Commander Cody, the piano-pounding frontman of the legendary Commander Cody & His Lost Planet Airmen and more, returns for a concert at 8 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 29, at The Palms with his current band of Modern Day Airmen for a high-energy evening of old favorites and new fare. Tickets are $20.
Formed in Michigan and very quickly relocating to the Bay Area in the late 1960s where they were immediately an integral part of the burgeoning music scene, Commander Cody & His Lost Planet Airmen carved out their own niche with their irresistible combination of rock, boogie-woogie, country, psychedelia and western swing. With the Commander’s blazing boogie-rock piano lines, Bill Kirchen’s masterful guitar playing, and a whole cadre of talented musicians, songwriters, and singers in the band, Commander Cody & His Lost Planet Airmen busted open genres and the charts with hits like “Hot Rod Lincoln” and albums such as “Lost In The Ozone,” “Hot Licks, Cold Steel, and Truckers Favorites,” and “Live From Deep In The Heart of Texas” (one of Rolling Stone’s Top 100 albums of all time).
In his shows, the Commander draws from this deep catalogue as well as reaching well beyond into boogie-flavored rock new and old.
Born George Frayne, Commander Cody left his position as an art professor in Michigan when the band moved west and has remained a force to be reckoned with in both fields — a career trajectory that gives the lie to the adage of needing “something to fall back on” if a hoped-for career in either art or music doesn’t pan out. Case in point: some 45 years after jumping feet first into the music world, some 30 years after jumping back into art, and innumerable hops back and forth, Commander Cody recently put out a fresh album and George Frayne published a book of paintings (“Art, Music, and Life”) — both to acclaim.
As Frayne/Cody sums his dual careers in his book: “I have been painting for a long time. I have been rocking for almost as long. The tales of adventures in both cases run together, and in some cases, intersect. Here are the stories and the art of these moments.”
On Thursday, there will be no need to open a book or go to a gallery to experience the Cody/Frayne art/music intersection: while Cody the musician pounds the 88s on stage, a large painting by Frayne the artist (on generous loan) hangs on The Palms’ wall.
No question but that Cody and his band still have the power to light a fire under audiences with their high-octane sound, whether it’s with Cody classics (“Lost In The Ozone Again,” “Beat Me Daddy Eight To The Bar,” “Midnight on The Strand,” “Lookin’ At The World Through a Windshield,” “Riot In Cell Block #9,” “Seeds and Stems Again,” “Hot Rod Lincoln”) or songs from Cody’s newer releases. Truly a living rock ’n’ roll legend, Commander Cody delivers a very fun show packed with energy and top-notch music.
Tickets are available at Armadillo Music in Davis, Watermelon Music’s Woodland branch, Pacific Ace Hardware in Winters and at the door if not sold out. For more information, visit palmsplayhouse.com and commandercody.com.