Natalie Maines (lost death threat letter; 2003)

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This article has been tagged as NSFL due to its discussion of death threats.

Natalie Maines.JPG

Natalie Maines in 2006.

Status: Lost

In 2003, shortly after then-President of the United States George W. Bush declared war on Iraq, American country music band Dixie Chicks (now known simply as The Chicks) spoke out strongly against it. Lead vocalist Natalie Maines held a public hearing in London 10 days before the invasion, stating she was ashamed to be from the same state as Bush. Country music fans ridiculed the band, calling them "traitors" and resulting in many impacts, including a massive drop in sales and sponsorships, a new interest and respect from non-country music fans in the left wing, and a short-lived humorous rivalry with Toby Keith. Their record label forced Maines to make a public statement apologizing for her comments against Bush. By the time she did this, however, it was considered far too late.

Many fans responded to Maines' statement with vitriolic, angry hate mail. One particularly angry fan whose identity has yet to be confirmed wrote a graphic death threat to Maines. He made the circumstances of how he was going to kill her very specific. He had a method, location, date, and weapon in mind, with one known quote reading "You will be shot dead at your show in Dallas", referring to an upcoming scheduled Chicks performance not long away[1]. Frightened by the letter, Maines decided to add extra security to her public appearances, and when the aforementioned Dallas concert was subsequently held, the band were escorted in and out by police; no attempts were made to harm them. The threat played a major role in the band's lengthy hiatus until 2013.[2]

Maines has never allowed the letter to leak and has never shown it to members of the press. No copies of the letter have surfaced online. She has commented on it, saying she will never let anyone see it because of its "bone-chilling" graphic nature. The only other released content known to be from the letter is a few words contained in the lyrics to their 2006 hit "Not Ready To Make Nice" (those words being "Shut up and sing or your life is over"). In the same year, a documentary about the controversy was titled after the quote, Shut Up & Sing. It is not known if Maines or the FBI currently hold a copy of the letter.

Music Video

"Not Ready To Make Nice", their 2006 song featuring the quote "Shut up and sing or your life is over".