GEORGE FRAYNE, a student in graduate school at the
University of Michigan in 1967, put a band together with his pal JOHN TICHY, an
engineering PhD candidate. The first group was more of a 'happening' than anything
else, featuring the TAP DANCING GREEN SISTERS, PAT THE HIPPIE STRIPPIE and, of
course, the GALACTIC TWIST QUEENS with a supporting cast of anywhere between 5 and
After graduation, in 1968, Cody was not able to cope with an actual job situation
(Assistant Professor of Art) at Wisconsin State University. George drove 14 hrs a
week back and forth to Ann Arbor every weekend to appear with the band and their new
singer harp player, Billy C Farlow, of Decatur Alabama.
George and Billy C. penned the first original tunes, "Down to Seeds and Stems Again"
and "Back to Tennessee" in a library during a break in finals. After 2 semesters,
George quit teaching and jumped into the Ozone Van with Billy C. and the steel
guitar player, then the West Virginia Creeper, and headed for The Coast.
In San Francisco for the summer of 1969, the band caught the tail end of the famous
Psychedelic scene. They found a home in the saloons of Berkeley and after packing a
local dive known as "Mandrake's" every night, they got some executives from
Paramount Records to sign them up.
In l977 Cody, Kirchen, Stein, Tichy and
Billy C. all went in different directions,
Cody making 2 albums on Arista and working with Delaney Bramlett and Nicolette
Larson. He teamed up with Bill Kirchen's
Moonlighters in 1979 and
that combo lasted a few years.
Some of that
personnel are featured on the Relix release, "ACES HIGH" (April 1990):
Austin deLone, Tim Eschliman (Rhythmtown-Jive), and Tony Johnson as
well as Keith Crossan
and the brief return of Billy C. Farlow.
In 1992 the Lost Planet Airmen included vocalist and guitarmeister Peter Walsh
(formerly with Seatrain and Hoodoo Rhythm Devils) bass guitar monster Dave Tolmie
(Maria Muldaur, Roy Rogers). Glen Sherba
(Burbank based guitar gunslinger, studio sessions with Cher, Badfinger, etc).
In 1995 Dave Erdmann replaced Billy C. on lead vocal and designated songwriter. Ed
Michaels joined the band on drums (Roy Rogers and Norton Buffalo).
Metal thrasher Sugar Ray samples Cody 'Lincoln' vocal for Atlantic Records hit "Mean
Machine". Royalties forthcoming .....
In 1997, Frayne relocated to Saratoga Springs, New York, and a new
configuration of the Lost Planet Airmen magically appeared.
It was original Airmen John Tichy who recommended guitar wizard
Malachowski. In '95 and '96, David was bandleader/guitarist/vocalist for Twain,
as she supported her "The Woman In Me" release and has also bent strings for Janie
Frickie, John Michael Montgomery, and Les Taylor. David has
resurrected the long dormant "truck driving song" aspect of the Airmen, and
has even contributed a self-penned song to the set list.
Guitar slinger Mark Emmerick was also referred to the
band by an original Airmen, Bill Kirchen. Mark has played with Greg Allman
Band and the Toler Brothers and has been known to play a mean slide guitar.
Groove master Steve
Barbuta was stolen from the James Montgomery Band, and has played with Edgar
Winter and Avenue Blue. Steve offers the band a wide pocket. Bass monster
Clyde Davies has toured with the Star Spangled Washboard Band and Richie
Havens in another life, and always has a unique perspective...
As always, our hero, the old Commander himself, is behind the piano,
leading the musical mayhem and controlled chaos. This fresh edition harks
back to the virtuosity and spontaneity of the original band, and the response
from critics and crowds has been overwhelmingly positive.