Dixie Chicks reflect on getting blacklisted 17 years ago: 'Imagine what she would say now'

On March 10, 2003, Dixie Chicks frontwoman Natalie Maines made comments about then-President George W. Bush and the Iraq War during a London show. "We don't want this war, this violence, and we're ashamed that the president of the United States is from Texas." Those words prompted most of their country music fanbase and industry to boycott their albums and blacklist them from the airwaves. In March 2020, Maines and fellow bandmates Martie Maguire and Emily Robinson sat down with Ellen DeGeneres to reflect on that moment, now that they're back with their first album in more than a decade.

"Imagine what she would say now," Maguire joked, alluding to President Donald Trump.

"You want me to say it? You want me to say it?" Maines teased DeGeneres on her daytime talk show. But, no, she didn't say it. Though it probably wouldn't be any worse than what others have said about the Trump presidency. Maines has a similar outlook on the situation back in 2003, which DeGeneres compares to "cancel culture."

"I think we were one of the first people to experience that cancel culture, and I think what we said back then — what I said back then — would not even be a thing today because it was really mild compared to what people say today," Maines said. "On one hand, everyone has this platform where they can say whatever they want to say, but on the other hand, this platform can move really quickly and, yeah, ruin peoples' lives."

The Dixie Chicks appeared in concerts and on various tracks over the years, including the Taylor Swift number "Soon You'll Get Better" from the Lover album, but Gaslighter will be their first studio album since 2006's Taking the Long Way. The title single dropped on March 4.

Maines, who has two children, Jackson and Beckett, with ex-husband Adrian Pasdar, said of their hiatus, "I just really wanted to be a stay-at-home mom and make their lives about them and not about me."

"We wanted her to make her life about us, though," Maguire joked. "We were antsy," she added of herself and Robinson. "We didn't want to stay home. I love my kids but… We were calling her daily."

"We were pretty warn out at the same time," Robinson said of the aftermath of the controversy. "I don't know, I think we needed a break. Maybe not 14 years."

"We needed to get mad again and have something to write about," Maguire said. And, oh yes, they found something.

Gaslighter, the album, will drop May 1.

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