Page last updated at 09:08 GMT, Tuesday, 14 April 2009 10:08 UK

Thornton band pull Canadian tour

Billy Bob Thornton
Thornton formed The Boxmasters two years ago

Billy Bob Thornton's group The Boxmasters cancelled tour dates in Canada after he compared fans there to "mashed potatoes with no gravy".

A statement on the group's website said remaining Canadian dates had been pulled due to "one band member and several of the crew having the flu".

The tour is due to resume in Stamford, in the US, on Tuesday.

The announcement comes days after Thornton clashed with a radio host in Canada and criticised fans there.

Musical endeavour

Thornton appeared on CBC radio show Q last week to promote the band's latest album.

But the 53-year-old evaded or ignored most of host Jian Ghomeshi's questions and took offence after being referred to as an "Oscar-winning actor", rather than a musician.

Thornton also had some unkind words for Canadian crowds.

"Canadian audiences seem to be very reserved," he said.

"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 them. It's mashed potatoes but no gravy."

Thornton's publicist told CNN the star "simply elected not to engage with the interviewer because of the direction of the interview from the outset".

He added that Thornton took the reference to his movie career as an insult to his musical endeavour.

The Boxmasters opened for country singer Willie Nelson on Thursday in Toronto and, according to reports, were booed by the audience.

Despite his burgeoning musical career, Thornton remains best-known for his film work, with credits including The Man Who Wasn't There, Armageddon and Monster's Ball.

He won his only Oscar for crafting the screenplay for 1997's Sling Blade, in which he played a mentally-impaired man who settles in a small town after being released from a psychiatric hospital.

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