Just watched an interesting documentary about the Dixie Chicks. While about their music, it also shows the insane ignorance of americans and how the group really stood up for what they believed in when the entire industry was out to ruin them. Granted, it helped that their music was really good. I had never really listened to their stuff, but you don’t need to for the film. It delivers even if you’re not a fan.
What started a half-jokingly comment about Bush and the Iraqi war at a concert in the UK turned into pure hatred by the Right Wing. What the lead singer said was, “I’m ashamed the President is from Texas” was picked up on the AP wire and the media went nuts. The Dixie Chicks were targeted as representing everything that was anti-Bush. As a result, Clearchannel banned all their music from the radio, there were CD destroying rallies and the fanatical portion of the group sent them death threats so they couldn’t even tour. In the film, there are interviews of mothers teaching their daughters to say “i hate the Dixie Chicks.” It is incredible what happened. The Dixie Chicks are country music singers – in America – and to see the ignorance and hatred of other Americans towards them was incredible.
The highlight of the film came when the Dixie Chicks go back to the studio and make the song “Not Ready to Make Nice.” There’s a story of a band member who wrote a song called “Undivided” The lead singer (Natalie) asks: “Does that mean we would have to forgive all those people that did that to us?” He says, “Well, for the sake of the song, maybe it would.” Natalie, flinging a dismissive hand in the air, says, “Nope.” and she instead proceeds to record the title track of their platinum record. It’s called “Not Ready to Make Nice” and you can feel the emotion when they sing it. Their lives were destroyed – they were banned from the industry that they dominated b/c of their disagreement with the way. The lyrics to Not Ready:
it’s a sad sad story
when a mother will teach her
daughter that she ought to
hate a perfect stranger
how in the world can the words that i said
send somebody over the edge
that they’d write me a letter
saying i better
shut up and sing
or my life will be over
I’m not ready to make nice
I’m not ready to back down
I’m still made as hell
and don’t have time to go round and round and round
One of the Chicks commented on how this song brought her to tears for over 6 months every time she heard the song – and I believe it. These girls went through some tough shit. No country radio station would play their music for over 3 years and yet over an 8 year period, they were Sony/BMG’s top selling artist. The movie is a captivating story of a music group’s combat against traditional media and politics while at the same time keeping it real and producing really great music.