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The Chicks Drop Bombshell Revelation That George Bush Controversy “Set Us Free”

10 May 2023 | 1:51 pm | Ellie Robinson

In a new interview, the band said they “never wanted to be in” the “box of country music” they’d found themselves in.

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The Chicks have taken aim at their critics in the country music world, declaring that their 2003 controversy – surrounding public comments made about then-US president George Bush – actually had a positive effect on their trajectory.

For those unaware, the Texan icons (then performing as the Dixie Chicks) caused a stir at a London concert held on March 10, 2003 – nine days before the United States invaded Iraq – when lead vocalist Natalie Maines told the audience: “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.”

Maines’ comments sparked widespread backlash from country music fans, with some figures viewing it as their informal excommunication from the industry. Maines eventually apologised to Bush, while the former President himself quipped in a statement: “I don't really care what the Dixie Chicks said.”

In a new interview with the LA Times, Maines reflected on the incident, opining that it retrospectively came as somewhat of a blessing for The Chicks. “It’s defining in the way it set us free,” she said. “It got us out of this box of country music, which we never wanted to be in and never felt like that’s who we were. We didn’t have to do any of that bulls— anymore. It wasn’t like, ‘Oh, country music, please take us back.’ It was middle fingers: ‘Bye!’”

Elsewhere in the interview, Maines spoke out against Brittany Aldean (the wife of country star Jason Aldean) over the latter’s recent comments insulting the parents of transgender children. Maines described Aldean’s comments as “just disgusting stuff”, and said of The Chicks’ soon-to-be tourmate Maren Morris (who feuded with Jason Aldean over the incident): “I love how outspoken Maren was on that.”

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Maines said of the current war against trans people being waged in the US: “It’s just another example of what’s going on in this country on every level. Florida, Tennessee, Texas – it’s just ridiculous. Whether it’s abortion or gay rights – everybody has to have something to hate, somebody to put down.”

Just last week, The Chicks announced their first Australian tour in six years. The trip will span nine dates in Australia and New Zealand, with headlining stops in Adelaide, Melbourne, Sydney, Brisbane, Auckland and Christchurch. Alongside them will be some special winery shows for A Day On The Green, taking the Landslide hitmakers to Geelong’s Mt Duneed Estate, Hunter Valley’s Bimbadgen and Sirromet Wines in Mount Cotton.