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There’s Your Trouble: Natalie Maines Q&A

Looking at the cover of the Dixie Chicks’ smash major label debut,
Wide Open Spaces, it’s hard not to huff, “How cute,
Country Spice Girls.” Three attractive, stylin’ young blondes
strolling confidently along a sidewalk, two with sleeveless tops
and big smiles and the third wearing a black suit and a Posh-worthy
little smirk. All behind the name “Dixie Chicks.” ‘Nuff said,
right?

Ah, but witness the Chicks in action, and you’ll eat those
words. If country ain’t your bag, by the time sisters Emily Erwin
and Martie Seidel storm their way through their first banjo and
fiddle leads and new-Chick-on-the-block Natalie Maines belts out
her first chorus of rockin’ honky tonk, it may well be.

So as their platinum-certified album continues its stint on the
charts and a third single chases after their infectious No. 1
Country hit “There’s Your Trouble,” check that skepticism at the
door and lend an ear to Ms. Maines. Or Country Posh, if you
must.

Before you climbed on board, Emily and Martie had been
playing as the Dixie Chicks with a different singer for six years.
How did you enter the picture?

Well, my dad [famed Texas producer and steel guitarist Lloyd
Maines] played on a couple of their albums, but my mom had listened
to their music more than I did. When I went to see them live, I was
blown away by how well they could play their instruments. And about
a month later they called and wanted me to sing a demo of ‘You Were
Mine.’ When we did the demo, I had no idea that it was an audition
for me until Martie started asking questions like, ‘Would you ever
be interested in singing country music? Would you be interested in
moving to Dallas?’ (Laughs) And they called me about a week after
the demo was done and asked if I could drop out of school and move
to Dallas and learn thirty songs in four days and do my first gig
with them. And I did it. Looking back I see how brave Martie and
Emily were to do this. When you go back and listen to what they
were doing three years ago, you see how much it has changed. So I
respect them a lot that they just handed over this baby that they
had had for six years and trusted me to take it to where it is
now.

Is it true that you said, ‘I’ll join your band, but I
ain’t wearing that cowgirl crap’?

Yeah (laughs). I was telling my mom that I got the job, and she
said ‘Are you going to wear what they wear?’ And I said, ‘No, but
I’ll deal with that when I get there.’ And we did a photo-shoot the
day after I arrived, and they didn’t bring their cowgirl clothes —
they brought jeans and tops and stuff. Still we didn’t have a lot
of style, but they didn’t bring their petticoats and rhinestones. I
did wear some satin shirts, though. I had to get my way over a
gradual process.

You promised to get little chicken feet tattooed on the
top of your feet every time you hit No. 1 or went gold. Do you
regret that yet?

We have our gold party tomorrow — so I’m really nervous about
that. We were going to get one for the gold album, one for going
No. 1 in Canada, and one for going No. 1 in the United States. But
we decided to just do it for the single. So if the single is the
No. 1 single, then we’ll just get one, even if it’s in Canada. But
even the tattoo artist was trying to talk us out of getting them on
our feet because of the pain, so that’s scary. But we’ve already
told everyone we’re doing it, and we’re Chicks of our word.

As a veteran of the music business, what type of advice
did your father give you before you recorded the
album?

Just to stay true to the music, and to stay true to Texas. The
Texas music industry is very honest. You don’t compromise things
when it has to do with your soul or your belief. I think that’s why
we have the album that we have — we stuck to our guns about a lot
of stuff. We were ready to put up our dukes with Sony, and it
turned out we didn’t have to at all. They were sort of laughing at
us because we thought they’d say we couldn’t play on the album, and
they were saying ‘Well of course you can play on the album, that’s
why we’re signing you — because you *can* play on your album.’

What has been your favorite Dixie Chick moment to
date?

The coolest so far was I woke up one morning and I’m watching
the Today Show, and you know how the guy tells the
weather outside in New York City and all those people hold up signs
saying hi to their friends or where they’re from? This huge,
homemade posterboard sign said ‘The Dixie Chicks Love Matt and
Katie.’ And I started screaming my head off. I called Martie and
woke her up, and I was freaking out because that meant so much to
us. Those people could have written anything on that sign — I mean
why not write their own names or say hi to their friends? The fact
that they would use their one chance on television to advertise for
us was amazing to me. It was like we had made it at that point.

Not to burst your bubble, but are you sure they were
promoting you and not some college sorority?

Well, I don’t know. I don’t think so. I mean, maybe they were,
but I don’t want to know that (laughs).

In This Article: Dixie Chicks

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