About Kevin

Kevin is a Grammy nominated artist, podcaster, and indie musician advocate. He resides in Portland, OR where he is the Director of Marketing for CD Baby (cdbaby.com). Oh, yeah, he also plays guitar in Smalltown Poets.
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    “How to Destroy Your Music Career” by Billy Bob Thornton

    By now, you might have seen the bizarre, uncomfortable, and strangely humorous video of Billy Bob Thornton making a fool out of himself in a way that only Hollywood types seem able to do. If not, it’s right here for you.

    There are numerous things that can be said about this silly display, but one lesson that anyone who is working to promote music should glean from watching this video, is that story matters. Context matters. Your story makes you unique from all of the thousands of artist vying for the same attention of music fans. It brings interest to the music and provides the context in which your music can be interpreted.

    In a very exaggerated way, Billy Bob shows us how idiotic a notion it is for an artist to remove themselves completely from their story, and since he demands it of his audience, he pretty much alienated anyone who might care or find his story interesting. Lucky for Billy Bob, if this interview permanently damages his music career, he can always go back to the land of make believe!

    • http://thevernshow.com VeRn

      In my opinion he is trying to make his music known by his antics, and that is a shame as that gives those actors and actresses who are making good music look bad.

      Juliette Lewis is with her second band and continues to put out some great music, and has an awesome stage presence I have been lucky enough to have seen her perform with both bands. Katey Sagal has put out two great albums, Minnie Driver has a good one, and Rick Springfield we can’t forget about him.

      I don’t seem to remember any of them pulling any stunts like good ol Billy Bob.

      Leave the antics behind and let the music speak for itself!

    • http://www.spillingaudio.com Eric Hausmann

      That was really painful to watch. I could relate to a slip-up or two from someone who is interview shy, but that’s clearly not the case from someone who has done numerous interviews, and has already experienced several years in the spotlight. I feel for the other members of the band–I just read that the band has suddenly cancelled the rest of their tour.

    • http://kevinbreuner.com KevinB

      I wouldn’t call those antics. I think he was seriously upset that he’s not treated like his music is what got him where he is. The fact is, that if it weren’t for his acting career, he wouldn’t have been invited on the show, and no one would give him that much attention. He would have been just another new artist trying to make it. It’s not just about the music, it’s about the artist as well. Don’t run from your story, but embrace it!

    • http://www.robertleeking.com Robert Lee King

      I had to watch this twice before forming an opinion.

      First, it’s 6am.

      Second, it’s Canada.

      Third, the interviewer was told in advance, not to make BBT’s acting career the focus and he focused more on Billy than the entire band.

      Fourth, BB was notably and rightly so, annoyed that he was being asked about things before his envolvement with this act. The man is known as an actor and he is trying very hard to not have that influence the efforts of this or any of his musical projects. He should be lauded for that, not lambasted.

      Story be damned, the man is trying to be a musician. No-one would ask any other new or old act about their gas station gig, why is is okay to ask an oscar nominated (winning?) actor about his day gig?

      Career suicide? Not!

    • http://www.robertleeking.com Robert Lee King


      That is the problem. “If it weren’t for his acting career”. Hey, if it weren’t for your cdbaby gig. If it weren’t for Joss Weadens acting career. If it weren’t for Billy Joel and his model wife. Please… Perez Hilton gay f#$@ wanna-be that he is and the rest of the celebritants out there…

      This is music. Music used to mean something.

    • Mark

      Robert Lee King,

      First. The interview was at 9:00 am, not 6:00 am. It was conducted at CBC’s Broadcast Centre it Toronto, and was live on air in the Atlantic time zone (10:00 am). Q also has it’s own Youtube channel, hence the video.

      Second. Yes it’s Canada, which obviously makes the whole matter irrelevant in your mind.

      Third. The interviewer was not “instructed” by anyone. Even Billy Bob’s publicist admits to that. The interviewer did not focus on Billy Bob’s acting career. The only reason it came up during the discussion itself was because of the way Billy Bob was behaving.

      Fourth. What was he asked about, before his involvement with the band, that was irrelevant?

      If he had answered the questions that were posed, he would have had a lot more credibility as a musician as his acting was not the point of discussion.

    • http://kevinbreuner.com KevinB

      I have to agree with Mark here. I’ve personally done 60 or 70 of these types of early morning on air radio interviews and acoustic sets. The time and place is irrelevant. If you go into a place and make assumptions based on the location and people, you are missing out (And probably not considered very professional). The point is though, that it’s pretty much a guarantee that Billy Bob’s publicist hammered people over the head with info about how he’s such a famous actor in order to get these radio slots. It certainly wasn’t because of his name recognition in the music community. That only comes after selling a lot of albums, which Billy Bob has not done. Think how stupid it would seem for Jon Bon Jovi (who has had some pretty big acting roles) to go on a show to promote a film, and the host doesn’t mention that it’s Jon Bon Jovi who has sold a ton of albums. It would seem like the host dropped the ball on connecting the dots and adding interested to the story. Now don’t start making comments about what you think of Bon Jovi, as whether or not you like their music has nothing to do with the point.

    • http://www.myspace.com/ballardpop Darren Riley

      It was painful at first but I was laughing my head off by the end of it. The radio host is a real trooper for sticking with it but Billy Bob was just an idiot. That’s one band I wouldn’t want to be in and from the looks of his bandmates neither do they!

      I used to play bass for a guy who was once in The Drifters (or one of it’s many incarnations) and he knew that his whole career depended on what he’d done in the past. Every bit of publicity mentioned the fact and he knew full well that if he didn’t play on that, nobody would go watch his shows.

      I understand it can be hard making the transition from one successful career to another but as VeRn pointed out, Juliette Lewis has made it look very easy indeed without throwing any tantrums.

    • http://www.myspace.com/ballardpop Darren Riley

      Just read that he’s cancelled the rest of his Canadian tour. His audience didn’t take kindly to being called ‘mashed potatoes with no gravy’ and he caught flu all of a sudden :-D

    • http://www.kellypettit.com Kelly

      Yeah, I think BB was a tool here. Still drunk or hung over maybe but he’s got to realize despite whether he likes it or not, his acting career is helping his music career. He should feel fortunate to have that extra foot in the door but I suppose when you’re already rich, who gives a F*&% right?

      I heard him interviewed on “Music Business Radio” and he seemed intelligent. I was caught off guard by his self destructing attitude here. He lost a lot of votes in my books. But at the end of the day, look what he’s done? We’re all here spending our valuable time talking about him.

      Maybe he’s smarter than I give him credit. (but probably not). lol

    • http://www.robertleeking.com Robert Lee King

      To the general public, most of whom will never purchase his CDs or go to his shows, this is “career suicide”. To those that would purchase his CDs and/or go to his shows, this is why they go in the first place.

      No-one and I do mean no-one, went to see Zeppelin because they were such nice guys. They went to see them because they were larger than life and lived outside of the considered norm.

      The same is true today, despite what the bloggers and pundits will say. The audience goes for the bad boy, the anti establishment act. Case in point, 50 Cent, Vampire Weekend (who suck in my opinion) and so on.

      Billy might have turned off a bunch of kanookes but who the f$@# cares. If he sells out a show in the USA, despite his “antics” obviously, he’s earned fans.

      The interviewer was lame as f#$@. The audience doesn’t give a rats azz if you were a movie star on a music station. They care wether they dig your music. Only VH1 cares about where you came from.

    • http://www.robertleeking.com Robert Lee King

      Mark, the interview was at 9am Canadian time, which in that province was eastern time which would make it to a bunch of guys from California, 6am. Learn about time zones for god’s sake!

    • http://www.robertleeking.com Robert Lee King


      By the way, the interviewer WAS instructed. You can pick nits any way you wish but he was told as he said in his own words, that Billy didn’t want to focus on anything outside of the band. Watch the freakin’ video for god’s sake!

    • http://www.rifasband.com ron_from_rifas

      I’m almost afraid to leave a comment but because I might get beat up by Robert Lee King!
      Seriously though. That is painful too watch. Regardless of whatever BBT was pissed about, he’s the only one who looks bad. His band members look like fools and he loses an opportunity to establish an actual persona rather than saying things like “I don’t know what you mean” over and over. If he wants to be an ass or a badboy then he should play it up and make it work for him, not against him. I

    • cadencemiller

      What a spoiled brat.

    • http://www.robertleeking.com Robert Lee King

      I find it interresting that musicians and music types find fault with Billy when, most would do exactly what he did at that (to him) ungodly hour.

      I’m younger than Billy but not by a lot and I can tell you first hand, dj’s and television people are freakin jerks more often than not. As a musician, anyone watching this should see the jerk DJ not the musician behaving “badly”.

      Fans guaranteed see only the performers they love.

      And I highly doubt Canadians, (sorry) give a rats behind about rock-abilly or similar forms of music.

      Watch this video from the standpoint of getting to know the performers. You’ll come away with a very different perspective if you’re honest with yourself.

    • http://www.robertleeking.com Robert Lee King


      If you’re worried about your persona, you’ve already lost.

      Real stars, don’t give a flip about how they seem to the public. Only boybands and wanna-be’s care about that crap.

    • http://www.robertleeking.com Robert Lee King

      Had to add, before anyone says it. No, I’m not a star and likely never will be but neither will most of you. The difference is, I am old enough to have been there and done that. You, are still hoping to be able to be an azz in such situations.

      The Beatles, inadvertantly were compared to God and it darn near killed their careers. They recovered none-the-less and went on to be bigger than they were at the time of the mishappen comparisson.

      The Dixie Chicks still sell many thousands of times more records than the current flavor of the moment, despite their political miss steps…

      Music is not a visual art. In the end, all the true fan gives a darn about is the sound. Not the politics, religion, behavior etc. (case in point: Michael Jackson, Jethro Tull, Blue Oyster cult etc etc etc)

      Forget the story, your music should and MUST speak for you.

      If it doesn’t, hang it up. You’re career is done before it was begun.

    • http://www.mattblick.com Matt Blick


      Do you need a hug?

    • Beat Attitude

      His paranoid comments seem to reflect some kind of mental illness (or at least some kind of drug haze). If it’s him being intentionally obtuse, it’s very good acting. Having worked with musicians who have mental health problems, his conduct seemed eerily reminiscent of some conversations I’ve had with those players. The fact that he didn’t understand simple questions, and went off on a tangent about the dinosaur magazine, combined with the paranoia and anger…This isn’t just about artist and interviewers not hitting it off.

      The rest of his band seem disinclined to weigh in, which suggests maybe a) they’ve been subjected to the same treatment and are keeping a low profile or b) they’re scared they’ll lose their meal ticket. But I think the dude needs help.

      Interestingly, he also reminded me a little of when I met the late Larry Norman, who I think was also a troubled guy.

    • Young Hollywood Atlanta

      I really just think maybe, he was just upset at the fact that the interviewer brought up his acting career. And from there I think that’s when he decided to be an ass about things. Its kinda like he was trying to be a smart ass. Either way, I felt extremely bad for the interviewer but he handled himself very while. And he didn’t allow Billy Bob to shake him up with his antics.