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Boxmasters bag Canadian dates

Sunday, April 12, 2009 – The Boxmasters cancelled the rest of their tour. The reason depends on who you listen to. One version cites illness by the band. Another cites a testy interview given by Billy Bob Thornton to newspapers complaining about Canadian fans.

The Boxmasters, a trio about to release their third album Tuesday, were slated to pen shows for Willie Nelson.

The Boxmasters opened for Nelson Thursday in Toronto. Reports said they were booed for comments made a few days prior by Thornton on CBC radio's Q show. He complained that the host asked about his acting career, which was supposed to be off limits. Thornton did not answer the host's questions directly, saying "I don't know what you're talking about."

He also dissed Canadian audiences. "Canadian audiences seem to be very reserved," he said during the Q interview. "We tend to play places where people throw things at each other. Here, they just sort of sit there. And it doesn't matter what you say to 'em...It's mashed potatoes, but no gravy."

Thornton later claimed fondness for Canada, but complained about the radio host.

On the Boxmasters web site, it said, "Unfortunately, The Boxmasters had to cancel the remainder of the Canadian dates with Willie Nelson and Ray Price, including Montreal and London, due to one band member and several of the crew having the flu. They will rejoin the tour on April 14th in Stamford, CT after they've had time to recover. We wish them a safe and speedy recovery."

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