“It’s 10 p.m.,” as TV stations across the country remind their viewers. “Do you know where your children are?” If they lived within dragging distance of Los Angeles’s Sunset Strip and were around 15 or so, they might well be at Rodney Bingenheimer’s English Disco. Rodney’s clientele ranges from kids on an innocent lark to unbelieving adults to glitter-rock groupies enjoying a little indoor streaking and freaking. They parade around in skin-tight satin pants, chests (his and hers) bound up in Lurex halters and wobble atop 10-inch platform heels.
Rodney collects a $2 cover at the door, sells beer to those old enough and an unfortunate cherry drink to the rest. He pays the rent with the proceeds of the pinball machines alone. Music is on records, and the dancing is more exhibitionism than courtship—boys often dancing with boys and girls with girls. Bingenheimer, the 5’3″ 26-year-old impresario of the disco, left a little town outside of San Jose in the mid ’60s to lay siege to the L.A. rock scene. His breakthrough came when he persuaded RCA records to sign the then little-known David Bowie. David, an honorary member of the disco’s board of directors, has helped make the club a must flashpoint for visiting rock heavies—to the ecstasy of their carbon copies in the crowd.
Although recently the victim of a stroke which briefly paralyzed his left side, little Rodney has Napoleonic plans for the future: franchizing the Rodney discos all across America.