I respect noted LA KROQ DJ Rodney Bingenheimer. What that man has done for rock and roll is immeasurable as he has marched to his own drummer playing records by bands that most people hadn’t heard of (at least not that early in their carreers) because he has a genuine interest and love of rock and roll. To the so-called “Mayor Of Sunset Strip” music is the ultimate form of positive energy and Rodney on the ROQ cannot get enough. It’s with mixed feelings then that I write this review of the film Mayor of the Sunset Strip, the biography of the rock fan, journalist, promoter, club owner and radio DJ on KROQ.
Watching this film made me uncomfortable at times because it seemed like director George Hickenlooper (the man behind the awesome “Hearts of Darkness: A Filmaker’s Apocalypse”) was trying to purposely paint Bingenheimer as some sort of fame whore who just wanted to latch on to the musicians that he played and promoted on the radio. Now it’s debatable whether the music industry is more fucked up than the film or “fashion” industry but despite the directors intention, Bingenheimer comes off as a quiet, un-offensive and caring guy that is unfortunately situated smack dab in the middle of the “use or be used” capital of the world. Why the constant questions about whether it bugs him that he is not more famous? Or whether he could use more money (who can’t for chrissakes!). I mean, instead of fixating on his collection of autographs and his constant posing with bands like Oasis, why not go into more detail about the UK punk music he was playing before anybody had the guts to play it in the U.S.? To me, he was almost portrayed as some kind of lost circus freak which, while at times interesting certainly didn’t seem to shed any more light on Rodney Bingenheimer the music fanatic and promoter. A little less “People” magazine stuff and a bit more rock and roll would have certainly helped me enjoy this DVD a lot more.
If you really want to learn more about Rodney on the ROQ just go and listen to him on Sunday nights on KROQ. In addition, check out his MySpace page at www.myspace.com/rodneyontheroq and check out his playlists. There are always nuggest of rock and roll genius contained within. Is Rodney Bingenheimer some fame hunting hagger on or a rock and roll original? I’ll tell you what, Dick Clark might be more famous, but Rodney is rock and roll all the way and to me, that’s what counts.