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Wednesday, March 23, 2005

Rodney Bingenheimer

Rodney Bingenheimer, Mayor of the Sunset Strip. I've not yet seen that movie. Don't think I ever will. I have my own memories and feelings about Rodney. And isn't it kind of weird to see a movie explaining to the general public someone you know?

I can't remember who this young lady is, but the picture was taken in 1979, backstage at the Whisky A Go Go - that's what I wrote on the sleeve of the slide, and the time/date stamp from the processor confirms that.

Rodney was always a supporter of LA's music scene. He ran Rodney's English Disco back in the 70s, and I remember seeing photos in his apartment of himself miming a song on some television show with The Faces, and he fit right in! Little guy with Brit rock hair! He was playing bass in that picture. Rodney has always been a friend to the cult, underground and fledgling musician or scenester. I can't tell you how many times Pleasant and I were up at KROQ during his show Rodney on the ROQ. He let us promote Lobotomy and the benefit nights for ourselves that we had at the Whisky. He let Pleasant DJ and announce songs. When Billy Idol was a phone-in guest, Pleasant and I were there. Rodney enabled us to match-make ourselves with Billy and the rest of Generation X.

On other occasions, I drove many a band to Rodney's show. I remember taking The B-Girls and also The Avengers up to the station. Stiv Bators was a frequent guest, and Rodney, Stiv and I would repair back to Rodney's favorite haunt, Denny's on the Sunset Strip. Coincidentally, Denny's on Belmont in Girard, OH was Stiv's favorite haunt back in his Ohio days. I spent quite a few hours there earlier this month with the guys from the "Disconnected" band, who of course, you cannot forget, were Phase 2 of the Dead Boys once Jeff Magnum quit, Cheetah Chrome and Johnny Blitz disappeared or were fired, depending on who you believe.

These days, Rodney's show has been relegated to some after midnight hour, and I think it is plainly unfair. His Sunday night show was a boon to the local music community --- a vibrant and seminal group of musicians that helped change rock n roll in profound ways. Rodney was often the first DJ to play a record by an unknown punk band, only to have them jettison to bonafide status soon thereafter --- like X, the Dickies, the Runaways and the list is simply endless. Sure, there are lots of cool radio shows on these days, both locally and nationally on the satellite and internet channels. Rodney was a pioneer, and I think that everyone should give props and recognize that.

1 comment:

slickdpdx said...

So Cal did itself proud in the punk movement. Great early bands and best non-formulaic hardcore.