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The Best of Rodney On The Roq
1. Spoken Word Introduction :04
2. This Could Be The Night 3:02
3. I’m A Believer 4:22
4. Bloodstains 1:51
5. Amoeba 2:43
6. Wild In The Streets 1:33
7. Pushin’ Too Hard 1:16
8. Annette’s Got The Hits 1:16
9. Modern Machine 1:28
10. You Make Me Feel Cheap 2:02
11. Abolish Government/Silent Majority 1:58
12. 1945 1:51
13. Dead Heroes 3:14
14. Clean-Cut American Kid 2:12
15. Preppy 1:11
16. Urban Struggle 3:48
17. Are You Ready For The Sex Girls? 4:03
18. The Kids Are Alright 2:01
19. Barbie Doll Look 3:21
20. Private World 3:37
21. Bitchen Summer 2:38
22. Misirlou 2:07
23. This City Of Vice 3:27
24. Suicide Child 4:25
25. Is That All There Is? 5:43
26. This Is Goodbye 4:36
Think for a moment how much has changed in your life over the past eight years: do you attend the same school or college, pull down the same job, still dating the same girl, have the same haircut?
KROQ disc jockey RODNEY BINGENHEIMER is pretty much the same person with the same life-style as when we did the first "Rodney On The Roq" album some eight years ago. He lives in the same apartment, drives the same classic car, still does his weekend shows on L.A.'s most adventurous radio station, 106.7 KROQ FM.
Naturally a few things have changed. KROQ moved from Pasadena to Burbank; Rodney no longer eats dinner every day at Tiny Naylor's (knocked down like GOLD STAR recording studio for a mini-shopping mall). Rodney may have a new girlfriend, but he still prefers brunettes. And although his hair may have grown longer, Rodney remains essentially the same.
Who is Rodney Bingenheimer, then?
A brief resume of Rodney's life: as a teenager he ran away from northern California to join the swinging sixties as SONNY's and CHER's gofer. He gravitated into publicity and by 1971, when as a copy boy on the LOS ANGELES TIMES I was invited by music critic BOB HILBURN to check out ALICE COOPER's coming out party at the Ambassador Hotel, Bob made sure to mention in his review afterward Rodney's presence there, thereby acknowledging scenester Bingenheimer's stature in the rock 'n roll community. Alice Cooper was not the first nor, the last of many stars that Rodney befriended and encouraged to success.
Soon Rodney himself became host to the stars as he went into business as proprietor of RODNEY BINGENHEIMER'S ENGLISH DISCO, a trend-setting hang-out for the glam crowd which included. T. REX, SUZI QUATRO, LED ZEPPELIN in Hollywood. IGGY POP even played a set there. Another evening it was the King himself, ELVIS who dropped by, just to visit with Rodney.
It was in 1976 that Rodney first went on the air at radio station KROQ-FM. At first, Rodney had just his Sunday evening show. But soon, as word spread of Rodney being the only jock in town hip to the punk rock explosion happening in England and New York, Rodney was given more airtime on Saturday nights. His ratings have always been incredibly high and there are few disc jockeys that have survived the radio jungle of Los Angeles for twelve years as he has.
I clearly remember first hearing him on the radio in September1977, soon after I arrived in L.A. from London. At that time I was totally uninvolved with the music business, yet I soon became hooked on the surrealistic quality of his show; the music he played was absolutely unpredictable, but, so too, were his interviews. Never has a disc jockey so allowed stars and poseurs alike to reveal their true natures in front of a microphone.
This compact disc in very much a testament to Rodney's efforts and just a few of the groups he has supported over the years. Originally we conceived it as a way to represent the L.A. music scene. We had hoped that other labels would want to see their acts on Rodney's compilations. As it turned out, we have relied more on Rodney's personal friendships with such groups and artists as The BANGLES, NINA HAGEN, The VANDALS, SKY SAXON, RED ROCKERS and DRAMARAMA to secure recordings.
Many times, Rodney has asked me as the producer to go out and record groups specifically for the compilation. Such were the beginnings of the CIRCLE JERKS', ADOLESCENTS', SOCIAL DISTORTION's and ILL REPUTE's careers.
So our ultimate objective is to give something of the flavor of Rodney's radio show; to do so successfully requires something from your, the listener's, imagination. For it was Rodney Bingenheimer who first played GENERATION X (with BILLY IDOL) in the U.S. It was Rodney who broke NENA and "99 Luftballons", TONI BASIL's "Mickey", The GO- GO'S "and "We Got The Beat", The SEX PISTOLS, The RAMONES, The BANGLES' "Getting Out Of Hand" and countless other artists in the U.S.A. As his in-studio guests, Rodney has had hundreds of celebrities and near-celebrities touch base with him during their stays in Hollywood. Behind every one of the cuts on this compact disc is a Rodney Bingenheimer story!
Let's talk about the music!
No, we don't have BROOKE SHIELDS singing here, though we hear she may well be surprising us with her musical talents sometime in the future. Many stars do ID's for Rodney's show. Brooke's is particularly special. Her career has been followed from its outset by Rodney and he has long been friends with the Shields family. Some years ago, Rodney used to escort Brooke to special occasions when she was in town; to this day, Rodney still makes it each year to her birthday party in New York. When her mother, TERI SHIELDS, was asked whether we might use Brooke's tag on Rodney's compilation, she unhesitatingly granted us permission, gratis. This for Brooke, whose jeans endorsements cost manufacturers millions.
Without a doubt, Rodney's all time favorite producer is PHIL SPECTOR, the former teenage boy wonder of the music business. Every year, Rodney hosts a special Christmas salute to Phil and plays some of the greatest pop records ever produced, "The Da Doo Ron Ron"; ''And Then I Kissed Him", "Spanish Harlem", "Be My Baby" among many others. Well, you don't have to wait until Christmas to hear the Phil Spector Wall of Sound, for at the beginning of every show, Rodney kicks things off with the rare Spector-produced, "This Could Be The Night" as performed by M.F.Q., the MODERN FOLK QUINTET. Co-written by Phil and famed songwriter HARRY NILSSON, "This Could Be The Night" has been re-recorded especially for this compact disc with M.F.Q.'s lead singer HENRY (TAD) DILTZ doing an encore performance, assisted by Nilsson with musical backing by the CHARACTERS, whose own cut "This Is Goodbye" we talk about later in these notes. As well, some very in-crowd people assisted with hand-claps and percussion on this cut: DEBBIE HARRY, CHRIS STEIN, CHRIS CARTER, RONALD VAUGHAN, GARY STROBEL and Rodney himself.
Some of you may know Henry from his definitive photography from the sixties and seventies, of groups like The EAGLES and CROSBY, STILLS, NASH AND YOUNG.
Not to forget one of the biggest groups from the sixties and the eighties: the MONKEES. Henry Diltz may be the definitive Monkees photographer, but Rodney as well played a role in the Monkees history as DAVY JONES' stand-in while Davy filmed "The Prince and the Pauper". So it's appropriate that one of Rodney's most frequent guests, NINA HAGEN has chosen to cover in her own inimitable fashion The Monkees' "I'm A Believer" for this collection.
Of course, one of the most magical nights on Rodney's show was when Nina sang along live to one of her favorite BEACH BOYS' songs, "In My Room" from the "Stack Of Tracks" album. Interestingly enough, the song's writer, BRIAN WILSON just made an appearance on Rodney's show.
How then do we go from a cover of a Monkees tune to "Bloodstains" by AGENT ORANGE?
Rodney Bingenheimer has never been restricted to any particular type of music on his show. He calls the shots. But Rodney has always been attracted to music that has emotional appeal to teenagers, music that has something more than just the beat. But as we know, musical tastes change. And "Bloodstains" dating from 1979 was one of the first expressions of the southern California punk movement that Rodney so influenced by his radio shows and live appearances at clubs like the STARWOOD in Hollywood. What could be more teenage than the lyrics, "Speed kills, fast cars, cheap thrills"?
Along with Agent Orange came many other groups aligned with the punk movement. We have here selections by groups that each led the way for a few weeks or months before another more radical group took the lead. ''Amoeba'', "Modern Machine" and "Wild In The Streets" like "Bloodstains" and many other selections in this collection were the first songs recorded by their respective groups and they received their first airplay and all became hits on "Rodney On The Roq Vol. 1". It is interesting to consider that unlike a lot of teen groups from past eras, these were teenagers playing their own instruments.
The biggest musical influences on the southern California teen groups were largely groups from the late sixties. The STOOGES, The SEEDS and, later, from the early seventies, The NEW YORK DOLLS. Really the same groups that most influenced England's SEX PISTOLS and The DAMNED. We've included "Pushin' Too Hard" by Huntington Beach's KLAN, almost because it is so bad. It has a wonderful garage sound to it, rough at the edges that so typifies what groups were aiming to sound like in 1979. Ex-SIMPLETONES singer SNICKERS is singing lead here, and, unfortunately to say, was leading the kind of life down at the beach, Huntington Beach, so typified by his slovenly singing style evidenced here.
Too young to get into trouble were members of REDD KROSS at the time they recorded ''Annette's Got The Hits" in December 1979. Then known as Red Cross, Steve McDonald was 11 years old, his big brother Jeff, all of 14. Greg Hetson was just 16; a few months later, he would form The CIRCLE JERKS with ex-BLACK FLAG vocalist Keith Morris. This track was produced by Englishman Roger Harris at DENNY CORDELL's Shelter Studio in Hollywood.
Rodney and I both believe that Redd Kross were responsible for one of 1988's best albums, "Neurotica" released by Big Time Records. And to think that the McDonalds anticipated GEORGE HARRISON's comeback in their song "Janus, Jeanie and George Harrison" off their new record.
''Annette's'' is all about ANNETTE FUNICELLO, one of Rodney's all time faves from his teen years. If you look closely, you'll see Rodney spinning records at the beach party in ANNETTE and FRANKIE's last picture, "Back To The Beach".
The all-time punk surf champions were Huntington Beach's The CROWD. Reacting against the New York black denim look The Crowd brought day-glo into punkdom – way ahead of The GO-GO'S. The Crowd had their own dance, The Worm, and it is said that a drunken lead singer JIM TRASH (ne Decker) spawned slam dancing.
When their debut recordings on the "Beach Blvd." album were released in 1979, The Crowd were enormous in the Orange County suburbs of LA. By 1980, mohawks had made their appearance and the Beach look became passe overnight and The Crowd never regained their following. "Modern Machine" is a great tribute and testament to the great looking girls The Crowd used to bring with them to Hollywood.
Talking of great looking girls, "You Make Me Feel Cheap" features guest vocals by MARIA MONTOYA. Though Maria is no longer Rodney's girlfriend, this is a special previously unreleased version of the song featuring turned-up backing vocals by Maria, now a film starlet. Rodney and I have long been grateful to CHANNEL 3 for their having let us tinker with their hard-edged sound on this song. Channel 3, of course, had a top ten punk hit in England with their recording of "I Got A Gun", and, to this day, many of their fans think they're English. No, they're from Cerritos, California and I signed them as my successor group to ... T.S.O.L from next door Long Beach, California.
The early Eighties belonged to T.S.O.L.. They were the hot group to slam to over the States. JELLO BIAFRA thought them hot, too, and signed them to his Alternative Tentacles label. But it was Posh Boy who gave Rodney Bingenheimer the first vinyl by T.S.O.L. to play. Then lead singer Jack Grisham and drummer Todd Barnes are now in another Posh Boy group, TENDER FURY and have just had a hit on KROQ, "Let It Go".
It is unusual and, I think, not always beneficial for a group or artist to have immediate success in America. Usually, it takes many years for success and, then, too often, the artists still do not know how to handle it. TSOL's contemporaries, SOCIAL DISTORTION, have just this year broken through with their second album "Prison Bound", seven years after we released one of their first recordings, "1945" on "Rodney On The Roq Vol. 2". If new fans of theirs are hearing "1945" for the first time, I wonder if they hear much difference between it and Social D.'s latest recordings.
As we all know, punk did not fare as well in the U.S. marketplace as well as it did in Europe, particularly England. One exception was the group RED ROCKERS, originally from Louisiana who recorded for our good friends HOWIE KLEIN and CHRIS KNAB's 415 Records in San Francisco. Red Rockers actually had a top 40 pop success in the U.S.A., though not with "Dead Heroes", Rodney's all-time favorite track from them. We are especially grateful to 415's new owner SANDY PEARLMAN (Blue Oyster Cult's producer) for carrying on the 415 tradition.
Probably the biggest reason for punk's non-acceptance in the States was due to the media either ignoring it or totally distorting what was really going on. Too much attention was focused on safety pins and even so called punk films like "The Decline of Western Civilization" and "Suburbia" exploited the genre for their own ends. Only when punk was sanitized was it acceptable as The Go-Go's clearly demonstrated. Just this month there's a hit on the radio called "Tell That Girl To Shut Up"; well, that was a hit on Rodney's
show over five years ago!
It is almost unfathomable that it took television 10 years to do a decent story on the punk ethos. I am referring to 1987's "Mean Streets and Pastel Houses" episode of "21 Jump Street" on the Fox network. The episode is centered around the activities of the KKK (Klean Kut Kids), that's a punk band and a gang. Originally the production staff wanted to use the DEAD KENNEDYS' music, but opted for the tamer sounds of Agent Orange. Ironically, the show's premise fit the mold from which groups like T.S.O.L. and CIRCLE ONE emerged. Especially, T.S.O.L., with charismatic lead singer Jack Grisham, who was most definitely a leader on and off the stage. Try to catch a re-run of the gang episode of Jump Street, but consider the following: when T.S.O.L. and thousands of their fans were caught in a police riot at Hollywood's Stardust Ballroom in 1983, it was Jack Grisham who urged his followers to engage in a non-violent sit-down so as to defuse an explosive situation.
I wonder then if Jump Street's top writer Jonathan Lemkin hadn't someday come across "Rodney On The Roq Vol. III" which contains one of Rodney's favorite punk anthems, "Clean Cut American Kid" by Santa Barbara's ILL REPUTE. Here, like on Volume III, it is followed by the very influential band from Phoenix, J.F.A., doing "Preppy".
Originally named after JODY FOSTER, J.FA. bridged the gap between punk and skateboarders. Sure, punk groups had played to skateboarders before (The Circle Jerks' "Group Sex" album cover was photographed at a skateboard park party marred by a Circle One riot), but it was J.FA. that helped create the THRASHER culture where a far different one had existed previously.
Two records that became daytime hits on KROQ due to Rodney's efforts follow. The VANDALS' "Urban Struggle" is all about certain goings on outside the infamous CUCKOO'S NEST club in Costa Mesa, California. A lot of groups got their start at the club – the club's former owner JERRY ROACH, now Tender Fury's manager, likes to tell how the double bill of X with The Go-Go’s drew about 20 people one night long ago. Rodney would especially like to recognize Joey of The Vandals for his wanting us to include this bona-fide hit in the ROTR collection.
"Are You Ready For The Sex Girls" is a song Rodney declared a hit the first time he heard it and it was Rodney who forced the record company to hand it over to him for inclusion on Volume 2. The song was produced by a then unknown producer, STEPHEN HAGUE. Some of you may now know him as producer of PET SHOP BOYS and O.M.D. among other groups. Currently their drummer, DAVID KENDRICK, is a member of DEVO.
Probably Rodney Bingenheimer's favorite label is the NEW ROSE label from Paris, France. New Rose started out of a record store on a tiny street in Paris' Quartier Latin on the Left Bank. PATRICK MATHE, the label's owner, is a big fan of American music and has released many, records by American artists in Europe, sometimes before the groups even have U.S. releases, as was the case with DRAMARAMA's "Anything, Anything". The next selection is by a remarkable group of young French girls calling themselves The CALAMITIES (French: Les Calamites). Just this year, The Calamities have finally broken through in France with a major hit record. Rodney Bingenheimer has been playing the girls since 1983 and he still thinks that one day the rest of America will catch on.
At the beginning of these liner notes I talked about how the L.A. group The Seeds had been one of the greatest influences on groups in the late Seventies and early Eighties. Now living in Hawaii, Seeds leader SKY SAXON makes frequent trips to L.A. to checkout groups like The PANDORAS and under the patronage of good-guy FRANK BEESON has made new recordings, including some for our friend Patrick Mathe's New Rose Records. "Barbie Doll Look" was co-written by legendary sixties figure MARS BONFIRE and features Mars on keyboards.
The-latest group to benefit from Rodney's sponsorship has been New Jersey's DRAMARAMA. For months on end, Rodney played their anthem, ''Anything, Anything" on his show. Finally the other disk jockeys at KROQ caught onto its VELVET UNDERGROUND feel and Dramarama reigns as one of the top drawing live bands in Los Angeles. Here, the group nods across the Hudson River to another of their – and a lot of other groups', including GUNS 'N ROSES – primary influences, and performs the New York Dolls' song, "Private World".
Back to L.A. for one of the most talented and nicest groups ever to hail from southern California, The BANGLES. Even though the group was about to ink its deal with Columbia Records when we were compiling Volume III back in 1983, the girls made sure we received a surf instrumental they had written (with RAIN PARADE's DAVID ROBACK) and recorded. No matter that The Bangles have No. 1 hits all over the world, they still find time to spend an occasional Sunday evening in Rodney's radio studio. All of us were thrilled at The Bangles' success this year with another old song from their early sets at the legendary WHISKY A GO GO: ''A Hazy Shade Of Winter". We wish them even greater success with their new album "Everything".
Staying on the beach, listening to the breakers crash on the sand brings us to one of Agents Orange's surf instrumentals, "Misirlou". Why are Agent Orange making two appearances on this collection? Well, they were on both the first and second volumes of the Rodney compilations and, well, it is a neat tune. And we have to have more than just one surf instrumental to adequately reflect how Rodney started a surf music revival in Los Angeles when he was playing records twice a week at the Starwood. Rodney actually got The VENTURES to play in front of punks - and the surf punks loved them.
More up to date is "This City Of Vice" by 39 STEPS who represent Canada in this collection. Coming from Montreal, 39 Steps are a particular favorite on Rodney's show at this time, not least because of their producer CHRIS STEIN, whom you know from his work with BLONDIE.
Continuing with the "vice" theme brings us to one of the most important groups from the early days of 1977 in California: The NUNS.
This San Francisco group never achieved nationwide recognition; but for anyone who saw them play live at The MABUHAY GARDENS or at The Whisky in 1977 it was an eerie experience: four tough looking guys dressed in black leather and denim accompanied by the high fashion look of blonde JENNIFER MIRO on keyboards and vocals. The biggest show they played (also featuring Rodney's faves The AVENGERS) was at Winterland in January1988 on the same bill as The Sex Pistols at what was to be the Pistols final concert as a group. That night Rodney was playing records at KROQ in Pasadena; I and six thousand others were making history in San Francisco.
Just as many of the most important groups from the late seventies and early eighties have not survived, many of the important labels that recorded this great music have not made it either to 1988. One of the most interesting labels was New York's ZE Records, home of JAMES WHITE AND THE BLACKS, KID CREOLE, THE WAITRESSES and others. One of the best records ZE released was by label head MICHAEL ZILKHA's fiancee, CRISTINA. Poised to crack the hit parade in England, her recording of "Is That All There Is?" written by legendary songwriters LEIBER and STOLLER was withdrawn owing to a dispute. As an import, the song became a massive hit on Rodney's radio show and we were glad to include the recording as a bonus track on "Rodney On The Roq Vol. 1" .
Finally, we come to the last selection in this collection and the end of my lengthy discourse of some of the history behind the Rodney On The Roq radio show. The CHARACTERS are on the verge of great things having just finished a tour opening for Rodney pal JOAN JETT and having been taken under the wing of Joan's manager, KENNY LAGUNA. In many ways, they are in a similar position to where the Bangles stood five years ago. If they can work as hard as the girls did, they have a chance to make it. We wish them and all other young groups reaching for success the luck they most certainly need.
Here, as a snap-shot of where they currently are, is the song "This Is Goodbye" produced by sixties legend CHIP DOUGLAS, producer of The Monkees, LINDA RONSTADT and The TURTLES.
Rodney Bingenheimer is special in how he recognizes the past but always is looking towards the future in music. The groups may come and go but their achievements are preserved by Rodney while he continues to discover other new talents.
Think of sensationalistic groups like the Sex Pistols and ADAM AND THE ANTS. When Rodney had the Pistols phoning into his show, in early1977, when Adam Ant appeared at the height of his fame, Rodney's listeners got to learn something, not just hear a press release recited. Or if those interviewed had nothing to say, those who listened laughed at the meandering conversations heard nowhere else on radio.
My point is this: Rodney has been an enormous influence on both groups and his listeners alike. He is a constant and I hope those of you familiar with his show will agree that this compact disc goes some way in representing his achievement.
October 1, 1988
Among the many people whom I have not mentioned in the above notes that deserve recognition are the following:
Al & Hudley from FLIPSIDE magazine, Jed "The Fish" Gould, Tom Jamison, Susan Ackerman, Sarenia Marie, Tony Fornaro, Dianne Carter, Dianne Bennett, Mike Rogers, David Turner, Val Brady, Olivia Barash, Edwin at Paramount Recording Studio, Van Johnson, Dusty Street, Laura Grover, Candice Hanson, Tammy Hoffs, Dave Gold, Stan Ross, Maria Montoya, Mario and Maja Weltmann ... plus a million others.
Al & Hudley, of course, volunteered their services to produce the three special editions of FLiPSIDE magazine that used to accompany the vinyl versions of the three volumes of "Rodney On The Roq".
A few of those special issues of FLIPSIDE are available once again by mail-order at $8.00 per issue, including postage and handling: Order from P.O. Box 4474, Palm Desert CA 92260. Specify issue(s) wanted. Quantities limited.
THE BEST OF RODNEY ON THE ROQ
Compiled by Rodney Bingenheimer
Produced by Robbie Fields
2+19 Frank Beeson
3 Nina Hagen
4 - 6, 9 -12, 14, 22, 24 Robbie Fields
8 Roger Harris
13 David Kahne
16 Brett Gurewitz
17 Stephen Hague
18 Lionel Herrmani
20 Chris Carter and John Easdale
21 David Peterson
Sequenced by Richard Simpson, Hollywood
Mastered by Joseph L. Steiner III at FDS Labs, Inc.
Logistics by Gerhard Winkler, Pilz Compact Disc, Inc.
Front cover photography by Ron Pownell, Boston
Back cover photography by Tom Jamison, Pomona
Inside photography by Edward C. Colver and J. Dost
Original ROTR photography by Jules Bates, Karen Filter and Barry Linwell
Design and lay-out by Christian Witt, Germany
Write Rodney Bingenheimer, c/o KROQ-FM, 3500 W. Olive Avenue, Suite 900, Burbank Ca. 91505.
This compilation (P)&© 1989
Posh Boy Records, P.O. Box 4474, Palm Desert, CA 92261-4474