Billy Bob Discusses Marriage, Music

updated 09/04/2003 at 01:00 AM EDT

originally published 09/04/2003 01:00PM

While recent PEOPLE covergirl Angelina Jolie has been making headlines all summer -- promoting her "Lara Croft" sequel and extolling the virtues of raising her adopted child, Maddox -- her ex, Billy Bob Thornton, has remained pretty quiet.

But the Oscar winner, 49, is now talking to Time Out New York magazine, ostensibly to promote his new country-rock CD, "The Edge of the World."

And while Thornton never mentions fourth wife Jolie by name, he does provide some seemingly expert advice on marriage, suggesting that first-timers "go into it with the idea that you want it to last, but don't put pressure on yourself to try to achieve perfection every day, because I think that's when you get into trouble."

In summation, says Thornton, those about to march down the aisle should be thinking, "Like, yeah, I'm doing this forever, but don't let it freak you out."

As for his music, the Arkansas native (who won the Academy Award for his script for 1996's "Sling Blade") says that he first knew he wanted to be a drummer when he was 9, when he played along to the song "Hanky Panky" by Tommy James and the Shondells.

"The first thing I learned on guitar," he recalls, "was the theme from (TV's) 'Peter Gunn.' "

His first band was called the McCoveys -- in tribute to his favorite baseball player, Alabama-born San Francisco Giant Willie McCovey.

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