Screened as part of NZIFF 2004

Mayor of the Sunset Strip 2003

Directed by George Hickenlooper

USA In English
94 minutes 35mm

Director, Screenplay


Kramer Morgenthau
Igor Meglic
George Hickenlooper
Chris Carter


Julia Janata


Anthony Marinelli


Rodney Bingenheimer
David Bowie
Debbie Harry
Alice Cooper


Toronto, New York, London 2003


Who is Rodney Bingenheimer? He’s been called the prince of pop, the king of LA radio and even, as this intriguing new documentary declares, the ‘Mayor of Sunset Strip’. Bingenheimer has been at the influential Los Angeles rock station KROQ-FM since 1976. He’s been instrumental in breaking the Sex Pistols, Blondie, Nirvana, Oasis and Coldplay and many other bands into the US market. Even rock slag Courtney Love stalked him to get his stamp of approval. Director George Hickenlooper, known for his documentary Hearts of Darkness on the making of Apocalypse Now, sees Bingenheimer as more than a DJ with superior taste. Over a period of years this milquetoast evolved from groupie to Warholian Svengali on a first-name basis with the Beatles, the Rolling Stones, Elvis Presley, the Doors and David Bowie. This sometimes heartbreaking, sometimes hilarious portrait of his complicated life is essential viewing. It was made over a period of six years and features interviews (and performances) with practically everyone who was part of the scene. — Ant Timpson