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Kirchen’s Cody days began in 1967 when he co-founded Commander Cody and His Lost Planet Airmen. They recorded seven albums for Paramount and Warner Brothers, one of which (Live From Deep in the Heart of Texas) rightfully made Rolling Stone’s list of the “100 Best Albums of All Time.” The original band established its place in the infancy of the Americana movement by being one of the first and only rock ’n’ roll bands to infuse their honky-tonk sound with pure, blood-and-guts country roots and Western swing. It’s Kirchen’s indelible guitar licks that define their top-ten charting hit, “Hot Rod Lincoln,” a song that eventually took on a post-Cody life of its own.
After the California-based Cody band split, Kirchen started his own band, The Moonlighters, and cut two more albums before relocating to Washington DC in the mid-’80s. There he started his Too Much Fun trio, released ten more critically-acclaimed albums and began his robust touring schedule of 200- plus dates a year around the country and as far afield as Lapland, Israel and Palestine.
He has played and recorded with a long list of luminaries, including Nick Lowe, Doug Sahm, Elvis Costello, Link Wray, Emmylou Harris,
Hoyt Axton and Gene Vincent. Bill is pretty sure that he is the only person to have, in a single year, stood on stage and played with both Ralph Stanley and Elvis Costello.