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Billy Bob Thornton becomes a Boxmaster

No mod con, says Thornton
No mod con, says Thornton

He might be a big-time Hollywood actor and Academy Award-winning writer, but what Billy Bob Thornton really wants to do is play in a rock 'n' roll band, and now he is -- he's one of The Boxmasters.

Comprised of Thornton on drums and vocals, and J.D. Andrew and Mike Butler on guitars, the band's self-titled double-CD is set for release on June 10. The album features original compositions such as 2 Bit-Grifter and The Work Of Art and cover songs of artists like The Beatlesand Chad & Jeremy.

Like those British acts, The Boxmasters's musical and sartorial style is decidedly mod. In fact, Thornton got the idea for the group when listening to a British Invasion hits compilation. "I was telling J.D., 'This stuff is really just hillbilly music if you get right down to it," says the Arkansas-born Thornton. "'They just sing it like English guys.'" A fan of both country music and '60s British and American rock and pop, Thornton says, "I think really what The Boxmasters is my realization this many years later of exactly what kind of music I love to play, which is all of them put together."

Although Thornton insists he's not about to quit his high-paying job in films, he's ready to hit the road with The Boxmasters come July. And he's even considering taking the group to the next level - as comic book heroes. In Thornton's view, each issue of a Boxmasters comic book would feature the band playing a show in a town facing trouble, and they would come to its aid. "We're not sure what our superpowers are going to be yet," he says. "The only difference in our appearance is when we become The Boxmasters superheroes we're still in the mod suits. Except we're slightly bigger, like we've kind of worked out a little bit."

By Joe Bosso

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