It’s Sunday night and your ears are glued to the radio. Why? Because Rodney is holding court, just like he has the past few years. Rodney is your weekly go-to guy for what is new, what is interesting and what is happening. He’s not your average Disc Jockey – doesn’t sound like he’s doing his “voice of god” thing – he sounds like your friends – he sounds like people you know. And what’s more, he knows people – he’s met David Bowie – Brian Jones of the Rolling Stones beat him up once. He’s rumored to be dating Brooke Shields. He has the inside scoop and gets records before they’re released and he plays bands you’ve never heard before. And tonight he has the Go-Go’s. You remember them when you first saw them at Club 88 on Pico – you wondered about them at the time, but you liked them. Like you, they were L.A. and they reminded you of girls you know at Uni High.
So, on Sunday night everything stops, you turn up the radio and listen to Rodney explain it all to you. Here’s an hour’s worth of Rodney, with special guests The Go-Go’s, just getting ready to go on tour – March 30, 1980.
With the baffling news that Rodney Bingenheimer was unceremoniously kicked off KROQ after 41 years, certainly its the end of an era. But then, KROQ no longer bears any resemblance to what it once was – as most of commercial radio has changed and gone from friend of the audience to friend of the shareholder, it symbolizes aspects of what has been erased from our culture, for no good reason. Rodney Bingenheimer has been, aside from being characterized as the Mayor Of Sunset Strip, has also been likened as L.A.’s answer to John Peel; someone who loved music and loved turning people on to it. Rodney was a key element in the L.A. Music scene during those pivotal days of the late 1970s when Corporate Rock was losing its grip and the DIY culture of bands forming and doing it themselves needed champions like Rodney on their side. Yes, Rodney got a Star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame and has been considered a Pop-Culture icon. But more than that, Rodney’s love of music and the people who made that music did much more to promote and turn people on to new things than almost anyone else in L.A. at the time. In some ways, he was the link to the days of radio when the DJ was an imparter of knowledge and information; the go-to-guy to find things out. And now that even that link is gone. We need to do a more thorough check of the bath water these days – there’s a few too many babies being tossed out with it. IMO.