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Interview: Bill Kirchen


Guitarist Bill Kirchen is known as the “Titan of the Telecaster” for good reason. Exhibit A: Check out his smokin’ signature tune “Hot Rod Lincoln”, which became a Top Ten hit for country rock hippies Commander Cody and the Lost Planet Airmen in 1972, a couple of years after Kirchen and his bandmates migrated from Ann Arbor, Michigan to the Bay Area.

The Airmen flew their own ways in 1976, and since then Kirchen has recorded and performed in various line-ups and styles, from country to rockabilly to honky-tonk to the catch-all style he calls “dieselbilly”.

This interview was for a preview article for for Kirchen’s 7/29/17 show at the Lobero Theatre in Santa Barbara, California, along with Texas country singer-songwriter Jimmie Dale Gilmore. It was done by phone on 7/21/17. (Valerie Fremin photo)