During his three-decade tenure at Los Angeles radio station KROQ, legendary DJ Rodney Bingenheimer has helped break a slew of bands, everyone from the B-52s and Duran Duran to Social Distortion and the Ramones. Over the past month, he's been spinning cuts from Cramp Your Style, the new album by Colorado Springs-based band the Mansfields. The new disc, on the Gearhead imprint, owes as much to late-'70s Ramones punk as it does to Sun Records rockabilly. There's even a sample of Tura Satana from the mid-'60s cult film Faster Pussycat ! Kill! Kill!. We spoke with Dave Mansfield, the band's frontman, about the Mansfields' obsession with pop culture.
Westword: Do all you guys share an affinity for '50s culture?
Dave Mansfield: Yeah, the '50s rock and roll, the B-movies and all the sci-fi. But it's like that stuff in each of the decades, really. We're into the '70s B-movies and rock and roll. But the '50s, for sure, because it obviously started everything. We're always tracking down odd things — like, we'll go to Sun Studios in Memphis and hang around until they'll let us go in the mixing room. We're just really into the history and that kind of stuff. We went to Jayne Mansfield's house in Hollywood a few times before they tore it down. We were out there one time when they were actually starting to tear down her house, and there were pieces of the stucco house lying around, and the pink bathtub that she had in her house was sitting outside. We just wanted to take it, put it in our van and drive back here with it. We're really freaks like that. I don't know if it's historical stuff or what. We're just really into the history of things and pop-culture shit. It's probably why I love the Cramps so much, too.
It reminds me of that scene in Taxi Driver where the guy was trying to sell a piece of Errol Flynn's bathtub.
We're like that. If we go to Graceland, we'll pick up leaves off the ground and take them home with us, all that kind of stuff — or dust from Sun Records or something like that. I really regret not doing that. And we ran into Johnny Ramone just before he died. There was a place on Melrose that was a toy store that we always go to. And he was coming out of that store as we were going in, and we were like, "That's fucking Johnny Ramone!" He hung outside for a little while because he probably figured we were coming back out to talk to him. By the time we could get it all figured out, we went outside and he was gone. It was right after that that he died. We were like, "You gotta be fucking kidding me."