Jonny Cragg's was influenced during his youth by a number of progressive rock drummers - and he's not ashamed to name them.

"Rush's Neil Peart; Led Zeppelin's John Bonham and Nick Mason from Pink Floyd were all introduced to me by my older brother's record collection," Cragg said from a mobile phone while riding in a cab in New York City."A lot of people labeled them as reactionary," he added. "But, to me, these guys were doing something that was never done before commercially. They were doing 26-minute epics when everyone else was doing three-minute pop ditties."

Cragg's band, Spacehog - which also features vocalist-bassist Royston Langdon, guitarist-vocalist Antony Langdon (yes, they're brothers) and lead guitarist Richard Steele - landed the opening band slot for the Aerosmith tour on April 18.

Cragg said he finds this fascinating. "(Aerosmith) ties in with the Led Zeppelin frame of mind. Those types of bands were a revelation to me."

However, being a music fan, Cragg said he listens to a lot of different styles - everything from Soundgarden to Smashing Pumpkins to Sly & the Family Stone to drum 'n' bass mixes of DJ Shadow and Chemical Brothers.

"And the band (members) all love Queen and (David) Bowie," he said. "I think we pretty much showed that with our playing on (our) first album (`Resident Alien')."

Spacehog has previously opened for Silverchair and the Red Hot Chili Peppers.

"All of these things that are happening are great opportunities for us," Cragg said. "Now, we're opening for Aerosmith. I really want to see their clothes."

Spacehog's latest recording, "The Chinese Album," is the band's best work, said Cragg. "Even though we only have two albums out."

The single "Mungo City" has been played all around the country and has found its way to high rotation on MTV.

"Our music isn't supposed to be a novelty," Cragg explained. "There are a lot of people out there who have faith in music and what it can do. Spacehog's goal is to have people understand what we're trying to say. And if anyone has a different perception of a song, so be it."