On June 25, Natalie Maines, Martie Maguire and Emily Strayer announced that they would be changing their band name from Dixie Chicks to, simply, the Chicks. The trio made the move to eradicate any ties to the Confederate South, but in a new interview, they admit that there was another moniker they considered.

"The one I leaned toward the most if we didn’t go with the Chicks, or couldn’t go with the Chicks legally, was gonna be MEN," Natalie Maines tells Vulture, explaining that the name would stand for "Martie, Emily, Natalie."

"I liked that we would go from Chicks to MEN," she adds. The word "chick" is sometimes used as slang for a woman, though some find it to be offensive.

In a recent interview with the New York Times, Martie Maguire notes that she, her sister Strayer and their original bandmates, Laura Lynch and Robin Lynn Macy, "were literally teenagers when we picked that stupid name." They selected their original moniker back in 1989 as a nod to the Little Feat song "Dixie Chicken."

"We wanted to change it years and years and years ago," adds Maines, who joined the band after the name had already taken hold. "I just wanted to separate myself from people that wave that Dixie flag."

The Chicks formed in Texas and scored awards, acclaim and hit songs within country music in the late 1990s and early 2000s, but were blackballed after Maines made a lightly derogatory comment about then-President George W. Bush during a concert in London. The genre has done them no favors in the years since, though their most recent album, 2006's Taking the Long Way, won the trio multiple Grammy Awards.

When Strayer recently came across a Confederate flag on Instagram and noticed that it was referred to as a "Dixie Swastika," she knew it was time to finally make that long-considered change. "I don’t want to have anything to do with that," she says she thought at the time.

The Chicks will release their first album under their new name, also their first record in 14 years, on Friday (July 17). Gaslighter features 12 songs; the trio worked with Jack Antonoff on the project. In 2020, the Chicks had also planned to tour arenas, but like all country concerts, those plans have been pushed.

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