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Through the glitter and the grunge, from The Monkees to Coldplay, Rodney Bingenheimer--a.k.a. Rodney on the ROQ--has reigned over the Los Angeles music scene for over two decades. A constantly evolving fixture as rock fan, journalist, promoter, club owner and radio DJ on KROQ, Bingenheimer has helped advance every adventurous rock mutation--California pop, glam, punk, goth, new wave, alternative--since he first hit the Sunset Strip during its psychedelic 1960s heyday. Written by
Sujit R. Varma
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As an Angeleno, I was a long-time listener to KROQ, but gave it up the day grunge came to town. I used to listen to Rodney back when he was on at a decent hour. He was so weird and you always felt like you were terribly cool and on-the-edge for listening to him. It is too bad KROQ abandoned Rodney's kind of music in favor of the crap they play today.
But on to the movie itself. I thought it was excellent in its own right, which had the classic tragedy theme. Looking at it that way, this movie could not have been better.
But from a music standpoint there was something lacking. Rodney is Rodney because of the music, his love of the music, his ear and knack for the music. There was plenty in this movie about the musicians but very little about the music they play. I would have liked a few comments along the lines of, "Oh, the first time I heard the opening riff of such-and-such a song," or "Man, when I saw so-and-so play for the first time at the Whiskey!" There is a curious lack of talk about the actual tunes in this movie. One DOES come away with the feeling that it was just celebrities that Rodney loved and not the art they created...and I know this is not the case.
But back to the "tragedy" that was this movie's real purpose. It was so excruciating to watch some of these scenes. A truly great movie in this respect. The encounters with the family, the dumping of his mom's ashes, the freak-out with Chris Carter, the horrible, horrible side-story of the 50-year-old wannabe rock star. This movie was positively Shakespearean! And knowing what a tragic landscape Los Angeles really is, I loved that this was conveyed so well in this film; the Denny's, the stripmalls, the ugly apartment buildings.
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