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"Mayor of the Sunset Strip" Documentary

Updated March 28, 2005
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Tori is part of a documentary about LA scenemaker and DJ Rodney Bingenheimer called "Mayor of the Sunset Strip". This film includes a large cast of people talking about or hanging with Rodney. By the time the film was edited and completed, the Tori footage remaining in the film was rather brief. Despite this, several reports say it is a very well-done documentary. (You can read more details about Tori's part in the film below.)

Mayor of the Sunset Strip debuted June 17, 2003 at the Los Angeles Film Festival (Thanks Mike Pastore.) It was shown at various other film festivals after that (You can see the release schedule at and was finally released nationwide in the U.S. in Spring 2004. says it was released in the U.S. on March 26, 2004. Other reports emailed to me say the film only opened in L.A. and New York City on March 26, 2004 and opened elsewhere in the U.S. on April 9, 2004.

Justin informs me that reports that The Mayor of Sunset Strip will be released on DVD in the U.S. on August 17, 2004.

Several times in April 2005 (and possible later), you were able to see Mayor Of Sunset Strip on the Showtime network in the U.S.

Toriphile reports about the film/documentary

Here are reports on the film and details about Tori's part in it from several people who saw the movie during the L.A. Film Festival on June 17, 2003:

From Cindy:

I just wanted to let you know, I went to a screening today of Mayor of the Sunset Strip. The story of L.A. DJ Rodney Bingenheimer. I just thought you should know the footage with Tori is very VERY minimal. All it is, is a wide shot of Rodney standing in the doorway of Tori's trailer at a show. He hugs her and walks out of the trailer. It's literally only a few seconds long. It's during a music montage and you can see Arthur Spivak talking with someone outside the door of the trailer. It looks like it's from '98/'99 probably one of the KROQ Acoustic Christmas events (my guess would be '99 since she didn't do the event in '98), and the reason I say that is because she's got the glitter apron on.

While I highly recommend this for anyone interested in the music scene from the 60s to present, or, anyone who's a fan of Rodney's I would definitely steer anyone away who is dying to see it because of Tori. There's no interview footage whatsoever.

From Brian K Tanaka (From a posting to the Precious Things mailing list):

I went to the screening today at the Los Angeles Film Festival and while it's true that the Tori content is exceedingly minimal (3 to 4 seconds on-screen during a montage sequence) the documentary itself is very strong and is, in my opinion, well worth seeing even if you have no idea who Rodney Bingenheimer is. It's a well made portrait of a very unusual man. During the question and answer period following screening, the director mentioned that it will be released on DVD later, so keep an eye peeled.

Details and Reports about the film/documentary

You can read more about this project at the Internet Movie Database, as well as the Rodney Bingenheimer web site.

Some of my older reports about this are below. Some of the info is new and some outdated. A few of the links may be expired. Much of it is still very much relevant however.

There is a review of this movie/documentary at which was posted in Spring 2004. (Thanks Morgan.) It does mention that Tori is one of the celebs in the film.

There is another review of Mayor Of Sunset Strip at by Jeffrey Kroitsch, and it briefly mentions that Tori's interview was cut from the film. 

Roger Ebert reviews Mayor Of Sunset Strip at Thanks to Ellen for first telling me about that review.

We first heard about this project way back in the June 27-July 4, 2000 issue of The Hollywood Reporter. (Thanks Carla St. Juste.)

Here is what the Rodney Bingenheimer web site says about Mayor Of Sunset Strip:

Mayor of The Sunset Strip

A Film by George Hickenlooper - Produced by Christopher Carter

Press Release Spring, 2001

A documentary film based on the life of L.A. scene-maker and DJ, Rodney Bingenheimer, has finished it's principal shooting with a flurry of last minute additions to an already huge cast of characters.

Telling their stories of fame, fortune and all things "Rodney" include: David Bowie, Cher, Courtney Love, Brian Wilson, Brooke Shields, Beck, Tori Amos, The Go-Go's, Blondie, The Ramones, Supergrass, Elvis Costello, Kato Kaelin, Paul Rubens, Sheryl Crow, Lance Loud, Shirley Manson, Miss Pamela Des Barres, Michael Des Barres, Alice Cooper, Oasis, Keanu Reeves, Ray Manzarek, Kim Fowley, John Doe with X, Poe, Gwen Stefani, Wendy Wilson, Flea, Green Day, Johnny Marr, MacKenzi Phillips, Davy Jones, The Bangles, Pete Townshend, Joan Jett, Addis Black Widow, The Donna's, Nick Heyward, Bow-Wow-Wow, Nina Hagen, Jed the Fish, Richard Blade, Dr. Drew, maybe even Phil Spector.

The film explores the Hollywood music scene from the sixties to today, through the eyes of Rodney Bingenheimer and all those who were there with him. Directed by Emmy award winning filmmaker George Hickenlooper ("Hearts of Darkness: The Making of Apocalypse Now.") This is a story for anyone who is even a casual fan of West Coast pop culture.

Release Date: 2003

Here is what The Hollywood Reporter stated in their Production Section in the June 27-July 4, 2000 issue:

Mayor of the Sunset Strip
Shooting in London, England, Los Angeles, New York, Chicago
(Start March 1, 2000)
Cast: Tori Amos, Rodney Binghenheimer, David Bowie, Cher, Elvis Costello, Dr. Drew, Deborah Harry, Kato Kaelin, Courtney Love, Brooke Shields

Several readers of the Dent looked into this further and found some additional information on the web. This documentary is about the life of LA scenemaker and DJ Rodney Bingenheimer. It will document how Rodney Bingenheimer popularized English glitter and glam, the "dirty glitter" movement (later known as punk), and New Wave, as well as brought bands such as the Ramones, the Bangles, the Damned, the Cure, and Siouxsie & the Banshees to LA audiences before anyone really knew who they were. The documentary will be directed and written by George Hickenlooper (who did the documentary Heart's of Darkness; The Making of Apocalypse Now) and produced by Chris Carter (former Dramarama bassist, NOT the X-Files guy!) The film will include interviews with stars who were friends of Rodney or who met him during his days as a mover and shaker. Stars interviewed for the movie include Cher, Brian Wilson, Beck, Blondie, The Ramones, Elvis Costello, Shirely Manson, Alice Cooper, Flea and others.

Added January 7, 2001: Toriphile Jinny Dietrich found an entry for this movie at the Internet Movie Database. It includes this list of people appearing in the documentary:

  • Tori Amos
  • Rodney Bingenheimer
  • David Bowie
  • Cher
  • Alice Cooper
  • Kim Fowley
  • Davy Jones (I)
  • Courtney Love
  • Keanu Reeves
  • Paul Reubens
  • Brian Wilson (I)

Here is more information from IMDB:

Directed by
George Hickenlooper

Writing credits
George Hickenlooper

Produced by
Christopher Paul Carter
Greg S. Little
Tommy Perna

Cinematography by
Igor Meglic
Kramer Morgenthau

Film Editing by
Julie Janata

Production Companies

* Caldera Productions
* Kino-Eye American

Country: USA
Language: English
Color: Color

Look below for additional references and details about this documentary discovered by various Toriphiles. Thank you all for doing all this research!

From Landj9697 and shawn.the.little.masochist...

    Check out an article at an article at Glue Magazine online. Tori's name gets mentioned here as one of several stars who appear in the movie (a documentary). It seems that many artists were interviewed during the filming of this picture and Tori was one of them.

    In 1976, Bingenheimer took to the airwaves, and "Rodney on the Roq" has been a weekend staple on radio station KROQ ever since. It was here that most of his reputation was cemented by giving adventurous listeners their first taste of the Sex Pistols, the Ramones, the Go-Go's, Blondie, Motley Crže, and Duran Duran-often playing acetates or homemade cassettes that the bands had sent him before the records were even pressed! Bingenheimer embraced the new wave, punk, and Britpop movements before the media even had names for them. (But don't bug him for predictions on future rock trends: "I hate when people ask me about that," he says. "It's up to the listeners and the audience.") And yes, that's him driving the Ramones around in a convertible in Rock 'n' Roll High School. Such a story is too good (and too long) for even a "Behind The Music" special on VH1, so former Dramarama bassist Chris Carter made it his mission to tell it. The Mayor Of The Sunset Strip, which started filming in 1997, is set to be finished in time for the Toronto Film Festival this fall, and it's going to be God-head. "I thought that his was a great Hollywood story," Carter says. "I thought it was a story that people might be able to somehow relate to. Kinda like a rock 'n' roll Crumb. Plus he has a great name. RODNEY BINGENHEIMER. It looks good in print. I've been reading it since I was 13 years old. That name appeared somewhere in almost every issue of Creem magazine between the years 1973 and 1975. I knew about his club without ever leaving Wayne, New Jersey!" Carter-who spends most of his time managing LA pop sensations the Wondermints and hunting down vintage T. Rex and Black Sabbath reel-to-reel tapes-met Bingenheimer in 1986, when the trendsetting DJ was playing the hell out of Dramarama's epic song "Anything Anything." Bingenheimer eventually persuaded the band to move from New Jersey to LA, and since then, Carter claims, "We speak daily. That's everyday...24/7." Carter originally planned to document the Bingenheimer legacy in book form, but it was during an interview with Rolling Stones guitarist Ron Wood that he realized the value of putting Bingenheimer's cache of hipster pals-an assortment of cartoonish rock 'n' rollers and Hollywood hotties-on film. All he needed was a director. Enter George Hickenlooper, Emmy-winning helmer of Hearts of Darkness: The Making of Apocalypse Now, The Low Life, Dogtown, and the recently Golden Globe-nominated The Big Brass Ring. "He's my George Martin!" Carter says. For the film, Hickenlooper interviewed Cher, Courtney Love, Brian Wilson and Elvis Costello (together!), David Bowie, Brooke Shields, Beck, Tori Amos, the Go-Go's, Blondie, the Ramones, Shirley Manson, Alice Cooper, Oasis, Keanu Reeves, Ray Manzarek, Johnny Marr, Kim Fowley, John Doe and Gwen Stefani. That's the short list. And yet, with a cast like that, it's still Bingenheimer who remains the film's star. "He's been instrumental in breaking acts from The Ramones and Blondie to Oasis and Hole," gushes Carter. "He interviewed The Sex Pistols live on the air in '76 before anybody had even heard of them. He's put together all sorts of deals by just suggesting his ideas. He hooked Van Halen up with Kiss bassist Gene Simmons, which led to their record deal with Warner Brothers in '77. He got Blondie's Clem Burke to join Dramarama...that kind of stuff, which he gets nothing for in the end." Except, of course, a feature film hagiography.

From Daniel Nolan:

    It appears that this documentary is about a 70s DJ called Rodney Bingenheimer at KROQ in LA. Here's what I found at an Elvis Costello fan site:

    The Mayor Of Sunset Strip Documentary/Movie
    Viewing Date: Date unknown
    Look for the new issue (March 99?) of Rolling Stone (w/ Rob Zombie on the cover), you'll find a picture of EC and Beach Boy founder Brian Wilson in the Random Notes section. Elvis and Brian were brought together to take part in the new documentary/movie about famed Los Angeles DJ Rodney Bingenheimer entitled The Mayor Of Sunset Strip. It is unclear if there is a collaboration involved.


    For those of you who don't know who Rodney is, don't worry-there's a movie being made right now, called "The Mayor of Sunset Strip", which ONLY documents how Rodney popularized English glitter and glam, the "dirty glitter" movement (later known as punk), and New Wave, as well as brought bands such as the Ramones, the Bangles, the Damned, the Cure, and Siouxsie & the Banshees to LA audiences before anyone really knew who they were. That's all. Los Angeles, and probably the entire music world, would not be the same without "Rodney on the ROQ".

    I also found a chat transcript with a punk band at RHINO.COM that mentioned it:

    Kim Farley: My next project is as an actor in a rock and roll movie. The Mayor of Sunset Strip with Cher, David Bowie, Alice Cooper - and me. I'm going out there on the 27th to do my bit. Besides being an actor (also with Brooke Shields and Brian Wilson), and I have a song on a new CD from Sony.

    But this article from the LA Times offers some better details. It mentions that the movie will debut sometime this year at the Sundance Film Festival.

    But better yet, this reference at gives us a better idea of what exactly Tori's involvement will be:

    You may already know that Chris Carter (Dramarama) is producing a documentary about Rodney "On the ROQ" Bingenheimer, to be titled "The Mayor of Sunset Strip." Apparently, it's packed with stars chatting about their old buddy and his impact on the LA music scene from the sixties on. The latest mindblowing interview to have been shot? Elvis Costello chatting with Brian Wilson at Brian's house! Poor Chris-he's getting worried because he has too much great material to edit down for just one movie...

From Glynis:

    THIS is very Substantial....

    January 18: This press release actually came across our desk last month, but was lost in the holiday shuffle. We first mentioned The Mayor of Sunset Strip in this news item last year. Directed by George Hickenlooper and produced by Chris Carter, the documentary film finished principal shooting last month. Based around the life of LA "scene maker" Rodney Bingenheimer, it includes interviews with dozens of stars who were friends or met Rodney during his halcyon days as a mover and shaker in Holly. Included in the cast of characters is David Bowie. (Ed: If you'll recall, in the original interview with producer Chris Carter, he claimed to have some rare audiotape of Bowie playing acoustic versions of All The Madmen and After All in Tom Ayres' Hollywood Hills home). Other stars interviewed for the movie include Cher, Brian Wilson, Beck, Blondie, The Ramones, Elvis Costello, Shirely Manson, Alice Cooper, Flea and others.

From Beth Winegarner:

    I did a little digging and found out some more information about this documentary called "The Mayor of the Sunset Strip."

    As you say, it's a documentary. It appears to be about the life of LA scenemaker Rodney Bingenheimer, according to this web site:

    The pertinent information (from this page about Alice Cooper) is here:

    "I am also writing/producing a documentary film on the life of LA scenemaker Rodney Bingenheimer, called "The Mayor of The Sunset Strip". The director is George Hickenlooper (Heart's of Darkness; The Making of Apocalypse Now.) Rodney and Alice were good pals in the Pretties For You era...then again when Rodney had his infamous Sunset Strip Club, "Rodney's English Disco" . Alice was a regular there circa Muscle of Love/ Nightmare era 73-75, hanging w/ pal's like Mickey Dolenz, Harry Nilsson, Albert Brooks, and others. The film stars David Bowie, Cher, Brian Wilson, The GTO's, Hole, Blondie, Kim Fowley, Pee Wee Herman, Go'Go's, The Runaways, and of course ALICE COOPER! I did the interview w/ The Coop about 6 months ago early in the morning (golfers hours!) @ The Whiskey Bar in Hollywood.I have both of these interview available (film/audio).

    The "I" in this case is former Dramarama bassist Chris Carter (not to be confused with the writer/creator of the "X-Files").

    According to the KROQ web site, he is currently a DJ there for their 1pm basement bands program. Also, he apparently owns a club called "Rodney Bingenheimer's English Disco" in Hollywood. According to yet another web site, for the band Angry Samoans, "According to Turner the band was about making fun of people who acted like total jerks in their pursuit of fame and fortune in LA's rock scene. Their big target was DJ Rodney Bingenheimer of LA's KROQ. "Get Off The Air" contains "You're a f--king piece of s--t now Rodney/I don't think you're so hot/You make me laugh with those clothes you wear/And those stupid teeth you've got". The band thought Rodney would take it in good humor but instead they brought upon themselves the full hatred of the LA scene that relied on Rodney for air play and his energetic support."

    There's a photo of him and some info about his club here.

    His name turns up all over the place if you do web searches. :)

From Landj9697 and Jen

    I did some searching on this interesting tidbit, and came up with this article at The story is actually quite old (1998), but it talks about the beginnings of this film project. Apparently, it is based on the life of Rodney Bingenheimer, an LA disc jockey who seems to be well know for hanging with the rich and famous. While Tori's name is not mentioned in this piece, several of the people listed to star in the movie by the Hollywood Reporter article are also listed in this LA Weekly story. How Tori is involved, I'm not sure, unless she has been on his show, or perhaps it has something to do with the Y Kant Tori Read era. Either way, this should be pretty exciting if the rumours are true!!!!

From Tweeky

    hey there, just some info I dug out on the sunset strip story - try this url at

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