Ruined for anti-war opinion, Dixie Chicks to return to MN

The Dixie Chicks announced today they’ll play the Minnesota State Fair next August. It’s the first tour of the United States in 10 years for the group that paid a terrible price for having an unpopular opinion.

The State Fair venue is at the end of the group’s 41-city U.S. tour.

The Dixie Chicks, one of the most popular country acts, were banished from the airwaves by corporate radio after lead singer Natalie Maines made comments critical of President George Bush 12 years ago.

As Maines introduced, “Travelin’ Soldier” at a concert in London, she said, “Just so you know, we’re on the good side with y’all. We do not want this war, this violence, and we’re ashamed that the President of the United States is from Texas.”

The reaction was swift and immediate from the country universe.

“It was as if she’d French-kissed Saddam Hus­sein while setting fire to a puppy wrapped in the American flag,” Rolling Stone said.

Radio stations stopped playing their music. Fans turned on the trio, which released one more album, then broke up, after winning best album at the Grammy Awards in 2007.

In recent years, the group has toured Canada and Europe, but dismissed talk of a U.S. tour. “I feel like we’re tainted,” Maines told Rolling Stone in 2013.

“I always thought they accepted us in spite of the fact that we were different,” she said. “It shocked me and kind of grossed me out that people thought I would be a conservative right-winger, that I’d be a redneck. But at that time, people didn’t ask us things like, ‘What do you think of gay marriage?’ If they had, they would have learned how liberal I was. But I was so confused by who people thought I was and what I had been putting out there.”

Tickets for the State Fair show go on sale on Friday.

It will be interesting to see how quickly local country stations rush (or not) to be part of the show.

Documentary: Shut up and sing

  • BReynolds33

    K102 is on board. Which, in the Twin Cities, is really all that matters.

    • The same outfit that silenced them wants to embrace them now?

      • Gary F

        Sure, because it will be the talk of the media, today, as you did, and all the way until August. Just think, the promoter gets to keep all that money and invest it until August.

        • Heh. Yeah it would be awful to have something to talk about for the next year other than the clown-car presidential campaign.

      • John

        When $$ talks, CC listens.

  • Moffitt

    ““It shocked me and kind of grossed me out that people thought I would be a conservative right-winger…”
    Just what part of the country music universe did she not understand, I wonder?

    • The part where Clear Channel owned much more of the entertainment spectrum than just control over airplay.

  • Gary F

    Gary Louris and Dan Wilson joining them on stage?

    • Kassie

      That would be awesome.

  • Kassie

    I was super excited about this for a minute, but I don’t like any band enough to pay $57 a ticket (plus fees and fair admission) for a not great seat.

    • BJ

      that it, $57, sweet.

      • Kassie

        $67 for good seats, $57 for the cheaper seats. Plus $12 to get in and whatever they are charging for fees.

  • Dan

    It definitely hurt them, but they subsequently released an album that debuted at #1, won a Grammy, and went double platinum. Not exactly “ruined” in the music business.

    • There’s very little debate that it spelled the end of the Chicks. It was a good album, for sure. But it was four years of silence for the group — almost five.

      Taking the Long Way sold 2.5 million copies. The previous album — Home — sold 5 million copies.

      The Grammy was richly deserved, but it was also akin to the Nobel for a president who’d just taken office and hadn’t done anything yet. It was a message to country music. And it didn’t matter.

      • Dan

        They were hardly silent between the controversy and their follow-up album. The controversy [edit: HURT] them, but no telling how much — there’s no guarantee your next album will sell as much as your last.

        And 2.5 million copies sold is not “ruined”. There’s very little debate about that.

        • Obviously agree as far as “financially” ruined. But certainly ruined as to their immediate musical future as a group. And there’s certainly a reason they’ve been touring everywhere BUT the United States.

          I don’t know what would happen today when airplay isn’t quite as important as it was back then. But, then again, Clear Channel was involved in more than just radio stations.

          But, hey, it’s OK to call them French Fries again.

          • Dan

            “Most people in the music biz” would sell their souls for a double platinum album.

            Put a damper on their runaway success, sure, but that album sold 500k copies in its first week. Maybe some in the music press or a label exec with a $2m pinky ring calls that ruined.

            Musically, I would agree they were ruined — but long before the controversy started.

          • Yeah, they probably would. They had a $60.5 million dollar tour just as all this broke.

            But they got the Merle Haggard Seal of Approval, which should still count for something:

            I don’t even know the Dixie chicks, but I find it an insult for all the men and women who fought and died in past wars when almost the majority of America jumped down their throats for voicing an opinion. It was like a verbal witch-hunt and lynching. Whether I agree with their comments or not has no bearing.

          • Jennifer A. Nolan

            Thanks for that, Bob! And send a good word to Merle, too!

      • tboom

        Bet the Nobel committee wishes they could take a mulligan.

  • Carol S.

    I was a nominal fan of the Dixie Chicks, in part because I don’t like country music in general, but I liked some of their stuff. After Haines’ comment, I made a point to go out and buy their album because I really wanted to support them. I’d go to their concert.

  • Just Curious

    There is a reason why entertainers should entertain, athletes should perform and politicians politic.

    • I vaguely recall one of the biggest country hits at the time this was going on had a war mongering line, “we’ll put a boot in your ass, it’s the American way.”

      There’s no fine line between entertainment and politics IF you have the right politics.

      • Just Curious

        I doubt she was even being political, just playing to the crowd to get applause and self satisfaction. Stick to singing Chicks, you’ll make a lot more money.

    • Kassie

      Musicians have a long history of being involved in politics. It is sort of a thing they do. See: Lynard Skynyrd, Bob Dylan, Woody Guthrie, Green Day, NWA, and hundreds and hundreds of other artists.

      • Just Curious

        I’ll agree that a few musicians have enough smarts/knowledge to be involved in politics. Most are anti-war, regardless of their leanings. Most I would not give a plugged nickel for. Especially the current crop. The only thing they can memorize is their song lyrics and not all of them can do that. They pander to their audience.

        • Kassie

          Is “the current crop” just another way of saying “kids these days?”

          • Just Curious

            No, Madonna among others are in there too. Kids these days is a given. Hell, they don’t even know any politician outside of the President.

  • SUe

    I am not a Dixie Chick fan but if hindsight is 20/20 I think Natalie Maines was right on about what she said. I think they deserve an apology and a “you were right.”

  • Fred, Just Fred

    Occurs to me that they might gather some redemption if they observed that while Bush really messed up, Obama doubled down in his campaign fueled rush to abandon Iraq and let Islamic terrorists duke it out with the feckless government.

    Jus sayin.