Billy Bob Thornton angers Canadians, abandons Nelson tour

After a terse and frankly impolite interview with Canadian radio host Jian Ghomeshi, whose egregious error seemed to be he mentioned that his interviewee, actor Billy Bob Thornton, was an actor; Thornton has now abandoned his Willie Nelson opening act gig in Canada.

In a bizarre interview (see below) where Thornton got progressively more passive aggressive by answering direct questions with “I don’t know” or monosyllabic answers, the actor compared the Canada’s fans to mashed potatoes with no gravy.

Thornton’s band, The Boxmasters, felt the wrath of the Canadian audience as they opened for Willie Nelson on Thursday in Toronto, where the actor and his band mates were booed, and catcalls rang out of “Here comes the gravy.”

Nelson’s Web site Friday said the Boxmasters were canceling the rest of their Canadian dates “due to one band member and several of the crew having the flu.”

Many feel that the the cancellation was in part fallout from the awkward CBC radio “Q” interview.

Ghomeshi introduced Thornton to his listeners by framing who Thornton was, and mentioned briefly he was an actor.  He did not ask any film or role questions but went straight into the band, their music and the history of their musical collaboration.

Thornton was so incensed he was introduced as an actor among other career achievements, his terse attitude never let up with the cool headed, professional Ghomeshi, who tried to salvage what he could during the interview.

Thornton said Ghomeshi’s producers had been told ahead of time not to talk about his film career.  Yet his film career was never really broached, just the mention that Thornton was an actor.

Thornton’s remarks for Canadian crowds sealed the deal for fans listening.

“Canadian audiences seem to be very reserved,” he told Ghomeshi. “We tend to play places where people throw things at each other. Here, they just sort of sit there. And it doesn’t matter what you say to ‘em. … It’s mashed potatoes but no gravy.”

Thornton allegedly tried to clarify his remarks before an audience after the interview, saying he loved Canada and his “mashed potatoes” comment had been aimed at Ghomeshi.

Note the date on this article may be incorrect due to importing it from our old system.