The Chicks Share New Perspective on 2003 Controversy—“It’s Defining in the Way it Set Us Free”

The Chicks made a triumphant return to the spotlight Friday (May 5) night to kick off their six-night residency in Las Vegas at the Zappos Theater at Planet Hollywood Resort & Casino. The Grammy Award-winning trio delivers some of their biggest hits and tracks from their Jack Antonoff- produced 2020 project, Gaslighter.  

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Martie Maguire, 53, Emily Strayer, 50, and Natalie Maines, 48, will hit the road for their international run following their state-of-the-art residency. While Maren Morris will serve as direct support on specific dates, they plan on sharing the stage with other hitmakers like Bruce Springsteen, Wild Rivers, Frank Turner, and more. 

The Chicks—previously known as The Dixie Chicks—have come a long way since the 2003 controversy that impacted their career. During their Top of the World Tour in London, Maines publicly criticized President George W. Bush and said they did not support the war. They instantly received backlash from listeners and were blacklisted from several country radio stations. The comment had a significant impact on their music and ticket sales. 

Nearly two decades later, the band has a new perspective on the controversy. In a recent Los Angeles Times interview, Maines explains that it allowed them to experiment with their sound and explore new sides of the entertainment industry. 

“It’s defining in the way it set us free. It got us out of this box of country music, which we never wanted to be in and never felt like that’s who we were,” she pointed out. “We didn’t have to do any of that bulls— anymore. It wasn’t like, “Oh, country music, please take us back.” It was middle fingers: ‘Bye!’” 

The platinum-selling artists mentioned that they are excited to bring out Morris, as they admire the way she uses her voice to advocate for others and stand for what she believes in. The publication compared their incident to her recent feud with Jason Aldean’s wife, Brittany, over transgender rights. 

“I love how outspoken Maren was on that. It’s just another example of what’s going on in this country on every level,” said Maines. “Florida, Tennessee, Texas—it’s just ridiculous. Whether it’s abortion or gay rights—everybody has to have something to hate, somebody to put down.” 

Despite their history, the trio is looking forward. Following their must-see tour, they hope to create new music.

“We usually do one thing at a time, and right now, it’s touring. We have an album we know we want to make after the tour that hopefully we’ll jump into with Jack. It’s more of a conceptual album,” revealed Maines. “We don’t have a label right now, so we’re trying to figure out what we’re gonna do.” 

The trek will wrap in Christchurch, New Zealand, with Elle King on Oct. 30, 2023. For upcoming appearances and tickets, visit  

Photo by Denise Truscello/Getty Images for Caesars Entertainment

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