2003 Tour Interview

Martie Maguire
Emily Strayer
Natalie Maines
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This interview disc was distributed by Sony Music to radio stations around Europe to tie in with the Dixie Chicks Top Of the World tour. A big thank you to Rachel for providing me with the transcript and copy of this interview.

Well, it looks like the Dixie Chicks are ready to hit the road again. You're not just touring the US this time but are going worldwide. What are some of the countries youll be playing in?

MARTIE: Germany, England, Ireland, Sweden the second time around right?
NATALIE: Sweden this time.
MARTIE: Sweden this time? Australia, Canada (laughter) Don't forget Canada.
NATALIE: Dont forget Canada, they're always overlooked. (laughter)

How many US dates do you have and what type of venues will you be playing in?

NATALIE: I think its 55 dates, and they're all arenas. We're in the center of the arena this time so there will be people all the way around us.

This is your first concert in 3 years. A lot of things have happened from then to now, contract dispute, marriages, divorce and babies. Is the road a great place to be sometimes?

EMILY: You know I think it takes the time off to get you ready to go back on the road and I think taking from the end of the last tour until now, I'm hungry to go back on the road again, so I think were all prepared and looking forward to that aspect of the career, getting back on stage.

I read in the People magazine cover article they did on the group that you got Faith Hill's child proof touring bus for the US portion of your upcoming tour. What's it got in it?

NATALIE: Well we each have our own bus this time, which is a first for us, it'll be a different experience that's for sure...and I claimed the Faith bus a few months ago -- this is Natalie -- so, she has like where the steps go down there's a floor that covers the steps so the baby couldn't trip or fall while the bus is moving, and all the doors are padded...um, all the knobs, none of them come out so they can't hit their heads on anything and its got a full size refrigerator, which is um, a good thing to have with kids and a big sink that you could bathe a baby in -- I don't think I could bathe Slade in it (laughter) he's a little big now (laughter) but.....and there's a little trundle bed that pulls out from the master bed in the master suite which is, nice.

te? Thats err...
NATALIE: Hey, I've got a flat screen TV baby! (laughter)

So you're bringing babies, nannies and the whole entourage for the tour huh?

NATALIE: We're just now getting a posse. (laughter) But its a little different from other people's. (laughter)

In another People magazine edition, they had a lot of pictures of famous celebrities in maybe their 8th or 9th month of pregnancy and then after baby shots when they all slimmed down. Now Natalie I know you are already looking svelte...

NATALIE: Already! Haha! It took me two years! Emily's only 3 months and she looks great.

Emily, you're getting there. What's your secret?

EMILY: Uhhh, I won't say I'm all the way there, I'm far from being...from being back but breastfeeding really helps.

NATALIE: And genes.She has good genes...her and Martie both. I have the curse of the Maines' genes. (laughter)

Do you exercise?

EMILY: I exercise a little bit but we've been working so hard we...I dont have time to go to the gym or anything right now, its basically just hard work and just...I feel guilty talking about this right now - I have a packet of M
& Ms in my pocket! (laughter) and just because you lose the weight doesn't mean everything's back in order yet, you know, its like, you still have the skin that's not quite as elastic as it used to be..so I still have to figure out how to do that. Get that back.

Lets talk about the new internet home for Dixie Chicks fans worldwide. Its called the Dixie Chicks Artist Club, whats that all about?

MARTIE: Its actually something new that Yahoo! is experimenting with, and they had some great ideas on how we can kind of connect better with our fans...we feel so, isolated sometimes and separated from 'em,
because we can't read all the mail and you know, get on the website all the time, and you know, get people tickets first hand and things like that. I mean you almost have to kind of have...umm...a company behind you that'll take care of all the details and send a crew out on tour, and you know, get little snippets from different shows that they can put on the site and...we just want our website to be a little more interactive and be more like a fan club - we don't have a fan club per se, but if they sign up for the artist club they get so much more interaction with us and, you know, a chance to get better seats quicker and so if they're really dedicated fans I think they'll enjoy it if they wanna take the time to do that.

Do members have a chance to purchase some pre sale concert tickets that are primo?

EMILY: Yeah, I mean they have the ability to set up programs like that, to where they can monitor ticket sales to people who come on and sign up for it, which we don't have the facilities to be able to do that and have it run correctly so it really is a win win situation and they kind of stay on us to keep putting input into the website which helps also. We write a diary that fans can read and stuff like that.
NATALIE: I think they get first views of videos.

I'm told that you have your very own Dixie Chicks radio station on the site. Will you play other peoples songs or just your music?

All: Oh no! How self-indulgent! (laughter) Other people's songs.

One of you can be a disc jockey. Natalie you'd be a good jock.

NATALIE: I was a disc jockey my first year of college. I sucked. I need a visual audience to perform, I just felt like I was talking to myself, it wasn't very fun! (laughter)

Your new CD Home is basically an acoustic type album. Have you guys decided if the new concert tour will be acoustic as well or a combination?

NATALIE: It's gonna be a combination. You know, were gonna play songs from all three albums and hopefully umm, just some fun stuff, that we've never recorded before. But yeah, we threw around a bunch of different ideas. First it was gonna be an acoustic tour in theaters, then it was gonna be an acoustic tour in ampitheaters, outdoors and uhh, now its indoors (laughter) 360 arenas (laughter) but all the music will be there.

Having been opening acts yourself for a while, you have a special place in your collective hearts for the people who open for you don't you?

NATALIE: We just make time for them to have a full soundcheck, the way they want to, and they have full use of the lights and full use of the sound. Obviously we have some stage things that are for our show so they don't have access to those but we try to be as fair as possible. I mean, we played these shows where there was a Db limit on the opening act -- they would only let you get so loud, and you know, that's just not any way to treat somebody, you know, unless you're...scared, somehow.

Your current album Home has passed the 5 million mark and recently went back to the number 1 position on both the pop and country charts. What do you think is accounting for its incredible ongoing popularity?

EMILY: I -- this is Emily -- I have to say that this album has really surprised me, I thought this was gonna be a little more of a self-indulgent endeavour than a commercial one and I've really...I'm very surprised to see how well it's doing. It's our fastest selling album to date, and -- I don't know, maybe the rest of the country is -- or the rest of the people who follow our music -- are feeling the same things were feeling at this time. We just feel a little more centered and um, kind of back to basics maybe. We started this album way before September 11th but I think that kinda put the...dotted the I's as far as we were concerned, as far as what kind of feel on an album we were gonna do, we were just feeling a little bit more umm...
MARTIE: Introspective?
EMILY: Yeah, introspective I guess is a good word.

Landslide is currently the number one song on the Adult Contemporary Charts and in the top ten of the Rock Charts. You once said that you'd never compromise your music for pop success. The mix on this version is pretty much the same as the Country version, right?

NATALIE: It's close, I mean we had a mix that was given to us the first time around that we all laughed at hysterically (laughter) because it was over the top and things weren't in there..I mean, it didn't sound like any pop music that I listen to, you know, I don't know, apparently this guy who did its really tapped in and cool but uhh... (laughter)
EMILY: Sometimes you can tell when people are mixing for radio instead of for the song itself and what's important for us was that whatever happened to the song, it complimented it and it was only...it was a good a version as the original.

Your latest Country hit single Travelin Soldier is another example of breaking the rules. Current wisdom says this shouldn't be anything more than an album cut. Its 5 and a half minutes long, down subject matter and about the Vietnam war. Why do you think the public is accepting this song?

NATALIE: I know, you know you wonder if it's because of the time that our world is in, I mean we chose it before any of this was going on and we've liked that song for years. Emily's brother-in-law Bruce Robison wrote it and we've tried to work it up before and it just didn't seem to have a place on the first two albums and it was the first song that we picked for this album I believe and I just think it's a really well written song and it doesn't matter if you've ever lived through a war or if this is going to be your first war that you at least remember. It's just a...sweet umm, song that's well written that people can relate to even if they've never experienced it.

You've just released a new DVD, which features a lot of recent concert footage. Can you tell the fans more about what they're gonna find on it?

MARTIE: Well it's
the whole concert that we did at the Kodak theater in LA, umm, the special that aired on NBC. We could only get so many songs in because they have to cut to commercial, which is such a shame! (laughter) but the DVD, we wanted to give 'em the whole show. The place didn't hold as many people as we wanted to so a lot of people didn't get to see it live, it wasn't like a big arena show, and we hadn't toured in a while so...I think it's a good, just, collectors item to have, because we really haven't done a DVD before.

I've been reading about the American Express Save the Music campaign. Can you tell us more about it and the Dixie Chicks participation?

MARTIE: It's a campaign that VH1 started backing and they did a great job of launching it and then I think it kinda ran outta steam. It takes a lot of money and time I think to continue to promote something like that, but it's such a great cause that American Express decided to put some attention to it and some money behind it, and invited us to be one of 6 artists that are featured in some PSAs to help raise money by using their points from their American Express card towards instruments for schools, and hiring teachers, music teachers for schools. It's a great charity in the way that it's, it's a great way for artists to become involved in something very personal to them because I think all the artists asked to be a part of it had some formal music education, whether it was in school or college, or you know classical music or whatever as young kids, and we know the importance of having great teachers and inspiration and if nothing else just the opportunity to have an instrument to play, so we're excited to be part of it.

EMILY: One thing I like about the program is that you can donate your points to specific schools, umm, that you choose so you can really see where your money is going, and I think that's really neat.

So basically the program is designed to help schools that are directly impacted by budget cuts -- save the music programs right?
EMILY: Keep the music in schools, yeah.

NATALIE: It's the first thing to go and it doesn't just make any sense. We talked at the American Express press conference just about how it shouldn't be treated any differently than any other talent someone has, whether you're talented in science or math or, you know they always pay a lot of attention to athletics. Everybody gets new uniforms, and a new gym, and you know, a new track and this or that, but uhh, they never pay attention to...and I just think it's sad people don't look at music and art as a viable talent, and something that you can make money at. There's so much emphasis put on your regular classes reading, math, science when really I think people should just be nurturing what people are good at.

The Dixie Chicks have always and continue to be very close personally. Why is that?

EMILY: I think any time you go through
life experiencing the same things as somebody else you tend to grow together. Friends that I have from high school I try and explain it when they ask me. I try to explain what our life is on a daily basis, from day to day and I can tell they still can't quite grasp it. It's something that you just kinda have to live to understand so to have two other people going through that with you I think naturally makes you connected. I think we all kind of carry the same value systems, and you know, I think you kind of have to be coming from the same place and have the same goals or else it doesn't work.
NATALIE: And we just have a lot of respect for each other which I think, you know, is the basis for any relationship, be it with your family or your husband and we really appreciate and respect what each other does in this band. None of us think that we would be where we are without each other. We each play a viable part of the Dixie Chicks sound, so umm, I think its respect.

Natalie, this one's for you for our friends in the UK. Lots of folks in England remember your dad Lloyd from his days as Joe Ely's pedal steel guitar player. What would you say has been the biggest impact your dad has made on the success of the group outside of helping your mom conceive you?

NATALIE: (laughter) Well before I even joined the band I know Martie and Emily went to him for business, music business advice and umm, he played on their 2nd two independent albums and then he's also the one that gave, just happened to give them my audition tape for Berkeley, so he was instrumental in that. And then he played on our albums, with Sony and now I think the greatest part is that we have produced Home together. The three of us with him. It was a great experience and he's just a great talent and person to have in the studio so hes been...instrumental in a lot of ways along the way and just, for me personally, just growing up around him we...hear things the same way, arrangements and how songs should sound so I know that I got that probably just genetically from him.

Natalie, what was the biggest impact your dad has had on you personally while growing up?

NATALIE: Hmm, that's a good question. Just both of my parents just, gave me the freedom to be who I was. I definitely wanted to be independent and was sort of rebellious and definitely had my thoughts and opinions on just about every subject, and instead of trying to cage me, or silence me, they really saw that that's what I needed to do to grow as a person. So neither one of 'em pushed me in any direction whatsoever, you know, never told me to get up on stage but when I wanted to get up on stage they supported me, and my dad was always willing to go to the studio with me and record something that I'd written or asked me to come sing harmonies on someone's album. My mom was just always the stability because my dad was out on the road so much, and...I wasn't traumatized by that at all and I think part of the reason might've been just because we had such a stable home and life with my mom.

Your album Home draws strongly on a roots influence. Have you been influenced or inspired by Irish/traditional music or any other world music?

MARTIE: I think a lot of bluegrass music comes from Irish music and Scottish music and, umm, so I know Emily and I early on were playing a lot of Irish tunes, at least I was on the fiddle. So 
I'm very influenced by Irish music and I know we all love it, and can't wait to go over and play in Ireland, definitely. I hear a lot of Irish influence in so many artists that I love.

Do you do different types of performances when you do concerts in other countries?

EMILY: Well really, this is the first time -- we've been overseas before but, mainly on promotion and not really doing touring that much so, with the exception of London we did some shows in London and maybe one in Dublin last time. We'll see -- I don't think so though, I mean I think were promoting the album Home so that's going to be a large part of, you know, what we play live, but I don't think we would necess
arily cater one way or another, I mean we are who we are and that's one thing about going over and promoting ourselves in Europe is, sometimes if people don't get us, we kind of accept that, we're not gonna try and..fit a square peg in a round hole. We hope that everyone likes us but we pretty much are who we are.

NATALIE: But it is a different world as far as TV shows over there, and you have no say so, they tell you, "you're faking on this one" (laughter) or "you're singing this one to the tracks" and "this is the song you're gonna do" and at first we sorta fought that because...we don't work like that, and then you just realize that that is just the way it's done, and you've gotta go with it, because over here in America people would diss you for faking out, I mean WE would diss other people for faking (laughter) and...but they, they don't care over there, and that's what they want so...gotta bend.

Emily, how is life with your new son, Gus?

EMILY: He's wonderful, he turns 3 months tomorrow, so he's a little, little chubby baby, very happy (laughter)

When you were carrying the child, did he react to the music when you were playing in concert by bumping and bouncing inside?

EMILY: I could definitely tell more during soundcheck because I was a little bit
less nervous I guess at that point, I could really tell he did love the music, umm, I remember thinking the first time I was ever like on the, on a stage where there was a band going on, it was Sheryl Crow and, umm, she was playing in the park here in New York and the base was just rumbling really really loud and I thought I wonder what he thinks of all this? but apparently...he is so unfazed by noise (laughter) and you know, any sort of commotion going on, so I think that has a lot to do with the fact that we were working so much while I was pregnant.

Do you think your child will love music like you?

EMILY: I think all kids love music, you know maybe, maybe a little bit more if they come from a musical family, I don't know but music does definitely seem to calm him down.

Natalie, your son Slade is a bit older than Gus. Has he developed some favorite music?

NATALIE: He actually has favored his mom (laughter). To tell you the truth, its not..what I would like to have to listen to in the car every time, but he whines until I put on the Home CD, "Mom. Mom. Mom. (laughter) MOM!" so I have to put it on, yeah. And he, I mean he definitely has musical ears and is gonna be just a natural, I don't know if it's gonna be something he wants to pursue because he's also WAY into sports, but umm, it's -- the radio can barely be on, like in a store and he can hear 2 words and says "Mom!" like, he knows when it's me and he doesn't say it to any other female voice, it's not, you know, that he's recognizing a woman singing. Every single time he can, he knows when its me (laughter). No, geez! I'm so sick of listening to our record (laughter) and I have to listen to it, and I get embarrassed because I'll be pulling up you know, to somewhere, and I'm sure they can hear what's in my car, and (laughter) they're like going geez, she's listening to herself all the time! (laughter)

Two of you have apartments in New York. Natalie, what do you like most about living in a big city?

NATALIE: Mmm, I love everything! And right now it's a blizzard and I love that, and umm, I just love all the culture.
I think it's really great for Slade to just get to travel around the world, and you know, when were in Texas and home its a lot quieter and he gets to be around my family but New York is really fast paced and great and he loves other kids so we get to go to the park everyday and I just love it. I never quite knew if it would feel like home, because every time we were here it was lotsa fun because we'd just go shopping but obviously I can't shop for months at a time (laughter) and I just have a normal routine here, like I do in Texas, and it's just a lot of fun, I love it.

I'm told you guys love to go to an Austin, Texas pub and play trivia with other groups of people. How does it all work?

NATALIE: There's rounds, every table is a team and they ask 10 questions in a round, there's 8 rounds, and you just write it down on a piece of paper, turn it in and then they read off...the correct answers, and then they read off everyone's team name along with how many points they've scored. It lasts about 3 hours. Mmhmm. And were terrible. (laughter)

MARTIE: Yes. My Irish husband knows more about American history than me and Natalie put together. (laughter)
NATALIE: Well some of the stuff is pop culture and a LOT of Simpsons questions, so we get those right. (laughter)

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