Chicks lead singer Natalie Maines told a London concert audience that she was “ashamed” of U.S. President George Bush in 2003, when support for the Iraq war was at its height. The trio was pilloried by conservative fans and saw a dramatic downturn in radio play for the next several years, but refused to back down from their statement. As public sentiment turned, the Dixie Chicks’ stance in favor of free speech won them fans who may have never bought a country record before, and their return to the top was capped by the Grammy haul for the unapolagetic anthem “Not Ready To Make Nice”.
And now comes the news that bubble-gum pop star Ricky Martin has refused to apologize for flipping Bush the bird during a recent concert in his native Puerto Rico.
Martin, who was photographed dancing with Bush in 2001, when both newsmakers were at peak popularity, says he felt compelled to speak his mind.
“My convictions of peace and life go beyond any government and political agenda and as long as I have a voice onstage and offstage, I will always condemn war and those who promulgate it,” said Martin in an e-mail statement.
Martin’s press agent believes that his client will be able to ride the crest of the anti-Bush wave by virtue of his good looks and unique talents. “We’ve all heard fantastic protest songs in the past” he said “but let’s be honest, you can’t dance to One Tin Soldier, and the only place Joan Baez is signing groupies’ underwear is at Lillith Fair”.
The single Salsa Picante! (Bush Sucks) is already a huge club hit, and Martin is putting in hours in the studio in an attempt to be the first to capitalize on the groundswell of anti-Bush sentiment. He’ll have stiff competition, however. Toby Keith is set to follow up his own pro-war single Courtesy of the Red, White and Blue (The Angry American) with a new album, tentatively titled Redneck Rage (I’ll Put A Boot In Your Ass for Lying to me About WMD and the Link Between Saddam and Al-Qaeda!). Lee Greenwood’s Don’t Blame Me, I Voted for Nader is also expected in early 2007.
Martin has said that any awards he receives for his upcoming album will be dedicated to the orphans of the Iraq war.