We were backing up Doug Kershaw in Berkeley and after the first number he pointed to us and said to the audience, 'Not bad for a bunch of whiteys, eh?"
Commander Cody and his Lost Planet Airmen rolled into Worcester Tuesday midway through their first nationwide tour.
"We played at the spectrum in Philadelphia with Alice Cooper and the Chambers brothers and there were 17,000 13-year-olds there waiting to see Alice Cooper hang himself. The Chambers brothers came out all coked up and ready to go. Then we came out and plunk, I got kit in the head with a roll of toilet paper. Then there were all these kids on reds throwing bottles. This one bottle came down and hit right in front of the band and the next thing I saw was our manager up in the balcony choking shit out of somebody."
Their music is a combination of rock, country, cajun, boogie, swing and western. The songs range from some of the raunchiest truck-driving songs ever written, through Doug Kershaw's "Diggie-Diggie Low" to Carl Perkins's "Boppin' the Blues."
"Here I sit with a broken heart, I took three bennies and my semi truck won't start."
The group seems at times to be the epitome of a country-western bar group.
"Our next album is going to be recorded four tracks, with no over-dubbing. It will be named Cold Steel, Hot Licks and Other Truck Songs."
The band is as unlikely a bunch of hombres as ever played together.
"Me and Tichy are just hippies from Berkeley trying to make a living. Now Bobby Black, the new pedal steel player is a pro. He gives the group a lot of class."
The Commander himself has a Master of Fine Arts from Michigan.
"The first drummer we had was a spade who didn't get into country music, especially my song 'Family Bible.' He said that if we did that song once more he'd walk off stage. I grabbed the mike and said, 'Family Bible it is.' He left..."
The fiddle and saxaphone player, Andy Stein, used to play first violin for the Detroit Symphony.
"When the band first started I was about the only one with an old lady. Now I'm the only person in the group without one, Fuck..."
John Tichey, the rhythm guitar player, has a PhD in hydraulic engineering.
"Man, we blew $8000 on redubbing the West Virginia Creeper's pedal steel on that album. That dude was always out of tune."