Dee Dee ‘n Rodney
Conjured by o~ SeMeN SPeRmS ~o on April 4, 2015
The Rodney Bingenheimer of today seems always to be smiling through a deep sadness. He is a small man who still has the youthful cuteness that must have won him friends in his early days. His hair is still combed in the same tousled mid-1970s rock star style, and his T-shirts are the real thing, not retro. He lives now in an inexpensive apartment jammed with records, tapes, discs, and countless autographed photos of his friends the stars. And, yes, they are still his friends; they have not forgotten him, and David Bowie, Cher, Debbie Harry, Courtney Love, Nancy Sinatra and Mick Jagger all appear in this film and seem genuinely fond of Rodney.
Well they might. He introduced some of them — Bowie in particular — to American radio. He was known for finding new music and playing it first: The Ramones, the Sex Pistols, the Clash, Nirvana. Stations all over the country stole their playlists from Rodney. “Sonny and Cher were kinda like my mom and my dad,” he says wistfully at one point. He ran a little club for a while, featuring British glam rock, and the stars remember with a grin that it was so small the “VIP Area” consisted simply of a velvet rope separating a few chairs from the dance floor.
The story of how Bingenheimer entered into this world is apparently true, unlikely as it sounds. As a kid he was obsessed with stars, devoured the fan magazines, collected autographs. One day when he was a teenager, his mother dropped him off in front of Connie Stevens’ house and told him he was on his own. He didn’t see his mother for another five or six years. Connie wasn’t home.
He migrated to the Sunset Strip, but instead of dying there or disappearing into drugs or crime, he simply ingratiated himself. People liked him. He hustled himself into a job as a gofer for Davy Jones of the Monkees (they looked a little alike), and then became a backstage caterer; a survivor of a Doors tour remembers a Toronto concert where Rodney had enormous platters of fresh shrimp backstage. But the Beatles were backstage visitors, and Rodney gave them the shrimp, so there were only a few left for the Doors, who had paid for them. Challenged by The Doors, Rodney shrugged and said, “Well, they’re the Beatles.”
Wherever Bingenheimer went in the music and club scene, his face was his passport. Robert Plant says, “Rodney got more girls than I do.” We hear a little of his radio show from the old days, and what comes across is not a vibrating personality or a great radio voice — it’s kind of tentative, really — but an almost painful sincerity. He loves the music he plays, and he introduces it to you like a lover he thinks is right for you. The road downhill was gradual, apparently. We get glimpses of Rodney today, repairing his mom’s old Nova with a pair of pliers, shuffling forlornly through souvenirs of his glory days. He seems very even, calm, sad but resigned, except for one moment the documentary camera is not supposed to witness, when he finds that another deejay, a person he sponsored and gave breaks to, is starting a show of new music — stealing Rodney’s gig. He explodes in anger. We’re glad he does. He has a lot to feel angry about.
The film was directed by George Hickenlooper, who made the classic doc “Hearts Of Darkness: A Filmmaker’s Apocalypse” (1991), about the nightmare of Coppola’s “Apocalypse Now,” and the wonderful fiction film “The Man From Elysian Fields” (2001). Why did he make this film (apart from the possibility that someone named Hickenlooper might feel an affinity for someone named Bingenheimer)? Hickenlooper has been around fame at an early age. He was 26 when he released the doc about the Coppola meltdown. He cast Mick Jagger and James Coburn in “Elysian Fields.” He was aware of Rodney Bingenheimer when the name still opened doors. His film evokes what the Japanese call mono no aware, which refers to the impermanence of life and the bittersweet transience of things. There is a little Rodney Bingenheimer in everyone, but you know what? Most people aren’t as lucky as Rodney. – Roger Ebert
Conjured by o~ SeMeN SPeRmS ~o on June 2, 2014
From Wikipedia: “According to a January 4, 1977, L.A. Times article entitled HOMEGROWN PUNK by Robert Hilburn, Rodney Bingenheimer saw Van Halen at the Gazzarri club in the summer of 1976, so he took Gene Simmons of Kiss to see Van Halen. Gene Simmons then produced a Van Halen demo tape with recording beginning at the Village Recorder studios in Los Angeles and finished with overdubs at the Electric Lady Studios in New York. Simmons wanted to change the band’s name to “Daddy Longlegs”, but the band stuck with Van Halen. Simmons then opted out of further involvement after he took the demo to Kiss management and was told that “they had no chance of making it” and that they wouldn’t take them.”
Conjured by o~ SeMeN SPeRmS ~o on June 2, 2014
Conjured by o~ SeMeN SPeRmS ~o on January 18, 2011
Page became infatuated with the teenage girl after he had seen some pictures she had made for some modelling agencies. During Led Zeppelin’s 1972 tour of America, Page got road manager, Richard Cole, to smuggle her up to his room at the Continental Hyatt House Hotel. Firstly, because she was underage and secondly because Page was also seeing Miss Pamela from The GTOs. A groupie known to beat up love rivals.
Maddox and Page then began a relationship that lasted for several years. During visits to LA, manager Peter Grant kept Maddox locked in Page’s suite because he was so worried about the legal issues.
Nevertheless Page met Maddox’s mother who accepted the relationship because the English guitarist behaved ‘properly and gentlemanly’ towards her daughter.
Maddox was born February 6 1958 in Los Angeles, California. She became part of the groupie scene in the early 1970s when she attempted to break into modelling. These girls were referred to as “The LA girls of ’72”.
Her friendships included other Los Angeles groupies such as Sable Starr, Morgana Welch and Queenie.
Later Maddox modeled for Star Magazine in her later teen years. A short-lived publication that highlighted the contemporary Los Angeles groupie scene.
After Page, she drifted around the West Coast concert scene for several years reportedly been romantically linked with famous artists such as David Bowie, the late Keith Moon, Sylvain Sylvain and Iggy Pop.
Today she lives privately in California and currently works in retail.”
” She reportedly lost her virginity at age 13 to David Bowie and Angie Bowie. One of her best friends was Sable Starr, who was the unofficial queen of the scene at the time. Lori, who was also known as Lori Lightning and Lori Mattix, wasn’t as experienced as Sable, but Lori also became a regular at famous Hollywood groupie hangouts…”
” When Lori was 14 years old, she met a man who would change her life: Jimmy Page, guitarist of Led Zeppelin. Jimmy first spotted her when an associate of his showed Jimmy a picture of Lori. Jimmy was intrigued, and when Led Zeppelin stopped in Los Angeles on their 1972 tour, Jimmy immediately tried to get together with Lori. Even though Jimmy was dating groupie Pamela Des Barres at the time (back when she was known as Pamela Miller, aka Miss Pamela of the GTO’s), Jimmy pursued Lori relentlessly.
According to Lori, after Jimmy tried and failed several times to get together with her, Jimmy had Led Zeppelin’s tour manager “kidnap” Lori and bring her back to the Continental Hyatt, the hotel where Led Zeppelin was staying. Lori was brought to Jimmy’s room, where as she described in the Led Zeppelin book ‘Hammer Of The Gods’: “It was dimly lit by candles… and Jimmy was just sitting there in a corner, wearing this hat slouched over his eyes and holding a cane. It was really mysterious and weird… He looked just like a gangster. It was magnificent.”
That night, Jimmy and Lori began a torrid affair, but they had to keep their relationship a secret from the public since Lori was underage and Jimmy was at risk of being arrested. Jimmy was still seeing Pamela (and other women), and the relationship with Pamela reached a dramatic end when Jimmy took her to a Led Zeppelin party but he left the party with Lori. Pamela was said to be very bitter about being dumped by Jimmy, and Pamela considered Lori an “enemy” of hers for years.
Lori and Jimmy were said to be very much in love and they carried on a relationship for the next year and a half. Lori often traveled with Led Zeppelin on tour, but that didn’t stop Jimmy from having affairs with other women. Chrissie Wood, wife of Ron Wood of the Stones, was sometimes in residence. And Bebe Buell, a beautiful model and older woman of nineteen, who was then living with Todd Rundgren and about to make her media debut as a ‘Playboy’ Playmate, was due to arrive any day. At one point, a photographer for rock magazines also found her way into Jimmy’s bed.
Jimmy eventually began dating Bebe Buell and he dumped Lori, when she was 16. Bebe Buell was Jimmy’s designated escort to the Swan Song soiree. Lori Maddox was in a state about this. She had taken a Quaalude and wandered about the party looking dazed, beautiful, bruised. Somehow, she had bloodied her nose, and her snow-white dress was stained a vivid red. As Jimmy and Bebe were leaving, Lori jumped out from behind a statue, crying to Jimmy, “Why are you doing this to me?” Jimmy tried to ignore her and jumped into the limo.
Later, after the party, they all went to the Rainbow, a club on Sunset. Jimmy had an emotional public row with Bebe, who told him he was being cruel to Lori. The next morning, Lori showed up at the Riot House, where she says she found Jimmy and Bebe in bed. She ran out. A few hours later, she waded through the crowd of girls camped outside Jimmy’s suite and knocked on the door. Bebe opened the door with the chain on to see who was there, and Lori attacked her, grabbing Bebe by the hair and trying to drag her out of the room, encouraged by the corridor girls, who hated Bebe Buell as a rival interloper from Back East. Sitting calmly in his suite, watching as two of his girlfriends tried to tear each other’s hair out, Jimmy was amused. Later, he told friends that the whole thing was incredible, hilarious.
A humiliated Lori tried to get back together with Jimmy, but he continually snubbed her. Lori was reportedly devastated and people who know her say she’s never really recovered. Although Jimmy and Lori briefly got back together in the early ’80s, they never went back to the passionate love affair they had when she was a teenager.”
– Groupie Central
Conjured by o~ SeMeN SPeRmS ~o on August 21, 2010