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Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Billy Childress

Have you ever see an image that just speaks to you, grabs your eye's attention a bit too long, and just makes you want to be in that situation, in that exact moment in time forever? That pretty much sums up every time I take a look at Billy Childress' imagery. He's pretty brilliant behind the lens, with a real genuine heart and an outlook on life like no other. I've been a long time fan of his imagery and when he agreed to be a part of Fuel Cleveland and showcase some of his work on May 9th, I'm not going to lie, I got pretty stoked. I had the pleasure of finally meeting Billy back in February of this year and the personality matched his photos to a "T". Full of stories, animated, and he really reminded me of a few close friends I have known forever. We had a sit down the other day and this is what came of it, by far one of the funniest and most real interviews I have ever done...haha, enjoy!

-Mikey Revolt

Billy Childress, where is home for you?

B: Home is North Carolina, born and raised there, in a small town called Mount Airy. You may have heard of it or heard it referred to as Mayberry RFD. The hit TV show, The Andy Griffin Show is based on my hometown because that’s were Andy was born and raised. But now-a-days, I live in a small town right outside of Raleigh, NC called Wake Forest. I’m still only 2 hours from the small town I was born in and all my family still live there so I still get back there to visit.

How long have you been into photography?

B: Shit, I don’t know, I’ve always been into it because my Dad was always taking me to cruise in’s, hotrod, and motorcycle shows ever since I can remember. He always had a camera around his neck and was always shooting. I really didn’t start taking it too seriously until after going to college for photography. Ever since then, I’ve been making a living doing it and doing what I love.

Have motorcycles always been a part of your history or are they something you've discovered later on in life?

B: I would say they have always been there and around in some sort of way for my whole life. From my Dad buying and riding, to being a little kid growing up trying to raise as much hell as I could get by with on dirt bikes and wrecking the shit out of them.

I know you have some crazy stories, my friend, what’s one of your all time favorites from your travels and being with the Death Science crew?

B: Shit every trip we went on or every party we threw was a blast, nothing but good times. But probably my favorite story or trip would be when we all hopped in my Jeep and headed to Florida to party at the Circus Bowl where our brother Benji was throwing an event. So, it was December in NC and it was cold as fuck. Weeman and me rigged my Jeep up so it could haul a trailer way too big to haul for a V6 Jeep Cherokee to take across the street let alone to Florida. But by "rigging" I mean, Weeman and I hard wired the lights on the trailer to Jeep because I had no way to hook up the lights, in by doing this what had happened was the running lights kind of worked but the left turn signal stayed on the whole time as well. We said fuck it and were Florida bound around 11pm that night with 4 bikes and a huge trailer that was sucking every bit of life out of my Jeep. By the time we made it to South of the Border, it was on, we loaded up on beer and a ton of fireworks. We loaded up everyone in the Jeep. We were all partying and as the beers were going down, boy, did the fireworks start to blow out the window going down the highway. Matt was firing roman candles, bottle rockets, and whatever else he had that blew up out the window. Keep in mind that we are doing all this shit while the left turn signal is still constantly blinking all through the night as we struggle hauling all our shit to Florida. So we make it to Florida without dying or getting arrested, and with all the bikes down in one piece. There’s so many good memories from this trip but hands down when "NUM ON MY FACE" came into play, it was over. So the first night, we are setup at Benji’s shop, he’s smoking some meat in the smoker, the beers are flowing and whatever fireworks we had left were getting thrown around. But, back to the "NUM ON MY FACE" part. There was this woman hanging out at the shop that night, I noticed she had hearing aids and her speech wasn’t that great, no big deal and not funny at first, right. So Weeman is posted up on a bike and he gives me a look like "help me." He’s being hit on by the lady with hearing aids. Weeman is happily married and all he wanted was an out. So, Jay comes up and with his back toward Weeman and facing me he makes the old everyone knows the sign for blow job. I’m dying and I swear she hears the sonar off Jays arm and hand making the motion and looks dead at me and Jay. We couldn't stop laughing. Well the night continues and we finally all kind of all help get her away from Weeman and he’s cracking me up telling me what she was saying and what not. Well turns out that the woman with the hearing aids is actually a PORN STAR and she’s the only deaf porn star that I know of. When we find this out we couldn't help but google her name and pulling up her videos. At the end of one of her videos she’s on her knees telling the guy to cum of her face but the way she says it is "NUM ON MY FACE!" I lost my shit, and we kept saying it all weekend.

What do you look for and/or try to portray in your photography?

B: Only thing I ever want my photography to portray is a feeling and a moment in time that everyone can relate to in one way or another. I would hope that for any image I capture. I mean maybe the photograph bummed you out, made you happy, or just made you think, but it made you feel something and if I can achieve that I think I did my job. I’m going to smoke another one on that note.

What’s the year and make of your bike, anything you love or hate about her?

Currently my love would have to be my ol' '72 Super Glide Shovelhead. She’s a high flying lady that never runs around on her man, "come on."  There are times I’ve kicked her, cussed at her, and beat her just to get her started. By the way these are lyrics from a DAC song titled "Panheads for Forever." I’m not that clever or that smart to come up with all that on my own. I also own a '63 Pan that I’m currently working on so I feel I can get away with using those lyrics toward my Shovel.

Who and/or what inspires you and your photography?

B: Life inspires me, honestly and the people in it.

What’s your life motto?

B: Death is certain, life is not. So I try to live by that, live for now, don’t wait for tomorrow and have a fucking good time while your living it because life is way too short. You are dead longer than you are alive. “Message!!” Someone will get that shit and laugh that is if they take the time to read my ramblings.

What do like better, planned photo shoots or those random moments that just come out insanely good?

B: Not really sure, I like planning things out but I also love just capturing random moments in time as they happen. So I guess I like both.

If you had to choose only one bike what would it be?

B: Any bike that’s running, I’ll take that one.

You recently went overseas and you saw the Alps, your pictures were so unreal man. Was this a retreat to be some where completely different for a while, or a little bit of pleasure, or a business? It seems like the simple life out there. Was there a special moment or experience you had while there?

B: The Alps was a business work trip mixed with some pleasure. I’ve been very fortunate enough to be able to visit and work there 9 times in the last 5 years or so. Switzerland is a beautiful place and it's always great to go back each time and in different seasons. Everytime is the same but different and I enjoy each visit. It is very simple. I stay in a small town in the Alps called Leysin everytime I’m there. It's bout 2 hrs from the airport in Geneva. In the past 5 years, I’ve been all over Switzerland. Every visit I make in the winter I always bring my snowboard with me and usually work in about 6 days of riding and 4 to 5 days of work hahaha. I would say that’s the special moment, being able to ride all over Switzerland and the Alps. Hiking in the back country to get first lines in waist deep "pow pow", there’s nothing like it. Also being able to ride by the Matterhorn is pretty epic too, there’s nothing like it. Thanks Mikey, glad you liked the photos I took while I was there. All of those photos you've seen were with my iPhone, it blows my mind sometimes what that thing sees.

Did you get to ride motorcycles overseas at all?

B: No I wish, I tried to rent one but good lord it is crazy expensive for the day. So I said fuck it but I really wanted to ride because the last time I was there was during the Ride For Larry and I wish I could have afforded it and got to rip through the Alps for Larry. That would have been amazing but instead I tried to drift and rip through the Alps in the Audi I was given to drive while I was there. NFLP.

What’s your camera preference, you a canon or nikon guy?

B: I shoot Nikon always have and as long as they are still in the game I will continue to shoot Nikon.

Other then motorcycles, photography, and beer are there any other passions, hobbies, or things you love to do?

B: My first true love has always been my skateboard. It’s made me happier then a pig in shit and also made me madder than fuck when I couldn’t land something I was trying. The best thing skateboarding has given me though is all the friendships and road trips. I have friends that are 20 plus year all thanks to pushing wood and rolling around from spot to spot.

Any big projects or things you are working on that you would like to share?

B: Currently working on a book, I don’t have a release date yet but it will more then likely be done next year sometime, maybe sooner.

Have you ever had the pleasure to venture to Cleveland before?

B: Can’t say that I have but I’m really looking forward to making it out there.

Beer of choice?

B: PBR and whatever beers are cold at the moment. Like now, I'm drinking a Miller Lite. I don't love it but it was free and it's cold "come on."

All time favorite skateboarder growing up?

B: To hard to pick one so I’ll pick 3. Matt Reason - who just recently passed RIP, Phil Shao, and always wanted to go as fast as Wade Speyer oh wait and Salman Ahah. But those 4 now I guess were probably the most I looked up to in the 90’s. There’s a ton more as well, I could go on all day about skaters I looked up to and were my favorites through out the years. That’s the great thing about skateboarding, there’s not 2 skaters on this earth that do every trick just like someone else, each individual brings their own personal style to every trick. I could watch Jason Jesse blast frontside airs all day. Same with Grant Taylor they both rip and both have amazing front side airs but they are not the same. Does any of this shit make sense?

Favorite Karaoke 90’s hit? (I see you singing on the grams all the time ahahah)

B: I love to Karaoke I can’t carry a tune in a bucket but it's fun and funny. My favorite song to sing form the 90’s ain't from the 90’s it came out in 1987, which is close enough to the 90’s. Jon Bon Jovi’s hit “Wanted Dead or Alive” but I can’t do that one alone I have to have Kyle, Murph, and Phil on that one but it's always fun to sing it because everyone at whatever bar we are at always gets into it. But a 90’s hit that gets everyone up off their ass at the bar is a 90’s hit by Wilson Phillips “Hold On” come on, and I love signing it.

A video posted by Billy Childress (@billychildress) on

Anyone you would like to give shout outs to and or thank?

B: THANK YOU EVERYONE OUT IN INTERWEBS WORLD THAT LIKE MY PHOTOS, COMMENTS ON THEM, AND SOMETIMES REPOSTS 'EM, THANK YOU. Thanks to all my family and brothers. Thanks to my beautiful wife Missy who puts up with me being gone and me traveling all the time but she always stands behind me and supports everything I do. She’s always ready to go for a ride on the ol' Shovel and she’s willing to drag her feet Flintstone style. Remember that baby when we lost our brake hahahaha leaving Winston that time, but we made it home, come on. I love you. But honestly thanks to everyone that has believed in me and given me a chance to work for them. Thanks to you Mikey and everyone behind Fuel Cleveland I appreciate you guys wanting me to be a part of the show.

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