Billy Bob Thornton Is Also the Frontman of a Rock Band Called ‘The Boxmasters’: What to Know

by Keeli Parkey
(Photo by Rick Diamond/Getty Images for Mother Nature Network)

Chances are when you think about Billy Bob Thornton you think about one of his many film roles. “Sling Blade” probably comes to mind. As do “Armageddon,” “Monster’s Ball,” “Bandits,” or “Bad Santa.”

What you probably don’t think of is that the 66-year-old is the frontman of a rock band. This band is known as The Boxmasters and Thornton has been leading the way since the group was formed in 2007, according to The Joplin Globe. Thornton joined forces with J.D. Andrew to create the band.

Interestingly, when he performs with The Boxmasters, Billy Bob Thornton does not use his famous name. Instead, he goes by Bud Thornton when he is on stage. Also, on the band’s albums, he is listed as W.R. Thornton. Whatever name he goes by, his love for music goes back to his teenage years. While he was in high school, he performed with cover bands. Later, he was hired as part of the road crew for the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band.

Following high school, Billy Bob Thornton was part of two bands. These were Hot Lanta and Wagonmasters. He spent the years between 2001 and 2007 working as a solo artist. During this time, he recorded four albums. And, he opened for such popular artists as Willie Nelson, Kid Rock, Steve Miller, and ZZ Top. Also, in 2015 he took the stage at the famous Grand Ole Opry.

Billy Bob Thornton and The Boxmasters Have Released 10 Albums

According to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, in addition to his four solo albums, Thornton has released 10 other albums with The Boxmasters. Their latest work is the 2020 album, “Light Rays.” They have recently been touring in order to promote the album. Performing in front of a live audience again is something Billy Bob Thornton said he was really looking forward to.

“It seems pretty normal out here so far. We had some hesitancy in the beginning, but it’s about time,” he told the Post-Dispatch. “We live in California, which was locked down pretty heavily. You can’t stay that way forever. We had to cancel our 2020 tour, and we were anxious to get back out here. And so far, knock on wood, it’s been OK.”

Thornton found musical inspiration from the Beatles.

“When the Beatles came along, there was something that just struck a chord, and then I became a freak for the British invasion. So I love the Animals and the Kinks and the Dave Clark Five, and the first bands I was in, we played stuff like that,” Billy Bob Thornton also said.

According to The Boxmasters website, the band has several tour dates planned in the near future. These dates include stops in Lincoln, Nebraska; Springfield, Illinois; Baton Rouge, Louisiana; Greenville, Texas; Phoenix, Arizona; and Montclair, California.

Fans of Billy Bob Thornton and The Boxmasters can also expect three new albums from the band in the future. One, titled “Christmas in California,” should come out in November. The album, “Help, I’m Alive,” will most likely be released in April 2022. When the third album, “Nothing Personal, will be released is still in the works.