Mar
10

Destroying The Dixie Chicks – Ten Years After

March 10, 2013 - By Trigger  //  Random Notes  //  187 Comments

dixie-chicks-free-speechTen years ago today, Natalie Maines of the Dixie Chicks stood in front of a crowd at Shepherd’s Bush Empire Theatre in England, and uttered these now infamous words:

“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 comments at the concert beginning a Dixie Chicks world tour sparked off possibly the biggest black balling in the history of American music. Spoken 10 days before the beginning of the Iraq War, the backlash took the Dixie Chicks from the biggest concert draw in country music to relative obscurity in country music in a matter of weeks.

Despite numerous clarifications and apologies from Natalie Maines and the Dixie Chicks, a full on boycott of their music was called for by pro-Bush, pro-war, and pro-American groups. Their single “Landslide” went from #10 on the Billboard charts, to #44 in 1 week, and the next week fell off the charts completely. Radio stations who played any Dixie Chicks songs were immediately bombarded with phone calls and emails blasting the station and threats of boycotts if they continued. Even radio DJ’s and programmers who sympathized with the Dixie Chicks were forced to stop playing them from the simple logistics nightmare the boycott created. Some DJ’s who played the Dixie Chicks were fired.

Dixie Chicks CD’s were rounded up, and in one famous incident were run over by a bulldozer. Concerts were canceled in the US as the Dixie Chicks couldn’t sell tickets, and rival concerts were set up that would take Dixie Chicks tickets in exchange. The Dixie Chicks lost their sponsor Lipton, and The Red Cross denied a million dollar endorsement from the band, fearing it would draw the ire of the boycott. The Dixie Chicks also received hundreds of death threats from the incident.

The boycott eventually lead to the virtual demise of the band. They went on hiatus in 2008, though their bounce back album in 2006 produced by Rick Rubin called Taking The Long Way went gold in its first week, debuting at #1 on the Billboard country charts despite absolutely no radio play.

Perspective on the Demise of the Dixie Chicks 10 Years After

Whether anyone wants to look at what the Dixie Chicks comments as right, wrong, poorly timed, or misplaced being said on foreign soil, it is hard to not see 10 years after the hypocrisy of how the Dixie Chicks were handled by the country music community. At the same time Natalie Maines made her comments, Willie Nelson was also openly criticizing the war, but taking it to another level by floating the idea that 9/11 was a potential governmental conspiracy perpetuated by the Bush Administration to drum up public support for war in Iraq. Merle Haggard released an anti-war song in the summer of 2003 called “America First” with little to no backlash. And then there is the idea that whether you agree with Natalie Maines or not, her right to speak her mind is guaranteed by The First Amendment, one of the things President George W. Bush pointed out himself when responding to the controversy in April 2003:

the-dixie-chicks-protestThe Dixie Chicks are free to speak their mind. They can say what they want to say…They shouldn’t have their feelings hurt just because some people don’t want to buy their records when they speak out. Freedom is a two-way street. I don’t really care what the Dixie Chicks said. I want to do what I think is right for the American people, and if some singers or Hollywood stars feel like speaking out, that’s fine. That’s the great thing about America. It stands in stark contrast to Iraq.

As President Bush points out, the people boycotting the Dixie Chicks were also exercising their rights to freedom of speech. The controversy also created positive sentiment and appeal for The Dixie Chicks that it wasn’t there before. Their album Taking The Long Way won 2007 Grammy Awards for Album of the Year, Record of the Year, and Song of the Year; something that was likely not possible without the sentimental vote by the greater recording industry. Outlets like NPR who would have never touched the Dixie Chicks’ music before the boycott began playing them in regular rotation. Taking The Long Way went 5 times platinum eventually, partially on the support of people who sympathized with the Dixie Chicks politically.

How The Death of the Dixie Chicks Changed The Music

Possibly the most untold story of the Dixie Chicks’ saga is the sonic repercussions the boycott and eventual demise of the band has had on country music. The Dixie Chicks were a traditional country band, especially by today’s perspective. They wrote most of their own songs, played traditional acoustic instruments like fiddle, mandolin, banjo, and guitar, and featured 3 part harmonies. The Dixie Chicks benefited greatly from the resurgence in interest in American roots music and bluegrass spurned by the release of the movie O Brother Where Art Thou in 2000. The Dixie Chicks were helping to usher in a more acoustic, more traditional era in country music, and were the biggest-drawing, best-selling artists in country music at the time; the biggest thing since Garth Brooks in country, and one of the biggest acts in all of American Music.

Meanwhile the opposition to the Dixie Chicks and the person at the opposite end of the political and sonic spectrum was Oklahoma’s Toby Keith. He symbolized the loud, electric, arena rock approach to country music that could be argued is still heavily in place in country music today. Toby positioned himself as the antithesis of the Dixie Chicks, and ended up becoming the best-selling artist in country in the 2000′s decade. Toby’s flashy, rock-style arena show thrived while the Dixie Chicks’ stripped down, acoustic approach dwindled back into obscurity in mainstream country. When you see bands today like Mumford & Sons, The Lumineers, and The Avett Brothers, you see that the stripped-down, acoustic approach to music is still relevant, if not the most relevant approach today in popular music. But it’s had to move outside of the country music fold to find a present-day outlet.

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Reflecting back on the Dixie Chicks and the public fallout, it is hard to not see that the country music community’s reaction was unmeasured, unfair, and overall, unhealthy for its future. Country music not only black balled a band that was offering sonic leadership to the genre on how to move forward while still respecting the roots of the music and remaining commercially viable, they lost one of the genre’s greatest economic engines, and may have long-term fumbled their ability to benefit from the universally-relevant appeal of acoustic roots music.

But most unfortunately, the event leaves country music with a black eye as a genre who can’t respect artists regardless of their beliefs. This typecasting of the country music fan as a closed-minded, politically-intolerant animal is a legacy it will take country music a long time to shake. Much longer than 10 years.

187 Comments to “Destroying The Dixie Chicks – Ten Years After”

  • I enjoyed some of their music. I try not to let the politics of the artists judge what I listen to. Some things will never go away not matter how long it is. Look at Jane Fonda, but. I don’t think what the chicks did was as bad as that.

       15 likes

    • I don’t think what they said was bad enough to lose a career. Look at the idiotic comments made by today’s celebrities. I believe it was the timing. Right after 9/11, the country was, I believe, in it’s most patriotic state. Most people were no longer sleeping but paying attention to what was going on. Most still had faith that our government was looking out our best interest. Boy, how things have changed.

         27 likes

      • I prefer not to know the political leaning of any celebrity. When they make it known then they are asking me to agree with them or change my position. That’s when I must assess if I really like them. If we’re in agreement then I don’t have to change any position. If we disagree then I have to make a decision on whether to continue supporting their celebrity status or drop them. I simple prefer to evaluate an artist on their talent, not their political position.

           35 likes

    • the DC’s did not do/say anything all that bad. Jane Fonda was MUCH worse and is a complete loser. The DC’s mainly wanted their views on the war, the suffering & the violence to stop and by doing so they had to step o the president’s toes as he was the one who called the stupid war to commence. Country music & it’s fans are the real losers here because of the TOTALLY unfair black boxing of the DC’s super great and powerful music. They’ll always be loved by me and I listen to them proudly.

         10 likes

  • The Day the Music Died, Part II. Beautifully said. It’s hard not to see the event as a game-changer for country music, leaving the genre marginalized and regionalized once again. A loss for all of us.

       28 likes

    • I’m not sure if that was the effect, but the best thing for country music is for it to remain “regional.” Elements of unique regional culture, such as country music, are only cheapened when attempts are made to expand their popularity to appeal to mass audiences. Not to put words in Trig’s mouth, but to me, thats the whole point of saving country music.

         7 likes

    • To these three women and any other whining celebrity who is surprised that words have consequences: You live in a bubble. You are surrounded by people you have hired that talk, think, and act like you. Do not be so surprised when it turns out that you are not in the majority with your opinions. See election, US, 2000.
      You have every right to spout your blather. What is the point of having a larger megaphone if not to use it? If I disagree strongly with your words, I will voice my disapproval by avoiding your projects. See how that works? Your rights are not violated. Neither are mine. You however, must live with the financial consequences. I’ll just watch a different movie or listen to a different station.

         43 likes

      • I wonder if those thoughts apply to asshats like Phil Robertson as well? I see a lot of right-wing nut jobs defending the idiotic things he said and shaming people for boycotting Duck Dynasty, and A&E for firing him. I guess freedom of speech only is reserved for conservative douchtards.

           16 likes

        • People tried to boycott Phil Robertson. Just as in the article where Dixie Chicks had supporters that sided with them, Phil had people side with him. Same situations, different fanbase. But asshat libtards like you cry foul regardless.

             17 likes

        • I wonder if those thoughts apply to asshats like Phil Robertson as well? I see a lot of right-wing nut jobs defending the idiotic things he said and shaming people for boycotting Duck Dynasty, and A&E for firing him. I guess freedom of speech only is reserved for conservative douchtards.
          I wonder how you can possibly justify your attempts at condescension. My beliefs apply to anyone-that’s the difference between me and a hypocritical lib. You throw labels around yet seem to have comprehension issues. I will say it again in smaller words so that I don’t lose you.
          Anyone is free to buy or not buy a product if they don’t like the actions of the person in question. Ask Paula Deen. But the Dixie Chicks forgot that. They spoke up, they lost their gig. Capitalism rocks. So does freedom of choice. Name calling, condescending ,sycophant mouth breathers ? Not so much.

             6 likes

      • Milissa, why put that much thought into another person’s politics? Why let something as petty as a political disagreement stop you from watching a certain movie, or listen to a certain band? Especially if you love the movie or band… And if you do care that much, do you look up every actor/singer’s political views before you see their movie or buy their record? Is that a part of your process, look up critic’s reviews and then Google a person’s political views?

        I’m a homosexual. Trace Adkins shared his disgust for legalizing gay marriage at one of his concerts, which was loaded to YouTube. It didn’t keep me from listening to his music. I have both of his greatest hits albums, and I enjoyed watching him on Celebrity Apprentice (But Penn deserved to win).

           3 likes

        • To address the question of why stop financially supporting a music or film star if you disagree with their politics, because I am not going to help them get on their soap box to try to convince others about their political ideals. That would be financially supporting their cause in a way. Come on use common sense, oh that is right! I forgot liberal types have no common sense, my bad!!!

             0 likes

  • As Trigger points out Taking The Long Way did certainly appeal to what I’d broadly call the NPR crowd. To an extent the Dixie Chicks brought country to the NPR crowed and/or made it ‘cool’ in that crowd to like a certain kind of country. In short without the Dixie Chicks being the ‘gateway drug’ to country would the NPR audience have developed as it has? One may not entirely agree with the NPR-ization of country and folk, but I suspect the NPR crowd isn’t buying Florida Georgia Line and more likely to be buying The Civil Wars, Mumford, Sarah Jarosz, The Lumineers and Amanda Shires etc is net net a plus.

    Natalie Maines has a new album coming out in May, when asked how she felt about going back to the country scene she indicated it would be like “going back to back to her abusive husband”. And, well, we know how she treated Earl…

       22 likes

    • I think the Dixie Chicks sympathy probably did help with the permeation of string/roots music.

         4 likes

  • I love The Dixie Chicks music and was very disappointed when radio stopped playing their songs. I always felt the boycott was unfair on many levels and for many reasons, and now in light of what we know about the events leading up to the war in Iraq, totally unjust!

       39 likes

    • I agree with you. I enjoyed thier song and I did think that it was the wrong thing to do. people really voice thier own opinions to each other. I think that people just wanted to focus thier anger on something and sorry to say but the dixie chicks got the butt end of it all. I know there were times when people just wanted to hear something of thiers and thought if only. people make mistakes and we should all learn to forgive and forget.

         3 likes

  • I think that alot of hippies who never would’ve given dixie chick styled music a chance became fans. That has been more important to the broad genre that is country influenced music than the mainstream’s loss of any one band could ever be. Mainstream music by it’s nature is always aiming to appeal to the masses, whom generally speaking aren’t real music lovers to begin with.

       1 likes

  • “Reflecting back on the Dixie Chicks and the public fallout, it is hard to not see that the country music community’s reaction was unmeasured, unfair,”

    I couldn’t dissagree more. Natalie thought she would be cool and thought it was a good applause line. She was in a foriegn country when our country was on the eve of war while men and women like my son sere sitting over sees preparing for battle.

    They got what they deserved. Lets not forget that Natalie had many negative things to say about country fans She wanted to be won of the cool Hollywood/Rock people. Good ridence to bad trash.

    Not ready to make nice yet!

       71 likes

    • Destroying someone’s career for something they said is a defacto infringement on freedom of speech no different than if someone had their career destroyed because they responded to something somebody said. Especially when the sentiment expressed is fairly mainstream. I think that is something we can all agree on.

      Are you implying that Natalie Maines did not believe what she said? I think her behavior after the incident proved that she did. And to just play devil’s advocate, I’m sure what Natalie would tell you is that she was supporting the troops by saying they shouldn’t have been in harm’s way to begin with.

      Personally, I have many issues with some of the things Natalie Maines has said and done since the incident. But that doesn’t mean the punishment still didn’t fit the crime initially. Reading through some of the venom of the death threats they received, I think it would be difficult for any of us to hold on to ourselves when being faced with such hatred.

      I see the politics both ways on this. Yes, she said what she said and should face the consequences. But that doesn’t make it right, nor does it change that country as a genre may be worse off for it.

         44 likes

      • The first amendment protects us from the government, not the free market.

           69 likes

        • They destroyed their career with shallow thinking. I was ashamed they were from the U.S. when they made that statement over seas. These Chic’s alienated their fan base and they stop buying their tickets. The country music industry did not miss treat them – fans believe they were shown their true colors, angered by their statements, and apology was motivated by financial ramifications.

             50 likes

          • Wow just wow! You people are a disgrace to humanity! What she said millions around the world, including the USA, thought and it’s too bad you war mongers can’t see that! By the way how did that war turn out for ya’ll? FYI when some disagrees with the action of war he/she is not judging the service men/woman who have no choice but to participate, get your redneck heads outta your ass!

               25 likes

          • Hey Barb There was NO draft, we did have a choice to either sit at home and bitch about WAR or go and defend OUR COUNTRY.

            Former Marine 1994-2003

            Semper Fi

               30 likes

        • Hey Barb- I listened to a lady from Iraq tell about Hussein’s rape rooms. She was forced to watch her six year old daughter be raped by five soldiers. Her crime? She said something unfavorable about Saddam. WMD or no wmd (and how do you think Syria got wmd if not from Hussein sending them there to hide?) that war was worth it.
          If you think it were better to allow those small children to be raped-plus mothers, daughters, and grandmothers- wow. Just wow.

             17 likes

          • Yes a woman’s life in pretty gruesome in the Middle East. And now instead of Sudam’s terror these woman get see each other blown up, dead or maimed, at there local market place. They really came out winners in all this.

               1 likes

      • The bottom line is I would love to meet the Chief of the “PC” Police so I can be aware of what is or not is ok to say.

        Freedom of speech/ expression is just that a HUMAN FREEDOM (liberals stop trying to make it only a government right). Freedom of speech/ expression is Not Limited to what WE agree with.

        As HUMANS we have options; not to read, not to purchase, not to watch said speech/ expression if we choose to. People need to stop with the persecutions and wanting people fired or loss of livelihood just because you don’t like what they said. NO ONE FORCED YOU to read, purchase, or watch what was said.

        STOP with the DOUBLE-STANDARD POLITICAL CORRECTNESS B.S.

        Merry Christmas!!! Oh I forgot, I have to say Happy Holidays or Winter Celebration now. Whatever!!! bunch of liberal crybabies…

           13 likes

    • At the risk of turning a logical discussion about the dire straits in which “real” country finds itself these days, into a political one:

      I think your anger could/should be better directed at a government which selected its “interventions” based not on fact, but on the self-interest of those within it.

      History has proven that the govt. of the time was duplicitous in its reasoning, as was the Blair govt. in Britain. Be angry by all means, but be angry with the politicians who lied about / misrepresented the circumstances and the need for an intervention.

      On a side note – I may not agree with your point of view, or the logic behind it – but I respect your right to hold it and voice it. It’s just a pity these girls weren’t afforded the same courtesy.

         17 likes

      • People respected the rights of the Dixie Chicks to hold that view, as did President Bush. And most people also made THEIR view clear by not buying the Dixie Chicks’ albums and requesting radio stations not play them. It works both ways – you have the right to say something, and I have the right to respond with my own opinion. It just so happened a large number of people had the opinion that they did not want to listen to, buy albums/songs from, or support the Dixie Chicks, and radio stations listened.

           64 likes

    • Comments like these are so ignorant and make me so angry. This “foriegn country” (the UK, where i happen to be from) was also on the eve of war, both of my cousins where preparing to leave their familys to go into a battle that no one in Britain agreed with. It wasn’t JUST the USA that went to Iraq. Natalie was pefectly intitled to say her opinion in London, as Bush and his agenda was the reason that the British soldiers where sent. It would have been arrogant for her to turn up to the UK, after 1 million+ people had taken to the streets to peacefully protested against going to war that week and not have mentioned it. You might not agree with what was said, but your “foriegn country” comment shows complete ignorance to the 179 British soldiers who lost their lives, their families loss, as well as the thousands who came back ingured.

         3 likes

      • For myself, No problem with expressing the anti-war position, it was the comment referring to the President. I might not agree when a celebrity voices an opinion, most of the time it just reveals their ignorance, as there is no way they could possibility be privy to all the intelligence on which decisions are being made. There are quite a few instances were people holding office have jumped the gun and voiced an opinion only to find out they were wrong and have to back track, when all the facts became known. Too many people will hear someone on a soap box spew untruths, form an opinion based on what they have heard and never hear the facts when the truth becomes known. But that incorrect opinion remains implanted in their memory. Just because you have an opinion and a soap box, doesn’t mean everyone will want to hear it. Remember Dragnet? The Facts, just The Facts……… DC was great music.

           1 likes

    • Al,

      Your son’s service seems admirable to most Americans, but it doesn’t make the war right. Just because people are wanting to go off on a foreign, non-US-defensive war doesn’t make it “right”. Thousands of Americans died and many more Iraqis died for a war where most of the people who initially supported it now think it was not a good idea. How does seeing that sooner rather than later make Natalie Maines a bad person? It’s not an attack on you or your son to say that invading Iraq was a bad idea. You and your son had no choice in the matter of whether or not the U.S. went to war. The notion that killing people is patriotic is a scam perpetrated on the American people to serve the interests of the rich owners of multi-national corporations. Unless we, or our allies, are under threat, there is no just war that deserves to risk the life of your son and countless other fine American young men and women. Do you honestly think Jesus would have wanted us to start that war? And did we learn nothing in Vietnam? My God, when will we truly live out our faith and try to live in peace with respect for others who wish the same? It’s one thing to defend oneself and something completely different to plan and start a war like that one.

         3 likes

  • Actually, I think what this did was for me was show the hipocracy of the country music crowd. What it also showed me is that country music is no longer country music, and anything coming out of Trashville, is pop garbage being shoved down my throat! Proceced music, like proceced food, is bad for you! And when people like Blake Shelton can open his mouth and blast his roots, well I guess that really says it all. The Americana Music Assoc. is on the right path to making sure real country is not lost or forgotten!

       10 likes

  • Sideshow Bob: “Homer,think carefully. Of all the people you have known,who might have reason to do you ill?”

    Homer: “Hmm,well there’s Mr.Burns,Fat Tony,the emperor of Japan,ex-president Bush…”

    Marge: “…the late Frank Grimes…”

    Homer: “…PBS,Stephen Hawking,the fat little Dixie Chick…”

    Marge: “…and the state of Florida.”

       18 likes

  • The thing is, it’s not what they said. It’s how she said it. I don’t agree with what she said, and I did lose a lot of respect for her, but its not necessarily just because of her opinion.

    Yes, there are plenty of country artists who have the same exact opinion as her. But the difference is, they didn’t announce it in the same disrespectful way that Natalie Maines did. Just calling out the president like that while you’re on stage is not okay with me. Even if you don’t like the president, even if you don’t like war, you still have to have a sense of respect. There are people who give their lives every day, so that these girls can have their freedom just like everyone else. And why did they feel the need to say this to a crowd that wasn’t even American? Merle Haggard and Willie Nelson did not do the same thing that she did in my opinion. I mean, you just expect that sort of thing from Willie. And Merle gave his opinion in a much more graceful way.

    I am still a huge fan of the Dixie Chicks. I think their career could have been enormous. Even bigger then they were. If they just would have had some class.I think they were doing a great thing for country music and I still listen to all of their albums. I really don’t think they suffered because of their opinions, they suffered because of their attitude. So I actually disagree with you on this one.

       22 likes

    • How much “respect” do you give President Obama. I’m at least consistent in this; I respect neither Bush nor Obama. The president is not a king; he doesn’t get automatic genuflection, and he should not expect it.

         5 likes

  • Good post, I agree with most of your sentiments.

    I definitely think there was an overreaction, but I think what spurred this on was more than just the fact that they were opposed to the war, but the fact that they made the statements to a crowd in England (they would not have said it in the US) and said they were on they’re “side.”

    They kind of amplified that in the coming years when they insulted country fans:

    From the NY Times in 2006:


    On “60 Minutes” Ms. Maguire told Steve Kroft that their concerts weren’t typical country concerts. “When I looked out in the audience, I didn’t see rednecks,” she said. (Did her lip curl slightly as she pronounced the r-word?) “I saw a more progressive crowd.”

    And in a Time magazine cover story she said the group would rather have “a smaller following of really cool people who get it,” as opposed to “people that have us in their five-disc changer with Reba McEntire and Toby Keith.”

    I was (and still am) opposed to the Iraq War, and never liked George Bush. I remember when they first started criticizing Toby Keith for Angry American, I was in full agreement, and I remember being really sickened by the boycott.

    However, after they made those types of comments, my sympathy for them declined.

       11 likes

    • I slightly disagree with Ms. Maguire. The mix might have been more progressive than most country music shows, but you don’t get to that level in country music without some rednecks on board. Really what I think she was seeing were suburban women who may have not been “rednecks,” but were probably not prototypical “progressives” either.

         5 likes

    • I think the REAL reason for the boycott of the dixie chicwas that they were WOMEN speaking out. plain simple SEXISM !!

         0 likes

  • I’m not sure if it’s because I’m in NYC or the North East, but it wasn’t the sonic boom up here as it was in other parts of the country. We also didn’t have any country music radio stations, or culture. (There’s one new radio station now, and it’s pop country.) I remember watching it unfold on the news awestruck at the immediate and widespread boycott. I think what they did was not smart, but the punishment far outweighed the crime, and it freaked a lot of us out who were against the war (which was probably the point as well).

       6 likes

  • I remember being a knuckle head soldier about to invade Iraq back in 2003. I forgot when exactly I heard it but I thought it was pretty brave and heroic at the time. I know some of other fellow Texans didnt like it but I thought dam those were some brave girls. O well good article on how it correlates to the downfall of country music. I may buy an album of theirs sometime soon. thanks

       20 likes

  • The Dixie Chicks made a big mistake when they dissed country music fans as they were the ones buying their records. The left wing Hollywood crowd loved the Dixie Chick’s anti Bush statements but they were not the ones buying the records and going to the concerts. K.D. Lang also made a point of abandoning country music and country music fans. Guess what? Her popularity did a nosedive also. Say whatyou want about country music fans but if you love them…they will love you forever.

       21 likes

    • I think that there are more liberals in country music than we think. The problem is that the Bush supporters took things a bit too far-especially the radio stations.

         17 likes

    • K.D. Lang’s career may have taken a country music nose-dive but she is doing very well, with jazz and pop. People love her. And beside she wouldn’t have lasted in country anyway and she knew it because like Chely Wright after her it seems for many country music fans if an artist is gay then it is not OK to support them. I don’t get it but it happens.

         5 likes

  • The issue never was country singers saying negative things about the President, it was that they didn’t have the clout to be able to do that. Willie and Haggard were in their legacy eras – radio didn’t really support them, but they could get by on their own and they had really earned the ability to do what they wanted. The Chicks on the other hand were not in the legacy era, and their comments were perceived as very cowardly due to being done on foreign soil. Bush was popular in country music’s hotbed, the south, and programmers widely recognized that they did not appreciate Maines’ comments. Aside from that, their comment about the ‘good side’ alienated people who were on the other side – if the Chicks’ side was the ‘good’ one, theirs must be the ‘evil’ one. The many people who had their family, friends, or themselves fighting for this ‘evil’ side or those that merely supported it did not appreciate being pinned as ‘evil’. I also think their reaction, which was very negative towards country music fans and came off as whiney, was not taken very well; their declaration that they did not consider themselves ‘country’ anymore certainly did not help them.

    In short, the only reason they are gone is because of decisions they made. Decisions have consequences, and while you can say it is unjust, radio stations don’t play music their listeners don’t like, and their listeners did not want anything to do with the Dixie Chicks.

       22 likes

    • I agree that Willie and Merle had built up the clout over the years to be able to say anything that they want. I made this point myself in an article I did last week about Willie Nelson and gun control. I think this goes without saying.

      But what happened with the Dixie Chicks is that all the anger against the anti-war movement was channeled towards them, regardless of where that anger came from originally. They became the sacrificial lamb, the face of the anti-war movement where angry people could channel all their hatred without fear of retribution because it was popular to do so. So if someone got mad at Willie Nelson for saying that Bush destroyed the twin towers with bombs (and the hijacked planes never existed) so we could build a pipeline in Afghanistan and invade Iraq, instead of getting mad at Willie, they got mad at the Dixie Chicks. That is why I believe the anger was unjust, and the punishment unfair. Let the Dixie Chicks pay for THEIR words and THEIR actions, not for the collective actions of all anti-war people and bear the brunt of the anti-war sentiment. It was a lynch mob mentality.

      Also, I’m sure a lot of people who actively participated in the Dixie Chicks boycott have never purchased a Dixie Chicks CD, didn’t listen to country radio, and were not country music fans.

         13 likes

      • I don’t think a mob mentality is right, but why support an artist who thinks you are on the ‘bad’ side and calls you ‘rednecks’? There are plenty of left-leaning country singers, they just happened to know what comments they could make without alienating a large group of people. Maybe if the Chicks had been more respectful about it and didn’t say it on foreign soil, they’d still be popular today, but they did no favors by insulting a large number of people.

        I disagree on the last bit it wasn’t like nobody was buying their records – they had a 12x platinum record, and 10x platinum record, and a record that was out that could very well have gotten there as well but ended up 6x platinum record after the incident. I think it says a lot that even with the anti-war people supporting them and a big media and critical buildup, their most recent record only went 2x platinum – the Dixie Chicks might not have been ready to make nice, but neither were country fans who were off-put by their attitude.

           10 likes

        • Amen. Most all of you all are missing the point made by Eric C.

          “Natalie Maines chose to criticize the President on foreign soil, call country music’s fanbase ‘rednecks’, and pin supporters or relatives of those fighting in Iraq as the ‘evil’ side.”

          It is not a free speech issue, or liberal vs conservative. She insulted her fanbase and showed poor manners by insulting the president on foreign soil in public. Come back over here and say all you want. I could not stand Jimmy Carter, but I would have been just as angry if someone had said something similar about him, under similar circumstances during the Iran debacle. She rattled our sensibilities and regardless of how well they eventually did financially, it led to their hiatus and they lost millions of dollars.

             13 likes

    • “their comments were perceived as very cowardly due to being done on foreign soil”.

      The comments were made in Britain, who also contributed a great many troops, and ultimately suffered / is still suffering, a great many casualties. Americans didn’t have a monopoly on worrying about friends & relations being sent to a conflict zone for all the wrong reasons….. just saying.

      The Dixie Chicks’ market didn’t suffer overseas as catastrophically as it did in the US.

         7 likes

  • I never really liked Bush. Neither do I like Mr. Chavez. I don’t like most politicians in general to be honest.

       3 likes

  • What’s kind of ironic is that both Keith and the Dixie Chicks are Democrats of sort.

       3 likes

    • The same reactionary negativism that is thrown at The Dixie Chicks from the right is the same reactionary negativism thrown at Toby Keith from members of the left who have no idea he’s a registered Democrat and voted for Obama in the last two elections.

      Deciding who you do or don’t listen to based on what the politics of an artist are is putting limitations on your musical experience.

         10 likes

      • To be fair to them, Keith is a registered independent now – however, he was against the Iraq War and that his song was written in response to 9/11, not in support of the Iraq War.

           2 likes

  • Is this a push for natalies upcoming pop cd?

       2 likes

    • Just because I think the Dixie Chicks black balling possibly set mainstream country music on a path of mindless arena rock and the punishment probably didn’t fit the crime doesn’t mean in any way I endorse all of Natalie Maines decisions, actions afterwards, or her upcoming music.

      But to answer your question? Yes, that is exactly what this is.

         5 likes

  • Trigg, I think you nailed the ending. I guess it’s one of those reasons why I once thought of walking down from the country music fanbase permanently. Thankfully this site kind of brought me back up.

       5 likes

  • Natalie Maines dug her career’s grave on her own.

    Willie and Merle and others made their opinions known without personal attacks, and did it here. They didn’t do it in another country; didn’t make it a direct insult to the office of the President or the President himself, etc.

    The continued attitude/stirring up trouble/feuding from Natalie after the fact (including the infamous Fuck You Toby Keith shirts) instead of simply apologizing and/or letting it blow over, combined with her trying portray herself as the victim after the fact is what did the Dixie Chicks in more than anything.

    That said, I honestly would’ve never expected it to be so positively fatal to their careers. I genuinely felt that with the way most people are attracted to the next new shiny thing to be infatuated with getting, next stupid person to elevate to celebrity status, and next ridiculous thing to get mad at, that it would’ve blown over in a year or two, tops.

       11 likes

    • I agree Matt. I think if all 3 of them at really apologized and let it drop maybe it would have blown over. The feud that ensued with Toby Keith didn’t help the matter at all.

         4 likes

      • Of course that Feud didn’t hurt Toby Keith none. I think another factor in all of this that they were women. If a man had said, say like Bruce Springsteen, or Garth Brooks… I really don’t think much would have been made of it. Certainly not as big a deal as was made. I do think there were and are people that don’t like women in positions of power PERIOD. And this was a chance to take them down. These were women making their own music and playing what they wanted how they wanted. The studio system didn’t have them under their claws.

           6 likes

        • The feud hurt Toby too, that and his overall attitude in general is what ruined him in Nashville. As far as the chicks go it wasn’t so much what they said but where they said it. I don’t think it had anything to do with them in power.

             1 likes

          • I’m sick to death of this “but…she said it on foreign soil!” excuse that people use to justify the barbaric way they treated the Chicks. Let’s put that mangy dog of a political idea down for good: It is never never, BY GOD NEVER wrong to speak your mind in a democracy about what your nation does in your name, politically or militarily. Wherever you happen to be standing is utterly irrelevant.

            If Natalie didn’t want America to get involved in that bullshit war, why the Hell would she want Britain to jump on our side and get THEIR young men killed for the same lies ours were? Think this through, will ‘ya?!

               4 likes

  • Excellent piece, Trig.

    Having been a fan of the Chicks since the ‘Wide Open Spaces’/’Fly’ days, by the time ‘Home’ came out I thought they were just about the best thing happening in country, since many of their fellow female artists had either gone pop (Shania Twain, Faith Hill) or stopped getting airplay (Trisha Yearwood, Patty Loveless, and many others); so I always thought it was a shame that the country music community pretty much turned its back on the trio overnight.

    I had never really thought about “the incident” and the backlash in terms of the overall direction of mainstream country music, but you raise some good points in that regard.

       5 likes

  • I was around 13 at the height of the Dixie Chick’s popularity & still love them. A few months ago my friends ( all music & roots lovers) had a discussion about this & I said listen to The Dixie Chicks now & then listen to other popular country music of that time, it’s actually good. As an adult I find it ironic that country has a continual come as you are theme & these ladies were so harshly criticized for speaking their minds. It really was just silly. Their message of “Long Time Gone” and having junior but no Hank is much preferred to Toby Keith’s idiot anthems “trailer hood” & that song about a fucking cup any day. Contrary to popular opinion at the time wasn’t Natalie Maines very “country”? She passionately expressed a well thought opinion (rather you share her opinion or not) & was unafraid to do so in such a time of political unrest, doesn’t that make her a badass? What if we encouraged more young people to think, form their own opinions, & question the powers at large? No, no instead the “country” singers make tabloids because of who they date, what they wear, blah blah blah…yawn…mass consumption.

       18 likes

  • Wonderful article. I’ve been thinking that last part (the impact on Country) since it happened. I’ve never thought it was a coincidence that the Chicks happened to be right in the middle of the success of arguably one of the finest Country albums of the last 30 years when all of this occurred. Coming from the view point of a then 13 year old, when I was old enough to listen to the radio I had quit when I figured out they played Garth Brooks, not George & Loretta. It was The Dixie Chicks (& Home specifically) that brought me back. They were new(er), but they were true Country. I cannot rectify in my mind that the industry who pretty much kicked out one it’s most talented (& Country) acts would 3 years later help begin Taylor Swift’s world domination. It’s a conspiracy. And I can’t help but wonder, if their endorsement to the Red Cross had been to the Hall of Fame (who apparently would sign a deal with devil for $), would they have accepted it?

    Also can’t help but compare this to Blake Shelton’s smug, asinine statements. IMO, in the Country Music world, what he said was way more offensive. It’s not like the Chicks were Republican politicians, but BS who’s supposed to be a “Country” singer slammed the Country Music (& fans) that gave him a platform to exploit. So why isn’t a bigger deal being made of that? How’s he being punished? Protests, bans, dismissal from the Opry? EOTY honors & hosting duties at the ACMs. Conspiracy to kill Country Music I tell ya.

       11 likes

  • Maybe it is because I grew up in both the country and the punk world, but having someone on stage blast a political leader is nothing new. The fact that there was so much blowback on the Dixie Chicks blew my mind at the time when I had already attended many concerts where the same sentiment (or even worse) was said. Granted you know what you were getting with Rage Against The Machine, but you never saw huge public outcry when they talked about having Clinton strung up and hung. They always maintained being a platinum selling band that sold out concerts their entire career.

    One point you made Trig that I wonder about is you saying they benefited from the “roots revival” and O Brother. I would almost say it was the other way around, and that the movie and the revival had such success because of the Dixie Chicks. They were already a popular band at the time, and could have opened the road for others to check out more stuff.

       7 likes

    • You could be right about that. Both The Dixie Chicks and O Brother could have been part of a greater roots revival that they were in the right place to benefit from.I’m seriously wondering though if there’s really any roots revival or trend, or if the appeal for that music is always there underneath the surface, it’s just so uncommon for it to be championed by mainstream music. But when it is, from The Dixie Chicks to Mumford & Sons, it is always successful.

      Green Day is another band that came out with a full-on protest album, and it resulted in renewed popularity in their career. That is why I think the story of The Dixie Chicks is damming of country in the long term as a closed-minded genre. A black balling because of political beliefs would not happen in any other major American genre.

         10 likes

      • I guarantee you if a relatively new rock act came out and said they were ashamed of the President of the United States on some issue and that they are on the ‘right’ side of some issue (the right side being the conservative one), they would have plenty of stations drop them.

           3 likes

      • I disagree. Linda Ronstadt, though having “touched” country, started in folk and was more of a jazz lounge singer when she went through her “Incident.” She let her opinions be known and people walked out. Linda’s incident also made the news, but stopped there. I think the real reason the Dixie Chicks suffered, and continue to suffer is Natalie’s big mouth. First, there was the incident itself. There are much more tactful ways to protest the war, and I agree with other commenters here in that she would NOT have said that on home soil. Next, came the “apology” which wasn’t really an apology, and in no way came off sincere…Because finally we have the “Ha! I wasn’t really sorry at all anyway!”

        So while there were other acts that protested the war or said disparaging things about Bush, she continued to insult her fanbase throughout the entire process. First, she insults her own fans as rednecks and not the enlightened progressive crowd in England. Then she issues the most insincere apology I’ve ever witnessed. And when fans didn’t come rushing back with open arms, she gives us the Toby Keith F U treatment and says what we already knew…She’s NOT sorry at all. So why should I feel sorry enough to go buy anything she’s selling?

           10 likes

  • This just goes to show how timing is everything. If she had waited 3 years we would have realized she was right and they would be big heros.

    I remember the day the military finally admitted they couldnt find and WMD’s…I turned to my wife and said “Fucking hell, the Dixie Chicks were right. It really jacked my world view.

    BTW captcha sucks.

       16 likes

  • Unfortunately, many artists of all stripes don’t respect the fact that their audience is attending the show because they like what the talent does. Artists should not be using the stage to spew what is nothing more than their opinion to an “captive” crowd who has more than likely paid far too much for a ticket that they cannot just leave the venue because they don’t want to hear the artist’s rantings. If they feel that their opinion is so important, there are plenty of other avenues available to them. I attend shows to be entertained, not lectured to.

       20 likes

  • Funny thing is right or left leaning politically if we judged the music we like by the artists political leanings we would not have much to listen to.To blacklist someone in a free country for political speech is un-American. One of the most important things are brave soliders fight for is Free Speech and there is nothing more American than that. I wish all three ladies all the best in their personal and profesional lives. I kinda of liked the courtyard hounds record. Natalie’s record will be good or it won’t but deserves to be judged from a musical standpoint only not a political one.

       5 likes

    • Here’s the thing TX Jim, the government didn’t blacklist the Dixie Chicks, the CMAs didn’t blacklist the Dixie Chicks…Americans by and large boycotted their products…ALSO a form of FREE SPEECH! Did radio stations boycott the Dixie Chicks? Yes, because Americans called the stations. Americans called the advertisers. That is free speech and is in no way un-American. Natalie did not get arrested, she was not fined, the government took no action against her to include the President that she maligned. If people want to “vote with their pocketbooks” that is their choice and is every bit as protected as what Natalie said on a stage 10 yrs ago.

         6 likes

      • The people that choose to boycott the Dixie Chicks based on Natilie’s comments were absolutely exercising there fress speech rights, no problem with that at all. I just think/ wish that as the art consuming public we would choose to judge what we like or do not like on it’s artistic merit. I politically disagreed with Natilie’s statement. I politically disagree with Steve Earle about lots of stuff. However, I don’t let that interfere with my appreciation for either of them’s music. I question weather or not clear channel pulled the Chicks music based on public sentiment, at least entirely, I was at the Dallas show the one with the death threats and all the security. It was sold out.While some did ask them to not play them there was plenty who felt diferently. Clear chanel used it as an excuse to push more mainstream artists who are easier to predict behavior wise.

           4 likes

  • Well said! I love the Dixie Chicks and even though I don’t agree with what Natalie , it does not change my view of their amazing music.

       4 likes

    • This is nicely said….the funny thing about it all is that like the article said, the Dixie Chicks are WAY more country than Toby Keith ever could be…

         3 likes

  • I have to say that I am pleasantly surprised by the comments and adult discourse here. After reading some less level headed comments in other articles\reviews on this site I kinda figured this would be a name calling sh*t storm here but not the case so far. I think it speaks well of the people who follow this blog who don’t feel a need to insult or threaten others.

       12 likes

    • No shit! +1 to this!

         1 likes

  • I don’t agree with their comments at all, and the only thing that I dislike is the fact that they insulted the United States on foreign soil. People exercised their first amendment rights and even though I did not like them I think that they were making great music. I do wish that we would get past politicizing music though.

       2 likes

  • “But most unfortunately, the event leaves country music with a black eye as a genre who can’t respect artists regardless of their beliefs. This typecasting of the country music fan as a closed-minded, politically-intolerant animal is a legacy it will take country music a long time to shake…”

    This is the only part I take issue with. I object to the idea that country music should care about the image we project to people who want to look down on us anyway.

    As if the other side is somehow more tolerant? When’s the last pro-’Merica Oscar/Grammy/Emmy speech have we heard? We, Middle America/Southern, predominantly White, people are the only group the other side allow themselves to insult on a regular basis. Many win awards just for that (see: Dixie Chicks/Michael Moore/Sean Penn/30 Rock). Step outside what’s acceptable to TMZ & see the wrath from the other side.

    While I do think this is a good article, some context is missing. In the days & weeks before the infamous statement. Hollywood was gearing up for an anti-war & indeed anti-troop assault. I remember Sean Penn going into Iraq to help Saddam’s propaganda war. Many Hollywood stars going overseas to protest/insult Americans and a couple the troops themselves.

    I think the country audience simply said “this is where we draw the line”. I don’t see that as a bad thing…even though I didn’t necessarily agree with the Iraq war.

    Yeah, it probably did hurt the music as the Dixie Chicks were a good band but some things are more important.

       7 likes

    • “As if the other side is somehow more tolerant?”

      No, I would say that the other side is just as intolerant. There was a Rolling Stone article written by actor Ethan Hawke where he said that Toby Keith accosted Kris Kristofferson and told him to keep his liberal moth shut at Willie Nelson’s 70th birthday concert. Toby Keith denied he said it. Kris denied Keith said it to him, and Toby Keith at the time was a Democrat.

      http://www.savingcountrymusic.com/toby-keith-vs-keith-kristofferson-or-not

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5jiM3C4MhfQ

      Honestly, I think it goes without saying that there’s crazies on the left as well, but was Sean Peen black balled from Hollywood for what he said? Was Clint Eastwood for making right-leaning proclamations?

      I’m not saying people don’t have a right to be angry at The Dixie Chicks. I’m just saying the situation resulted in a situation where country music artists are now scared to speak their mind, regardless of their beliefs. And that is a loss for freedom of speech. And since The Dixie Chicks were way more traditional that what you hear on country today, it was a loss for traditional country music.

         7 likes

      • I would prefer that alot of these empty headed country singers such as natalie maines and hank jr. be afraid to speak their minds… They’re fuckin’ ignorant idealogues. Fuck ‘em. Throw blake shelton in their too.

           1 likes

    • “Hollywood was gearing up for an anti-war & indeed anti-troop assault. ”

      Anti-war sure, but Anti-troop assault? I don’t recall much of anything in that regard. I recall a lot of left leaning celebrities claiming to support the troops, but not in the pro-war way. Some of them backed that up by doing USO tours in Iraq and Afghanistan, such as Henry Rollins (Al Franken too, I believe). Yes, I do remember Sean Penn in Iraq, but he’s way out on the fringe. He’s currently mourning the death of his buddy Hugo Chavez.

         2 likes

  • “Destroying someone’s career for something they said is a defacto infringement on freedom of speech no different than if someone had their career destroyed because they responded to something somebody said.”

    This has nothing to do with the First Amendment’s prohibition against Congress enacting laws which abridge free speech.

    This has everything to do with choices and consequences.

    This is a ridiculous article.

    Natalie is no Joan of Arc.

    She is no victim.

    She is the spoiled child of a great country music producer.

    When artists venture into the political arena, they endure the consequences.

    I couldn’t care less what Merle or Willie think about politics.

    Or Steve Earle or Bocephus (whom you harpooned, Trig, for becoming politically vocal), for that matter.

    I like their music, but I don’t look to them for political commentary, moral views, etc.

    I haven’t missed Natalie Maines in the least, nor have her former fans, I believe.

       18 likes

    • I pretty much agree her. Natalie Maines chose to criticize the President on foreign soil, call country music’s fanbase ‘rednecks’, and pin supporters or relatives of those fighting in Iraq as the ‘evil’ side, and country music fans responded by not buying their music and not wanting their music played on the radio. That’s the beauty of America – you have the right to say pretty much anything you want, and other people have the right to respond to it the way they feel is best.

         10 likes

      • death threats doesn’t seem like they were given much freedom

           0 likes

    • “This is a ridiculous article.

      Natalie is no Joan of Arc.”

      And who said she was? I think I was clear in saying that Natalie Maines, just like all of us, must be responsible for her own actions. I am not defending Natalie Maines’ words whatsoever. I’m simply saying that the situation created an environment in country music where artists are less likely to speak their minds, where the genre is typecast as being closed-minded, and is no longer harboring traditional country artists like The Dixie Chicks.

      And yes, I did harpoon Bocephus for getting political, for the same exact reasons I generally steer clear of coverage of artists like Steve Earle and James McMurtry, even though just like Hank Jr., they have done some great stuff for country music and have some good songs when they’re not getting political. And with Bocephus, political or not, his last album was just in bad taste.

         5 likes

      • Trig-

        I respectfully believe that your article paints Natalie as a martyr when she deliberately chose to piss off her fan base. It worked. She then went around the country and behaved like the spoiled brat that she is when her fans decided that, all things considered, they didn’t want to hear her screed, particularly when American men and women were going into combat.

        You treat entirely differently the same conduct by artists of opposite political beliefs.

        “And with Bocephus, political or not, his last album was just in bad taste”.

        And Natalie’s conduct wasn’t?

        How would you feel if you were a DC fan getting ready to go to war and hear her rant? Or if your spouse or parent was in the theater of combat?

        I have everything CD Steve Earle has ever cut, except his political diatribe (The Revolution Starts Now), and several by James McMurtry.

           12 likes

        • Let’s appreciate that this article was really about the Dixie Chicks, not just Natalie Maines, and resolves in a theory of how their banishment from country may have caused the dark age for traditional country we find ourselves in the midst of at the moment. I agree, I do portray them as martyrs to some extent, but this is the problem with political dialogue these days–everything is painted so black or white. Just because they may have been “martyrs” (your word) doesn’t mean they didn’t make any mistakes themselves, and I think I tried to articulate this in the article. They are not on the same level as Joan of Arc for example. This is country music, and people’s lives on the line in a theater of war are much more important in the grand scheme of things.

          And I can’t stress enough, I am not condoning or even broaching Natalie’s behavior after the initial comment that started everything. I question a lot of what she has said and done since then, including taking to Twitter yesterday to gloat about the whole thing. And quite honestly, I have a some problems with what she said initially too. I just have a bigger problem when it comes to her right to say it in the first place.

          Trust me, there is no liberal bias on this site. I do my best to steer clear of any political affiliation, personally and in my writing. If I have any bias, it is as a writer because I deal in free speech every single day.

          I understand your perspective CAH and I think you are articulating it well. I think it is important that we see this issue from both sides and I’m glad you’re helping us do that. If Natalie hadn’t said what she had said, then we wouldn’t even be having this conversation. And in the end, she only has herself to blame for that. My main concern and interest is in the repercussions and consequences for country music.

             4 likes

          • Agreed, amigo.

            I foolishly assumed DC was a pop country band and didn’t listen to them.

            This is the first I have heard or read that they weren’t.

            When artists mix their politics into their work, it can drive me away from them.

            I know it has to be hard to avoid when you have either a captive audience or a mic in your face constantly, but it drives people away.

            Case in point – Jay Clark, who is a fine indie bluegrass musician.

            I bought one of his CDs and the only thing that keeps me from buying the rest of them is the political rhetoric he weaves into his music.

            That’s fine, but I have one of his CDs and not all 4 or 5.

            I certainly like Steve Earle a lot, and I would like to catch one of his shows, but I have read that he, too, intersperses political comments among his songs, which doesn’t interest me, so I doubt I will ever attend one of his shows.

            When artists behave like this, they reduce the size of their natural audience.

            I similarly don’t watch Fox News, CNN (but no one watches it any more) or CNBC, because I don’t want to be bored with political prattle.

            Nor do I listen to any talk radio (I would rather listen to mattress or law firm commercials).

               1 likes

          • CAH, Steve Earle does indeed inject a fair amount of politics into his show. I’d say for the most part, it’s not too overbearing (I’m not a conservative though, so YMMV), such as “I know Obama isn’t a socialist because I haven’t seen him at the meetings”, but if he starts playing Christmas in Washington, you’re in for it big time. Ten minute sermon at least.

               1 likes

        • @CAH

          “When artists behave like this, they reduce the size of their natural audience”.

          Didn’t seem to hurt Bob Dylan too much…

          Personally, I like artists who can think for themselves and hold / voice opinions – to my mind it’s what separates them from the Barbie & Ken “hat acts” that Trashville serves up to us these days. These days artists walk, talk, speak, sing and probably everything else, as instructed by the label, for fear of being dropped. Boring.

             5 likes

    • @CAH

      “I like their music, but I don’t look to them for political commentary, moral views, etc”.

      If only some of the listeners out their practiced what they preached…you’re seemingly happy enough to inflict yours on us :(

         1 likes

      • The same could be said to you Drawshot…

           0 likes

  • Merle and Willie never said the crap on foreign soil.Neither did Hank Jr.None of them ever blasted other artists or worse,the fans continuously as Natalie has.As the article points out,freedom of speech works both ways.Her supporters don’t seem to get that,but sure will spend hours,days and months trashing Blake Shelton for using HIS freedom of speech..It’s a funny yet sad group to figure out.

    And Obama needs to send a drone her way for her horrible cover of Mother.

       7 likes

    • I wonder how many of their supporters know much of anything about Blake Shelton, other than maybe his gig on The Voice. And I believe the reaction to them would have been the same if they said it in a place where so-called “real Americans” don’t live, like New YorkCity or San Francisco.

         2 likes

  • I appreciate that the discussion here is very respectful.
    Just wanted to add two things.

    (1) Clear Channel and other corporations who were close with the Bush administration and had things to gain from adamantly supporting him played a major role in these boycotts. To me, that’s an important part of the story because I think there was a mix of genuine, earnest outrage and ginned up anger that was played up for ulterior motives.

    (2) Foreign Soil – I lived abroad at the time all of this went down, and I can say that I have some understanding of why she may have ended up making the comment, even though i would not have. At this point in time as an American abroad you couldn’t go anywhere without getting the stink-eye and likely verbal abuse (especially from Europeans in my experience). My reaction was to stick up for my homeland even though I was never a fan of President Bush, but I remember how it felt to be ostracized and can appreciate that it may have put the woman in a weird mindset.

       7 likes

    • FUNNY how people will stand up for their country right or wrong, but criticize others for doing the same thing (example nazi germany.
      would you stand up for your child who is a serial rapist / murderer?
      would you stand up for your employer who is polluting the whole world ?
      would you stand up for your husband who is a child molester?

         0 likes

  • I’ve never considered this angle before, but you make a great point. I always thought that the Dixie Chicks were the country band that was “safe” for mainstream music fans, liberals, and NPR types to like, and it seemed to me (at that time) that they were attempting a crossover to the mainstream at the time they made the infamous comments. While it hurt their careers in country and as a band, it made them a cause celebre with the aforementioned liberal leaning NPR listening types. Getting caught denouncing George Bush helped accelerate their crossover into that market.

    There was a bit of an anti-backlash with No Depression magazine and others making a point of buying their albums and NP even voting “Home” as the top album of that year. In someways, it was sort of like Americana hitting it big, with a top-tier country act defecting to a scene that the industry preferred not to acknowledge, a scene the industry really didn’t want their listeners to know about.

    (btw, in my defense, I have the local NPR schedule committed to memory)

       1 likes

  • How do you know that these artists arent blasting the U.S. and politics on foreign soil? Most large shows are the same show wherever they go, even the stage banter is rehearsed and staged. Im sure Willie, Merle, Hank Jr, etc are saying the same thing in the U.K that they are saying here in the states.

    I just wish artists would leave politics out of their music unless they are making a career or album about politics. If They want to cut an entire album like Green Day did protesting the war, awesome. I dont want some run of the mill band that has nothing to do with politics though to tell me their views though.

       0 likes

    • The real devil in the details is that the London tabloid The Guardian took the quote and ran with it and acted like that was the whole point of the Dixie Chicks concert that night. The UK media is pretty notorious for that. They tried to do the same thing to Carrie Underwood.

      http://www.savingcountrymusic.com/i-dont-care-what-carrie-underwood-thinks-about-gay-marriage-a-rant

         3 likes

      • Carrie Underwood’s comments never bothered me, nor most conservatives, because they weren’t the typical rhetoric of “I support gay marriage and if you don’t you are a terrible, terrible bigot/homophobe/xenophobe/racist/etc.”, it was her sincere opinion on an issue. She didn’t attack anyone, she didn’t portray her side as the only valid one, and she didn’t insult her audience – she said her view and nothing more. If she had said something like “I’m on the good side on gay marriage, I support it and I’m ashamed my home state disagrees”, it would have been a bigger deal. The Maines’ comment was much, much worse because it disparaged the other side, which happened to be where much of country music’s fanbase was on.

           2 likes

        • You might already know this, but I wasn’t necessarily comparing the comments as much as the way a UK tabloid wanting to land a sexy story took some comments out of context and made them look like the whole point of the artist going there.

             2 likes

          • I was more or less explaining why nobody really cared about what Underwood said as opposed to the Dixie Chicks, even with the same sort of push. There’s a reason Carrie is the biggest woman in country music (Taylor Swift does not count at this point due to her focusing much more on pop than ‘country’) and the Dixie Chicks are an afterthought, even though they sold more records in a shorter period of time.

               2 likes

  • Fitting to have a spelling error when i’m calling someone else ignorant! :)

       0 likes

    • Glad somebody else got a kick out of that shit lol!

      +1

         0 likes

  • Well honestly, They’re name is the DIXIE Chicks. It would be the most traditonal thing to oppose the invasion and occupation of a foreign country if your heritage is from the Southern U.S. The southern states seceded, formed their own country and were invaded and occupied by the U.S. government. That war and reconstruction left a devastating toll on the southern people by the hands of the U.S. government.

    Sometimes I wonder if the Dixie Chicks used that comparison for their opposition to the Iraq war, MAYBE it would have made some people think and maybe not lose all of their fan base, especially in the south… Just a thought.

       5 likes

    • Interesting bit of perspective.

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    • Travis,

      I hear what you are saying and I agree with your perception of the late unpleasantness. But I don’t think that their name is anything more than a slick eye toward marketing themselves. For what its worth, Wikipedia says that they took their name from the Little Feat song “Dixie Chicken.” I opposed the Iraq war and the Afghan war, but I happen to feel that Natalie Maines is just a moron who piped up with a silly opinion, and ended up getting what she deserved. Its not what you think, but why you think what you think.

         7 likes

  • Went to see the Chicks in Knoxville right after the “incident” in London. They really only mentioned the hubbub once, thankfully. Great show. I can still enjoy their music. I can also seperate the politics from the music. Same thing with Springsteen, love the show, but when Bruce starts getting political, I go piss, and grab a beer. Not what I want to hear at a show.

       5 likes

  • I think what disturbs me is the level it escalated to. It wasn’t a bunch of tweens defending their favorite pop star with fervor but a bunch of adults reacting violently to an opinion. It doesn’t matter that they said it on foreign soil either (why is this an argument?). I have never seen the same amount of vitriol that some country fans spew at artists and others in any other genre of music. It’s disgusting. It’s like you aren’t allowed to have an alternative opinion in the country world. In the R&B community, Frank Ocean came out as bisexual and Macklemore came out with a song supporting same sex marriage. There wasn’t a splash of backlash and as a result, more artists will be encouraged to do so and the fans will be encouraged to broaden their viewpoints. This is a wonderful thing!! Country fans do not allow for other viewpoints and a genre cannot grow without progress. They are reactive and they are brutal and that kind of environment can only swallow itself up and become obsolete. Also why do people keep complaining that country music can only be a regional thing? You don’t get to own music and First Aid Kit would like a word with you. Haha end rant…

       7 likes

    • News flash – It’s because nobody asked them for their opinion. Nobody laid down a good amount of $ to hear an unsolicited opinion that would no doubt be antagonistic to at least 50% of the people. And those who did not like what the DCs said had no way to make their own feelings heard. Political and social commentary should be in the political and social arenas. People look to music to escape all that bs. Artists think that their opinion weighs so heavily and that all us rabble can’t wait to hear what they think about things. Bullocks.

         9 likes

      • I don’t know, the whole right time and place argument bothers me. Or rather it is tricky. People paid for a show and they got a show. I am sure that the last thing the fans at the concert remembered was what she said about Bush. They don’t even care about Bush. But now, now what they remember and what they can tell there kids is that they were at the concert were the Dixie Chicks killed their career. And as I mention early when Chely Wright came out her sale plummeted, what does that tell you about “country music fans”. I guess they don’t want hear things like that either.

           4 likes

  • No one here has mentioned that this happened only 17 months after the horrific attack on American soil where almost 3,000 Americans were murdered by foreign terrorists.

    People were grieving the loss of loved ones, co-workers and their country.

    We ALL reap what we sow.

       9 likes

    • yeah, but NO ONE involved was from Iraq or had even been to Iraq.
      americans a a bunch of punk bullys, i say that because when we are bombing and killing defenseless people that cannot hit back (viet nam, laos, cambodia) americans are happy, but as soon as a victim hits back (911) americans act like the sky has fallen and it is the worst thing that has ever happened.
      how many MILLIONS of defenseless people all around the world has america murdered this century, and you all are crying about a few thousand dead in 911.

         1 likes

      • I normally don’t waste my time responding to such a post, but you need to study a bit of history and find out how many Germans and other Europeans are free today because of American forces. America didn’t get involved in WWII until the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor. I lost loved ones in a couple of wars. Over 50,000 American lives were lost in Vietnam only to have the political industrial complex make more money off the war and now the same thing is happening in Iraq. Obviously no one you knew was hurt or killed on 911 or you wouldn’t be spouting such horrible hateful nonsense. I normally don’t EVER EVER call names, but you, sir, are an asshole. Don’t blame innocent Americans and brave troops for the decisions of greedy corrupt politicians and insane dictators all over the world,not just America. The Dixie Chicks are unimportant in the scheme of things.

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        • well i say you need to read some real history, this country has been actively screwing up other countrys and people for a long time, including pre war japan.
          we have invaded numerous small countrys , including Hawaii, Hati, cuba, columbia, panama etc. we lied about the boston tea party and acccused the indians of destroying the tea.
          the Lusitania was sunk by the germans because the usa insisted on illegally shipping explosives on civilian cruise ships. we lied about the sinking of the Maine in cuba, then falsely accused the spanish so we could seize cuba. we murdered Patrice Lumumba in the congo which still is causing problems today, and we lied about viet nam the LBJ “Tonkin bay” incident, america (CIA) paid Saadam to over throw the ruler, Kassem then decades later falsely accuses him of having wmd then invade and destroy Iraq
          do you see a pattern here?
          We have been a force for evil in the world for most people in the world and for most of our history.
          so is it any surprise that some of our evil deeds have caught up to us?
          chickens DO come home to roost, eventually
          we must stop our evildoing in the world , wouldn’t your god say so?

             1 likes

          • So, move to Cuba or Venezuela or somewhere more kind and loving toward the world.

               1 likes

  • Right. None of them Iraqis, though. And Saddam Hussein, as utterly despicable and monsterous as he was, was counted among Al Qaeda’s enemies. They despise corrupt secular strongmen such as he was.

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  • Was pointing out the mood of the country, which had a big effect on what happened. People were feeling very patriotic.

    Regardless, intelligence pointed to Iraq and both sides of the aisle voted for war.

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    • OK.

      I think the intelligence was oversold by the Bush administration and Cheney in particular. I remember him saying that “simply stated, there is no doubt” that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction. A book that I read quoted some WMD intelligence people (who allowed themselves to be named) who were surprised at Cheney’s absolute assertion because as far as they knew, the intelligence wasn’t so strong that it was a no-brainer (or slam dunk). But they figured that Cheney must have had access to better intelligence and besides, Saddam probably did have WMD. He certainly did act like he did, so it was an easy sell. He refused to come clean, which put him in violation of numerous UN resolutions. Turns out he was faking it.

      The Bush administration directed the Republican House leadership to bring up the vote to authorize force in Iraq before the mid-term 2002 elections. No more time for deliberations. So many Democrats, afraid of being branded as appeasers and unpatriotic (remember Max Cleland?) predictably cowered. About 60 percent of Democrats in the House opposed the resolution about 40 percent in the Senate opposed it. Republican support was close to unanimous.

         9 likes

      • thank you, for remembering most of the real story
        also the neo cons (chaney, wolforitz etc.) had written a manifesto stating that american “interest” (translate -oil money) and hegemony would be enforced by military might.
        Saadams real sin was challenging the americn dollar as the currency for oil sales by threatening to require euros instead of dollars!!!

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  • Does anyone remember the bland, sort of apologetic interview they did with Dianne Sawyer right after this happened. It didn’t quell the back lash, so they went right on ahead with being unrepentant again. I feel like this little incident is important to understanding the whole narrative.

       5 likes

  • The t-shirt said F.U.T.K. Watch the documentary Shut Up And Sing, and see how peolple in the audience interpret those letters.

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  • Given that artists have access to platforms that the great unwashed multitudes do not, they should be all the more conscious of this and refrain from giving their unsolicited opinions about anything that deviates from the reason they are on that stage to begin with. People pay to hear the music. The artist should just play the music. If they feel compelled to offer their opinions on any social or political subject, then they should accept the “opinions” of the masses when the masses give it the only ways that they have accessible to them, since the average person has no other “platform” to them to enable the artist to “hear” what they would like to say. Celebrity breeds contempt.

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  • Maybe it would’ve went over better if they had been making political country music.
    I don’t understand why she can’t sy what she want at a concert. Just because people paid doesn’t mean anything. Fans would LOVE IT if Van Morrison would only play his hits but most time he doesn’t he plays what he wants and that really pisses off fans but they still and some walk out. Anyone who didn’t like what she said could’ve and maybe did walk out. It may not have been the best planned statement but the reactions wasn’t exactly an great Oscar speech either.

    I personally think the backlash would’ve happened anyway no matter where or when they said it. And I think and believe in part it is because they are women. In the 60s folks were saying all kinds of stuff at concerts and elsewhere about Vietnam but Jane Fonda (a woman) is the one who takes the biggest heat for something taken out of context.

    So I think the media just took Natalie’s statement and ran with it as a means of taking down some very powerful and successful women, women at the TOP of country music. They were breaking down more barriers for women just like Dottie West, Loretta, Dolly, Emmylou, and Tammy before them. And I’m sure for all those in the media or music industry, it didn’t help that they played there own instruments. One could say they didn’t have any use for men musically speaking, as they did most of it themselves. Powerful women scare powerful men, or men in general. History has proven this.

    It is exactly the same sort witch hunting they did to Martha Stewart, (and you can BET folks were just dying for the opportunity to put Martha in her place). Yet, Dick Cheney is not in jail for all his ENRON bullshit which is FAR worse than anything Stewart supposedly did. Oh but Martha “screws up her taxes” and every comes out of the woodwork to hunt her down. Sexism pure and simple. As for Willie and Merle well, they are “outlaw country” artists so they have be shirking the CM establishment for years so I don’t think people we that surprised about their views. Also the Dixie Chick did kind of have a wholesome southern girl image so when she spoke out it wasn’t exactly the type of cliche a southern belle like Taylor Swift would say.

    And I don’t mind people speaking out by not buying the music or voicing their own opinions abecause they disagree with the statements made but to send death threats and act like a 13 year old commenting on a YouTube video just appalled me. These were ADULTS acting this way, is it any wonder why kids act this way look at the role models?

    I think people acted STUPID all the way around on this one.

    I also think all is not lost because the folks around me LOVES the Dixie Chicks and so I could definitely see a comeback in the future unless of course people are still holding stupid grudges instead of appreciating good music.

       5 likes

  • So not to be bringing back up a dead topic, but did you see / hear about this Michelle Shocked drama going on? Similar thing, but apparently she went on a gey bashing tirade (I can at least get where the Dixie Chicks were coming from, not so much with this recent incident).

    But it’s still the same issue – regardless of their viewpioints, this is a Merika & we have the right to free speech – I guess that’s what the clubs/venues cacelling her upcoming shows will say as well.

    Just reminded me of this article…..

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    • Yep, her progressive fans are pissed and are doing the same thing the conservative Dixie Chicks fans did. Its their right, just like it was the right of conservatives to stop supporting the Dixie Chicks.

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      • Eric,

        In your previous comments, you make specific points to refute the positions in this piece. Here, you seem to be generalizing. How hard do you think it would be for someone to your political left to identify many profound differences between the two situations?

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        • I don’t see too much difference, really. It wasn’t regarding the President and it wasn’t on foreign soil, but it does involve a hot-topic political issue that certain groups of people get extremely passionate about. The biggest difference is Michelle Shocked isn’t nearly as popular as the Dixie Chicks were, but the key similarity is that she insulted something some people like, and those people aren’t really wanting to buy her records anymore. And you know what, I respect their right to do that. Free speech works both ways – you have the right to say something, but I don’t have to agree with it, nor do I have to support your enterprises.

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          • Here are some differences:

            So far, several venues (mostly small,I would think) have cancelled shows. The Dixie Chicks have been banned from commerical country music radio stations, broadcast over public airwaves, for ten long years. We’ll see how Michelle Shocked will fare in the coming years.

            Michelle Shocked said some very incendiary things such as churches will be forced at gunpoint to marry gay people (fear mongering, IMO) and that “God hates faggots.” Now, I believe that the latter was a sarcastic comment and not meant literally, but then again I’m not a member of a community that has had much hate and violence directed at them, so maybe I can afford to be more sanguine. The Natalie Maines statement was disapproving of an elected official and what she thought would be an unjust war (same view as Pope John Paul II, who is on the fast track to sainthood. Interesting that many American Catholics, including some in my family, blew his views off with respect to the war. But I digress…). I’ll admit that I was irritated that it was said on foreign soil, but I believe way too much mileage has been gotten out of that fact. I personally don’t think things would have been much different if Maines would have said what she did in some liberal bastion in the US, although maybe it would have been different for you. Also, it wasn’t like it was in France. It was in England, our main partner in the Iraq War, and prime minister Tony Blair (Bush’s poodle, many over there called him) was a strong supporter of the coming war. So, maybe there was relating going on. I’m speculating there, though.

            So far, there’s no corporate element to the Michelle Shocked incident. Clear Channel and other corporations made a decision to ban the Chicks from their country stations. I’m not quite convinced that this was only because of the outrage of some country music fans. And then there were conservative media outlets such as Fox and talk radio that I think played a not insignificant part in ginning up outrage.

               5 likes

    • On a side note, I am completely kicking myself for not calling out Michelle for doing a bit, when the rest of the world was stumbling over themselves to act “shocked” at her comments. That is what she does, and I knew it, and I guess either didn’t have the confidence in my theory or the time to research it further to be ahead of that story. Oh well.

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  • Exactly right. The people who cry that the group was censored or had their First Amendment rights violated clearly do not understand what the amendment even is. If the government had said the group was not allowed to make any more records, that would have been a violation of the First Amendment. That clearly did not happen, no matter how hard I wished it would have. They had the right to say the things they did, but when your career is based on pleasing the public, you have no one but yourself to blame when that public turns against you.

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  • “If the government had said the group was not allowed to make any more records, that would have been a violation of the First Amendment. That clearly did not happen, no matter how hard I wished it would have. ”

    Are you saying you would have been in favor of them being forbidden to make more records. Or am I misreading that?

    Normally, I’m one who thinks people don’t understand what the first amendment is when they say their first amendment rights are being violated (e.g., Dr. Laura). One difference in this case is that the Chicks music was banned from country music stations that broadcast over PUBLIC airwaves.

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  • This was such a great read! I’ve been a long time fan of the chicks. Their “Shut Up and Sing” documentary really opened my eyes to the many different consequences those sentences at Shepard’s Bush caused, many of which you mentioned above. But, I’ve never though about the long term effects on country music that incident had actually caused and is clearly evident today as you pointed out. Thanks for this!

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  • Natalie Maines was (is still?) an arrogant little twit. The earlier analysis was spot on: all full of herself, she spouted off her little tantrum in an attempt to ingratiate herself with the “cool” kids. This punk truly thought herself as being “above” the “rednecks” who were buying her records and that she would prove how “enlightened” she was by dissing the archtypical Texan. But she failed to establish that she had an audience outside those she so easily insulted. For a while, her ghambit worked: who believes that all those Grammys were anything other than attempts to stick in President Bush’s eye? But after these useful fools were no longer useful, they were tossed aside by their erstwhile friends and soulmates. Having made clear their opinion of their former fans, the Dixie Chicks are now “Home”-less. Short-term thinking with long-lsting results.

    Now they are orphans and we are supposed to feel sorry for their plight, when they facilitated their own orphan-hood.

    (The situation is analagous to Hillary Clinton, who believed that being married to America’s “first black president” gave her the inside track to the black vote in 2008. Unfortunately for both her and her husband, she found that all their pandering to blacks was only accepted as long as they were useful. Once 0bama came along, the Clintons were toast. Some “friends.”)

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    • I suppose if a right-leaning country artist came out and said negative things about Obama during war time you would be first on the bandwagon to boycott them, right?

      Oh, wait.

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  • Poor, poor Dixie Chicks. They were free to make choices just as consumers are. Unfortunately for them, their actions had consequences. We all need to think before we speak. Maines wasn’t that likeable anyway, and I think her true colors came out more when she decided to go overseas as a “representative” for the USA. Guess they didn’t know their US audience very well and found out that loose lips sink ships.

       7 likes

    • “loose lips sink ships”. Grow up, child.
      The world isn’t as black-and-white as you think. Iraq wasn’t a John Wayne movie. America was not the “good guy”. We were the unprovoked aggressor, and if the shoe was on the other foot, you’d be shitting yourself to condemn those barbarian Iraqis for bombing our pretty cities, etc.

      Do you lack empathy for all non-Americans? Just the brown-skinned ones? Does your sense of decency stop at the water’s edge?

      Is there some weird loophole in the Bible that exempts”Thou Shalt Not Kill” from applying to Americans? Politicians? Republicans?

         7 likes

  • I always thought their music was pretty shitty, but I do agree with them that George Bush is a douchebag of the highest order.

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  • Wouldn’t it be poetic justice if “I’m not Ready to Make Nice” became the theme for those coming together to battle US Military sexual assault? An powerful song for a movement! It should have been played it for all the military women and men (victims) out in the streets while congress listened to top military officers answer questions on Capitol Hill.

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  • Music made by artists that have opposite beliefs and values of its fans is doomed in every genre because fans can no longer related. Lets imagine a hardcore rap artist that was pro-Republican? Or a heavy metal artist that’s primary message was to respect your parents rules? Country music for the masses represents a sense of national pride, patriotism and conservative southern values. The Dixie Chicks have no one to blame but themselves for alienating their own fan base. No one is saying they shouldn’t have their own beliefs, but biting that hand that feeds you is never a good career move in any business.

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  • Who ever wrote this aritcle is a twit and closed minded.

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  • The “Chicks” committed “musical suicide” straight up. Music & politics have always been “frenemys” at best……… but the people of any branch of southern music…….. call it Country Western, Progressive country, Hillbilly Rock, Coastal & Western (Thank you Larry Joe Taylor), or whatever ………….. it doesn’t matter if you live south of Interstate 10 or North of Bangor Maine …………….. The people that “get” this kind of music completely understand …………….. You’ve Got to Stand for Something, or You’ll Fall For Anything !

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  • Maines’ statement ruined the Dixie Chicks?
    We should all be so ruined. The band released a gold, No. 1 album after what Maines said. And now they light cigars with 100 dollar bills doing whatever the F they want to for the rest of their lives with tens of millions in net worth. Poor Dixie Chicks. Ya’ll showed them. Now go back to your wage-slave jobs.

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  • The right to disagree is a right for all of us, but we keep our dirty laundry at home not on foreign land, like Jane Fonda during Vietnam. There is such a thing as being a traitor. It’s like, you can disagree with me, but you attack my family…………..

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  • Free speech is sacred but Natalie was terribly foolish to say what she said at that concert in London. I was not surprised by the resulting fallout.
    Ultimately, however, the anger toward the band reflects poorly on the country music audience. Natalie and her bandmates apologized but their apology was not accepted. Now the Dixie Chicks are over, commercially speaking. They can’t be punished any worse, America. People need to let this crap go.

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  • Truly one of the ugliest recent periods in the history of country music,and the nation as a whole. Hateful, ignorant, freedom-hating mobs destroyed the Chicks career, and possibly even prevented a new Golden Era in Women-led country music in the Mainstream when they murdered the career of the best act they had at that time.

    Country radio chose that lying, insufferable piece of warmongering trash Bush over their NUMBER ONE ACT, and condemned their genre to the idiotic Bros, Budz, and ‘Murica fetish ghetto it resides in even today.

    I hope some of you people are happy for that, and when you get to Hell, tell them to keep the fires warm foe “W”.

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  • Doug, warmongering, lying, and the mindless destruction of foreign nations aren’t “southern values” to me.
    I hope to god they aren’t to most of us on here either. If the fans of a fine alterna-country site like this are slave to the same type of ignorant reactionary mindset as those of the so-called “mainstream”, then what hope is there for country as a genre?

    No matter how wonderful the music can be, I often wonder if country music fans are the only people on Earth who failed to grasp the lessons of Vietnam. Christ!

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    • It’s important to remember that the South has historically been the most hawkish, pro-war region of the country, going back to the War of 1812.

      As you suggested, the country music industry and fans strongly supported the Vietnam War.

      Due to this cultural history, there is probably not very much difference between mainstream country and traditional country fans when it comes to issues of war.

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  • i always thought america was the land of free speech,so she said it in england big deal.we lost people in a war that bush and blair should be prosecuted for natalie maines said what most people at the time thourght and where later proved right there were no wmd.if every singer in whatever genre was persecuted for what they said without thinking the world would be a sadder place
    ps going to see the chicks in london march 2014
    scouse

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  • People don’t get it – all those innocent people were killed in Iraq for a GW Bush lie – it was a lie, no WMD. this is fact, not opinion The Dixie Chicks spoke the truth and were hung for it. George Bush came close to destroying this country, at home and abroad. We are still trying to clean up the mess he and his cronies made. America should be ashamed of him, and of the shameful lie of the Iraq war (and the Vietnam War, but that is another story.)

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  • What they said, I agree with. A war perpetrated on lies that cost troops and civilians their lives should be spoken out against. I am in the area of the country where the backlash was severe, but I still liked them, and I am still ashamed of G.W. Bush, Texan or not. I’m not a big fan of modern country, but they were true musicians, and their music was good, old-school country there should be more of. The controversy didn’t help their career, except perhaps people had to buy their CD’s (remember those?) to burn in protest. Sadly, I think what happened to them is the way of a lot of bands, they just drifted apart. Maybe one day they’ll get back together. With all the BS ear candy, top 40, bad music out there today, it would be a welcome sound.

       6 likes

  • Maybe if they had just played their music, which is what people payed for, and left the politics out of it, there would never have been a backlash.

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  • I still miss the “old” Dixie Chicks from the days before Natalie Manes came along. My favorite song from the old days (when they really sounded old school country) was:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hqk-2w6MtS8

    If anyone ever visits the Fort Worth stockyards area, the Los Vaqueros Mexican restaurant still has an autographed picture of the original Dixie Chicks (pre Natalie Manes but really after they had already had a change up) up on the wall (or it did the last time I was in there a couple of years back):
    http://www.losvaqueros.com/stockyards/

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  • If I here one more person say: The first amendment protects us from the government, not the free market.

    You don’t understand the difference between Bill of Rights and our HUMAN RIGHTS are NOT the same thing.

    Freedom of speech/ expression is a HUMAN RIGHT, regardless of government.

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  • Okay so I think everyone has there own point of view.I’m from Australia and I remember when I first heard about it and what came to mind was ‘You do realize that you just wasted Money on a perfectly good CD’. On a serious note I really had in mind that people who where boycotting them and destroy there CD’s and sending death threats where kind of strange to me. I guess it’s because we have a prime minister here and it’s quite acceptable to say your ashamed of him and don’t support his choices. Sometimes I do just sit back and get entertained in the way that different Americans are acting and what they do because it all seemed to petty to me. I think that there was really a three way devider on what made those certain people angry. The insult to the dying soldiers, the insult to the President and the fact that it was said outside of the US. I really have to point out that they didn’t even talk about the men and woman fighting. They always seemed to have a high respect for the soldiers. I know many peole who have named and shamed there leaders so I find that really invalid. I guess what puzzled me most was the part about where it was said. Just from watching a lot of American media and public opinions I truly believe it would have been picked anyway and broadcasted. It really was just fuel to the fire. I mean I remember seeing shut up and sing watching that old guy say something like free speech was alright but not on foreign soil and to a mass group. It really made me laugh. Sad to say but I was laughing at those certain American who did the whole boycott because it seemed like they had nothing better to do. In the end I kind of came to the conclusion that American is a very hyper-sensitive country. I do give props for being so passionate about the leaders but sometimes you really have to pick and choose your battles.

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  • Everyone has a right to free speech. That does not exclude them from consequences. Artist like the Dixie chicks and famous actor’s have a venue to air their opinions, but when the common folk speak their minds by their venue (boycotts), the famous folks scream unfair. Truth is these people need to think about what the consequences could be before using their fame to voice their opinion. Having said that death threats should never be given or tolerated.

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  • I’m ashamed that the Dixie Chicks were from Texas. They should have kept their political views to themselves.
    I’m glad they’re gone.

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  • I find it ironic that the same people who boycotted the DC for speaking two lines against the war and Dubya will fully support a celebrity like Phil Robertson for making controversial statements about gays. It seems very hypocritical if you ask me.

    If Toby Keith came out and said Obama is an idiot and I’m ashamed he’s our president at a show, would he get boycotted? No. He would get a gold star from the conservative base.

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  • I felt bad for them but I don’t like to hear or see anyone bad mouthing our country
    I just wish everyone, then and now boycott Jane Fonda she did a great disservice to our military. Did we forget!! Not me. Our young men were drafted and taken from their homes and families and received not support!

       1 likes

  • Dixie who

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  • Cry me a river. Why do stars think that just because they’re talented, famous and loved, they somehow need to stand on a soapbox in front of an audience forced to listen to them and spew their vile, vulgar crap? We don’t care what you think, politically. Sing the damn songs. People go to a concert to have fun – not get angry about politics. Why do we have to share your views?

    Their careers took a major? Aww… Someone call the waaaaaambulance. Good riddance.

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  • Oh stop the whining on behalf of the silly girls who wants to play big politics instead of staying with their own craft. How does hitting a few chords and screaming “Ohhh baaabyyy” make them political soothsayers? It’s rediculous elevating their primitive political beliefs to divinity just because they make music. At least they must accept that other people have the exact same right to their opinions, just as inherently valuable and have the absolute right to NOT buy their capitalistic products and NOT to play their products for any reason at all. Triggers soiling of the people disagreeing with his untouchable trio tells more about Trigger than those he soils.

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  • toby keith and most country music sucks. country is now doing rap, metal and other garbage to try to appeal to younger, but it still sucks. i am tired of hearing about false patriotism from people who never served this country, as well as their old trucks and dogs. give me a break country…. you suck and natalie doesn’t care. the iraq war was a lie and natalie was right. you go girl.

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  • Interesting that Merle and Willie faced no backlash. Sounds like the Dixie Chicks were guilty of having an opinion while female.

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    • C’mon Jenn, you know better than that. I’m not going to rehash everyone’s comments about why Merle and Willie got that pass but they’re legitimate reasons. Fair or unfair, the Chicks played their hand the way they wanted to and lost (if having a 5x platinum album is losing). They have to live with the consequences of their actions, just like the rest of us.

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    • yes, you are exactly right,

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  • For me it was not that they were anti-war, but almost anti-American. Willie and Merle did not make anti-American statements from a foreign country state.

    Also, it was the arrogance. Willie and Merle releasing anti-war songs, even maybe sharing their opinion from a stage, is not the same as Natalie’s arrogance and almost hate in her voice.

    This is not an apples to apples comparison.

    And you know, Willie and Merle are old country standards that don’t reach the young as much. And we almost expect anti-war song from old hippie Willie.

    But the DC were at the height of their popularity and power and yea, it IS different than an old timer rising up and sharing a song with the same sentiments.

    Life is not an even playing field across the board. We’ve tired to hard to make everything the same… and it’s not.

    Thanks for writing this piece… I did enjoy and it brought me up to speed. Nice writing.

    R

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  • I don’t care for what the Chicks said, it was wrong. However, how wrong can it be by todays standards when the president apologizes for America history. I don’t care for anyone in the entertainment industry badmouthing our country. You’re entertainers, not politicians, elected officials who have the right to speak for me. Go back to signing, dancing, acting whatever it is you do and leave running the country to those who’ve been duly elected.

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  • I miss the Chicks. They were a great band. But America is a very unforgiving country. And not terribly bright, either. In fact some of the dumbest people I’ve ever met are Americans — loud, obnoxious, and dim — they typical stereotype. Even worse at the country music level. A shame really. They robbed themselves of a great band (which the rest of the world still appreciated) all over petty politics. Like I said, not too bright.

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    • I find that people who use generalizations and “typical stereotypes” to make whatever point they are trying to make tend to be intellectually lazy. In other words, not too bright.

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      • I am sure you are talking about Toby Keith!

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  • They are not destroyed, they are on tour God Gless em! One of my most favorite bands ever.

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  • As a Texan I am ashamed that The Dixie Chicks could publicly display such ignorance; particularly in a foreign country populated with arrogant pasty-faced cream-puffs who constantly expect Americans to blurt out their own ignorance. Shrub junior isn’t a Texan. He’s quite literally a Connecticut Yankee. Buying a chunk of cheap acreage in the middle of nowhere does not make you a Texan any more than strumming a guitar makes you a political scholar.

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  • my fave country band for years. i agree with all they said. and I think its a travesty all that happened to them. freedom of speech not so much. bullshit again from america. as its they were anti american there were so many peoplein the US who didnt want war but too terrified to say so . with a president who buys their votes there was not hope then.

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  • 11 years later, I still don’t want to listen to them. For me personally, it wasn’t that she said it in London or because she was in a foreign land. Britain is our ally. We are for all intents and purposes, on the same side. What pissed me off is WHAT she said. Yes, we have freedom of speech. I am so sick of hearing that excuse. Just because you CAN say something stupid doesn’t mean you should. It was what she implied. Natalie said “We are on the good side with ya’ll…” as if to say Americans or any person who serves, is on the “bad side.” She drew a line that night. Freedom of speech or not. She categorized a huge group of people and painted them in a negative way. Not just in the US, but also in the UK. Every action causes a reaction and sometimes saying I’m sorry doesn’t cut it.

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  • she said what she wanted, that’s ok. the fans reacted the way they wanted it’s ok too. i don’t think either side needs to explain themselves.
    you do have to live by what you say though. to say side b must modify their response to make side a happy is saying side a wants you to give in and buy my records again. side b is allowed to say no,

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  • Donald Sterling…same foot in mouth disease.

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    • Not even close…Dixie Chicks were right, sterling was not

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  • I am a HUGE country music fan…..I think the Dixie Chicks deserve a medal, and Toby a punch in the gut….I thought so at the time, and history has proven them right and him to be a narrow minded dumbass (no surprise there, if you listen to his narrow niche songs)….Texas, get over it…you often deserve worse considering your low ranking in education, health care, etc. Lots of good comes from Texas too, except GWB, who was a disaster on so many levels. She expressed a a courageous opinion, something many more should of and we would have not lost so many precious American lives over a lie. Even Toby would not want all those needless deaths, regardless of his monosyllabic lyrics

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  • People often forget the horrible way Toby Keith acted — he compared The Chicks to Sadam during his concerts. And death threats, really people? I was raised on good country music, Merle, Waylon, Johnny, Alabama, and on and on. When this happened I stopped listening to country radio. I still listen to country music but I will never support country radio again. And I still listen to the Dixie Chicks. In my opinion, Natalie Maines has more talent than Toby Keith can even imagine. Success and quality don’t always go together.

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  • No one will deny that The Dixie Chicks were a great band. They were one of the few country artists that had a hand in co-writing most of their tunes & played a plethora of instruments, but like many have said, IMO it was all about timing. The US were brought together by the horrible events of 9/11 & Maines’ comments were felt as a stab in the back by many folks. I’m not sure if it was more about stating she was ashamed of Bush being from Texas or the fact that she was doing her ranting on foreign soil. I think she & the other members of the band were pissed about the war, and maybe they did spew a bit too much, but like another poster said, many felt her words were being anti-American, calling Americans the bad people. I was like many of the other people & stopped listening to their tunes, and the more backlash they got, the more Maines kept going on & on. Maybe a good PR person on the part of the DC could have stopped the bleeding from the country community, but their 2007 album which won about 5 Grammies proved that above it all, it was about their music in the end. It’s just a shame that they felt the need to step away from country music, since I think they would have been embraced somewhat back, but not totally due to the context of her wording. It wasn’t necessarily about the Prez, but their fellow Americans. Hopefully people can learn from this experience & hopefully there will be a return of the DC to the country genre.

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    • America may have been brought together by 9/11, but it was torn apart but the stupid Iraq war. Obama wouldn’t be president if not for the gargantuan blunder that was Iraq. No connection to 9/11 or Al Qeada. No unaccounted for stockpiles of WMDs. And no “model of democracy” in the aftermath. It was a stupid, stupid war. 4,000 Americans died for nothing.

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  • The Chicks played real, heartfelt and soulful country music but the so called Bush lovers here think the Florida Georgia line represent authentic country. If you say so. Truth be told is that if Toby Keith went to France and announced that Obama is a horses ass his album sales would triple. But what’s most amusing is that Bush lovers smugly believe they sent the Chicks to the poorhouse. Ms. Maines alone is still worth 40 million in 2014. Oh yeah, when you look at your bank account keep in mind that your actions left you with those consequences.

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  • The problem I and most people of my ilk have with them ladies is that it was said to a crowd ‘over there’ you know England… If she had expressed her opinion over here in the colonies to us Yankees it may not have been that big of a deal.Her ignorance on anything about being American was apparent.She is and was then nothing but a dumb blond.

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  • I still miss the Dixie Chicks, and female voices in country music in general.

    I have the Chicks and Toby Keith together on my ipod. It’s the music I care about. I will say though, what happened in the aftermath (including TK’s comments) strikes me as more un-American than what Natalie did in the first place. Threatening to fire DJs if they played their music?? What country is this? And Toby’s career didn’t seem to suffer for his part in it. I don’t have anything against him or WANT his career to be over (well, not before Red Solo Cup anyway ;) ), but the double standard ticks me off. Clear message, dissenting political opinions are not allowed in country music.

    Ten years later:
    But hip hop and EDM and autotune in country music, that’s just fine! *eyeroll*

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  • While I will agree that the Dixie Chicks were traditional country, definitely a tremendous talent, and I enjoyed a lot of their music;
    I will say that I blame Natalie for her big mouth on foreign soil that started this whole thing. It is a shame that Emily and Marty got stuck with the backlash. The problem is, #1 you were on foreign soil because of the very freedoms the USA provides them. #2 while I firmly believe they have the right to feel any way they wish, it is important to remember your manners, especially when addressing the public, on foreign soil about your own President. #3 Natalie had no right to say anything as a member of a group without the groups approval, especially since it was so politically motivated.

    Natalie then fueled the fire, by the Not ready to play nice song, and just when Nashville was ready to forgive and let them back in. just plain childish and stupid.

    I have not once listened to anything by the DC and when all of this started, burned every CD I had, and I had all of them. I resented Natalie, you could say because I pay her salary…the US Citizens made their point, don’t mess with us or you are fired.
    I just wish it hadn’t ruined the other two girls careers.

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  • The funny thing is, the Dixie Chicks were 100% right. Even right wing talk show hosts like Michael Savage and Glenn Beck have admitted that the Iraq war was a mistake. Iraq had absolutely nothing to do with 9/11. 4,000 dead Americans and for what?

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