Lubbock, I Love You, But You’re Bringing Me Down

by: Thomas D. Mooney

It’s Natalie Maines birthday today. She’s undoubtedly the most polarizing artist to come from Lubbock, Texas–and perhaps, also the most talented (This is an unarguable fact. She’s in the discussion).

It’s been some 10 years since her comments on former President George. W. Bush, yet, people around here act as though she was on stage burning a flag, a draft card, and using the New Testament as rolling papers.

It’s just childish, down right stupid, and hypocritical to be boycotting a musician for having a political opinion. Some will think that everyone in the public eye should keep their opinions to themselves, but we all know that’s some pipe dream. Who cares if they’re outspoken? I know plenty of people who aren’t nearly as influential and famous as Maines who are at the opposite end of the political spectrum that I’m still friends with.

it’s no secret that Lubbock is one of the most conservative areas in the country–but don’t be so ignorant to believe that everyone is a registered Republican (or the ever more popular trend of calling themselves a Libertarian). There’s plenty of folks who are liberal leaning–probably a healthy handful of those who are musicians, writers, artists, and the like.

But that’s not even the point. Maines is one of the most talented musicians in the modern era of music. And yet, her hometown doesn’t embrace her.

It’s disgusting. Talk about holding on to a grudge.

The City of Lubbock doesn’t have a clean track record of accepting artists for who they are over the years. It was some 20 years after Buddy Holly died that a statue was erected of the rock n’ roll pioneer. And that wasn’t done by the city, but rather began by Larry Corbin, Jerry Coleman, and Waylon Jennings. It wasn’t until 1983 that Civic Lubbock took over the West Texas Walk of Fame and began inducting musicians and artists from the area.

More than anything, you don’t just go from championing her pre-comments to thinking she’s a horrible artist who makes the worst music imaginable post-comments. It doesn’t work that way. That’s how a child thinks, not a logical, level-headed individual.

I’m not saying you have to go out and purchase every Dixie Chicks album and Maines’ excellent 2013 album Mother, but quit bashing her for having a differing political opinion. You’re really missing out on some of great music.

Lubbock sure hates when the outside world bashes it on “Top 10 Most Boring Cities” lists and things of that nature, but you’re certainly aren’t helping yourself with a hypocrite’s point of view. You can’t control everything, but come on, at least try. Give a damn.

Accept her. Play her on the radio. Induct her in the Walk of Fame. Build a statue. Book her. It’s all overdue.

If not, when?

Is it going to be 2040 and Lubbock’s on to grasping for their next nostalgia fix? I mean, I love Buddy Holly just as much, if not more, than anyone reading this, but how about directing some of that energy towards those who are presently available?

If not, you’re always going to be 20, 30, 40 years in the past. You’re forever behind the curve. It’s not a good look, Lubbock.

Lubbock only appreciates those who have made it elsewhere–and even then, you have to abide by a strict set of guidelines to be truly accepted. As a whole, it doesn’t cultivate and nurture the arts like other thriving art centers do.

Obviously, there’s a select group who do. Those who do, they’re important as ever. They’re the voices who need to be heard. But, it takes an effort from more to make a legitimate difference.

I think just about nearly every musician and artist who’s called Lubbock home at some point has a love-hate relationship with the city. It’s frustrating at times. Yet, there’s an unconditional love from their end at least.

If Lubbock musicians and arts were as appreciated by insiders as they are by outsiders, this city wouldn’t go through ups and downs in the music scene. Other cities, they love Lubbock musicians. Go to any metro-area and mention you’re a Lubbock musician, folks want to talk to you about it.

I’m nearly convinced that Lubbock actually loves that badge of “We have great musicians, but we don’t like to give them too much credit or praise to prove a point.”

Still, there’s a major distinction between ignoring and going full on “boycott.” That’s what makes the entire Maines/Dixie Chicks blacklisting so strange and hypocritical. When you do so, it implies a true hatred.

As an example, you can’t love Josh Abbott partly for being outspoken politically just because you agree with him and bash Maines for doing the same thing.

There’s no logical reason behind ostracizing one of your most talented individuals based on political affiliation. It’s not as though they’re Nazi sympathizers or something. But, for the sake of argument, if there is, please, enlighten us all.

There will, without doubt, be someone who disagrees with this and goes full anti-New Slang from here on out. If so, you just proved our point.


24 responses to “Lubbock, I Love You, But You’re Bringing Me Down

  1. As someone who is new to Lubbock and not even a fan of Country music, I’d love to book her for a local gig and I’d buy a front row seat. She wasn’t on my radar until she began to speak out about her political views. I couldn’t have agreed more. Good for her!

  2. I think after watching ‘Shut Up & Sing’ (2006), most people would come back around quickly on Natalie Maines and Dixie Chicks.

  3. She miscalculated by believing what she said would be received the same by her fans in the US and it just didn’t happen. Loved her music, hate her big mouth. A concert is not the place to air your politics. If I paid money to hear a concert, I wouldn’t want to listen to a political rant. Just shut and sing!

  4. While I agree with your article, can you look me in the eye and admit you actually believe this: “It’s just childish, down right stupid, and hypocritical to be boycotting a musician for having a political opinion.”

  5. I don’t look to entertainers to give me their political opinions. I don’t care about their political opinions. I pay them to entertain me. Thats it, thats all. I agree with Dudley on that. The Maines family has done a lot for the people of Lubbock and I think it really hurt them when the people of Lubbock turned on Natalie. She had to know that politics and religion are hot button topics and could affect the way people looked at them. If she didn’t then she does now. I don’t know if all three girls shared that opinion but they all three paid the price.

  6. Great article, and excellent points. Natalie Maines and the Dixie Chicks were, and are, very talented. As a former Lubbock resident, I learned the art of understated class while attending Texas Tech. That’s why for the last 11 years on active duty in the military, I’ve tried not to wade into too many political discussions or wave my occupation in the face of others. But I think my profession is necessary for this discussion. IT IS IMPORTANT THAT MS. MAINES–AND EVERYONE–BE ALLOWED TO VOICE THEIR POLITICAL OPINIONS WHENEVER AND HOWEVER THEY WANT. I think that point should speak for itself. Besides her rights, I get a kick out of people from outside Texas asking me from time to time about Natalie Maines and what I think about her comments. I always tell them, “A beautiful and extremely talented girl spoke EXACTLY what was on her mind?… That’s why I love Lubbock girls!” Lubbock is very old school, but also has a rebellious undercurrent. That’s what makes Texas Tech such a great school. That’s what makes Lubbock a great place to live (which I love and miss dearly). Embrace the reputation.

  7. People need to remember that entertainers are people, too. You can’t say you “pay them for entertainment only.” Music is politically, religiously, and socially charged. How can you boycott Natalie but not Carrie Underwood or Toby Keith, who also bring religion and politics into songs?

  8. It’s not as if she has tried to bury the hatchet either, defiantly telling Lubbock to take a collective hike, she has been “not ready to play nice” ever since she stepped in it. And it was never so much about what she said, as where and when she said it. Foreign soil during a time of war was a mistake she has failed to acknowledge.

  9. I’d like to repost this article, but can’t seem to do so. I’ll keep trying. I have wanted to say for a very long time that the voices that chastise Natalie are the loudest, not the most frequent nor do they hold the majority opinion.. Most folks support her in every way. I think sometimes we let the bullies rule, and there a few very vocal ones here.

  10. I LOVED the Dixie Chicks before this happened, and when it did happen I was sick about it. I thought holy crap girl, who in their right mind would say anything about our president (whether you liked him or not) on foreign soil? I don’t care who she is or what her opinion was at the time, but she screwed up!!! And refusing to apologize for “wrong place/wrong time” cost her the career of a lifetime, and a huge pay cut. I hated it like crazy, but she made her bed so she has to lay in it, with her partners:(

  11. I didn’t care that her opinion didn’t match mine, I cared that she didn’t have the guts to say it here. Here, she’s proud to be from the same state as the President, but in another country, in a week, she’s ashamed?!?! Nope, sorry, can’t support you, you’re coming off as fake. For me, if you’ve got an opinion, own it everywhere. When you add that I really can’t stand her music, it’s not really that big a loss to me that she’s not come back home

  12. To some of the commenters:

    She spoke her mind. She paid the price. If you don’t think death threats to her and her loved ones, vandalism, the destruction of her CDs, the loss of millions of dollars (conservatively estimating) in revenues from sales and royalties, if you don’t think that’s adequate punishment–what, in heaven’s name, would you say is enough of a price?

    Toby Keith ran a huge poster at one of his shows back then displaying Natalie Maines arm in arm with Saddam Hussein, this while she and the Chicks were getting inundated with death threats and radio goons. Whether you consider that agit-prop political incitement or righteous satire, it was an incendiary statement for which he received nothing but high-fives from country radio.

    She did make an apology of sorts–not the self-abasing type of words that might perhaps have soothed the waters–but an effort. Then came the song, Lubbock or Leave It, which was the result of all that hellacious noise she and her relatives endured from the home folks. Frankly, I didn’t think it was the best song off that album. Incisive lyrics, musically not quite there. Rest of the album? Stands up on repeated listens even today. Solid craftsmanship.

    All that said, her body of work deserves some kind of recognition in Lubbock by Lubbockites. She spoke from the heart that night in England about the war to come, the war that several of my friends served in and who are still struggling with the after-effects.

    The generations growing up now in Lubbock will likely take the reins and create that moment of recognition for Natalie. Someday. Sooner than later, I hope.

  13. Most of Lubbock that I talk to loves Natalie Maines. There are a few zealots in every walk of life. If you base your opinion on listening to country music radio DJ’s, you don’t really get a good sample of Lubbock. Many do not give a flying rip about politics. I hope that our public officials, radio DJ’s, and Natalie will kiss and make up so we can celebrate her career. She has been the most famous person to ever come out of Lubbock. We should celebrate that fact and enjoy our heritage. We should be honoring her legacy.

    • I think maybe Buddy Holly already has that most famous person to ever come out of Lubbock title nailed down, at least according to Paul McCartney anyway.

  14. I used to think Lubbock was extremely conservative. Then, I moved to Midland, the home town of George W. Bush, where preachers directly attack “liberals” from the pulpit. You can’t speak the names of the Dixie Chicks aloud in this town. Lubbock, I miss you!

  15. She has the right to voice whatever views she wishes, although bashing the sitting President on foreign soil is not too smart. But when you make inflammatory comments people also have the right to react to those comments however they wish.

    She also made things much worse by bashing Americans for being patriotic about our Country. And the reactions to her comments was in no way just a Lubbock thing.

    Natalie can’t have it both ways no matter how hard she tries.

  16. Pingback: News: West Texas Walk of Fame Inductees 2015 | New Slang·

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