Today our good friend and inspiration, Rodney Bingenheimer played his last show on KROQ in Los Angeles after more than 40 years on air. Speaking about the move on Facebook last week, Rodney explained that whilst it wasn’t his decision to leave, he has nothing but love and respect for KROQ who have treated him very well over the years. The news came amid new management and restructuring at the station and Rodney is now keen to move on to new projects and other exciting adventures:
“As this chapter closes, I will be opening another chapter of my rock life soon. I may be done with KROQ, but I am not retiring.”
This really does mark the end of an incredible era not just for the LA music scene but for music all over the world. Rodney is attributed with discovering and publicising more bands than any other radio DJ ever. According to Rodney’s friend and fellow radio host, Chris Carter who made the 2003 documentary, The Mayor of Sunset Strip about Rodney, this is down to his combination of good ears and the amount of time he’s been on the radio:
“The Ramones and Blondie, you can go right down the line…if you talk to the Bangles they’ll tell you, ‘Oh, Rodney, well, we sent him our cassette …’ . Duran Duran, they were big all over the world but in America no one was playing these guys.”
Some of the bands Rodney championed during his 41 years at KROQ (some of whom he was playing before they even has record deals) include: the Sex Pistols, the Clash, the Jam, the Ramones, Blondie, Joan Jett, the Specials, Madness, Adam and the Ants, Van Halen, Guns n Roses, Nirvana, Oasis, No Doubt, Coldplay, Sonic Youth and the Strokes. And he wasn’t just playing their music. Many of these artists phoned in or dropped by the studio where Rodney introduced them to a wider audience, by interviewing them in his own inimitable style.
So what’s next for Rodney? According to some sources he’s looking for a new home for the radio show. He’s had a few decent offers and there are also many other rumoured projects in the pipeline, including a new documentary, a compilation album of hot garage bands and a coffee table book of pictures from his 1970s club night, ‘English Disco.’
From the amount of support he has received online it is clear that whatever Rodney does next it will be a success. One fan explains why he is so popular:
“What's great about Rodney is how he's able to have the nostalgia coexist with what he'll hype to be the future of music. He always manages to keep that youthful spirit through his musical genius.”
When we spoke to Rodney last week he said he was going to miss KROQ after his 41 year stint at the station and that it was like his second home - but he is really excited for the next chapter in his DJ career. We were also really flattered to find out that Rodney wore a custom 'Mars Studios' shirt we made for him for his final spin at KROQ.
In honour of Rodney and his incredible contribution to music, this week at Worn Free we have created a limited edition Rodney KROQ shirt just like the one Joey Ramone is proudly holding in this photo. Use coupon code RodneyRocks for 20% off you entire order at wornfree.com - offer ends 11th June.
Main picture credit: Rodney Bingenheimer, via Facebook