A Dixie Chick Takes It Back

Natalie Maines isn’t kidding when she sings, “I’m not ready to make nice.”

In a new interview with Time magazine, posted online Sunday, the Dixie Chicks firebrand takes back the apology she extended to President Bush three years ago.

“I apologized for disrespecting the office of the President,” Maines says in Time. “But I don’t feel that way anymore. I don’t feel he is owed any respect whatsoever.”

In a bit of intentional timing, the interview is making headlines just as the Chicks’ new album, Taking the Long Way, is hitting stores. Due out Tuesday, the collection is the country-raised outfit’s first collection since Maines, 31, began wearing a bull’s-eye for bashing Bush when his then-70 percent approval rating made the sport unfashionable.

In March 2003, on the eve of the U.S.-led Iraq invasion, Lone Star state native Maines told an audience at a Chicks concert in London, “Just so you know, we’re ashamed the President of the United States is from Texas.”

Days after the remark fired up talk radio lines, Maines issued a new one, apologizing for being “disrespectful”: “I feel that whoever holds that office should be treated with the utmost respect.”

In Time, that follow-up statement is referred to as Maines’ one regret from an incident, known by the group as “The Incident,” that provoked death threats, a cold shoulder from some fans and boos from the Academy of Country Music Awards crowd.

“If people are going to ask me to apologize on who I am,” Maines tells the magazine, “I don’t know what to do about that. I can’t change who I am.”

To put a finer point on that point, the Chicks’ first single from the new album was “Not Ready to Make Nice,” basically the Time interview with country-pop accompaniment. Sample lyrics: “I’m not ready to make nice/I’m not ready to back down/I’m still mad as hell and I don’t have time to go round and round and round.”

The song stalled at No. 36 on Billboard’s Hot Country Songs chart, the music-industry magazine reported Monday. The followup, “Everybody Knows,” topped out at No. 50.

To be sure, the Chicks haven’t looked to make nice with the country-music; on 60 Minutes, they talked about going for the adult contemporary crowd.

On Amazon.com, where Neil Young’s anti-Bush album, Living with War, is a top album-seller, the Chicks’ Taking the Long Way was the biggest-seller of all on Monday.

Since breaking out of their shell in the mid-1990s, the Dixie Chicks have sold 23.4 million albums, according to stats reported by Billboard. In Time, Maines bandmate Martie Maguire sounds as if she’s looking for the sales, if not hits, to continue, controversy or no.

Says Maguire: “I’m not ready to fly coach.”

Credit: E! Online

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