Ken Leighton 4:11 p.m., Sept. 3
RIYL: The Grass Heat, Billy Joe & the Roosters, Joey Harris and the Mentals
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- "A Place For Your Money" · May 15, 2013
Inception: San Diego, 2012
Influences: Black Crowes, the Beat Farmers, the Rockin’ Roulettes, Waylon Jennings, Gram Parsons, Willie Nelson, Charlie Daniels, Desert Rose Band, Jerry Reed, Chet Atkins
Guitarist Billy Joe Clements is originally from Tennessee. Before moving to San Diego, he and his wife lived in Los Angeles where they both went to school. Clements produced television show theme music and wrote jingles to pay the bills.
He remembers a producer once asking him to make a jingle sound like Monday Night Football meets ‘Welcome to the Jungle.’ “I started with horns, and then I added a Les Paul sound, like Slash would play.” When that line of work got slow due to the economy, he and his wife moved south.
“We wanted something trippy and cool,” says Clements of his band the Grass Heat, though it could be argued that the same description applies to his other groups, Billy Joe & the Roosters and Diesel Billy.
As for his country rock group the Roosters, “I’d been trying to do the Roosters since I got down here,” Clements says. “I had ten originals and a demo recorded, and I put a band together but then the Grass Heat took off.” The Roosters were temporarily sidelined, which gave him time to reconsider the name. “I found out that every city in the U.S. has a band called the Roosters, so I changed it by putting my name first.” The band became Billy Joe & the Roosters.
He launched Diesel Billy in early 2013. “I came up with a new idea,” he says. “1960s truck driving stuff. The demos sound country, but live, it'll be more rockin'.” Clements, who teaches guitar and produces bands on the side says “I hope to keep writing music,” says Clements, “that people will come out and dance to.”