Movie Review: Mayor of the Sunset Strip
His name carries much more cache in L.A. than elsewhere in the country,
but Rodney Bingenheimer has been an important taste-maker in American
music, providing the initial exposure that helped launch many careers.
He introduced British glam to Los Angeles with his English Disco, a
tiny but trendy club on the Sunset Strip. He then moved to KROQ, one of
the country's biggest radio stations, where he was known as Rodney on
the ROQ and continued to break new artists. The documentary Mayor of the Sunset Strip explores
the many facets of his life: his obsession with famous people, his
relation with his parents, how his radio show created careers, the
decline of his own career in an increasingly profit-driven radio
market, how his sexual conquests exceeded Robert Plant's in their
The movie boast lots of cameos. Musicians such as David Bowie and Gwen
Stefani, who he helped break in America, cozy up to him. Ray Manzarek
talks about how he fit into the L.A. scene, but I kept thinking of the Onion headline, something like
"Ray Manzarek Goes a Whole 10 Minutes Without Discussing the Doors."
Kim Fowley extols his own genius, a frequent habit of his since others
either don't think he's a genius or don't think he's worth extolling.
Fortunately, former Runaway/protégé Cherie Currie offers
up a different viewpoint on Fowley than his own elevated one.
The movie had playe briefly at the Music Box; it now looks like the
only way to catch it in Chicago is to wait for the DVD.