“Guy Peellaert was to Europe what Andy Warhol was to America – except that Guy had more talent!” – Jim Steranko (American comic book artist, art historian, publisher and film production illustrator).
Guy Peellaert was a Brussels-born artist. He worked as a painter, illustrator, graphic artist and photographer, with shows around the world. Peellaert’s creations are a beautifully unique blend of comic-style illustration, American Pop Art and psychedelia. He was a bit of a pop culture junkie; the artist survived on a steady diet of music, magazines, books, rock memorabilia, and pulp literature. Peellaert’s first major success was with a comic strip published in 1966, “Les Aventures de Jodelle,” followed by “Pravda, La Survireuse” in 1968. His comics were pop art masterpieces filled with sexy heroines kicking all sorts of ass!
Then, In the late Sixties, the artist moved from Brussels to Paris, where he stayed busy doing a bit of this and a bit of that – advertising, set design for casinos and the Crazy Horse nightclub, film and television. But in his free time Peellaert continued to create art, and he quickly became a popular chronicler of rock and roll gods, painting his idols into fantasy situations come to life.
Peellaert gained such notoriety and success with his pop fantasy creations that he collaborated with British rock writer Nik Cohn to create “Rock Dreams” in 1974. In a series of 125 paintings, Peellaert painted his heroes in situations echoing their mythical status or playing on their most famous lyrics. The book was a huge success, and Peellaert became somewhat of a household name.
From there, the sky was pretty much the limit. Peelaert went on to create some pretty iconic album covers, and movie posters …
Peellaert passed away November 17th, 2008 in Paris aged 74. In 2003, Peellaert told Beaux Arts Magazine: “I’m not bothered about death. Not having any passion while you’re alive, that’s the terrible thing. That’s why “Rock Dreams” still works today. Emotions keep you alive. Rock will always represent the extravagant, the flashy, the fantasy. These pictures are a memento to that dream.” Pretty perfect.
You’ve probably never heard of Rodney Bingenheimer, which isn’t surprising really. He’s always been more of a “behind the scenes” kind of guy, but he has been behind just about every kind of scene. He is a dedicated rock and roll fan, one of the biggest groupies to ever crash the scene, and while many have moved on from the heyday of the sunset strip, Binghenheimer remains committed … whether anyone cares or not.
Bingenheimer arrived on the streets of Hollywood at 16, and in his own words, he immediately “became the talk of the town because I had the perfect Brian Jones ‘do.” (And that ‘do remains unchanged to this day!) He had a seminal presence on the rock scene going back to the mid-’60s, introducing the early ’70s Bowie/Sweet/T Rex glam scene to America via his KROQ radio show and legendarily debauched Rodney’s English Disco club, and later championing punk rock when no one would go near it . Over the course of his career as a professional Hollywood scenester, Bingenheimer has always been at the forefront of musical taste, disovering countless acts from Bowie to Blondie to Coldplay.
Though the Hollywood of Binghenheimer days is long-gone, the radio DJ continues on. His show has been pushed to the graveyard shift, his celebrity friends have retired, and the music scene has been taken over by manufactured pop icons, but Rodney is still on the strip quietly living his dream as a Hollywood icon …
I think his story is beyond compelling, and there is no better way to see it than on the big screen … or the little one via Netflex on demand. Check out Mayor of the Sunset Strip, I promise you won’t be disappointed!