A place for your money
Country rocker Billy Joe Clements on the art of bending cow hide to his will
"I gave one as a gift to a buddy once, and I pre- loaded it with cash."
It's Billy Joe Clements on the phone, and he wants to get me caught up on his new thing: the handcrafting of leather wallets.
"I started doing this mainly out of necessity. I wanted a cool leather guitar strap with silver conchos. Where can you get those? I couldn't find one, so I made my own."
Same with a pick guard, he says, and then, he hand-tooled himself a wallet.
"My first, I call it the 76er, was a retro kind-of Evel Knievel design. I gave one to my brother in law, and the comments that came back made me decide to make more."
Clements makes everything in the back room of his North Park home and says it has become a full-time gig, wallet-making. I have 16 designs that range from $69 to $149 dollars." He stops for a minute and reflects. "It just kind of took off."
Clements' sales are global. He says that Australia, in fact, accounts for at least one third of his business.
"Those outback guys, they like my stuff. But it's really the outback women that buy these things for their men."
But I'm wondering about Billy Joe and the Roosters: has the Waylon-inspired outlaw country rock unit crowed it's last?
Clements, a guitarist and a singer has in the mean while been working out with a power trio called the Grass Heat, and he's developing material for a new and different project: Diesel Billy.
"I came up with a new idea," he says. "60's truck driving stuff. The demos sound country, but live, it'll be more rockin'.
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