It's been three years since the "Bush incident," and four since the Dixie Chicks released their last album. Now Natalie Maines, Emily Robison and Martie Maguire are ready to return to the stage, this time moving away from their country roots and into the thralls of rock 'n' roll.
The Chicks kick off "Good Morning America's" Summer Concert Series on May 26 with songs from their new album, "Taking the Long Way."
But before the "GMA" performance and the launch of a worldwide tour, the Dixie Chicks took time out to answer questions from you, the viewers.
Monotony of the Road
I'd like to know how you deal with the monotony of life on the road: What's the funniest practical joke you've pulled on one another, or on a crew member?
-- Nancy Atkins, Aloha, Ore.
The Chicks say they are not big practical jokers.
"We try more to out shock each other," Natalie said. "Our humor is more perverted and gross."
Emily did let it slip that there was one time they called child-protective services on Natalie as a joke, but the government didn't share the group's sense of humor. It took the complaint seriously.
"My husband was furious," Natalie said.
"Note to self," said Emily. "Calling child protective services is not funny."
Did you write more songs for the album than what are actually on "Taking the Long Way"? If so, do you think they might make it onto a future album?
Corey, Keyser, W.Va.
The Chicks said there are two more songs that will find their way onto the album as bonus tracks, and while there are a couple that might "end up somewhere" someday, they've tried to put all the ones they really felt strongly about on the album.
On the Chicks iPod
What kind of music are you listening to these days? Is it country or other stuff? Who's your favorite new artist or band? Lindsay Czitron, Toronto
"I'm afraid to say I don't listen to music," Natalie said. "I listen to Howard Stern all day long."
Martie, who has 2-year-old twins, said she's been listening to Teri Hendrix, a children's album. Even Natalie can stomach that.
"I hate kids' music, because it's usually just too obnoxious, and I don't want my kids to think that's music," Natalie said. "Teri Hendrix is an album that's musical enough for parents to not want to shoot themselves in the head."
Emily said she has been listening to the artists who co-wrote the songs on their album, like Dan Wilson and Gary Louris.
Not Ready to Make Nice
Since writing and releasing the song "Not Ready to Make Nice," do you feel "cleansed" and ready to move forward with your music? Personally, I think the song is awesome in every way, and you deserved to voice your feelings after the hell you were put through. It's mind-boggling to me the extremes that people went to because of your statement. Terry Beatty, Abingdon, Md.
"This is the biggest thing that has ever happened to us in our careers as far as the emotional impact," Natalie said. "It's just not something that you forget and it's not something people let you forget."
Natalie, Martie and Emily said they have moved on from anger, but like the song says, they're not going to forget the past:
"Forgive, sounds good
Forget, I'm not sure I could
They say time heals everything
But I'm still waiting"
Finding a Voice
I read online that the song "Voice In My Head" was a hard song for Natalie to sing. Why was it a hard song for her?
"It took me a long time to figure out how to sing it, to kind of own it," Natalie said. "It's probably the one song on the album that is not our personal story -- it's someone's true story."
Natalie said she sang the song many different ways but it never sounded right. She said the version on the album is the best she's ever heard, but is still working on it for the tour.
Overcoming Fertility Issues
Because both Martie and Emily faced and overcame infertility, what advice do you have for women, men and couples facing those same issues? What helped keep your spirits high during those agonizing times? Bobbisue Gabrielson, Dayton, Ohio
"I found it hard to find solace in anything anyone told me, so I don't know if there's anything perfect to say to encourage anyone," Emily said. "No one can say, 'It will happen,' because it's not guaranteed. ... Seeking out as much information is to me the best weapon you have. ... To me, knowledge is power."
Martie said science and funding for expensive fertility treatments should be encouraging for women.
"Know that science has advanced so much, we're so lucky that there are options," Martie said. "There is funding to be had whether through your doctor or private groups. ... There's so much more of a support system then there ever was."
Writing the Album
How long did it take to write your new album. When did the writing begin and when did you know you had something good enough to sing again?
-- Sherri Bryan, Flint, Mich.
"The songs were so personal and meant so much to us," Natalie said. "It was nice to have someone else be the decider."