1998 Press Conference

Martie Maguire
Emily Strayer
Natalie Maines
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A rarity! This is from a 20 minute press conference the Chicks held on August 21, 1998. Thanks to Jamie for providing me a copy of this.

Question #1: This is kind of a combination number one gold thing. What went through your minds when, okay it was gold and then number one, I mean this must be goals that you guys set for yourselves a while back. So you met two of your goals.

NATALIE: Yeah, we laugh at every goal we get to. All we do is set more. I don't know if it's really hit yet. I think the number one hit when it was number one for the second week. I think it was really, was like WOW!

MARTIE: I think the time it's also taken to get to the gold and then to get to the number one just kinda blows us away cause it's really been a short time. The album came out in January and it's very soon, five weeks to go gold.

EMILY: Five months.

Question #2: The only inaudible question during the press conference.

MARTIE: We always say that our biggest goal is longevity. Something that is, ya know, it's the journey, it's not... the little things keep you going 'cause we're working so hard right now. We're on the road constantly and have maybe a couple days off a month. So when you hear about CMA nominations or going gold, things like that, it just makes that hard road life so worth it.

Question #3: Why do you guys think that fans love your music so much? Why are they so attracted to you that they would go out and buy 500,000 copies of your album?

NATALIE: I don't know. I think it's cause the album has something to offer everyone. Just as far as musical styles and the instruments that are on it and the song choices. And we get a lot of people who come up and say 'I don't ever listen to country music but I love y'all.' We relate to that. I especially cause I didn't listen to a whole lot of country. I was a little rebellious against it when I was younger and that natural twang is just in me. So, I don't know, I just think it's the diversity of the album which is a goal that we had set for ourselves. We wanted every song to be different and we wanted a lot of different people to relate to it in their own way.

EMILY: And we do have direct line to our fans. Not just only at the shows but through our email address. We get just hundreds and hundreds of emails a week which we're trying to read them all, which is a hard enough task. But they let us know how much they appreciate just the fact that we're doing something that's different. We're not following somebody else's sound. They can't quite put their finger on it which we like. We don't like to categorize what we do because we like to not be able to be compared to anybody. And they like that and they also, I think they like the fact that we play our own instruments. I think they have figured out we're real. We're not something that's been put together by Nashville and it took us nine years to get to this point. Even though since the albums been released, wonderful things have happened, it's taken a long time up until then. So I think once they learn a little bit of history and they know that we're real and they see our show and they see that we play, ya know, it's not anything that was put together in a studio.

Question #4: You guys obviously have a lot of fun onstage and I think most people think you're just fun people individually any way whether you're onstage or not and you mentioned about the rebellious stage. I think a lot of people look at you guys 'Oh, they're breaking a lot of the rules.' Do you ever feel like you're just getting away with something?

EMILY: Oh yeah! (laughter from the Chicks)

NATALIE: But I feel like we're just being ourselves and maybe that's what people are connecting to. I mean, I look at it as I just get to live this life once and if I can't live it being myself then that's kind of a shame. So I mean, I get myself in trouble sometimes but it's worth it cause I'm not gonna be something that I'm not and I think that's one thing that people our age relate to as well.

Question #5: Last time I talked with y'all we were in the middle of the Rocky Mountains and you were in the middle of a video shoot for your single video Wide Open Spaces. Tell us a bit about the WestFest experience as it relates to filming the video and how you feel about the way it's turned out.

MARTIE: Well, it was raining that day so we were afraid it was a bad omen. But it actually turned out great and when we first saw the first cut of it, I actually got tears in my eyes just watching it cause I really feel like it sums up where we've been, where we're going.

NATALIE: A lot of sisterhood.

MARTIE: Sisterhood between the three of us all in one. So I think that's what we're most proud of as far as videos go and hopefully it will cast a little light on that we are a little goofy. We like to cut up. We like to have a good time on the road.

NATALIE: Someone said that with every video a little bit more of our personalities are coming out. Like a lot of times, people think Emily's the nice shy one and in this video you see that she's stranger than any of us.

EMILY: I'm glad it took place at WestFest because Michael Martin Murphey used to book us when we were doing our little independent albums and he would let us play his festivals and in between someone like Collin Raye and another huge act. He really had a lot of faith in us and that's what's so great about that festival is that it really takes people from all genres of country and puts them all together, whether it be a cowboy poet or you know straight ahead top 40 country or someone a little bit left of center like us, you know, little bit more bluegrass flavored stuff. So we played that probably about four years in a row. So that was neat that this is the year we got to be there as a major label act.

NATALIE: And we just found out it got picked as a Pick Hit and a Sneak Peek so that's the first time we've ever had both of those. We're excited.

Question #6: Talking about your fans and you've gotten quite a bit of email. What are some of the bizarre things or the strange things, you know, fans can come up with some interesting perspectives that we certanly miss. Is there anything that you can say... (laughter from the Chicks)

NATALIE: There's some scary ones. There's funny ones. there's cute ones from kids and a lot of marriage proposals.

MARTIE: Natalie gets the most marriage proposals.

EMILY: The men like to send naked pictures of themselves and it's not always the...

NATALIE: It's always the one's you don't want to see naked (laughter) cause the technology's there.

REPORTER: The technology's there for what?

EMILY: For them to send these pictures over the internet. Usually our office manager weeds them out before we get them but she's like 'you got a few pictures waiting in your inbox.'

NATALIE: We like seeing that though.

MARTIE You carry one in your wallet.

NATALIE: Road entertainment.

MARTIE: Just for fun.

EMILY: I do because it's so funny and I have to show everybody this picture and I'm not going to describe it cause the guy who did it is provbably out there.

NATALIE: We'll make him mad. He'll come shoot us.

Question #7: Who's made the inaugural big wasteful extravagant purchase in anticipation of the (inaudible) that are going to roll in?

NATALIE: We all think it's us. It was me. A house.

EMILY: Yeah, Natalie's about to buy a house. I just bought a $2500 mattress. I don't know how.

NATALIE: I bought that three years ago. You're thinking small.

MARTIE: Y'all are supposed to wait until we make some money. You don't understand.

EMILY: Credit cards are a wonderful thing.

MARTIE: You can't project into the future and start spending that.

EMILY: To me that much on a mattress is unfathomable so...
I don't know. that's wild and crazy for me.

NATALIE: We haven't gotten a raise in a year and a half.

MARTIE: Yeah, we haven't seen any perks because once you get to this level, you have to have so many more people on the road to take care of things. You can't take care of everything yourself. I mean, I used to be the road manager and that doesn't work when you're so busy and then you gotta have a bus cause you gotta make those long drives and everything. So we're waiting for the day when we can give ourselves a little raise. We haven't been able to give one out in three years.
NATALIE: My house is way beyond my means but I'm taking my manager's word for it that I'll be able to pay for it and I can't believe the bank's giving me the money. Suckers. (laughter from all the Chicks)

Question #8: On the way, have you had any advice from people, professional or otherwise, who said you should be less different before you got the deal (inaudible)?

EMILY: Not really.

NATALIE: Maybe the label was scared in the beginning.

EMILY: I think people in Nashville especially. They're ready for new blood and I think they felt like things were getting kinda stagnent the way they were. It was a relief to us that our label was so into us playing on the record and doing our own sounds and not just doing the same old same old on the album.

NATALIE: And when you think about it, it's the people who did something new that had the longevity. Ya know, Shania Twain was the first Shania Twain and anybody who's tried to follow isn't quite Shania Twain. You know what I mean? Or Garth Brooks or George Strait. So we definitely wanted to be the leader in this trio thing then coming in later. I don't know, it just seems like they have more obstacles to overcome cause they get compared.

Question #9: Two CMA nominations for certainly Horizon and for Duo or Group is certainly quite an accomplishment. If you could look back on the short time you've been out, what's the biggest thing that you can remember when you look back on 98? What is gonna outshine? Your mattress purchases?

EMILY: No. The funny thing is I won't spend any time at home to enjoy it. It's the little things. it's having people on the road to help you out. I mean we used to travel around in an RV so just having a bus is still great for us. Definitely, the nominations are really cool because it's other people in the industry saying 'hey, we're taking notice of what you're doing'.

MARTIE: What I was most impressed with is how many artists that may or may not have even met us before send us flowers, send us notes, personal handwritten notes. I mean one was Steve Wariner. I think we met him years and years ago and he took the time to write this letter of encouragement and congratulations. So I just like that about country music. I like that the artists are so supportive of each other and being new on the block, you need that reassurance from the other artists, just cause, they're your peers and you wanna be respected by your peers more than anything. So that was really neat.

Question #10: Could you comment on the vocal event category? you're up against some real veterans in this business. Some names that have endured through time in this town.

MARTIE: Yeah, but that's kind of neat though because if you don't win the award you still feel like there's good competition and you're happy for those cause you feel like they're deserving too. So it's good to have some healthy competition.

REPORTER: There's a couple of people that are kind of nervous about being up against you guys.

NATALIE: Who? (Laughter)

REPORTER: Jo Dee Messina. I was talking to her and she was like 'I can't believe it. I'm up against them.' You know how wild she is and she's just kinda very nervous about this.

EMILY: She's one of the people who sent us flowers on our number one. She's very sweet.

MARTIE: She's gone out of her way.

NATALIE: Her and Terri Clark both.

Question 11: You guys are on such a roll now. You're talking about some of the perks, like your mattress. Everything so great is happening for you and it's almost like now you're on this pedestal. Things are there. It's almost like now 'we've got alot to live up to'. Has the fear kinda set in as far as that goes and if so, how do you stay grounded with all this just happening and happening?

NATALIE: I don't have fear about that. Not because I believe we'll be around forever or anything. I just believe that you can't worry about stuff like that. We make the music we want to make and we hope the public accepts it and we're very grateful if they do but we can't base our entire careers off of making other people happy. So I don't worry about stuff like that. They're either gonna like it or they're not and if they don't like it, I believe that that means it's time, it's just, just let it be. That's obviously the path that's supposed to be chosen for us and if you spend so much time worrying about it, I think it taints the well of what you're trying to do. If you add in angst and worry and uneasiness about doing the right thing then that automatically is opposite of who we are and what we do.

MARTIE: I was telling somebody yesterday that I felt really lucky to be in this position and they said 'well luck to me means when preparedness and opportunity meet' and I think we feel prepared for what's about to happen. We just had a little meeting with our producers about songs for the next album and we're not really recording full time till January and we have twelve songs on this list that we're all real excited about and three of them are originals and so I feel like the next albums already in the bag.

NATALIE: Don't quote her on that. When our terrible album comes out they'll play that back.

MARTIE: No. Something we can be really proud of. I'm not stressing about the sophomore album which is gonna be the tell all.

NATALIE: I feel like, if you stress, it's gonna show.

Question #12: How is it being in a studio with both RuPaul and Elvira?

NATALIE: There's a lot of silicone going on and none of it was ours unfortunately. They looked pretty darn good.

EMILY: The makeup conference. The makeup summit. that's what we called it.

MARTIE: I was impressed with him because he knew our music. He had listened to the CD and asked questions that made us believe that he knew a little bit about who we were. He just wasn't forced to have us on the show.

Question #13: Can we get serious for a moment. Talk tattoos. Tell us about the day. (MARTIE: Ouch) Describe what has happened to you. Who's idea was it?

NATALIE: Mine. Well I just mentioned that I didn't think they'd get one. I already had one and I think, weren't we trying to think of something we could do. I think we were. We were trying to think of some sort of pact we could make with each other and I just mentioned let's get a tattoo for every number one or gold or platinum album and they said yes and I couldn't believe it so I made them stick with it. And we started telling everyone and then I knew that they couldn't turn back. Then today, they kept labeling me as the veteran who was gonna comfort them through it. I got mine seven years ago and so I was scared myself. I was thinking who's gonna comfort me through this. I'm scared to death but it didn't hurt near like what we think.

MARTIE: It's neat to document what's happening to us right now because we will never be a new act again. So your first gold, your first number one, all those things are gonna be so sentimental to us. Just to have a marking on our body to remember all that when we're old and gray. That's kinda neat to me.

EMILY: They'll probably have sagged down below our foot by then.

MARTIE: Well, Emily and I have varicose veins running in our family so we're really nervous about what our feet are gonna look like later on in life.

REPORTER: Your other tattoo?

NATALIE: Oh, it's the world with the Latin word for peace, which is Pax, written on top of it so it's peace on earth.

REPORTER: Where is this located?

NATALIE: On my ankle. My right ankle. I'm getting every tattoo on the right foot.

Question #14: Well, we have mentioned CMAs. What would a CMA award mean to you guys?

NATALIE: More money per gig. (laughter from all the Chicks) I don't know. They care about the award more than I do. I'm the no competition, I don't like competition. I'm really am just glad to be nominated but I don't base any success off of it.

EMILY: To me, it's more the event than the competition. It's more. I sat on my bed and watched the CMA awards for years and years since I've been a little girl. I would just have my own ballot sheet out and I'd have my favorites and I know who was gonna win.

NATALIE: You just want to be on TV.

EMILY: I just want to be on TV. Yeah, but just knowing that I've watched it so many years and we're gonna have the chance to possibly be up there. It's just the coolest thing to me.

Question #15: You two started in Dallas on the street corner. Some bizarre experiences from that time. Certainly not the usual way an act gets started.

MARTIE: Just a lot of really lame mortifying gigs.

Question #16: Okay. What's the worst gig? What's the worst gig? Everyone has one.

NATALIE: You know it.

EMILY: Mine was we played an open casket funeral one time. It was horrible.

MARTIE: The widow sobbing her eyes out in the front row and we were singing 'The Rose'. It was awful.

EMILY: A banjo on 'The Rose' is enough to...

REPORTER: (inaudible)

EMILY: No, but it was very inappropiate and we felt it at the time. So that was probably the worst.

MARTIE: The worst.

NATALIE: But our lame gigs happened up until just about six months ago.

MARTIE: We still have them.

CHICKS' SPOKESWOMAN: I'm sorry. We gotta let them get dressed.

CHICKS: Thanks y'all.

(Martie asks the press if they want to see the tattoos.)

Question #17: What happens if you get like 41 number ones?

NATALIE: We get 41 tattoos.

MARTIE: Emily's feet are big enough to fit all that.

NATALIE: We'll go on the other foot.

MARTIE: We'll transfer over to her. (Emily)

REPORTER: Is the pact still going on?

EMILY: If we get a platinum, any number one, so it's like we have a little pact.

NATALIE: But not double platinum or anything.

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