By Clark Collis
Updated April 09, 2009 at 08:11 PM EDT

There is an entertainment-industry truism that the older someone is before they become famous, the nicer and more accommodating a star they are likely to be. (In the corridors of the Music Mix this is known as “The Wayne Coyne Rule.”) There are exceptions. Justin Timberlake was hugely famous at a young age, but in person comes across as a very friendly and comparatively grounded guy. Then there is Billy Bob Thornton, who didn’t become a celebrity until he was in his 40s, yet seems like one unpleasant dude.

His prickliness was fully displayed yesterday morning during an utterly bone-chilling radio interview conducted by Canadian radio host (and Moxy Fruvous member) Jian Ghomeshi with Thornton’s country-inclined musical outfit the Boxmasters. Thornton appears to have become upset after Ghomeshi mentioned his acting career while introducing the band. What happens next really has to be seen to be believed. Highlights include Thornton responding to a question about his early musical influences by discussing a magazine about monster movies, and later asking Ghomeshi whether he would refer to Tom Petty’s interest in music as his “first love” if the host interviewed the Full Moon Fever rocker.

The truth is that if you were interviewing Petty about, say, his King of the Hill character and decided to throw in a reference to the fact that he also writes the occasional song, it is highly unlikely he would throw the kind of icy, sulky tantrum that can be witnessed below. And if Thornton is serious about the Boxmasters (and one assumes he is, given that they have released three albums over the past year), then it might behoove him to dial down that prickliness. Because while this clip is a must-see, it’s difficult to imagine too many media outlets lining up to help further publicize the band after seeing it — or many music fans responding to this kind of diva behavior.

What do you think? Has Mr Thornton hurt the Boxmasters’ chances of success? And would anyone care to defend him?

addCredit(“Scott Gries/Getty Images”)