Dixie Chicks FLY

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About Me

FLY is a one hour special produced by Jim Wood Enterprises. This special featured 9 songs from the upcoming FLY CD and interviews.

Host: Bob Guerra
Airdate: August 27,1999

(Some host comments not effecting the show have been edited out)

1. Hole in My Head

BOB GUERRA: The Dixie Chicks smokin' from their brand new CD FLY with Hole In My Head. Hi everybody. Bob Guerra here with the three coolest chicks in country music. Natalie Maines, Martie Seidel, and Emily Robison. The Dixie Chicks or as Rolling Stone magazine calls them 'the badass queenpins of country'. These ladies have taken the Texas bred sound of fiddle, banjo, dobro and crystal clear harmonies into a whole new level. Their first album, Wide Open spaces, sold over 6 million copies so you'd expect the second album, FLY, to be more of the same. NO WAY.

NATALIE: We definitely just talked about how we weren't gonna remake Wide Open Spaces. That does nothing for us creatively and we're only gonna continue in this business as long as we're pushing ourselves creatively cause that's what we do. We knew we didn't wanna recreate Wide Open Spaces. We knew we didn't wanna go pop and we didn't wanna go alternative. We're a country almost bluegrass band and we sort of laugh behind our hands that all the people who say " well, I don't like country music but I like you" cause we sort a feel we're playing a trick on them. I mean they're liking the banjo and the dobro and the fiddle and that feels great but we've been able to maybe bring country music back to some tradition and some roots.
I think one thing that is alike on Wide Open Spaces is there's a song for everyone. It's not all straight ahead two-steppin country, it's not all a shuffle, it's not all a waltz. It's a lot of different styles of music and a lot of different songs and I think we got really lucky that we honed in on our writing this year and got five songs on the album. so there's a lot of different things to expect from us.

EMILY: I won't say it's completely different because it's still us. It's still what we do. We're still playing our instruments and things. I just think the highs are higher and the lows are lower. I think we really took a lot more chances as far as production on things and making things a little more sparcer than they had been on Wide Open Spaces on some of the slower songs. And you know delving into new areas we had never been in. You know putting a concertina on one of the songs would be something that we wouldn't have guessed to do on the first one.

NATALIE: I mean an orchestra on one song, which is something totally not us.

2. Without You

BOB GUERRA: Natalie, you guys said you aren't afraid to take risks. And you know the song Goodbye Earl is gonna create quite a stir. It's about a wife beater and a Thelma and Louise plot to kill this dude. Talk about playing it safe. You guys shot the moon with that one didn't you. Anything left.

NATALIE: I think with that and Sin Wagon, we definitely got our evil side out. Which I think is okay for us to show that we have one cause everyone does. And we do both those songs in the live show and they get a huge response and usually new songs that people have never heard don't get that great a response unless they're familiar with them and for those to be songs in our show that just, ya know, is brand new to their ears. They're freaking out and we laugh that the label is so worried about Sin Wagon and our manager said 'I can't believe they're so worried about mattress dancing which could obviously just be kids jumping on the bed and we have a song about premeditated first degree murder on our record'. But we just also want to point out it's not a man hating song. It's a wife beater hating song so there is a difference in our minds.

3. Goodbye Earl

BOB GUERRA: The Dixie Chicks from their brand new album FLY. Goodbye Earl. Putting that bad boy in his place under the ground. Emily, you and Natalie had a hand in another track from FLY that's bound to shake things up. It's called Sin Wagon. It's about a really good girl thinking about being really bad, sorta like Sandy in the movie Grease where you got the idea for at least that line, right.

NATALIE: I've seen that movie about 600 times but on the 549th it just dawned on me that when she says, when he tries to feel her up in the car, she gets mad and she throws the ring back at him and says 'you think I'm gonna stay here with you in this sin wagon'. Sin Wagon. Hmmm, that's a good song.

EMILY: I saw her write it down in her book. She keeps a little book of kinda hooks and song titles and as things comes into her head. That was on the list. Every time we'd go back to her book that would be on the list.

NATALIE: And I was reading that we were gonna write a song one day and I was reading off all my ideas and I did them all. And she goes 'well, let's write Sin Wagon'. No offense, but I sort of looked at Emily like 'are you sure you can go there'.

EMILY: Are you sure you're up for the challenge? I can go there.

NATALIE: I'm not wasting this good title on a puddy-paw song and her and Stephony Smith just tore it up. Stephony Smith thought of the mattress dancing and Emily was there the whole way.

EMILY: I don't know where I'll be crashing. I think that was my line.

NATALIE: It was fun. That was another one that came together really quickly. Cause I think everyone...it's okay for us to say it cause it's all in fun. We're not really bad girls. So it's funny cause even the goodest girl, the most good girl just has that wild side and you got to let it out occasionally.

4. Sin Wagon

BOB GUERRA: The first single from FLY is of course Ready To Run. Martie, you helped write it and in the process said you it needed to be more "chickish". can you tell us what would make any song more "chickish"?

MARTIE: I just feel like any song we write or song that's given to us we need to put our own stamp on it and it doesn't really come to life until we three sit around with a guitar and a fiddle and a banjo or a dobro and make it our own. So when songwriter's try to make their demos sound what they think "chickish" is, we tend to not be drawn to those songs. So a lot of demos we hear are so far from what we think the Dixie Chicks sound like because that's how we get our vision and then we make it our own. And Ready To Run, when we first wrote it, there wasn't all that fiddle stuff and the arrangement wasn't like that. The harmonies. We hadn't really thought about much of the harmony potential and then we three get our heads together. It just comes to life.

BOB GUERRA: Natalie, whose idea was it to add the Irish fiddles.

NATALIE: She had the lick. But I think Emily and I pushed her to have it more throughout the song. Cause you know when you write a song you're a little more shy about how good it is or what could be done with it. She didn't wanna start the song with the Irish fiddle thing.

MARTIE: It had a totally different lick.

NATALIE: We both said definitely put the Irish fiddle on top. We help motivate each other and push each other along.

BOB GUERRA: Did you like it after you heard the final product?

MARTIE: Yeah, but I kept thinking I can't be objective about my own songwriting. I didn't think it was gonna be a single. I was just floored that they liked the song. I liked it but I didn't know if it was us. And then I thought no way is radio gonna play something that Irish. And they've been eating it up. So they surprise me too. They seem to let us push the envelope a lot and we thank them for that.

BOB GUERRA: How was the song added to the soundtrack of Runaway Bride?

NATALIE: Well, they actually wanted us to write a song with Diane Warren for that movie and when they sent us the treatment to the movie we sat on it for a while. nobody said anything. We might have all been thinking the same thing, but of course, I'm the mouth. (laughter from all the Chicks) So I finally said 'you know, it's bizarre how this song is exactly this movie and it's wierd that it was written before the movie, we even knew about the movie. So our producers wanted to send them a couple of options and I said 'No way. Don't give them any options. Just send them this song cause we get a piece of it'.

EMILY: It was just too perfect. It's amazing how you can write a song and simultaneously something's happening on the other end of the world and it just comes together like that. We were so in the middle of our own album, we weren't, we didn't have a lot of time to spend on that project quite yet. When it was so obvious that this song was the one. It's really kinda neat and the fact that we did write it was ahuge motivation.

5. Ready To Run

BOB GUERRA: Emily, one of the songs on the album, Cowboy Take Me Away, I understand that was part of your wedding. Is your hasband Charlie really a cowboy and how did he take you away?

EMILY: Well, he did sweep me off my feet but he wouldn't, he is a cowboy I guess. He grew up on a ranch and he knows how to do all that stuff. He's more of a singing cowboy these days. We did sing it at my wedding, amongst other songs that we sang. When we go back and watch the wedding video we are soooo out of tune because we had one too many that night. But it was so much fun and it was a great tribute. I thought it was a beautiful song and I really wanted us to sing it for Charlie.

6. Cowboy Take Me Away

BOB GUERRA: There's another track on the disc called Some Days You Gotta Dance which was originally on the group The Ranch's album. It's a great example, in my opinion, of the Chicks stretching out musically. Now ladies, is this another example of taking a song and making it more "chickish"?

NATALIE: Yeah, but I think that one happened as a lot of them do without any sort of thought, cause we loved the Ranch version and when the Ranch came out that was our bus CD.

EMILY: Forever

NATALIE: So, we loved that song and we actually had Keith Urban, the lead singer for the Ranch, come and play guitar on it. And a lot of it, I think, we did like their version.
Anything that happened other than that was by chance. I know our dur- dur -dur. That came in our pre-production that idea and that was pretty cool. It's one of those things when we put the three part harmony and the instruments it just happened that way. It wasn't like we could make the song better. We already liked the song just the way it was. Except for the 'you gotta dance, you gotta dance'. That was out. (Emily laughing)

7. Some Days You Gotta Dance

BOB GUERRA: You guys are goona take a long break from the road I'm told. Starting with Emily, what are you gonna do during that time?

NATALIE: I'm gonna travel

EMILY: She's going back out on the road.

NATALIE: I'm coming off the road to go back on the road.

EMILY: I'm plunking my butt in San Antonio and working on my house and being with my husband and riding horses and going out to the ranch.

NATALIE: And I'm hopefully getting divorced. (Laughter) January 19th baby.

EMILY: She is ruining my honeymoon buzz. That's all I'm gonna say.

BOB GUERRA: How about you Martie? What are you gonna do?

MARTIE: I'm always doing something in between two extremes. But I'm gonna travel a lot and be with my stepson and my husband and write. I really had a good time writing songs this last year so I wanna make trips to Nashville and write with some of my favorite writers.

8. Hello Mr. Heartache

BOB GUERRA: Ladies, the new album is titled FLY. Now, is this as in 'help me I'm a fly' or up up and away like the 5th Dimension. Why FLY? What's all that about?

EMILY: We didn't want it to have just one meaning and so we did a kind of conceptual thing with the packaging in that it means a lot of different things even within the songs on the album. There are a lot of references to the word fly, unintentionally. And we didn't realize that until after we recorded that Martie came onto the studio one day and said, we had been talking about Sin Wagon and we said we might want to think of some options. Martie said why not FLY. It's the last song on the album. It's the last word on the album. I'm gonna let him fly. And then we really started thinking about it. And I'm gonna let him fly kind of mirrored a lot of stuff that's going on in Natalie's life. And Martie had written another song, Cowboy Take Me Away, that had a line 'fly this girl as high as you can in to the wild blue'. She said she wrote that with me and my husband in mind. And I do kinda feel like I've been carried off this year and I'm in love and all that. I'll fly away in the song Sin Wagon. So it just really fit.

BOB GUERRA: Do you guys have fun in the studio? Do you enjoy that part?

EMILY: This time around it was a lot more fun. I think the first time we were still getting to know our producers and feeling each other out and seeing where we wanted to go. This time it was like a big party. We really trusted each other so much more naturally from having done Wide Open Spaces together. I don't know. We didn't have a lot of pressure going on. They let us take chances and we let them take chances.

NATALIE: We took a block of time this time to record the album where as, Wide Open Spaces, we had so many gigs we had booked previously that we'd just come off the road from being on tour forever, go in the studio, try to sing, and be creative and then go right back out on tour. And so with this one we played it smart and took four months to just be in Nashville and work on the record. Everyone's a lot more laid back. That was another one of our problems, not a problem, but something we had to get used to coming from Texas is albums happen a lot quicker there. Then we came to Nashville and we're working on our record and everyone takes so many breaks and they're so late all the time. So, then we were getting really tense and frustrated 'You're spending our money. Be here on time.' Now we're thinking we're gonna be the late ones. I'm tired of waiting on people.

EMILY: I have a massge at 2. I don't know if I'm gonna be able to make it to the studio.

MARTIE: So it was almost like recording FLY was like therapy for us. I mean Natalie walks in the first week in tears saying 'I'm getting a divorce' and Emily's on the phone saying I want off white...

EMILY: I want crepe roses

MARTIE: Not cotton tablecloths at the wedding. So it was like this emotional thing. This album. There are so many emotions flying around where we were trying to be there for Natalie and that was so important and if she wasn't up to singing a song it didn't matter. It's not about that. It's about our friendship. It's about us happy.

NATALIE: I used to be so scared to like have something to say as far as, I can't sing today or you know, I don't feel like going to Europe, whatever it is. I used to be scared. I know they're gonna think this or think that and now it's like everything we do, we support each other so much. If I say I can't sing today, they go 'that's fine. I'll play fiddle or you know y'all I'm really homesick. I don't wanna you know.' We just support each other a lot more. I think for a long time there we were looking for who understands us. No one understands us. Y'all don't understand what we're going through and finally it's like you can't expect anyone to. And we're lucky that there's three of us and we're not an individual act out here cause I can't imagine who to lean on cause nobody knows this life is like unless you're living it and so we've just grown together so much.

MARTIE: I'm gonna cry

NATALIE: I'm cryin'

BOB GUERRA: Do you ever see the 3 of you not getting along? I mean, do you think success could spoil the Dixie Chicks?

NATALIE : No

MARTIE: We were laughing when one of the tabloids said Natalie was fed up and she was leaving and she's going on her own. And we were thinking, oh yeah, 6 million albums isn't enough for Natalie.

NATALIE: (laughing) They're holding me back.

MARTIE: Life is not sweet enough. I mean we just all have it so great right now. We count our blessings every day.

NATALIE: I think we really evaluate, I know we do, how to keep our happiness and there's gonna be different, tons of life changes that we're gonna come in contact with as far as when someone has kids. It's already been decided that they'll have their own bus. Cause it's just not, just because, you can foreshadow that that could be a problem. Some one could start having some resentment at 3:00 in the morning. When hey, I chose not to have a baby for that exact reason. I'm not gonna listen to yours crying. So it has nothing to do with being mean or anything. We just try to see those things and foreshadow and already have solutions for them.

MARTIE: I think we respect each others talents. Like I hear Natalie bragging about my fiddle playing or Emily's dobro playing more than I hear her talking about herself and pressing us to do more. And Emily doesn't like to talk on stage and so we're not gonna pressure her that she needs to talk on stage and take up the slack. Emily and I know we're not lead singer quality and we don't have that kind of out going personality so it's like really great that Natalie does and that can be her thing. It's like we each have our thing that we are very comfortable in. We don't want each others jobs.

NATALIE: And the trust has grown a lot. I've noticed in the making of the record and in our daily decisions. We trust each other a lot more.

9. Let Him Fly

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