Wednesday, May 31, 2017


Circa 1978
You might not know who Rodney Bingenheimer is, but a lot of people who have spent time in Southern California sure do. That includes rock stars. He is the grand poobah of fan boys. From being the stand-in for Davy Jones of the Monkees in the mid-sixties, to hob-nobbing with just about every hip act that's passed through Hollywood, to hosting rock stars, groupies and freaks at his own Rodney's English Disco, he had a huge head start by the time punk rock and new wave appeared in the late seventies. In 1976 he was given a radio show, Rodney on the Roq, on (pun intended) KROQ in Los Angeles, and it has aired live since 1976. That's coming to an end this Sunday night. It was the station's choice, a bad one.

The first time I ever laid my eyes on Rodney was at a stoplight right in front of the Whiskey. He was with Kim Fowley. If I remember correctly Blondie was playing that night. That's another thing. He was one of the first DJs to play Blondie. Shit, he was one of the first to play Cheap Trick, the Ramones, and the Runaways and that was early on. I remember hearing the original version of Devo's "Jocko Homo" on his show, well before they were signed. Another very early (possibly the EMI) spin was the Sex Pistols "Anarchy In the UK". And you had to be complete crap of a L.A. punk band to not get played. He didn't discriminate. It could be pop, punk, garage, hardcore, or whatever, it was his nugget if he dug it and that's all that mattered.

Living a hundred miles away, I couldn't tune it in often in the pre-internet past, but now you can stream his show, at least one more time. It's on June 4, at 12:00 AM (Pacific Time). There's a link below. In the meantime there's a few other links. You have to check "I Hate the 90's" (zip linked below). The first lines of it are "Why do people send me large and extra large T-shirts? What happened to medium and small T-shirts? Why do girls have spikes on their tongues? Marcia Brady never had one, she's godhead!" What a nut. The band? It includes Eric Erlandson from Hole, Thurston Moore from Sonic Youth, and Pat Fear (White Flag if memory serves). (On Rodney's first 45 he was backed by Blondie.) There's tons more shit out there with him and about him. I'm sure you can find downloads of past shows. I could dredge up more old trivial personal stories, but I'd get carried away with fond memories and it'd get all geezer in here. (A friend of a friend that lived in LA used to plan her Sundays to end with a bath, with booze, a book and a radio to listen to Rodney on the ROQ. There you go. Spa day. That'd be a paragraph right there.)

Rodney and the Tube Tops - I Hate the 90s (streaming) at YouTube
Rodney and the Tube Tops - I Hate the 90s, Tube Tops Forever/Cell Phone Madness
  at The (Formerly) Daily 7 Two songs in a zip.
The GTOs with Rodney Bingenheimer - Rodney Bingenhemer mp3 at Beware of the Blog 1969
On the Radio:
Rodney on the ROQ - Final show live this Sunday, June 4 at 12:00 AM (Pacific time) HERE Click on "Listen Live" (right column) and a player will open.
Rodney on the ROQ September 21,1980 (streaming) at YouTube :49 minutes
Rodney on the ROQ 1978 with Joan Jett (streaming) at YouTube She wishes Tomata (from the Screamers) Happy Birthday at 3:30. Cute.
Influential KROQ DJ Rodney Bingenheimer talks about being taken off the air at OC Weekly
A Man Out of Time (a long profile) at LAWeekly
Rodney Bingenheimer
at Wikipedia


Anonymous said...

Hey, sorry to chime in late, but I watched that documentary last night, and I wanted to say thanks for posting it. What was weird is that everyone seemed to be anticipating that KROQ would eventually drop him -- and that was 15 years ago!

My hope is that he'll join Chris Carter and (belatedly) Kim Fowley on SIriusXM -- it would seem to be the natural place for him.


Tom G. said...

I had no idea that Fowley was on Sirius, but then I don't have that as an option, you know, being a tightwad and all. The documentary actually made me feel a little sorry for ol' Rodney. He really does seem like a teenager in an endearing sort of way.

Anonymous said...

I pay for satellite radio because the broadcast radio options around here (Washington DC suburbs) are atrocious nowadays. Our former KROQ equivalent, the legendary WHFS, played a lot of the same punk and indie bands -- but it started a long decline some time in the '90s, and it's been off the air completely for more than a decade. There's only one station that really plays jazz (smooth jazz doesn't count), and they don't play enough of it. And classic country and soul are nowhere to be found.

I completely agree with your take on the film.