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Bad Interview Kills Tour Opportunity (source: On Air Newsletter by Wayne Kelly)

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Source: On Air Newsletter by Wayne Kelly

Radio can still make and break bands! Last week Billy Bob Thornton and his band made an appearance on the CBC Radio show “Q”. During the introduction, Jian Ghomeshi, the show’s host, mentioned Billy Bob was also an actor. Billy Bob didn’t like that at all and became extremely rude, making negative comments about Canadian audiences being Mashed potatoes without the Gravy…so the next night in Toronto his band was boo’d when opening for Willie Nelson.

The next day Willie announced the Thornton band was leaving the rest of the Canadian tour…so that’s it for that Band in Canada! They’re done! Finished! Yes, one rude and grumpy quest PLUS YouTube equals 1.6 million views of this disastrous interview.

Here’s what the Q’s website had to say about the incident:

“Wednesday, we were visited by country-pop band The Boxmasters. The Boxmasters's biggest claim to fame is that their singer is Oscar-winner Billy Bob Thornton. If you were listening, you heard what could best be described as a 'showdown at the Q corral' when Mr. Thornton took offense to our mention of his cinematic accomplishments.

Should the audience expect to hear references to the performer's other career? Is being a celebrity a burden or a boon when someone tries their hand in another medium?”


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A must read and listen. Thanks for this very important lesson.
You gotta be respectful. Billy Bob is an idiot. The bacon brothers would never act like that just cause dude makes some movies
Well, Unknown Hinson sure doesn't have to worry about Billy Bob because he's doing fine with his own career and I highly recommend checking him out. He also does a pretty good "Squidbilly" impersonation I might add! BBT is an idiot for sure!
Feel bad for his sidemen.

Awesome job of the DJ though. Instead of being confrontational, he let Billy Bob dig his own hole.
Right on, Eric
Evidently Billy “Blah” still thinks the world is in dire need of another band! He's an "entertainer". He should be extremely grateful to have any audience at all! I don't know which is more pathetic, A) The way Billy "Blah" responds to the interviewer or B) The way the band looks as the interview unfolds...... "Oh Shit!! Here he goes again........"

Billy. Hang it up!! Please...... go be a "historian" where you can freely lecture and dazzle young impressionable minds that will surly be open and young enough to rebound from any influence you may have.

Oh yea, Please sleep in next time! The world has enough bands that I bet would be grateful to be there!

Growing up in W.Va., I NEVER met a hillbilly that was that uppity. NEVER!

WOW 2 words Brad Pitt..... Billy bore is a jerk. Who cares he plays drums? We have 1000000 Drummers here in Nashville and most of them are better actors than Billy. Give it up to the man with a dream....Billy Bore...


In fact the DJ was the star of this interview, I think he did a great job keeping it together. "would you say that to Tom Petty?" Humble pie....

I feel so bad for the other guys in the band... Yikes!


I agree this is a media meltdown of Chernobyl proportions. And I agree that it was only a matter of time before Billy Bob stepped in, slipped on and fell face first into his own bullshit. But the irony of this episode is absolutely exquisite. Here's a band that's in its ascendancy. It has released three albums in one year. It's on the threshold of a nationwide tour of Canada, And it's opening for Willie freakin' Nelson. The stars have aligned. Fame and fortune is within its grasp. What could possibly wrong? Well, Billy Bob Thornton, of course. Tell me no one saw this coming.

Not only is this a classic illustration of Murphy's Law, this is also another resounding repudiation of another long-held, widely-accepted maxim that claims "there is no such thing as bad publicity." It took less than 15 minutes for one hemorrhoidal egomaniac to destroy months of hard work, possibly years of aspiration and a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for everyone connected with or who stood to benefit from the Boxmaster band and tour. One "bad interview" stopped the clock on the Boxmasters' 15 minutes of fame. In Canada, at least. And whether Thornton and company left the tour in an artist snit or they were summarily fired by Nelson is immaterial. It's doubtful they'll ever awaken from this particular nightmare. There's no way other to spin this story, to put the pin back in this grenade or make chicken salad out of this chicken shit idiot. 

But many other rising stars have fallen victim to the double-edged sword of publicity. Rush Limbaugh's current "Slutgate" embroglio leaps to mind. His little tirade has his vaunted media empire bleeding revenue like the proverbial stuck pig. In 2004, Democratic presidential candidate, Howard Dean, was the odds favorite to unseat George W. Bush until his "primal scream" sound bite turned him into a punch line and consigned him to complete irrelevance in about 24 hours.

And how can we forget John Lennon's monumental "we're more popular than Jesus" gaff? This one, short, glib remark almost cost the Beatles their single largest and most lucrative market - the US. It spawned massive protests throughout the South, which quickly spread to Mexico and South America. And despite his humble apologies, there were still mass burnings of the band's albums and memorabilia, as well as throngs of picketers (including the Klan) at nearly every concert venue. Lennon and the Beatles eventually recovered, but they never played another commercial concert after that 1966 tour. 

The bottom line is, this can happen to anyone. No one is immune to the catastrophes caused by poorly chosen words and bad publicity - especially in the Age of instant, global communications via facebook, Twitter, YouTube and other Internet channels. The question is, "how do you avoid these pitfalls?" 

Well, in the case of people like Thornton, it helps immensely if you're not an asshole to begin with. Beyond that, there needs to be an ever-vigilant presence of mind - a deep breath of consideration before each statement or response regardless of the passion or excitement of the moment. A constant awareness that, to quote the late great Limbaugh, "words mean things." 

In this day and age, everyone in the public eye has no choice but to choose their words as carefully as Alan Greenspan, plan every public speaking opportunity thoroughly and be ready for anything that can prompt a knee-jerk reaction or an unguarded moment of ad libbed candor or offense. Anyone can live and die by the double-edged sword of publicity. And the only way to fully protect ourselves is to become colorless, humorless, banal and boring or else we risk being gutted by the press and the public. 

We must always be mindful of one maxim that always applies and has never yet been refuted: "Loose lips sink ships."


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