Dixie Chicks Speak Out on 'Primetime'

ByABC News
April 23, 2003, 9:41 AM

April 24 -- The Dixie Chicks went from country music darlings to pariahs after bashing President Bush at a concert in London. Now they speak out on the controversy that looms over their careers.

Just days before the bombing began in Iraq, singer Natalie Maines spoke out against the president. "Just so you know, we're ashamed the president of the United States is from Texas," she told fans in London.

Maines later apologized, saying her remark was "disrespectful." But country radio stations across the country yanked the trio from playlists, while some protesters resorted to publicly trashing their CDs to demonstrate against the singers' perceived lack of patriotism.

In an interview airing on Primetime Thursday, Maines and her bandmates Emily Robison and Martie Maguire spoke to ABCNEWS' Diane Sawyer about how they feel about the boycott of their music, the personal threats against them, and what led up to Maines' controversial comment.

Maines said she made the remark "out of frustration. At that moment, on the eve of war, I had a lot of questions that I felt were unanswered."

We Dont Plan Things

The comment was not scripted, Maines said, and it wasn't until the show was over that the band realized there would be a big reaction.

"We don't plan things that we're going to say. And sometimes it backfires," Maines said. "We didn't walk off the stage going, 'Oh my God, I can't believe I said that.'"

But the news media picked up on Maines' comment, generating a wave of backlash against the group. The threesome suffered through threatening letters from fans, boycotts from radio stations, and TV reports of fans crushing their CDs.

Robison recalled how scary it was in the days after the first news reports about Maines' comment. "It was a lot on our shoulders, and a lot on her [Maines'] shoulders. They forget she's a human being " she said.

Robison said Maines was especially concerned about the criticism her grandparents were getting from their friends back home in Texas. "We are pretty tough and we have each other and we stand by each other through thick and thin and we know we're going to make mistakes. But this was colossal," she said.