Billy Bob Thornton’s uncomfortable interview

…and “uncomfortable” is an understatement.

By now you may have heard about Thornton’s interview (along with his band, The Boxmasters) with a Canada’s QTV where he takes exception to the host mentioning his acting career in the introduction. If you watch Thornton during the intro, you can see him shake his head a couple of times. For the first six or seven minutes of the interview, Thornton acts like a petulant child, giving short, ambiguous answers to direct questions. Then he goes off on a tangent talking about a monster magazine contest that he entered as a kid. Finally, around the seven-minute mark, he tells the host why he’s acting the way he is.

Thornton keeps asking the host, “Would you ask Tom Petty that?” The thing is — Billy Bob Thornton is no Tom Petty. Thornton is best-known as an actor who sees himself as a musician. Tom Petty is in the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame.

I feel for the host — he simply introduced Thornton and the rest of the band, and has to deal with pissy Billy Bob for the rest of the interview. He didn’t ask him any questions about his acting career and it’s completely understandable why he would mention Thornton’s history as an actor in the intro to give the interview context. It would be really odd if he just started the interview without mentioning it at all.

Thornton later says that Canadian audiences are like “mashed potatoes with no gravy” and canceled their two remaining Canadian shows after being booed in Toronto.

DMed’s Video of the Week: Paula Abdul, “Dance Like There’s No Tomorrow”

We see them outside our office, angry people carrying pitchforks, torches, and signs that say “Limey Go Home.” Someone from Votefortheworst.com is at the front. People are jumping on the “American Idol”-bashing bandwagon left and right. And frankly, we’re tempted to join them.

But not quite yet.

Yes, we’re still mad as hell that “the public” chose Blake Lewis and Jordin Sparks over the clearly superior Melinda Doolittle. I, for one, have stopped watching the show after last season’s finale, and I’m pretty sure that if Mike Farley didn’t have to blog it for us, he would have stopped watching too after Mindy Doo’s ouster. Not good timing, then, for Randy Jackson’s Music Club Vol. I, where the onetime Journey bassist plays Clive Davis for a day and assembles a compilation album filled with the top of the pops. His leadoff single – whether he wanted it to be or not – is fellow “AI” judge Paula Abdul and her song “Dance Like There’s No Tomorrow.” It’s her first single in 12 years. Things have, um, changed a little since then. How will she adapt?

Much to my surprise, rather well.

Adbul only had a couple of really killer singles – “Knocked Out,” “The Way That You Love Me” and “Cold Hearted” were my personal favorites – so to compare this to the rest of her work is pointless; most of that stuff just wasn’t very good. This song isn’t great either, but it’s also not exactly terrible, which Paula should take as a major victory. Even more surprising is the video, which features some of the neatest choreography I’ve ever seen. The whole singer/backing dancer stuff has been done to death, but Paula does something different here. Most of the time, they move like a single organism. It’s pretty damn cool.

The other two set pieces, however, do not fare so well. The shots of her with the band look laughably inauthentic. They’re clearly here so Randy can pluck a little bass, but there is just no way those musicians are making the sound we’re hearing (especially that ridiculous drummer). The other set piece is a close-up of Paula in what appears to be a wind tunnel with red drapes. She’s always looking to the left and right of the camera, as if she’s forgotten the lyrics and she’s trying to find the teleprompter. Not her best money shot.

But still, we had every reason to expect something as god-awful as that Gwen Stefani yodeling song, and Paula delivered something that, if not genre-busting, is better than it has a right to be. So good for her. I’m still not watching “American Idol,” though.

DMed’s Video of the Week: Crowded House, “Mean to Me”

I usually reserve this slot for new songs by relatively new bands, but since the music industry shuts down for a good two months at year’s end, we have nothing to promote but Christmas records from guys like Keith Sweat and Christopher Cross, neither of which I want to inflict on an unsuspecting public.

Instead, I am going to take a cue from our local modern rock station, which has unveiled the top 2008 “most requested” songs in its history. The songs they’re playing are awesome, but the order of these songs, in all objectivity, is freaking ridiculous. Today they played Crowded House’s “Mean to Me,” which ranked somewhere around 1,200 or so. Now, I love, love, love Crowded House, but I don’t buy for a minute that the station has received that many requests for Crowded House, not for a station that began in 1990. For starters, they almost never play the band, and when they do, they play “Don’t Dream It’s Over” just like everybody else. If they actually received that many requests for “Mean to Me,” you’d think that they play the song more than once a year. Second, they played Radiohead’s “Paranoid Android” yesterday, and Alanis Morissette’s “You Oughta Know” the day before. Are they really telling us that they’ve received more requests for a Crowded House song, ANY Crowded House song, than they have for “Paranoid Android” and “You Oughta Know”? Not bloody likely.

Personally, I think they take the entire lineup from 101 to 2008 and shuffle them, and I’m perfectly fine with that. It makes the first week of the year the most enjoyable week of the year. Hell, I heard Shakepeare’s Sister’s “Stay,” the Lightning Seeds’ “Pure” and Elvis Costello’s “Beyond Belief” almost back to back. How the hell do you beat that? I can only imagine how awesome this station would be if they actually played those songs (or Robyn Hitchcock’s “So You Think You’re in Love,” which I heard yesterday afternoon) more frequently. But hey, they’re still pretty awesome as modern rock stations go (they don’t play Evanescence and they love Muse, Kaiser Chiefs and Hard-Fi), so take the good with the bad, I suppose.

But back to the video. The scene where Paul Hester points the trick gun to his head is more than a little disturbing now. Sigh.

Imus returns to work

Tune in this Monday to your local WABC affiliate as Don Imus will be returning to the airwaves. If anything, it should make for interesting listening to hear what Imus’ take on his whole firing and the aftermath will be (if he chooses to indeed say anything on the matter).

Hey, all you cover-song-lovin’ sumbitches, let’s take a test:

Look at the following track listing for this upcoming tribute to forty years of the BBC’s Radio 1 – the station begun in 1967, so they’ve gotten current artists to go back and cover one song from each year that they’ve been on the air – and see how far into it you can get before clicking on the big red button on the album cover and ordering it from Amazon.co.uk.

1967 – ‘Flowers In The Rain’ (The Move) covered by Kaiser Chiefs
1968 – ‘All Along The Watchtower’ (Jimi Hendrix Experience) covered by The Fratellis
1969 – ‘Cupid’ (Johnny Nash) covered by Amy Winehouse
1970 – ‘Lola’ (The Kinks) covered by Robbie Williams
1971 – ‘Your Song’ (Elton John) covered by The Streets
1972 – ‘Betcha By Golly Wow’ (The Stylistics) covered by Sugababes
1973 – ‘You’re So Vain’ (Carly Simon) covered by The Feeling
1974 – ‘Band On The Run’ (Wings) covered by Foo Fighters
1975 – ‘Love Is The Drug’ (Roxy Music) covered by Kylie
1976 – ‘Let’s Stick Together’ (Bryan Ferry) covered by KT Tunstall
1977 – ‘Sound & Vision’ (David Bowie) covered by Franz Ferdinand
1978 – ‘Teenage Kicks’ (The Undertones) covered by The Raconteurs
1979 – ‘Can’t Stand Losing You’ (The Police) covered by Mika
1980 – ‘Too Much Too Young’ (The Specials) covered by Kasabian
1981 – ‘Under Pressure’ (Queen & David Bowie) covered by Keane
1982 – ‘Town Called Malice’ (The Jam) covered by McFly
1983 – ‘Come Back And Stay’ (Paul Young) covered by James Morrison
1984 – ‘Careless Whisper’ (George Michael) covered by The Gossip
1985 – ‘The Power Of Love’ (Huey Lewis & The News) covered by The Pigeon Detectives
1986 – ‘Don’t Get Me Wrong’ (The Pretenders) covered by Lily Allen
1987 – ‘You Sexy Thing’ (Hot Chocolate) covered by Stereophonics
1988 – ‘Fast Car’ (Tracy Chapman) covered by Mutya Buena
1989 – ‘Lullaby’ (The Cure) covered by Editors
1990 – ‘Englishman In New York’ (Sting) covered by Razorlight
1991 – ‘Crazy For You’ (Madonna) covered by Groove Armada
1992 – ‘It Must Be Love’ (Madness) covered by Paolo Nutini
1993 – ‘All That She Wants’ (Ace Of Base) covered by The Kooks
1994 – ‘You’re All I Need To Get By’ (Mary J Blige) covered by Mark Ronson
1995 – ‘Stillness In Time’ (Jamiroquai) covered by Calvin Harris
1996 – ‘No Diggity’ (Blackstreet) covered by Klaxons
1997 – ‘Lovefool’ (The Cardigans) covered by Just Jack
1998 – ‘Ray Of Light’ (Madonna) covered by Natasha Bedingfield
1999 – ‘Drinking in LA’ (Bran Van 3000) covered by The Twang
2000 – ‘The Great Beyond’ (REM) covered by The Fray
2001 – ‘Teenage Dirtbag’ (Wheatus) covered by Girls Aloud
2002 – ‘Like I Love You’ (Justin Timberlake) covered by Maximo Park
2003 – ‘Don’t Look Back Into The Sun’ (The Libertines) covered by The View
2004 – ‘Toxic’ (Britney Spears) covered by Hard-Fi
2005 – ‘Father & Son’ (Yusuf Islam & Ronan Keating) covered by The Enemy
2006 – ‘Steady, As She Goes’ (The Raconteurs) covered by Corinne Bailey Rae

(For the record, I think 1975 was finally the breaking point for me. When you can actually hear the cover in your head at the moment you read the pairing of artist and song, it’s time to suck it up and break out the credit card. And I guarantee that even if Medsker thinks he can hold out, there’s always 2004 to make him go, “Oh, goddammit, now I *HAVE* to get it!”

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