The Dixie Chicks, who saw sales plummet and fans smash their CDs after singer Natalie Maines told a London audience she was “ashamed” President Bush hails from Texas, say they fear for their lives amid a backlash that has gone “out of control.” In an interview with ABC’s Diane Sawyer on “Primetime” to air tonight (April 24), Maines also says she criticized Bush out of frustration and remains “passionate” in her anti-war views, even if she now regrets the remark.
“At that moment, on the eve of war, I had a lot of questions that I felt were unanswered,” Maines said. “I think the way I said it was disrespectful. The wording I used, the way I said it, that was disrespectful. I feel regret for, you know, the choice of words. Am I sorry that I asked questions and that I don’t just follow? No.”
Maines, who was interviewed along with bandmates Martie Maguire and Emily Robison, said that despite telling the London audience she was “ashamed the president of the United States is from Texas,” her home state, she does not feel that way.
“No, I’m not truly embarrassed that, you know, President Bush is from my state, that’s not really what I care about,” she said. “I felt like there was a lack of compassion every time I saw Bush talking about this. I honestly felt a lack of compassion [for] people that are questioning this [war], for the people that are about to die for this on both sides.”
Maguire told Sawyer that she understood why some of the band’s fans would be upset by the remark but found much of the reaction to be disproportionate. “It’s the people who have gone overboard, and done such irrational things that take you back to the days of book burning, that is a concern for me,” she said. “We know some of our fans were shocked and … upset. I totally understand it. My problem is, when does it cross the line? When is trashing Emily’s property O.K.? When is writing a threatening letter O.K.?”
Robison added that the band was now dealing with “bigger issues” than the loss of record sales. “I’m concerned about my safety. I’m concerned about my safety for my family,” she said. “When you’re getting death threats… At our concerts this year, we have to have metal detectors, and to me that’s just crazy. But we have to take precautions because this thing has gotten so out of control.”
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