Natalie Maines Says the Dixie Chicks’ Future Is Uncertain
The Dixie Chicks have agreed to a couple of rare live appearances this summer, but that doesn’t necessarily mean the Texas-based trio are gearing up for a full-fledged album and tour. In a new interview, singer Natalie Maines expresses uncertainty about the future of the Grammy-winning act.
“I just don’t feel like it’s the Dixie Chicks’ time,” Maines tells Howard Stern (quote via the Boot). “I feel like things were tainted permanently. So, I struggle with going out on five Grammys or going out — petering out.”
The Dixie Chicks were the hottest act in country music until Maines’ infamous onstage comment to a London audience in 2003, when the singer — frustrated with President George W. Bush’s decision to invade Iraq — said, “Just so you know, we’re on the good side with y’all. We do not want this war, this violence, and we’re ashamed that the President of the United States is from Texas.”
The episode brought the trio’s career to a virtual standstill as country radio stations across America dropped their songs, while the performers endured all manner of harassment. “I moved from my house in Austin out to the country. It wasn’t a good feeling,” Maines says. “My aunt is a newscaster in Lubbock, Texas, and she got a letter that said, ‘Natalie Maines will be shot dead at their show in Dallas, Texas,’ with the date of our concert. It was freaky to see that in writing.”
The group bounced back with ‘Taking the Long Way’ in 2006, but the momentum from that didn’t last. Maines tells Stern she doesn’t want to be at the mercy of country music after all that’s happened. “I don’t trust it anymore,” she admits. “I don’t want to put my fate in country music fans, I’m too stubborn.”
So for now, the Chicks are mostly on hold while Maines readies her first solo album, which is slated for release on May 7. Produced by Ben Harper, the album is a return to her rock roots, and the singer says she wasn’t entirely on board with the decision to do the two upcoming shows, preferring to focus on one thing at a time. “I’m not good at multi-tasking,” she reveals. “I just wanted one touring cycle to just focus on this, but I was outvoted.”
While the Chicks might not be the hardest-working band in music right now, Maines says they’re not going away just yet. “I’m still in the Dixie Chicks; we haven’t broken up,” she clarifies. “I love the Dixie Chicks; it’s the most fun I’ve ever had in my life. It was like winning the lottery.”