Billy Bob Thornton Interview Video

April 9, 2009

Here is the Billy Bob Thornton interview video everyone is talking about. See the full video and photos, and find out more about the strange interview the Oscar winning actor, screenwriter, director and musician gave to a Canadian radio station.

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Billy Bob Thornton and his country-pop band, the Boxmasters were interviewed by Jian Ghomeshi on a morning radio program on CBC Radio in Canada. The interview was also captured on video, which TMZ was among the first to report. The news and the video itself have since gone viral.

What might have been a routine and unnoticed radio promotion of the band which presently is touring as a supporting act for country music legend Willie Nelson, has instead gotten international attention and the Billy Bob Thornton interview has drawn swift comparisons to the infamous Joaquin Phoenix David Letterman interview in which the actor turned rapper had a multifaceted meltdown.

So how did all come about? How could Thornton drawn such an astounding comparison?

Quite logically, interviewer Jian Ghomeshi introduced Thornton as an ‘Oscar-winning screenwriter-actor-director’ as well as mentioned that he was Boxmasters bandleader/songwriter/drummer. After all, Thornton has appeared in more than 40 movies and written six screenplays and has an Academy Award for his screenplay for Sling Blade (in which he also starred) to show for his efforts. That’s how the interview began and went downhill quickly from there.

Ghomeshi then said, ‘Billy Bob, you guys formed only in the last couple years, right?’

Thornton replied, ‘I don’t know what you’re talking about.’

In another odd exchange in the Billy Bob Thornton interview, he seemed to take offense at what he perceived to be relegating his music career to a hobby.

Ghomeshi said, ‘Part of the attention that you are getting is because of the great career you’ve had in other ways. What I’m explaining is I’m not trying to be insulting to your musical. …’

Thornton interrupted him and responded with what has become the ‘money quote’ in the unfolding story. He said, ‘What I’m explaining is that we said do not talk about s**t like that. And we also said that we didn’t want to hear anything about how this is my first love. You wouldn’t say that to Tom Petty, would you? “I understand music is your first love.” Well, my first love was a chick named Lisa Cone. You know what I mean?’

And so it went for nearly 15 minutes which you can see here in the Billy Bob Thornton interview video below.

Thornton’s publicist Arnold Robinson has responded, explaining the odd behavior in the interview.

He “simply elected not to engage with the interviewer because of the direction of the interview from the outset.”

While some may accept the publicist’s explanation others will continue to speculate. Is Thornton having a breakdown? Was it a calculated publicity ploy? Was it his impatience with what he perceived as disrespect of his music career?

What can’t be overlooked though is that overall, the interview has moments worthy of firestorms in and of themselves which have nothing to do with disparagement of Thornton’s music career. Thornton even managed to insult Canadians by saying, “They just sort of sit there. And it doesn’t matter what you say to them,” and that they are like “mashed potatoes without gravy.”

While in that moment Thornton may have been lacking in tactfulness, what about the music career he was adamant to defend? It helps to know some background, as the Boxmasters are not generally in the news.

In a recent, separate interview, Boxmasters guitarist J.D. Andrew, who co-founded the band with Thornton and lead guitarist Mike Butler in 2007, talked about the formation of the band and Thornton’s history as a musician.

“[Billy Bob Thornton] did four solo records before we started this thing.

“People who care know that this isn’t just a fly-by-night operation. We’re serious about this and if we can make enough money doing this full-time, that’s all we’ll be doing. Every once in awhile, we have to go take another job for a couple of weeks. But every second we’re not on the road, we’re in the studio recording.”

He went on to reveal that Thornton has been a drummer since age nine, with his musical aspirations preceding his acting career and subsequent success in acting. Thornton himself confirms that he had briefly moved to Nashville in 1977 in hopes of starting a career. He reveals in an interview that his has put his acting career on hold to focus on his music. Of the band, he says,

“It’s the best,” says Thornton. “Plus being part of a band as opposed to doing solo stuff really thrills me because I’m more into that.

“That’s what I grew up in. That’s what we all want to be: part of a band. I certainly don’t want to be the focus of attention.”

A rather ironic statement in the aftermath of the Billy Bob Thornton interview since, after all, no one is calling it the Boxmasters interview.

Thornton did acknowledge that his movie career has bankrolled his music career.

“I’m gonna do a movie this summer just ’cause I have to make some money,” he says.

Here is a roundup of reactions to the interview.

See photos and the Billy Bob Thornton interview video below.

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One Response to “Billy Bob Thornton Interview Video”

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    TheRam Says:

    I do not know if, as I grow older, I became more cynical or more discriminating. The reason I am confused is because of what the new media has grown into. Watching a live broadcast or reading the newspaper is as if one is watching/reading of one of the weekly grocery store tabloids. What the less informed are not aware of, is what actually happened in the interview. What should have been reported was the DJ was informed as to what the discussed material would be and would not be during the interview. This is standard SOP with interviews today. The DJ deliberately provoked Billy Bob. The fact that the DJ got the interview on YouTube as quick as he did, should indicate it was a ploy on the DJ’s part to gain notoriety. He knew he could count on the juvenile news reporters to blow it up as they did. Maybe I am wrong. Maybe people want to be told that Billy Bob just fathered a baby with an alien. It must be true, they have a picture of the baby.