This is the Rodney Bingenheimer Thread Where We Tell Tales of Meeting Him and Discuss the Mayor of the Sunset Strip Film

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Well, I haven't met him, actually, but would love to hear from those who have. I thought the film, aside from its constant focus on Rodney's star-covered walls, was pretty tight. Sad, happy... thoughts?

ken taylrr (ken taylrr), Sunday, 18 April 2004 19:40 (fourteen years ago) Permalink

Get off the air.

Broheems (diamond), Sunday, 18 April 2004 19:42 (fourteen years ago) Permalink

Erm, what do you want to know that the entire city of L.A. doesn't already? I didn't see the film. I don't really want to talk about Rodney. It seems cruel.

Orbit (Orbit), Sunday, 18 April 2004 19:43 (fourteen years ago) Permalink

My first whiff of Rodney Bingenheimer came courtesy of the Angry Samoans' original "Inside My Brain" EP, bought at a record store in State College, PA, around '80-'81. "Get off the Air:" "You're a fuckin' piece of shit now Rodney, I don't think you're so hot...[8 pm] Rodney's on the air, beating off in Joan Jett's hair..."

Wonderful, invigorating hate.

I quite enjoyed "Inside My Brain," but Bingenheimer didn't. The man apparently had no sense of humor. So his displeasure got them blacklisted in LA. A lawsuit also ensued. This made it hard for the Samoans to follow-up a good record quickly. The next EP -- with the
first recording of "They Saved Hitler's Cock" -- was peddled under the name "The Queer Pills," "to avoid Rodney," one of them told me, at the time.

George Smith, Sunday, 18 April 2004 19:54 (fourteen years ago) Permalink

He seemed pretty zorched when I met him at a star-studded Clinton inaugural party 12 years ago -- a handler did most of the talking. Still, he was very nice and I still have his business card.

I thought I saw him again two weeks ago in the Long Beach airport, but it turned out to be that Peter Pan guy.

Bowlcuts and enthusiasm make my day.

Ian Christe (Ian Christe), Sunday, 18 April 2004 19:58 (fourteen years ago) Permalink

hes a loser.

Pablo Cruise (chaki), Sunday, 18 April 2004 20:10 (fourteen years ago) Permalink

Happily, Bingenheimer still does the show midnight to 3am on Sundays, which--in the cutthroat world of L.A. radio--is like winning the Nobel Prize for Longevity. Deborah Harry of Blondie is today a wistful character actress. The Angry Samoans, who composed a musical letter to Rodney titled "Get Off the Air" ("Get off the air, you fucking square"), have long since been broomed out of the punk-rock spotlight by the Sweep-Clown of Oblivion. And Bingenheimer still paces the boulevard, dines at Denny's and hangs out with Kim Fowley.

A movie blurb.

Actually, Metal Mike still plays LA about twice a year under the name
Angry Samoans.

Bingenheimer hit his peak during the early years of L.A. punk, booking bands into a succession of short-lived clubs and hosting a radio show that gave bands such as the Ramones their first West Coast airplay. An intimate of notorious puppet master Kim Fowley...
The Angry Samoans’ "Get Off the Air" is notably absent from an otherwise fine soundtrack.

From Philly

According to the KROQ web site, he is currently a DJ there for their 1pm basement bands program. Also, he apparently owns a club called "Rodney Bingenheimer's English Disco" in Hollywood. According to yet another web site, for the band Angry Samoans, "According to Turner the band was about making fun of people who acted like total jerks in their pursuit of fame and fortune in LA's rock scene. Their big target was DJ Rodney Bingenheimer of LA's KROQ. "Get Off The Air" contains "You're a f--king piece of s--t now Rodney/I don't think you're so hot/You make me laugh with those clothes you wear/And those stupid teeth you've got". The band thought Rodney would take it in good humor but instead they brought upon themselves the full hatred of the LA scene that relied on Rodney for air play and his energetic support."

More apocrypha on the movie.

"The glam rock of the seventies was just obnoxious," Turner said. "And Rodney, as a symbol, stood for that. As a symbol, he stood and endorsed and embraced all those people. And that was just, like, sick. So, I thought, if the mid seventies and late seventies-the emergence of punk rock-stood for anything, I mean, ask Joe Strummer (ex-guitarist for The Clash)-it was to clean house and say there are no icons, there should be no ruling class or higher class, at least as far as something that's cool or acceptable.

And here was this guy who had a New Wave show on the radio, but, even though he was latching onto the next thing that was trendy, he still endorsed this business of L.A. culture. When we wrote a song about him, he seemed to be a ripe target. Nothing personal against him, he just was the embodiment of everything that was sick in this town, everything that was reprehensible to us. And we always thought he'd be the first person to say [does a Rodney accent, 'Oh, yeah, there's song about me, they hate my guts,' and play it on the show, and that would be as much a part of the nature of the dog as anything else. We were, to be honest, surprised that he took exception to it. Not that we cared but, it just was funny that he was so appalled by it.

"We had people like Lee Ving from Fear coming to us and saying, 'You better not screw with Rodney, he's gonna make it difficult for you.'

From the LA Weekly.

It's a story of rock critics who formed a band as an homage to The Dictators and then went about alienating everyone around them with clever yet vicious critiques of their own scene. The hole they dug for themselves with "Get Off The Air", a brutal putdown of DJ Rodney Bingenheimer, is worthy of its own film. The infighting, eventual dissolution into 2 bands with the same name, and Turner's hateful obsession with Metal Mike is all great material for serious study. VH1 would do a good job with it but we don't live in a punk world.

This has been discussed, too.

One reckons punk rockers know of Rodney Bingenheimer as the
caricature lampooned by the Samoans.

George Smith, Sunday, 18 April 2004 20:23 (fourteen years ago) Permalink

Actually, this makes me think of another subject, maybe it deserves is own thread--I'll leave that to someone else.

This thread makes me think about the divide between "celebrity as abstract individual" who is known through public works, newspaper articles and the like, and "hey this is a person" who has a context. I know quite a bit about Rodney B. (and Kim Fowley) (and the Samoans) but I didn't want to say anything on this thread. I started to ponder why. It seems that even in a small pond, celebrity functions to smooth out the context, and that is what was bothering me. It seems these people had been reduced to the freakdom of chance meetings and the odd bit of journalistic interpretation.

If you lived in the LA area at the time (1979 and forward), as I did, you would remember KMET and Disco Sucks and the oppressive Led Zeppelin, Casablanca Records, and cocaine and limo rock culture we had at the time. Rodney played DEVO on KROQ back when no one knew who the fuck DEVO was and 99% percent of the US had never HEARD of punk rock or new wave. He had a club that booked these bands, as did Bomp's Greg Shaw. Blondie played an in-store when Bomp! was a record store. These guys were only people bringing the scene into LA. (Kim Fowley has his own survival story in the music business, but it didn't start with punk or new wave, I'm leaving him out of the discussion just because I am. he a professional "shocker", that's his thing, nuff said)

We were surrounded by crap in 1979. There was no such thing as indie distribution. No one even KNEW HOW to put out their own record. Reading the "Rodney was pathetic" article excerpts remind me of how much meaning, how much context is lost. What about all the bands who would NEVER had put a record out, indie or otherwise, without his help? He used to play demo tapes on the air. Jesus God, when bands couldn't even get on the radio without hiring a mobbed-up independent promoter to buy the station manager a brick of coke and a houseful of furniture, Rodney let unsigned, unknown, garage bands into the studio and played their demos.

Look, everyone in the music business is a freak in one way or another, but I'm really uncomfortable with looking at people through a telescope, with few datapoints; seeing them encircled by the lens of journalism with the context outside of the telescope missing.

Oh hell I said I wasn't going to say anything. Well I guess it didn't really--I just tried to put some of this in context.

Orbit (Orbit), Sunday, 18 April 2004 20:44 (fourteen years ago) Permalink

Has anyone seen the movie yet?

Scott CE (Scott CE), Friday, 23 April 2004 18:14 (fourteen years ago) Permalink

my early musical education was based on tapes my cousins used to send me of his sets combined with a mailorder place that had earlier tapes of his for sale.


gygax! (gygax!), Friday, 23 April 2004 18:17 (fourteen years ago) Permalink

Awww, I love Rodney. I couldn't get KROQ in my town when I was a teenager, but he would still show up on Request Video (w/Gia Desantos on channel 56 - a show I have inexplicably seen referenced here before! huzzah!) and he was always great. Except when he was praising Birdland. He definitely turned me on to some great stuff, and illuminates my favorite side of LA - the craven, desperate, deluded, but somehow still loveable side.

Shakey Mo Collier, Friday, 23 April 2004 18:25 (fourteen years ago) Permalink

If it weren't for Rodney, my musical growing would have been very different.

He introduced Depeche Mode to KROQ. Case in point. If you listened to KROQ in between 1983 and 1990, Depeche Mode completely OWNED KROQ's playlists, lock stock and barrel. (Not just great punk rockers like Redd Kross, Devo, or what have you).

He's been a defiant anglophile up until the late 90s even (and probably still is).. I think he managed to get Super Furry Animals airplay on KROQ, who by then, were far more tighter and commercialized.

There were also rumours about the thing he had for 14 year girls with leopard skin tards and punkish hair, but whatever. Biggest surprise/disappointment: he was NOT at the Shonen Knife/Celebrity Skin/Redd Kross/Cowsills reunion/Permanent Green Light show the Roxy in L.A. back in 1992 that I went to (and was AMAZING and the most Rodney Bingenheimer show I could ever imagine!). He was down the street at Pennyfeather's instead, where he always used to hang out. It was confusing to say the least.

I met him once and he was super nice. But he probably forgot me just minutes later. But that's alright. :)

donut bitch (donut), Friday, 23 April 2004 19:13 (fourteen years ago) Permalink

I think he managed to get Super Furry Animals airplay on KROQ, who by then, were far more tighter and commercialized.

That last comment was meant to describe KROQ, not SFA. (although both could be argued)

donut bitch (donut), Friday, 23 April 2004 19:15 (fourteen years ago) Permalink

the documentary is exceptionally good

Matos W.K. (M Matos), Friday, 23 April 2004 19:25 (fourteen years ago) Permalink

The fact is, he broke more bands than the PR departments of nine record companie combined and never earned a red cent.

When I was in The Quick...let's put it this way, this is just before punk rock. The LA scene was Van Halen doing covers at Gazzaris on the Strip, Jobriath when he hit town and the ludes had worn off and maybe folk singers.

When we were flukishly signed to Mercury, Rodney played our single every hour on the hour--a month before the rekkid was out.

Blondie, the Ramones, Richard Hell, The Jam--they hit town, they hit the radio. All for the cost of a few drinks with poor old Rodney.

I mean, Rodney played The Germs! Often. The Go Gos when they were The Eyes, The Dils, Screamers--he played all that stuff like it was frickin Pablo Cruise.

He and KROQ organized this off and on shambling rawkshow at this quaalude hotel and we'd be paid $1,000 per set--which could cover rent and food, for me at least, for a few months.

Yeah--he's got that vague Warhol thing but what's sad, or rather, what I perceive of as sad, was that he didn't know it, although I'm sure people have told him plenty by now.

And that little apartment.

Actually, Rodney had profound effect on my whole frickin' life.

Whilst a, well, let's say street-oriented 15 year old, my, um, 'friend' took me to Rodney's disco. Where one saw Marc Bolan and one was seriously like, Whoah.

And even better: I tried to go to the bathroom but Pam Des Barres wouldn't let me in because either A. she was doing blow and/or B. she was being done.

Another fun moment: With Ritchie Blackmore (sp?) in tow (!)", He walks up to me and says in that enthusiastic flatline voice, "Hey, Ian, Ritchie Balckmore, Deep Purple, wow, it's all happening!" So I shake Deep Purple's hand, and whisper in his ear with punky derision, "Deep Purple???" And he whispers back "And he's 28!" And I whisper the 70s version of "Eww, gross!"

Another time he told me Joey Ramone needed a haircut, ASAP (At 17, I'd gone to beauty school instead of college--tres Bowie, white trash Valley proto-boi division.)

So I go to their dressing room with a pair of scissors and Joey's frowning and Dee Dee says in deep Queens slur, "Nwah--he changed his mind, sorry." And Joey won't look at me, he's mortified--punk rockers don't get a *trim*, fer fuck's sake!

I could go on but nostalgia's a dangerous drug. Every celeb in that film owes him a bigass check. I owe him for a sense of validation nobody else gave me when I seriously needed it, and I couldn't even pay the interest on that.

Ian in Brooklyn, Saturday, 24 April 2004 12:34 (fourteen years ago) Permalink

Now goddamn. That there is a story. :-) Thanks for sharing it!

Ned Raggett (Ned), Saturday, 24 April 2004 14:04 (fourteen years ago) Permalink

While I can't seem to say this online without coming off unintentionally sarcastic or boring, it does genuinely warm my heart to see folks of various past musical vanguards coming onto ILM and sharing their experiences with us.

Michael Daddino (epicharmus), Saturday, 24 April 2004 14:13 (fourteen years ago) Permalink

ot fuckin m about Gazarri's and the LA scene!

Orbit (Orbit), Saturday, 24 April 2004 20:35 (fourteen years ago) Permalink

Thanks. And when I think of sitting there staring at Jobriath try to find a note in a bad spacesuit--man, people will rediscover anything.

Ian in B'lyn, Saturday, 24 April 2004 21:20 (fourteen years ago) Permalink

OK, that was kinda mean, what with him being dead and stuff.

But still.

Ian in Brooklyn, Saturday, 24 April 2004 21:21 (fourteen years ago) Permalink

four months pass...
I just finally saw this movie two nights ago and it's still haunting me. I knew nothing about Rodney and didn't know what to expect, but it really fascinated and depressed the hell out ot me.

Did anyone else find the filmmakers to be sort of cruel? That whole scene when he's giving the Elvis autograph to his step-sister and the interviewer keeps asking his father where Rodney's childhood pictures are is just horrible.

darin, Wednesday, 1 September 2004 22:41 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

yeah, I got the impression the filmmakers intentionally made situations uncomfortable in several scenes, which is kinda lame. On the other hand it leant the film its most deeply depressing and emotional moments. So whatcha gonna do.

I grew up lovin Rodney, I still love him after seeing this movie, now I just feel kinda sad for him...

and Kim Fowley is one ghoulish motherfucker.

Shakey Mo Collier, Wednesday, 1 September 2004 23:28 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

Film maker = Chris Carter (Dramarama) = complete asshole. I just saw them without him and they sound so much better.

big chaki (chaki), Thursday, 2 September 2004 00:24 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

I thought that Rodney had given up on Canter's for the Gower Denny's, but apparently he's back at Canter's now. I see him or his blue GTO there all the time.

Elvis Telecom (Chris Barrus), Thursday, 2 September 2004 01:19 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

Well, he has a booth at Canter's named after him now.

I liked the outtakes in the DVD. It's got Courtney being extremely bossy and making sense. Also, Michael Des Barres is very funny. He really should get better roles than "that snotty English guy" on various sitcoms.

Arthur (Arthur), Thursday, 2 September 2004 01:42 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

eight months pass...
I finally rented this last night, and really loved it. I have never heard his radio show, but always sensed from his writing credits in Hit Parader or Creem years ago that he truly was the ultimate starstruck fan who somehow managed to parlay his interests into a career. A fascinating, albeit sometimes sad, life.

Daniel Peterson (polkaholic), Wednesday, 4 May 2005 18:52 (twelve years ago) Permalink

Very melancholy movie....great film I thought.

M@tt He1geson (Matt Helgeson), Wednesday, 4 May 2005 19:07 (twelve years ago) Permalink

I think every time I've ever been to Canters I turn left and there he is. The movie was great just because it was about Rodney but yeah the filmmaker was a real prick.

walter kranz (walterkranz), Wednesday, 4 May 2005 19:56 (twelve years ago) Permalink

one year passes...
Pam DesBarres is still alright. Either that or the cameraman is her best friend...

mark grout (mark grout), Wednesday, 11 October 2006 15:25 (eleven years ago) Permalink

Ok, I forgot this was an old thread, and revived by accident. I got a cutout copy of the DVD, £2.

Seems the key to longevity is : Do it and don't get paid (much)...

mark grout (mark grout), Wednesday, 11 October 2006 15:26 (eleven years ago) Permalink

nine months pass...

was on tv on monday or tuesday and i'm gradually working my way through it.

he looked so awkward (and had so many different haircuts) in all those photos. loved his frumpy gf too.

am struck, at times, with the similarities to Peel, especially the bit where he was saying 'i used to be on at 8, then 10 til 1, now midnight to 3'

have been to that canters (the one on fairfax?) but he wasn't there.

and rodney in the dojo that used to be his English Disco. looking awkward.

what's he doing these days?

koogs, Friday, 13 July 2007 12:45 (ten years ago) Permalink

Tube Tops! Tube Tops FOREVER!

Shakey Mo Collier, Friday, 13 July 2007 15:18 (ten years ago) Permalink

I hate the 90s!

Shakey Mo Collier, Friday, 13 July 2007 15:19 (ten years ago) Permalink

"After years of grassroots support, the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce decided to acknowledge his contribution to music and radio with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame which was presented on March 9, 2007. This is the 2,330th star awarded, and it is in front of the Knitting Factory nightclub at 7021 Hollywood Blvd."

koogs, Friday, 13 July 2007 15:45 (ten years ago) Permalink

one year passes...

watching this on hulu now, mostly sad

velko, Saturday, 16 May 2009 07:07 (eight years ago) Permalink

three months pass...
one year passes...

watching the movie right now and this guy is just so creepy, it's kind of hard to watch. i think i'd be less uncomfortable if the doc was about Kim Fowley even.

some dude, Thursday, 12 May 2011 18:23 (six years ago) Permalink

Was this the original "Kinda LOL but mostly sad" ?

Mark G, Friday, 13 May 2011 08:11 (six years ago) Permalink

I think the director of this doc recently passed away? Loved this movie when I saw it back in the day.

musicfanatic, Saturday, 14 May 2011 23:14 (six years ago) Permalink

Yeah, George Hickenlooper:

Ned Raggett, Sunday, 15 May 2011 01:48 (six years ago) Permalink

Watched it last night as it's pirated to YouTube. Not bad, gets uncomfortable at times. Was shot prior to Cherie Curie apparently making up with Kim Fowley.

Here's one of the movie's oddest characters by far, a friend of Rodney's, still at it:

Gorge, Sunday, 15 May 2011 19:55 (six years ago) Permalink

one thing the film does capture really well is that rare situation of these guys kind of being fixtures on the same scene together for like 40 years straight

suggest ban the subbest man (some dude), Sunday, 15 May 2011 21:06 (six years ago) Permalink

six years pass...

Rodney leaves KROQ. Last show June 5th.

Elvis Telecom, Friday, 26 May 2017 04:14 (ten months ago) Permalink

Think that finally kills off the 20th century.

Ned Raggett, Friday, 26 May 2017 04:41 (ten months ago) Permalink

Did he ever make it up with Debbie Harry?

Mark G, Friday, 26 May 2017 07:08 (ten months ago) Permalink

Didn't know he/it had their own thread. The film was my favourite of whatever year it came out--still remember the sequence where he kept popping up Zelig-like all over the place.

clemenza, Sunday, 28 May 2017 02:51 (ten months ago) Permalink

Used to listen to him when I was a kid until I heard all of his "disco sucks" stuff which seemed like something a 14 year old should do, not someone of his age. But then "not someone of his age" is the central theme of that sad documentary so I guess it's more tragic than lame now.

He's hinting that he'll be carrying on in some way so I guess that means Red Kross streaming on the Internet forever.

yesca, Sunday, 28 May 2017 23:49 (ten months ago) Permalink

Article and playlist of his final show on KROQ.

nickn, Wednesday, 7 June 2017 04:43 (ten months ago) Permalink

Evidently not a fan of the Angry Samoans' "Get Off the Air"--would have been a nice exit song.

clemenza, Wednesday, 7 June 2017 22:10 (ten months ago) Permalink

i always think of the GTO's "Permanent Damage" LP which has that one song with him on it. the way they say "Rodney BING - enheimer" was pretty fun.

AdamVania (Adam Bruneau), Wednesday, 7 June 2017 22:18 (ten months ago) Permalink

Οὖτις, Wednesday, 7 June 2017 22:20 (ten months ago) Permalink

Great-looking band: two Thurston Moores, Freddie Mercury, Rodney, and I don't know who the guy on the right's supposed to be.

clemenza, Wednesday, 7 June 2017 22:24 (ten months ago) Permalink

"Get me to the year 2000 IMMEDIATELY!"

Οὖτις, Wednesday, 7 June 2017 22:27 (ten months ago) Permalink

I don't know who the guy on the right's supposed to be.

one of the skinny ties from Blondie

AdamVania (Adam Bruneau), Wednesday, 7 June 2017 22:29 (ten months ago) Permalink

I recorded Rodney's last show - PM/email me offboard if you want a copy.

Elvis Telecom, Saturday, 17 June 2017 21:46 (ten months ago) Permalink

He's back!

This is excellent news! Booted from KROQ, Rodney Bingenheimer will return to radio via Sirius XM.

— Aidin Vaziri (@MusicSF) June 28, 2017

Ned Raggett, Wednesday, 28 June 2017 17:36 (nine months ago) Permalink

As much as I love the cartoon "hate" of Angry Samoans, and I definitely do, I can't honestly hate on Rodney. He's got a Warhol-ish, esthetic wimpiness to him that I just couldn't bash in good conscience. In this day and age, niceness goes a long way with me, as it's a rapidly decreasing commodity. And he really did open the door for ALOT of bands who would've gotten zero airplay w/o him. The documentary was/is wonderful IMO.

VyrnaKnowlIsAHeadbanger, Wednesday, 28 June 2017 18:14 (nine months ago) Permalink

And re: xpost Ned's latest. Welcome back Rodney!

VyrnaKnowlIsAHeadbanger, Wednesday, 28 June 2017 18:16 (nine months ago) Permalink

Rodney has been a serious creep to underage women for about 100 years but yah him and Kim Fowley get a pass because the Earth is terrible.

kurt schwitterz, Wednesday, 28 June 2017 18:21 (nine months ago) Permalink

wasn't he kind of a procurer or flesh for bands + crew?

or at night (Jon not Jon), Wednesday, 28 June 2017 18:57 (nine months ago) Permalink

Bingenheimer not as bad as Fowley in the predatory misogyny dept imo

Οὖτις, Wednesday, 28 June 2017 19:04 (nine months ago) Permalink

Or afaict anyway

Οὖτις, Wednesday, 28 June 2017 19:04 (nine months ago) Permalink

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