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Natalie Maines of the Dixie Chicks discusses lesbian hair and her crush on Rachel Maddow

Natalie Maines, the brave frontwoman of the Dixie Chicks, has “been a long time gone,” to quote a Dixie Chicks song.

Maines takes her own way for her first-ever solo album, Mother, seven years after one of the most successful country music artists released Taking the Long Way and its unapologetic hit “Not Ready to Make Nice” in response to the singer’s political dig at then-President George W. Bush. It’s also certainly not country, with Emily Robison and Martie Maguire departing for the album (don’t worry, she claims there’s a “50/50” potential for a reunion LP).

Maines addressed why she turned rock (country “seemed so false”), how being disowned–and her new short hair–made her feel closer to the homosexual community, and whether she’s ready to make nice now, a decade after her Bush outburst.

Chris Azzopardi: You’ve got that punkish ‘do now; previously, it was the long, blond locks with the Dixie Chicks.

Natalie Maines of the Dixie Chicks discusses lesbian hair and her crush on Rachel Maddow

Natalie Maines: I understand. I definitely felt like I was playing dress-up with the Chicks, but I enjoyed it!

Q. Are you aware of your appearance and how it relates to the music?

A. With two children, I don’t have enough time in the day to focus on my appearance; this is a much more manageable look. And it’s a better fit for my personality. Growing up, I had short hair, and it was always the ideal length for me.

Q. Has having your hair cut short given you more lesbian cred?

A. I seldom ever leave my house. So it’s possible. But the lesbians already liked me! This is clearly a lesbian-style hairdo I’m sporting. It doesn’t bother me. Rachel Maddow is one of my favorite journalists. My lesbian girl crush would be her.

Q. What is the significance of Rachel?

A. She’s a beauty! She’s also intelligent and attractive… I like her hair, too.

Q. I think it’ll work out between you two.

A. I believe that would work. I’m not sure my spouse or her girlfriend would agree. (Laughs)

Natalie Maines of the Dixie Chicks discusses lesbian hair and her crush on Rachel Maddow

Q. You’ve always had a strong LGBT following, even before publicly criticizing George W. Bush. What’s the best way to express your relationship with homosexual fans?

A. We had some extremely costume-y, over-the-top looks, which the gays enjoyed. (Laughs) But after the incident, I feel like we had an even stronger bond, and that’s because we both know what it’s like to be disliked simply for being who we are – not for doing anything, annoying anyone, murdering somebody, or being arrested. Just for being who we are. Some folks don’t seem to think that’s a good thing. But it’s also important to just be yourself and let others get used to it–learning to be comfortable with yourself and putting yourself out there, and letting people like you or not is entirely up to them.

Q. After the incident, did you notice greater support from the homosexual community at shows?

A. Sure. We got a lot of letters, and a lot of people in the neighborhood came up to us and said, “I love that you did this.” I had never heard your music before, but after this, I went out and bought all of your albums.” Whatever it was that they did to convey their support, I felt it.

Q. What was it like behind the scenes for you when country radio blacklisted the Dixie Chicks and country artists stopped backing you?

A. I was in fight mode at the moment, feeling belligerent and ready to take on anything and everyone. Actually, we were getting a lot of support and messages from people in the profession at the time–actors and all kinds of people–and it was all really encouraging. I was always able to keep professional and personal life separate–and my pals weren’t other country performers, so I didn’t mind. What I was concerned about was being banned on a business level; it felt very un-American and un-OK to me, so that was my concern. And this is where I have a problem with country music.

I have no problem with country music enthusiasts. I have no objections to country music singers. I was quite open about my influences and the type of music I grew up listening to, and country was not one of them. When I say it now, people assume I’m upset about country music, even though I’ve never listened to it. If I were ever asked, I would say that, but I was never asked as much as I am now. But… I’m not sure what I was referring to. (Laughs)

Natalie Maines of the Dixie Chicks discusses lesbian hair and her crush on Rachel Maddow

Q. You mentioned that you dislike the country music industry.

A. Oh, you asked if I was disappointed. I mean, it was very annoying to see all of these radio stations fall in so quickly to the emails and phone calls they were receiving and feed the debate, which was really nothing but nonsense. That did feel like a stab in the back, since I felt like we had pride in our nation and had flown the flag for all those years. Everyone, though, went on board. We were amusing to despise.

Q. This is due to the fact that you were ahead of your time.

A. That’s right. It’s always been like way.

Q. You were one of the few country musicians who spoke out against gay marriage and equal rights when few others did.

A. Well, that’s why I was so surprised when folks found out I was a Democrat who opposed the war! I mean, I never felt like I was concealing anything. I felt like we were accepted in country music because of our differences, and we went outside the normal country fan base, and I believe it was because we were different. People mistaking me for someone I wasn’t was a complete shock to me. I was dissatisfied with myself! How could I possibly allow anyone to believe anything else?! (Laughs) But we always responded to inquiries, and I was a staunch supporter of women’s rights, gay marriage, and other issues.

Q. Why do you believe more country music musicians haven’t gone public with their support for equal rights, despite the fact that some have?

A. They didn’t say anything about it previously, either. However, I’m sure some do. Growing up, I always thought of country music as being false, which is why I didn’t really relate to it or find it appealing. Everyone was putting on phony smiles, no one was angry, and everyone was just thrilled to be there. That was something I couldn’t relate to. Shoot. So, what was your query this time? I’m always on a soapbox! (Laughs)

Natalie Maines of the Dixie Chicks discusses lesbian hair and her crush on Rachel Maddow

Q. You mentioned that there aren’t many country performers who advocate for equal rights.

A. That, I believe, is just the character of country music. I’m not sure. I don’t believe they have ever done so. Faith Hill, I believe, has answered that question honestly and is in favor of homosexual marriage. I’m not sure she is, but I’ve chatted with her and she seems to be a rather liberal individual. I don’t follow her press, so I don’t want to presume that these folks haven’t spoken up.

ALSO READ: Liz Cheney Admits To ’60 Minutes’ That She Was ‘Wrong’ In Her Past To Homosexual Marriage 

Q. Will the Dixie Chicks release another album?

A. I’m not sure. It’s conceivable. I’d think it’s a 50/50 chance. (Laughs) I try not to project or predict the future; instead, I try to live in the moment, so I’m open to it. I have no animosity toward the Dixie Chicks. Right now, I believe the issue is one of logistics. There are eight kids among the three of us and, for me, making an album takes a lot of focus and a lot of concentration and a lot of time, and I’m not willing to go to Texas to do that. I wouldn’t expect Martie and Emily to leave their families and come here to do that, either. I just think it’s really hard right now.

Q. With the Dixie Chicks, you covered several Patty Griffin songs, and Mother features Griffin’s song “Silver Bell.” What is it about Patty and her songwriting that resonates with you so much? The darkness? The realness?

A. It’s all of that. I’m bad putting into words things like that, but I love her songwriting. And I hate her because, not only has she written a million songs that are out there, she’s got all these songs that we’ve never even heard. It’s so hard to write a song for me! And I’m so jealous that she has, like, back stock.

ALSO READ: It’s been one year since JoJo Siwa came out as homosexual 

Q. Why was the seven years between Taking the Long Way and this new solo album a necessary break for you?

A. Basically because kids take a lot of time. (Laughs) I just decided to dive into motherhood and do that 100 percent – just try to enjoy this time and my life and my kids’ lives and be, you know, a stable force in their lives.

I definitely felt like I had worked really hard and been on the road for over 10 years, so I did want to slow down and just get real for a while. So there was a lot of self-realization and a lot of things that went on, but yeah, I needed a long while to just … be.

Q. Why was the distinction between this album and your work with the Dixie Chicks important to you?

A. It’s just bugged me whenever I would see lead singers do a solo album that sounded exactly like their band. It always seemed to be a way to get all the money for yourself. (Laughs) So I did want to be different. But I didn’t have to be conscious of that; this is just what I’m naturally drawn to.

ALSO READ: Kristen Stewart Proclaimed Her Love for Her Fiancée After Just Two Weeks of Dating—Meet Her Soon-to-Be Wife

When we went into the studio, we didn’t even know we were making a record. I was very upfront about that with Ben (Harper’s) band, just because they were basically coming (to the studio) for free every day; they enjoyed music and they wanted to experiment and see what happens–but I wasn’t telling my management or my label, so there was no money coming from anywhere.

It was really like a band starting from scratch, everybody putting in the same amount of time and hard work … and they got paid eventually. (Laughs) There just wasn’t a discussion; it was just very organic in what naturally comes to me musically or appeals to me.

Q. Are you ready to make nice yet?

A. I don’t sit around stewing over it or thinking about it at all, but if making nice means making a country record and going back to that, then no, I’m not ready.

Q. Has there been a peace agreement between you and Toby Keith?

A. Sure, I’ve got no issues. I don’t even think about any of these folks. (Laughs) I wouldn’t have even thought about Toby Keith if he hadn’t put out a photo of me and Saddam Hussein hugging.

Q. He could’ve at least had you cuddling with Rachel Maddow. Gosh.

A. (laughs) That’s right!

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Natalie Maines of the Dixie Chicks discusses lesbian hair and her crush on Rachel Maddow

Natalie Maines, the brave frontwoman of the Dixie Chicks, has “been a long time gone,” to quote a Dixie Chicks song.

Maines takes her own way for her first-ever solo album, Mother, seven years after one of the most successful country music artists released Taking the Long Way and its unapologetic hit “Not Ready to Make Nice” in response to the singer’s political dig at then-President George W. Bush. It’s also certainly not country, with Emily Robison and Martie Maguire departing for the album (don’t worry, she claims there’s a “50/50” potential for a reunion LP).

Maines addressed why she turned rock (country “seemed so false”), how being disowned–and her new short hair–made her feel closer to the homosexual community, and whether she’s ready to make nice now, a decade after her Bush outburst.

Chris Azzopardi: You’ve got that punkish ‘do now; previously, it was the long, blond locks with the Dixie Chicks.

Natalie Maines of the Dixie Chicks discusses lesbian hair and her crush on Rachel Maddow

Natalie Maines: I understand. I definitely felt like I was playing dress-up with the Chicks, but I enjoyed it!

Q. Are you aware of your appearance and how it relates to the music?

A. With two children, I don’t have enough time in the day to focus on my appearance; this is a much more manageable look. And it’s a better fit for my personality. Growing up, I had short hair, and it was always the ideal length for me.

Q. Has having your hair cut short given you more lesbian cred?

A. I seldom ever leave my house. So it’s possible. But the lesbians already liked me! This is clearly a lesbian-style hairdo I’m sporting. It doesn’t bother me. Rachel Maddow is one of my favorite journalists. My lesbian girl crush would be her.

Q. What is the significance of Rachel?

A. She’s a beauty! She’s also intelligent and attractive… I like her hair, too.

Q. I think it’ll work out between you two.

A. I believe that would work. I’m not sure my spouse or her girlfriend would agree. (Laughs)

Natalie Maines of the Dixie Chicks discusses lesbian hair and her crush on Rachel Maddow

Q. You’ve always had a strong LGBT following, even before publicly criticizing George W. Bush. What’s the best way to express your relationship with homosexual fans?

A. We had some extremely costume-y, over-the-top looks, which the gays enjoyed. (Laughs) But after the incident, I feel like we had an even stronger bond, and that’s because we both know what it’s like to be disliked simply for being who we are – not for doing anything, annoying anyone, murdering somebody, or being arrested. Just for being who we are. Some folks don’t seem to think that’s a good thing. But it’s also important to just be yourself and let others get used to it–learning to be comfortable with yourself and putting yourself out there, and letting people like you or not is entirely up to them.

Q. After the incident, did you notice greater support from the homosexual community at shows?

A. Sure. We got a lot of letters, and a lot of people in the neighborhood came up to us and said, “I love that you did this.” I had never heard your music before, but after this, I went out and bought all of your albums.” Whatever it was that they did to convey their support, I felt it.

Q. What was it like behind the scenes for you when country radio blacklisted the Dixie Chicks and country artists stopped backing you?

A. I was in fight mode at the moment, feeling belligerent and ready to take on anything and everyone. Actually, we were getting a lot of support and messages from people in the profession at the time–actors and all kinds of people–and it was all really encouraging. I was always able to keep professional and personal life separate–and my pals weren’t other country performers, so I didn’t mind. What I was concerned about was being banned on a business level; it felt very un-American and un-OK to me, so that was my concern. And this is where I have a problem with country music.

I have no problem with country music enthusiasts. I have no objections to country music singers. I was quite open about my influences and the type of music I grew up listening to, and country was not one of them. When I say it now, people assume I’m upset about country music, even though I’ve never listened to it. If I were ever asked, I would say that, but I was never asked as much as I am now. But… I’m not sure what I was referring to. (Laughs)

Natalie Maines of the Dixie Chicks discusses lesbian hair and her crush on Rachel Maddow

Q. You mentioned that you dislike the country music industry.

A. Oh, you asked if I was disappointed. I mean, it was very annoying to see all of these radio stations fall in so quickly to the emails and phone calls they were receiving and feed the debate, which was really nothing but nonsense. That did feel like a stab in the back, since I felt like we had pride in our nation and had flown the flag for all those years. Everyone, though, went on board. We were amusing to despise.

Q. This is due to the fact that you were ahead of your time.

A. That’s right. It’s always been like way.

Q. You were one of the few country musicians who spoke out against gay marriage and equal rights when few others did.

A. Well, that’s why I was so surprised when folks found out I was a Democrat who opposed the war! I mean, I never felt like I was concealing anything. I felt like we were accepted in country music because of our differences, and we went outside the normal country fan base, and I believe it was because we were different. People mistaking me for someone I wasn’t was a complete shock to me. I was dissatisfied with myself! How could I possibly allow anyone to believe anything else?! (Laughs) But we always responded to inquiries, and I was a staunch supporter of women’s rights, gay marriage, and other issues.

Q. Why do you believe more country music musicians haven’t gone public with their support for equal rights, despite the fact that some have?

A. They didn’t say anything about it previously, either. However, I’m sure some do. Growing up, I always thought of country music as being false, which is why I didn’t really relate to it or find it appealing. Everyone was putting on phony smiles, no one was angry, and everyone was just thrilled to be there. That was something I couldn’t relate to. Shoot. So, what was your query this time? I’m always on a soapbox! (Laughs)

Natalie Maines of the Dixie Chicks discusses lesbian hair and her crush on Rachel Maddow

Q. You mentioned that there aren’t many country performers who advocate for equal rights.

A. That, I believe, is just the character of country music. I’m not sure. I don’t believe they have ever done so. Faith Hill, I believe, has answered that question honestly and is in favor of homosexual marriage. I’m not sure she is, but I’ve chatted with her and she seems to be a rather liberal individual. I don’t follow her press, so I don’t want to presume that these folks haven’t spoken up.

ALSO READ: Liz Cheney Admits To ’60 Minutes’ That She Was ‘Wrong’ In Her Past To Homosexual Marriage 

Q. Will the Dixie Chicks release another album?

A. I’m not sure. It’s conceivable. I’d think it’s a 50/50 chance. (Laughs) I try not to project or predict the future; instead, I try to live in the moment, so I’m open to it. I have no animosity toward the Dixie Chicks. Right now, I believe the issue is one of logistics. There are eight kids among the three of us and, for me, making an album takes a lot of focus and a lot of concentration and a lot of time, and I’m not willing to go to Texas to do that. I wouldn’t expect Martie and Emily to leave their families and come here to do that, either. I just think it’s really hard right now.

Q. With the Dixie Chicks, you covered several Patty Griffin songs, and Mother features Griffin’s song “Silver Bell.” What is it about Patty and her songwriting that resonates with you so much? The darkness? The realness?

A. It’s all of that. I’m bad putting into words things like that, but I love her songwriting. And I hate her because, not only has she written a million songs that are out there, she’s got all these songs that we’ve never even heard. It’s so hard to write a song for me! And I’m so jealous that she has, like, back stock.

ALSO READ: It’s been one year since JoJo Siwa came out as homosexual 

Q. Why was the seven years between Taking the Long Way and this new solo album a necessary break for you?

A. Basically because kids take a lot of time. (Laughs) I just decided to dive into motherhood and do that 100 percent – just try to enjoy this time and my life and my kids’ lives and be, you know, a stable force in their lives.

I definitely felt like I had worked really hard and been on the road for over 10 years, so I did want to slow down and just get real for a while. So there was a lot of self-realization and a lot of things that went on, but yeah, I needed a long while to just … be.

Q. Why was the distinction between this album and your work with the Dixie Chicks important to you?

A. It’s just bugged me whenever I would see lead singers do a solo album that sounded exactly like their band. It always seemed to be a way to get all the money for yourself. (Laughs) So I did want to be different. But I didn’t have to be conscious of that; this is just what I’m naturally drawn to.

ALSO READ: Kristen Stewart Proclaimed Her Love for Her Fiancée After Just Two Weeks of Dating—Meet Her Soon-to-Be Wife

When we went into the studio, we didn’t even know we were making a record. I was very upfront about that with Ben (Harper’s) band, just because they were basically coming (to the studio) for free every day; they enjoyed music and they wanted to experiment and see what happens–but I wasn’t telling my management or my label, so there was no money coming from anywhere.

It was really like a band starting from scratch, everybody putting in the same amount of time and hard work … and they got paid eventually. (Laughs) There just wasn’t a discussion; it was just very organic in what naturally comes to me musically or appeals to me.

Q. Are you ready to make nice yet?

A. I don’t sit around stewing over it or thinking about it at all, but if making nice means making a country record and going back to that, then no, I’m not ready.

Q. Has there been a peace agreement between you and Toby Keith?

A. Sure, I’ve got no issues. I don’t even think about any of these folks. (Laughs) I wouldn’t have even thought about Toby Keith if he hadn’t put out a photo of me and Saddam Hussein hugging.

Q. He could’ve at least had you cuddling with Rachel Maddow. Gosh.

A. (laughs) That’s right!

RELATED ARTICLES

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

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