The Chicks Say They ‘Gave Up Caring About’ Getting Played on Country Radio
On Friday (July 17), the Chicks released Gaslighter, their first new album in 14 years. The project has received plenty of attention from both music critics and fans, the latter of whom have been clamoring for new music from Martie Maguire, Natalie Maines and Emily Strayer for years.
However, they're not likely to hear the trio on country radio.
In 2003, the Chicks were effectively blackballed in country music after Maines' onstage comments about then-President George W. Bush. In a new interview with Billboard, the Chicks say they "gave up caring about" country radio airplay in the years that followed, explaining that hearing their songs on the radio is no longer how they measure success.
"It just is meaningless to us now," Maines admits. "Like we’re supposed to be so impressed: 'Ooooh, such-and-such hasn’t played you in 15 years [and is now]!' It’s like, 'F--k them. We’re supposed to be excited to hear that?'"
As the Chicks mounted their comeback, their label, Sony, promoted the project from their New York office, rather than their Nashville one. Relatedly, the trio eschewed country-focused outlets in favor of those with broader reaches.
Nonetheless, some within country radio explained that their lack of desire to play the band's music on air and their inability to interview them comes from Maguire, Maines and Strayer's apathy toward the format. Syndicated radio DJ Bobby Bones tweeted that he's invited the trio on the show "multiple times" and "played their new stuff," but "[a]pparently they don't want to" talk with him. According to the Washington Post, during February's Country Radio Seminar, one programmer said of the Chicks, "They didn’t really leave the format, they just decided to get mad at us."
“It’s like going back to your abuser. Or doing something a second time and hoping for a different outcome or result," Maines tells the Post of how she and her bandmates feel about courting the country music industry now, noting that they're not "mad" or holding a grudge, just over trying to curry favor.
"It’s just called learning from your life," Maines adds.
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