Biography by Michael Sutton
Rodney Bingenheimer is punk rock's biggest cheerleader. In the mid-'70s, long before record labels found punk commercially viable, Bingenheimer beamed two-cord, two-minute garage pop via his Rodney on the ROQ radio show on Los Angeles' pioneering alternative station KROQ. The impact of his program was felt throughout Southern California; struggling young acts found exposure they couldn't acquire anywhere else while many of its listeners, such as Dexter Holland of the Offspring and Gwen Stefani of No Doubt, eventually took the Orange County punk and ska that Bingenheimer had long championed onto the Billboard charts.
Bingenheimer began his career as a stand-in for Davy Jones of the Monkees in 1966. Raised in Mountain View, CA, Bingenheimer ran away to L.A. after a suggestion from Cher. Called "The Mayor of Sunset Strip," Bingenheimer became such a prominent cult figure in the L.A. music scene that the G.T.O.'s wrote a song about him entitled "Rodney." In 1972, Bingenheimer opened a club that catered to the glam crowd, attracting visitors such as David Bowie, Marc Bolan, Led Zeppelin, Joan Jett, and even Elvis Presley. Rodney on the ROQ debuted on KROQ in 1976, and the show's underground discoveries -- including punk rock icons such as Agent Orange, the Circle Jerks, and Social Distortion -- were compiled onto Rodney on the ROQ albums in the '80s. In 2000, Bingenheimer was the executive producer of Blockbuster: Glitter Glam Rock Experience, a tribute to the early '70s U.K. imports he once spun in his club.
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