The high point of a Bill Kirchen show is the tour of guitar-hero riffs the guitar hero takes the crowd on in the middle of "Hot Rod Lincoln," a rock 'n' roll rave-up Kirchen recorded in 1972 as a member of Commander Cody and His Lost Planet Airmen. Riffs from The Beatles, The Ventures, Merle Haggard, Albert Collins, Link Wray, The Sex Pistols, Jimi Hendrix, and countless others are shoe-horned in with Kirchen's own lightning-fast contribution.
Kirchen is the master of the Telecaster, the "kang" of twang. When he's not traversing the endless black ribbon across the country with his trio, Kirchen is the go-to guy for pros in the know, like Nick Lowe and Elvis Costello. His mixture of rock 'n' roll, boogie-woogie, hardcore country, honky-tonk, and rockabilly make him a godfather of the Americana idiom. Kirchen simply calls it "dieselbilly."
There's no spandex or cape, no x-ray vision. Kirchen prefers the Clark Kent approach and balks at the word "hero," even though the cat renders riffs faster than a speeding bullet, and can jump tall ... You get the picture.