- The Washington Times - Monday, October 13, 2003

The Eagles’ Don Henley and Dixie Chick Natalie Maines are two of the fastest mouths in the West, and on Sunday night they did not disappoint.

It was a rock ‘n’ roll “Gunfight at the O.K. Corral,” and their targets included Rush Limbaugh, Rupert Murdoch and, less personally, corporations.

Even Martie Maguire, the Chicks’ unfeisty fiddler, got into the act, as she paused between songs to backpedal from comments she made to a German magazine about how the gals were splitting country-ville for the sunlit uplands of “the rock ‘n’ roll family.”

She didn’t exactly say she was misquoted, and Miss Maguire copped to having “opened by big fat mouth.” All is forgiven, Martie; your fearless leader has a mouth fat enough for the three of you.

While both bands stopped recently in Washington on their respective tours, the Eagles and the Dixie Chicks were in town again for a stellar double-bill concert at MCI Center to benefit the Recording Artists Coalition, a nonprofit co-founded by Mr. Henley.

Most of the proceeds from Sunday’s show, he said, will go toward an RAC office in the District, from which the association will defend artists’ rights in the halls of Congress.

Recording artists, Mr. Henley intoned, are under threat not just from labels but, more precisely, the corporations that own them. He made sure to disassociate the RAC from the Recording Industry Association of America, the organization that represents labels.

“Small independent artists” — like the Hollywood hamburger-joint owner about whom he rhapsodizes in “Sunset Grill” — are “a disappearing breed”; “corporate consolidation” and “globalization” are the chief culprits.

While “not all corporations are inherently bad,” he said, the singer warned that all newspapers, TV stations and record labels — the whole of the media and entertainment industry — could be subsumed by a handful of big companies.

Mr. Henley dedicated “Dirty Laundry,” his jaunty attack on sleazy media, to Rupert Murdoch, whose company owns the Fox News Channel. With an off-color comment, Mr. Henley alluded to the, ahem, well-endowed female anchors who work for the network.

Miss Maines was concerned less with the plight of needy artists than with her own. She joked that over the last controversial nine months — since she made those notorious anti-Bush comments during a London concert — she’s been mulling over career options as a back-up plan.

Miss Maines noticed that Mr. Limbaugh lives in a posh $20 million estate in Florida. Hence her brainstorm: “Now, I’ve got a big mouth. I could live in a $30 million estate.

“I think I’m gonna start my own talk show,” she joshed.

Later, while introducing the ballad “Top of the World,” Miss Maines directed the audience’s attention to the video clip accompanying the song, noting “We haven’t been banned from television” — unlike radio, was the implication.

After all the pontificating Sunday, Joe Walsh, the Eagles’ lovably dissipated guitarist and singer, brought a welcome touch of levity to the proceedings.

“I almost ran for governor of California,” he said, but he has other plans: “I’m gonna be doing all the ‘Terminator’ movies from now on.”

Ah, lighthearted humor; we thought we’d never see you again.

Mr. Henley and Miss Maines closed the concert Sunday with a delightful duet on “Desperado,” and in that moment, I forgot completely all the speechifying of the previous three hours.

So, where do I send my check for Walsh for Governor?

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