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Natalie Maines

Natalie Maines in Austin, Texas 2006
Background information
Birth name Natalie Louise Maines
Born October 14, 1974 (1974-10-14) (age 35)
Lubbock, Texas, US
Genres Alternative country, country, bluegrass, country rock, folk
Occupations Musician, songwriter
Instruments Vocals, Guitar,Bass
Years active 1995–Present
Labels SonyBMG, Open Wide, Columbia
Associated acts Dixie Chicks
Website Dixie

Natalie Louise Maines Pasdar (born October 14, 1974) is an American singer-songwriter who achieved success as the lead vocalist for the female alternative country band, the Dixie Chicks. Born in Lubbock, Texas, Maines considers herself a rebel who "loved not thinking in the way I knew the majority of people thought."[1]

In 1995, after leaving the Berklee College of Music, Maines was recruited by the Dixie Chicks to replace their lead singer, Laura Lynch. With Maines as lead vocalist, the band earned 10 Country Music Association Awards and 13 Grammy Awards for their work between 1998 and 2007.

On the eve of the Iraq invasion, while in concert in London for the 2003 Top of the World Tour, Maines commented that the Dixie Chicks were "...ashamed the President of the United States is from Texas."[2] Negative public reaction in the United States to this comment resulted in a loss of standing in the country music industry for the Dixie Chicks.[citation needed] Boycotts by country music radio stations and death threats hindered the band's continued success.[citation needed]

In 2006, with Maines still acting as lead singer, the Dixie Chicks released a "comeback" album, Taking the Long Way. The album subsequently won five Grammys (Including Album of the Year).



Early life

Maines was born in Lubbock to country musician and producer Lloyd Maines and his wife Tina May Maines. She attended Williams Elementary School in Lubbock where her second grade teacher recalls being told by Maines during a math lesson, "Teacher, I don't need to learn this stuff-I'm gonna be a star."[3] Maines was a cheerleader while attending O.L. Slaton Junior High School,[3] and graduated in 1992 from Lubbock High School where she had participated in the school choir.[4] Maines has described growing up in conservative Texas, saying "...I always rebelled against that. My parents sent me and my sister to public minority schools so I always felt like a hippie and a rebel...As a teenager I always loved not thinking in the way I knew the majority of people thought. I always stood up for minorities...I've always stood up for homosexuals. I just always had these really strong convictions about doing so."[1]

Following the completion of high school, Maines attended several colleges. She spent two semesters pursuing an undeclared major at West Texas A&M where her studies focused heavily on radio, then a year and a half at South Plains College. One of Maines' instructors at South Plains, and a former member of The Maines Brothers Band, Cary Banks, recalled "She was mostly into rock'n'roll, rhythm and blues... alternative rock." When Banks encountered Maines on campus, he said that she usually needed to vent a little steam. "She would get into a lot of political arguments" at the predominantly Republican school, and was a fan of Texas Governor Ann Richards. "She's always been opinionated and hardheaded like her dad."[3] In December 1994, Maines auditioned for and received a full vocal scholarship to the Berklee College of Music. She pursued the diploma program at Berklee but left before the completion of her studies. Even though Maines is from Lubbock, home of Texas Tech University, she attended only one class at the school, a 1995 summer course in "Introductory Wildlife".[3]


Maines' first commercially released work was background vocals on Pat Green's debut album, Dancehall Dreamer, produced by her father Lloyd Maines and released in 1995. At the end of 1995, at age 21, Maines joined the all-female country music band, the Dixie Chicks, which had been performing since 1989, but which had been unsuccessful in gaining more than local attention. Maines replaced founding lead singer Laura Lynch. She plays guitar, bass, and papoose in concert in the band.[5]

Maines co-wrote four tracks for the Dixie Chicks' first three albums, including the Billboard Hot Country Singles & Tracks Chart number one hit "Without You" on Fly. Maines was a primary songwriter on all 14 tracks of the band's 2006 album Taking the Long Way which peaked on the Billboard Top 200 Chart at #1. Taking the Long Way has the Billboard Hot 100 single "Not Ready to Make Nice", (Maines, Robison, Maguire, Wilson) hitting #4.[6] and for which the band won the songwriting Grammy Award, for Song of the Year. Maines considers the songwriting she did for Taking the Long Way "pure therapy" after the controversy that ensued over a comment Maines made from the stage in London that criticized U.S. President George W. Bush.[7] "Everything felt more personal this time", Maines said about the album, "...there's just more maturity, depth, intelligence...[These songs] feel more grown-up."[8]

Maines collaborates with other musical artists, both as a member of the Dixie Chicks and an individual singer. The Dixie Chicks first worked with Sheryl Crow in 1999 while performing for the concert tour Lilith Fair.[9] Since then, the Dixie Chicks have worked with Crow on her Sheryl Crow and Friends: Live from Central Park album, a Crow remixed version of "Landslide" performed by the Chicks, and the Dixie Chicks' song "Favorite Year" from Taking the Long Way. Other artists Maines has worked with include Pat Green, Charlie Robison, Yellowcard, Stevie Nicks, Patty Griffin, Neil Finn, and Pete Yorn.

Philanthropic works

Maines has participated in various fundraising and awareness events. Some include:

  • Legendary Bingo (August 23, 2007): Maines participated in "Legendary Bingo", a US bingo game hosted by drag queens and held weekly in Los Angeles, California. Proceeds from the event go to special charity interests; when Maines participated in the event, the proceeds benefited the "Voice for the Animals Foundation".[10]
  • St. Jude Benefit (June 12, 2008): Maines attended "Scrabble Under The Stars" in Beverly Hills, California. The event benefits St. Jude Children's Research Hospital. Scrabble boards autographed by celebrity attendees, including Maines, were auctioned through June 30, 2008.[11]

Personal life

In 1997, Maines married her South Plains College boyfriend, bassist Michael Tarabay, and the couple moved to Nashville, Tennessee. Almost two years after they married, Maines and Tarabay filed for divorce, citing irreconcilable differences.[3]

Maines met actor Adrian Pasdar in May 1999 at the wedding of bandmate Emily Erwin to Charlie Robison. Maines and Pasdar married on June 24, 2000 at The Little White Wedding Chapel in Las Vegas, Nevada for 55 dollars.[12] They have two children, Jackson Slade Pasdar (Slade) (born March 15, 2001) and Beckett Finn Pasdar (born July 14, 2004).[13] She has referred to herself as "Natalie Pasdar."[14] The family has homes in Los Angeles, California and Austin, Texas.

Maines in Glasgow 2003

Public statements and controversy

While lead singer for the Dixie Chicks, Maines has encountered several situations of a controversial nature. In 1998, Maines made an appearance on the TV show Politically Incorrect where she cited the need for further research before the widespread use of medicinal marijuana was accepted. In 2002, Maines criticized fellow country musician Toby Keith's song "Courtesy of the Red, White & Blue." In 2003, Maines commented that the Dixie Chicks were " ... ashamed the President of the United States is from Texas."[2]

Medicinal marijuana

One of Maines' first public encounters with a controversial topic came in 1998, the year that the Dixie Chicks released their first major-studio album, Wide Open Spaces. Maines appeared as a guest on Bill Maher's TV show Politically Incorrect. The topic of the May 15 show was California Proposition 215, legislation which legalized the use of medicinal marijuana in California. Maines spoke against the legalization, citing the need for further research proving the drug's medical benefits. Her perspective matched that of guest Dr. Drew Pinsky, addiction medicine specialist, and opposed that of guests Woody Harrelson, actor and activist, and Todd McCormick, histiocytosis patient and medicinal marijuana user.[15]

Feud with Toby Keith

Maines had a public feud with fellow country music star Toby Keith over the 2002 chart-topping country hit "Courtesy of the Red, White, & Blue," as well as a comment Maines made about U.S. President George W. Bush during a March 2003 Dixie Chicks concert in London.

Maines publicly criticized Keith's song "Courtesy of the Red, White, & Blue" by saying, "I hate it. It's ignorant, and it makes country music sound ignorant. It targets an entire culture - and not just the bad people who did bad things. You've got to have some tact. Anybody can write, 'We'll put a boot in your ass' ... "[16] Keith responded by belittling Maines' songwriting skills: "I'll bury her. She has never written anything that has been a hit..."[17] and "That's what I do -- I write songs..."[18] Keith further stated, "...she said anyone can write 'We'll put a boot in your ass', but, you know ... she didn't."[19]

After Maines commented at a March 2003 Dixie Chicks concert that the Chicks didn't want the Iraq War and were ashamed President Bush was from Texas, Keith's 2003 "Shock'n Y'all" tour began displaying a backdrop showing a doctored photo of Maines with Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein.[20] Shortly thereafter, on May 21, 2003, Maines wore a t-shirt with the acronym "F.U.T.K." written on the front while performing for the Academy of Country Music Awards broadcast.[20] The Dixie Chicks website stated that the acronym stood for "Freedom, United, Together in Kindness," but was later known to stand for "Fuck You Toby Keith."[21] Some saw it as a veiled insult directed at Keith.[20]

In August 2003, Keith publicly declared that he was done feuding with Maines, explaining, "You know, a best friend of mine ... lost a two-year-old daughter to cancer ... [Recently] I saw ... a picture of me and Natalie and it said, 'Fight to the Death' or something. It seemed so insignificant. I said, 'Enough is enough'."[22]

In the 2006 documentary Dixie Chicks: Shut Up and Sing, Maines confirmed that the F.U.T.K. shirt was, in fact, a shot at Keith in response to his criticism of her; the acronym stood for "Fuck You Toby Keith".[14] As of January 2007, Keith continues to refuse to say Maines' name and argues that the doctored photo was intended to express his feeling that Maines' criticism was tyrannical and a dictator-like attempt to squelch Keith's free speech.[23]

Iraq War criticism and fallout

During the lead-up to the invasion of Iraq ordered by U.S. President George W. Bush after Congress' approval of the Iraq War Resolution, the Dixie Chicks performed on March 10, 2003 at Shepherd's Bush Empire theatre in London, the first concert stop on their Top of the World Tour. Prior to performing their song "Travelin' Soldier", the band gave an introductory monologue during which Maines said:

Just so you know, we’re on the good side with y’all. We do not want this war, this violence, and we’re ashamed that the President of the United States is from Texas.[24]

A review of the concert published in The Guardian abbreviated Maines' comment to read, "Just so you know ... we're ashamed the President of the United States is from Texas."[2] This abbreviated statement became widely circulated by the media.

Maines' comment, as abbreviated, provoked controversy and anger from some country music fans, and the Dixie Chicks were subsequently denounced by Bush supporters. Country music radio stations boycotted Dixie Chicks' music. Scattered protests at which people destroyed Dixie Chicks' CDs occurred. Concerns arose that the Dixie Chicks impending US leg of the Top of the World Tour, slated to start May 1 in South Carolina, would see a lack of fans.[25]

On March 12, the Dixie Chicks website posted a statement that read, "We've been overseas for several weeks and have been reading and following the news accounts of our government's position. The anti-American sentiment that has unfolded here is astounding ... " Maines added to the statement, "I feel the president is ignoring the opinions of many in the U.S. and alienating the rest of the world ... My comments were made in frustration and one of the privileges of being an American is you are free to voice your own point of view ... While we support our troops, there is nothing more frightening than the notion of going to war with Iraq and the prospect of all the innocent lives that will be lost."[26]

A further statement was released on March 14: "As a concerned American citizen, I apologize to President Bush because my remark was disrespectful. I feel that whoever holds that office should be treated with the utmost respect." Maines continued by expressing her discontent regarding the impending war, "We are currently in Europe and witnessing a huge anti-American sentiment as a result of the perceived rush to war. While war may remain a viable option, as a mother, I just want to see every possible alternative exhausted before children and American soldiers' lives are lost. I love my country. I am a proud American."[27]

At the first US concert after Maines' comment, she is quoted as saying from the stage, "They told me that you may not come, but I knew you'd come because we have the greatest fans in the whole wide world."[24][25] Despite fan turnout at concerts, the Dixie Chicks began receiving death threats as circulation of the comment increased. Subsequently, security was heightened at all concert venues and metal detectors were installed where possible.[7][28] A death threat directed at Maines was received prior to the Chicks' July 6, 2003 concert in Dallas, Texas. Maines described the threat as "...scary wasn't just somebody wanting to write a hate letter... It was somebody who obviously thought they had a plan." Security was heightened for the trip to and from the concert venue as well as at the arena.[29]

On May 21, 2006, while promoting the release of the album Taking the Long Way, Maines reconsidered her 2003 apology to President Bush, saying, "...I don't feel that way anymore. I don't feel he is owed any respect whatsoever ... If people are going to ask me to apologize based on who I am ... I don't know what to do about that. I can't change who I am."[30]

Maines says she's not looking for more battles but that "The Incident", as it is referred to by the Chicks, reminded her of how she " ... felt in high school: to be angry, to be sure that you're right and that the things you do matter. You don't realize that you're not feeling those feelings until you do. And then you realize how much more interesting life is."[30]

Two 2006 documentaries, Protesting the Dixie Chicks and Shut Up And Sing, deal with the controversy surrounding Maines' comment and the ensuing fallout. The Dixie Chicks continue to discuss the matter. In an interview with The Daily Telegraph on June 15, 2006, regarding the fallout from her comment, Maines again stirred up controversy by stating "The entire country may disagree with me, but I don't understand the necessity for patriotism; Why do you have to be a patriot? About what? This land is our land? Why? You can like where you live and like your life, but as for loving the whole country... I don't see why people care about patriotism."[31]

In 2007, the Dixie Chicks won three Grammys for "Not Ready to Make Nice" and two Grammys for Taking the Long Way, receiving all five Grammys for which they were nominated. This was seen by some as vindication for the Dixie Chicks, who were shunned by country radio programmers after Maines' remarks about President Bush. As the Dixie Chicks accepted the album of the year award, Maines said, "I think people are using their freedom of speech with all these awards. We get the message.".[32]

West Memphis Three Lawsuit

Maines and the other Dixie Chicks participated in a rally in Little Rock, Arkansas in late 2007, in support of the West Memphis Three, three imprisoned men convicted in the 1993 murder of three young boys in West Memphis, Arkansas. At the rally, Maines made statements claiming new DNA evidence implicated Terry Hobbs, stepfather of one of the slain boys, and also posted a note about the supposed new evidence on the Dixie Chicks' website. In reply, Hobbs filed a lawsuit claiming compensatory and punitive damages for "loss of income, injury to his reputation and emotional distress."[33] The suit was dismissed, however, in December 2009. [34]


Dixie Chicks

Other works


Dixie Chicks



  1. ^ a b Heysen, Kristen. (8 October 2006) Not ready to make nice AdelaideNow. Retrieved 3 April 2007.
  2. ^ a b c Clarke, Betty (12 March 2003). ""The Dixie Chicks" concert review". Guardian Unlimited.,,912236,00.html. Retrieved 22 January 2007. 
  3. ^ a b c d e Dickerson, James L. (2000) Dixie Chicks: Down-Home and Backstage. Taylor Trade Publishing, Dallas, Texas. ISBN 0-87833-189-1.
  4. ^ "Play at School". American Music Conference. Retrieved 15 April 2007. 
  5. ^ Davis, Rob. "Dixie Chicks FAQ #30". Retrieved 12 April 2007. 
  6. ^ "Dixie Chicks: Singles". Billboard. Archived from the original on 2007-09-29. Retrieved 17 June 2007. 
  7. ^ a b Burkeman, Oliver (25 March 2006). "Dixie Chicks turn death threats to song". The Guardian.,,1739311,00.html. Retrieved 18 March 2007. 
  8. ^ Cohen, Jonathan (10 March 2006). "Dixie Chicks Get Personal On 'Long Way'". Billboard. Retrieved 1 June 2007. 
  9. ^ Rosen, Craig (3 December 1999). "Dixie Chicks And Sheryl Crow Prove They're Gutsy Women". Yahoo!Music. Retrieved 1 June 2007. 
  10. ^ "Bingo's No Drag For Dixie Chick Natalie Maines". 
  11. ^ "Clothes Off Our Back Autographed Scrabble Boards". Retrieved 23 July 2008. 
  12. ^ (26 June 2000) Natalie Maines Gets Hitched CMT. Retrieved 19 April 2007.
  13. ^ Dixie Chicks. Dixie Chicks: Taking the Long Way: Dates & Facts Dixie Chicks Official website. Retrieved 19 April 2007.
  14. ^ a b Kopple, Barbara; Peck, Cecilia. (2006) Dixie Chicks: Shut Up and Sing Documentary.
  15. ^ Politically Incorrect. (15 May 1998) Transcript. Retrieved 17 March 2007.
  16. ^ LA Daily News. (8 August 2002) Natalie Maines (Dixie Chick member) Bashes Toby Keith's Patriotic Anthem. Retrieved 17 March 2007.
  17. ^ (5 June 2003) Dixie Chicks vs. Toby Keith Accessed 17 May 2007.
  18. ^ (6 December 2002) Toby Keith Reacts to Maines' Comments in Upcoming Interview. Retrieved 17 March 2007.
  19. ^ Gilbert, Calvin. (20 June 2003) CMT News Special Explores Maines-Keith Controversy Retrieved 17 March 2007.
  20. ^ a b c BBC News. (3 June 2003) Fresh Dixie Chicks row erupts. Retrieved 17 March 2007.
  21. ^ Wolf, Buck. (26 April 2005) Hilton vs. Richie: When Celebs Duke It Out - 7. Dixie Chicks vs. Toby Keith ABC News. Retrieved 20 March 2007.
  22. ^ (29 August 2003) Tobey (sic) Keith Ends Feud with Natalie Maines. Retrieved 17 March 2007.
  23. ^ Guzman, Rafer. (28 January 2007) Toby Keith, angry American. Retrieved 18 March 2007.
  24. ^ a b Goodman, Amy. (15 February 2007) "Shut Up And Sing: Dixie Chicks' Big Grammy Win Caps Comeback From Backlash Over Anti-War Stance" Democracy Now!. Retrieved 24 February 2007.
  25. ^ a b Mattingly, David. (2 May 2003) Fans turn out, cheer Dixie Chicks as U.S. tour opens CNN. Retrieved 20 March 2007.
  26. ^ (14 May 2003) Upset about Bush remark, radio stations Dump Dixie Chicks Retrieved 12 April 2007.
  27. ^ CNN. (14 March 2003) Dixie Chicks singer apologizes for Bush comment. Retrieved 12 February 2007.
  28. ^ BBC. (24 April 2003) Dixie Chicks 'get death threats'. Retrieved 18 March 2007.
  29. ^ Associated Press. (11 May 2006) Dixie Chicks recall death threat Retrieved 18 March 2007.
  30. ^ a b Tryangiel, Josh. (21 May 2006) Chicks In the Line of Fire. Retrieved 18 March 2007.
  31. ^ Sweeting, Adam. (15 June 2006) How the Chicks survived their scrap with Bush The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 18 March 2007.
  32. ^ Moody, Nekesa Mumbi. (12 February 2007) Dixie Chicks lead Grammys with 5 awards Associated Press. Retrieved 18 March 2007.
  33. ^ ""Dixie Chicks singer sued for defamation "". 
  34. ^ "Defamation Suit Against Dixie Chicks' Natalie Maines Dismissed". December 2, 2009. Retrieved 2009-12-25. 
  35. ^ Yadegaran, Jessica. (21 November 2003) Andre 3000 Goes Pepto, Hilary Eats Trophy Nachos, Nicky Covers For Paris At VH1 Awards MTV News. Accessed 4 May 2007.
  36. ^ "VH1 Big in '03: Honorees". Retrieved 4 May 2007. 

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