dropped a few kind words about us, but that was it. We only got support from other areas, from Bruce Springsteen, for example.
— German news magazine, Der Spiegel, 9/20/03.

“What I was most impressed with is how many artists that may or may not have even met us before send us flowers, send us notes, personal handwritten notes. I mean one was Steve Wariner. I think we met him years and years ago, and he took the time to write this letter of encouragement and congratulations. So I just like that about country music. I like that the artists are so supportive of each other and being new on the block. You need that reassurance from the other artists, just because they’re your peers, and you wanna be respected by your peers more than anything. So that was really neat.”
— Maguire, Dixie Chicks press conference, 8/28/98

“But the thing about the goals. I was gonna say when we first started, when we thought about our goals, we weren’t real specific. We weren’t like, oh, we have to have a No. 1 song or this award or whatever. We all three agreed that longevity was the most important thing. Looking at the other artists that have had a really long career and we understand that your career is always gonna have ups and downs and we’re willing to go through the ups and downs to have longevity.”
— Maguire, on The Road radio show, 7/23/99

“We’d rather be the rock stars of country music than the lame asses of rock music. (laughter from all three Chicks) Which is what we would be.”
— Maines, on the Fly interview disc, 1999

Bob Kingsley: OK, let me get to the quote itself. Was there anything that prompted you at all to say it or was it everything you just said, it just came out?

Maines: Well, it was before “Travelin’ Soldier,” and we were just talking about the soldiers. And we always send out that or “More Love” to them, and we had been in Europe watching their slanted news which is slanted the opposite direction of the news over here. No one seems to give a fair representation of both sides. It probably doesn’t sound, I don’t know if people will think this is true or not, but in a strange way to me it felt patriotic to me to say it. Because I was … it disappointed me and upset me how all of Europe, CNN and the news seemed to group President Bush and the United States as if we’re one person. That just frustrated me so in a way I felt like I was, I see how it was slanted now, but in my head it felt patriotic to say some of us don’t feel this way, don’t hate our entire country. Because they were hating our entire country.”
— Syndicated radio interview with Bob Kingsley, 4/24/03

Kingsley: Do you think you underestimated the way a statement from you can resonate around the world?

Maines: Oh, my God, yes. We never in a million years knew people were listening to what we said. Like Emily said, we never use the stage as a place to preach our political beliefs or spiritual beliefs. And we still won’t. And that’s not what I was doing that night either. It seemed odd to not mention anything about what was going on, granted I mentioned it in the wrong way.”
— Syndicated radio interview with Bob Kingsley, 4/24/03