Sunday, January 15, 2006

The Mayor of The Runaways

When my husband and I switched over to digital cable (so he could order a special seasonal sports package) we received something like 50 movie channels - it's insane. Needless to say, it's mostly garbage and extremely repetitious, but there have been some programming gems I've come across that have surprised and delighted me.

I enjoyed one such surprise late into the night last night: "The Mayor of the Sunset Strip" (2003). Music-holics who grew up in Los Angeles in the 70's and 80's have a pretty good idea who Rodney Bingenheimer is, even if they only know him as Rodney on the 'Roq' - his DJ moniker on L.A.'s premiere alterna-rock radio station, KROQ-FM. "Mayor" is a bittersweet expose of Rodney's amazing rock star- and groupie-filled life, from mop-topped stand-in for Davy Jones on The Monkees TV show, to introducing a tousle-tressed David Bowie to the Hollywood music scene, to almost single-handedly creating the alternative music genre with his exceptional radar for original talent (alright, some musicians had a hand in it too). As Annabella from Bow Wow Wow put it, he is "the West Coast Andy Warhol."

It's quite a tale, and "Mayor" tells it with loads of photos and footage from every step of Rodney's bizarre, unlikely journey. I can't possibly do justice to his story, for that visit or Even if the Sunset Strip is not a touchstone for you, it's still fascinating stuff.

Another very related rockumentary gem that's been in rotation for the past couple of months on cable is "Edgeplay" (2004), the story of The Runaways. Like Rodney, The Runaways are part of L.A. music scene lore. Teenaged girls transformed into rock foxes in the mid-1970's and ultimately exploited into oblivion. In case you don't know, this is the band that launched Joan Jett and Lita Ford, who managed significant solo careers. More importantly, The Runaways inspired girls to don fishnets, pick up guitars and plug into amps that go to 11 - something Tallulah and I know something about (alright, she knows alot more about it than I do, having been a bonafide Rock Goddess herself). Check it out: or

Tallulah, you must comment on the "scene."


Anonymous Tallulah said...

What's the old saying, if you can remember then you really weren't there. Well, I'm sorry to say that that part of my life is severly fragmented and fuzzy. Darn those were good times, good times.

The stories I do have, I would need to name names, and well, I don't wanna be sued for slander.

Okay, here's a true rock n' roll story, however I have changed the names. This guy who was the lead singer for a band called Han Valen, who's now the replacement for a new york shock jock that went to satellite radio was in the Rainbow room on the Sunset Strip. (I don't remember why I was there, it wasn't the typical place for me to hang out - perhaps getting free drinks from a date)

A buxom blonde boozy girl walks up to aforementioned lead singer and says: Hi (lead singer from aforementioned band) Remember Me?

He turns drunkenly, presses her head into his lap and then says...Yeah, you look familiar...

Bastard misgynistic Rock Stars.

11:14 AM  

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