Fan Fare

Entertainment behind the scenes

Call Billy Bob Thornton a musician…or else.

April 9, 2009

Hollywood’s own Billy Bob Thornton, who has embarked on a music career with his band the Boxmasters, sat down on Wednesday for an interview with CBC Radio in Canada, and tried to get billy-bob-thorntonaway with acting like he has never been in a movie. Odd, perhaps, for a man who was Oscar-nominated for best actor twice and won an Oscar for writing “Sling Blade.”

In the interview, which the public radio network has put online, host Jian Ghomeshi introduced Thornton’s band, in which Thornton plays the drums and sings, and talked about Thornton’s “other job” as an “Oscar-winning screenwriter, actor and director.” From there, it was all downhill as Thornton simply did not want to talk movies and seemed to take offense that he was anything but a musician, first and foremost.

Seeming to take a page from Joaquin Phoenix, Thornton gave his best spaced-out answer to a question about musical influences by talking about how as a kid he built plastic model monsters from a magazine.

When Ghomeshi prefaced another question with “given that you seem to be quite passionate about music,” Thornton asked the radio host if he would ask Tom Petty that question.

“Would I say that he’s passionate about music?” Ghomeshi said. “Yeah.”

“Really?” Thornton replied. “Would you explain that it’s not a hobby.” Ghomeshi seemed to be at a loss for words at the answer that, in itself, didn’t seem to make sense. So, he went on.

Thornton later injected a few expletives in a rant in which he told Ghomeshi that the host was “instructed” not to talk about him as an actor. “I’m not really instructed, you guys are here as a band, you’re performing,” Ghomeshi replied.

Thornton talked about growing up as a “music historian,” then later refused to join his bandmates in playing a song, on the excuse that he did not bring his drum set.     

Of course, the difference between Phoenix and Thornton is that the latter has actually released a few albums of music, whereas Phoenix retired from acting to pursue a career in rap but has convinced no one of his musical abilities.

Nevertheless, both actors have displayed a confused hostility during interviews that calls to mind some of the uncooperative, interview-as-performance-art conversations that major stars such as Bob Dylan have engaged in with journalists in the past. The difference is that, like Tom Petty, Dylan is a Grammy Award-winning musician and Thornton, so far, is not.


Billy Bob is damn lucky that he’s an actor, otherwise nobody would care at all about this band.

Posted by barb | Report as abusive

I hope he is forced by his management or PR people to watch the video over and over and see 1) what an arrogant jerk he is and 2) how embarrassed his bandmates were by his idiocy.

I safely predict the Boxmasters will be gone forever when the Willy tour ends if Willy doesn’t dump them first. Willy and Ray Price are class acts – this guy is a moron and a crappy drummer to boot.

Posted by Doug | Report as abusive

Thornton: obnoxious and rude. Loved your radio interview; keep up the good work. (said sarcastically)

Posted by Linda Sottosanti | Report as abusive

A mature (and I use the term loosely) adult with two first names, as in Billy Bob, is not someone I would ever buy a used car from, let alone take seriously as an artist. And after watching the interview on Q, you can rest assured that I won’t be buying his music either…artists need to respect their audiences and thank them for their daily paycheques. Keep that in mind Billy Bobble

Posted by Susan Ellis | Report as abusive

Who’s Billy Bob? We don’t know him in Oz.

Posted by J.Blow | Report as abusive

Doggonit, dun misplaced my prozack agin. I’m feeling like the mediocre musician I really am….

Posted by Billy Knob Bob | Report as abusive

I think that Thornton guy, is just a jerk like the Phoenix guy , they think that because they know that they are known as actors and have money , they can get away with anything……..F*** them!!!! ….The media should not publish anything about them period..

Posted by ivette Oakland | Report as abusive

Billy Bob SUCKS! The guy is a total creep and apparently crazy. What an eqo on this puff, his acting is not that great and now he thinks he is a country star. There in nothing country about LA fake hacks cruising around Rodeo Blvd in pick up trucks. I cant wait to watch this guy go down in flames. His 15 min are OVER!

Posted by mattg | Report as abusive

Thank God Canadians are potatoes and gravy, as Jian showed what a TRUE Canadian he was and reserved what he was probably thinking all the way through that painful display of arrogance and ignorance. Billy Bob Thornton? I’ll too reserve my real thoughts on the actor/singer.

Posted by Mary | Report as abusive

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