Not all rock and rollers need a certain color M&M in their dressing room in order for the show to go on. Some require only a lobster roll. Maine’s famous crustacean is just one of the reasons veteran rock group The Outerspace Band keeps coming to the island of Vinalhaven every summer.

“Vinalhaven is our favorite place to play, without a doubt,” said lead guitarist John Moses. He and his band mates, including Compton Maddux on guitar, Eliot Osborn on keys, Michael Wiskey on drums and substitute Steve Hardwick on bass, played their annual summer show on Vinalhaven to a sold-out crowd at The Sand Bar restaurant August 14. Bassist Klondike Koehler and guitarist Wailin’ Dave Robinson didn’t make the ferry ride over, but missed the lively show that both the island and the band expect every year.

The Outerspace Band first landed on Vinalhaven in 1980. Back then, residents Perry and Annie Boyden invited the group, which formed in 1968 in Hartford, Conn., to play a benefit at Trolley Pond for the local art and recreation center known as the ARC. Little did they know at the time, the group would be back-again and again. For the next 25 years the band’s goal was to give back to the community. They more than accomplished that mission. The Outerspace Band has raised over $20,000 for the ARC, EMT services and Vinalhaven Eldercare.

For the next few years the band continued to put on the island concerts at several private homes, but “the parties got a little too big, and liability became an issue,” said Moses. The band started playing at their current venue, The Sand Bar, in 2007, where attendees must be 21 years or older.

Needless to say, the band generated a huge island fan base over the years, which Moses claims is unique to anyplace else the band has played. “We used to get off the ferry and it was like a parade,” he said. “People would recognize us, they’d be playing cassette tapes from their homes as we walked downtown.”

“From the first song, everyone is singing the lyrics,” Wiskey said. “We don’t have to work that hard when we play for this crowd.”

But the band’s relationship with the island has had its rocky moments. “We set off a war between the locals and the summer people one year,” Wiskey said. The New England-based band was hired to play at a wedding with few islanders on the guest list. With the festivities right next to the water, envious Outerspace fans “showed up in boats, and they were shooting fireworks at the wedding reception and honking their horns and singing along to the tunes,” he said. “We played at the Schoolhouse the next day just to appease all of the people.”

The islanders’ enthusiasm for The Outerspace Band is the number-one reason the group enjoys playing on the island, according to Moses. “We play original music, and a lot of times people are looking for cover bands,” he said. “What other place do they appreciate our original music? No other place knows every word to every song. It just doesn’t happen anywhere else.”

It’s not just the energy from the crowd that the band eats up. “The other thing we love out here is the food, the lobster,” Maddux said. “We love lobster. It’s huge.”

“The best lobster in Maine,” Moses added.

The band has been known to put on quite a show for the island over the years. At one of the Trolley Pond shows, Moses played a tribute to Jimi Hendrix on top of a cliff and threw his guitar into the water. The band has also been known to dance on speakers and hop on surfboards into the crowd in the past. “Theater is a big part of the band,” Moses explained. The theatrics continued this summer when Moses stood outside the door of The Sand Bar and played his guitar to a crowd of people dancing in the street to island favorites “Big Brown Eyes,” “Glass Bones” and “Twisting in China.”

Life-long islander Blanche “Bunny” Beckman first met the band in 1980 at a concert at Sugarloaf Mountain and became an instant fan. “Vinalhaven needed a rock band,” she said. “They needed to see why I was hitchhiking all over the place to go see Grateful Dead and other concerts.”

Former island resident Teresa Hall has also been a loyal fan since The Outerspace Band’s Vinalhaven debut and comes every year from Union to see them play. “My summer’s not complete until I’ve heard them live,” she said.

The island concerts are “sacred,” according to Osborn, and the band appreciates the support from the year-round population. “We’d like to actually end up here in Eldercare,” Maddux said. “There are six rocking chairs up there for us now.”

And if they did move in, islanders would still expect a rockin’ good time, for as Vinalhaven resident John Gordon put it, “They’ve still got it after all these years.”

Claire Carter is a Vinalhaven resident and a participant in The Working Waterfront’s student writers program.