Maines became the focal point of a conservative firestorm when she spoke out against the Iraq War while touring with the Dixie Chicks in London, saying that they were "ashamed that the President of the United States is from Texas."
The Dixie Chicks were banned from country radio stations throughout the conservative South and Maines said she even received death threats.
“That was what disappointed me the most—people’s weakness…It turned me off to the country music business for sure...It made me rethink humanity."
Maines says that the Dixie Chicks plan to tour this summer in Canada, but sounded less than enthusiastic about the prospect.
"I didn’t want to do [the tour dates], because I want to focus all of my energy [on] this album…I just wanted one touring cycle to just focus on this, but I was outvoted…By everyone else who really wants to do it...I just don’t feel like it’s the Dixie Chicks time. I do feel I feel like things were tainted permanently. So, I struggle with going out on five Grammys or going out—petering out.” See a video clip of Natalie Maines on the Howard Stern Show here
Maines said that although their audience stayed solid during the concert tour immediately following the controversy, they could barely sell tickets for the next tour. Conservative fans dropped out because of the politics, and liberal fans only showed up to make a political statement.
"I don’t trust it anymore. I just don’t want to put my fate in country music’s hands. I’m too stubborn…I’m not supposed to be liberal. I’m not supposed to be pro gay marriage and pro-choice and this is all 'too much' to take."
Maines will be releasing an as yet untitled solo album this spring, with a very different feel.
“I’m putting out a rock record cause that’s really me,” said Maines.
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