Idol Chatter

BillyBob070815.jpgYou have to admire Billy Bob Thornton’s consistency. A dozen years ago, when he was up for an Oscar for his self-directed performance in “Sling Blade,” he told the Washington Post, “I think religion is a good thing. The problem is people who take it into their own hands and use it for their own purpose.” Back then he was talking about “guys that wear white shoes and have their own TV shows.” Today, he’s singing, on a new album, about religious fanatics bent on getting to heaven who “believe that whoever they have to stomp on to get there is fine.” The album, called “Beautiful Door,” is Thornton’s fourth–his second with his band from his pre-Hollywood days in Arkansas, Tres Hombres–and critics are calling it his most ambitious. “It’s a collection of stories about life and living and death and dying and how important both are,” he told Austin (Texas) Daze recently. He sings from the point of view of a person left behind by a suicide, and protests war in three songs, “Beautiful Door” among them.
The beautiful door of the title refers to a portal to heaven. “Each religion has their magical door that you walk through and you get all these rewards for it,” Thornton says. “People… think the way to get there is by shutting out everybody else. My way is the right way and I get to go through this magical door to eternity.” A lot of rockers have developed an interest in religion as the topic has heated up. Thornton’s willingness to say his piece about it has stayed the same. It’s the world that’s changed.

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