One of the best DJs in American history was Rodney Bingenheimer, whose show Rodney on the ROQ was an important force in bringing punk acts to a wider audience in southern California in the late 1970s. Rodney once described his programming philosophy as “anti-Eagles, anti-beards.”
On November 30, 1979, the Germs joined Rodney in the studio for an hour or so of utterly sophomoric fun. The Germs’ only studio album, (GI), had come out a few weeks earlier; the guys make fun of the producer of the album, Joan Jett, saying that her contribution was “sleeping on the couch.”
The general immaturity of the Germs is fully matched by the callers. Right after a guy calls in just to say “Punk rockers have a 10-inch cock,” another dude calls in wanting to know who this band is. The answer given is “Led Zeppelin.” A few minutes later and they’re reading “satellite numbers” on the air, which was a way you could make free long-distance calls. It’s bullshit but this was just the kind of thing that could have landed KROQ in hot water.
Much of the time Rodney is reading plugs for upcoming gigs, which are just mouthwatering. Bands include the Go-Gos, the Busboys, the Plimsouls, Sham 69, Dead Kennedys, Fear, the Bags, X, and Black Flag.
Around the 32nd minute a woman named Michelle calls the show from the Whiskey, where Madness is playing. One of the gang has some urgent information for her: “Snickers has some really good pot for sale, call 312-960-3662. It might be 714 area code.”
Back in the day, there weren’t very many area codes so it would be assumed that Snickers has a 213 area code, which covered all of downtown Los Angeles, unless otherwise specified. 714 covered Orange County and eastern L.A. County.
As a commenter usefully pointed out, Snickers’ real name was Richard W. Scott—as the singer for the Simpletones and the Klan, he was a well-known part of the L.A. punk scene. Sadly, he died of a drug overdose in 1997.
By the way, I tried calling both of the numbers. They were disconnected. Oh well.
Germs play the Whiskey on December 23, 1979:
Previously on Dangerous Minds:
‘The New Wave’: dorky Hollywood ’77 report features the Germs & Rodney Bingenheimer
‘Product of America’: Members of the Germs and Meat Puppets resurrect a Phoenix punk band from 1978