The Chicks Wanted to Change Their 'Stupid Name' for Years

In June, The Chicks announced that they would be dropping the word "Dixie" from their name after becoming a band over 30 years ago, when sisters Martie Maguire and Emily Strayer formed the group in their home state of Texas in 1989. "We were literally teenagers when we picked that stupid name," Maguire told the New York Times of the title, which they were inspired to take by the Little Feat song "Dixie Chicken."

In 2003, after the group received backlash after lead singer Natalie Maines told a London audience the group was ashamed that then-president George W. Bush was from Texas, they considered a change again. We wanted to change it years and years and years ago," Maines said. "I just wanted to separate myself from people that wave that Dixie flag." Over the years, the trio had decided to continue with the moniker due to the success they were experiencing but recently decided that enough was enough. According to Strayer, she saw a Confederate flag on Instagram labeled "The Dixie Swastika," and she thought to herself, "I don't want to have anything to do with that."

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In an interview with The Hollywood Reporter, Maguire and Strayer said their original name was the Dixie Chickens, but Maguire wasn't a fan of being called a "chicken." They released three albums before Maines joined them, and when the trio signed to Sony, they considered changing their name because Strayer was worried that being called "chicks" was derogatory to women. "When we signed to Sony, we thought about it again, and (the label was) like, 'No, it's alliterative, it's catchy, it's you. There's history here," she said.

Through the years, the band had gone by The Chicks on merchandise and went by DCX during recent tours, but this year, after protests led to the reconsideration of racist symbols, the group knew the time to change was now. "It means different things for different people," Strayer mused. "But if it does make a statement that is derogatory to certain people, us included, we were just like, 'This doesn't feel right anymore.'"


"I think the sort of now moment for me was when NASCAR banned the Dixie flag," Maines said. "It just struck me as, 'OK, we're doing this now. No more overthinking. No more hesitation. Now is the time.'"

Before announcing the news, The Chicks discovered that a female duo in New Zealand had been using the name for decades, and the two groups were able to come to a co-existence agreement. "They're being very gracious," Strayer said. "They're the national treasure of New Zealand, so we hear. And so we wanted to be very respectful of that."