The Prodigal Rogerson: The Tragic, Hilarious, and Possibly Apocryphal Story of Circle Jerks Bassist Roger Rogerson in the Golden Age of LA Punk, 1979-1996
by J. Hunter Bennett Author
In 1983, Circle Jerks bassist Roger Rogerson stole the band’s van and dropped off the face of the earth. Thirteen years later, he came back, demanded that his bandmates reunite so they could become “bigger than the Beatles,” and promptly dropped dead. Though he was a founding member and key songwriter of the band who played on three of their best albums, Rogerson was lost to history. In a compelling narrative woven out of interviews with who knew him, with never-before-published photos of the band, The Prodigal Rogerson explains what happened to Rogerson, where he went, and who he was—all against the backdrop of the Los Angeles punk scene in its prime.
This is volume 4 of our Scene History series!
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Comments & Reviews
"As the subheading suggests, Roger Rogerson's story is indeed a blend of the comical and the distressing, but more importantly it's a story very much worth hearing.
One more illustration of Microcosm's ability to publish unique works that, time and again, relate to the human condition."
"...a fast-paced reading experience, and its combination of drama, comedy, and insider punk rock stories never lets up."
Part comedy, part tragedy, it is a fast paced read and you find yourself intrigued, shaking your head or utterly amused by the shenanigans of the main protagonist.
This gives a good picture of who this guy was and what was – or was not – on his mind.
"...gives a good picture of who this guy was and what was - or was not - on his mind."
"...delves into the sporadic life of bassist Roger Rogerson of legendary punk band, Circle Jerks."
"both a blast and a pull at the old heartstrings. J. Hunter Bennett is to be commended for finding more in Roger Rogerson's story than just a wild ride."
"...the mosaic composed in The Prodigal Rogerson exhibits fragments of a man who was as cared for as he was imperfect. An undercurrent of love runs throughout."
"a fascinating tome about Mr. Roger Rogerson Dowdling, one of the more fascinating figure on the early LA hardcore punk scene. ...a fitting epitaph."
"...this is obligatory reading for the CIRCLE JERKS fan, and more so for any fan of LA Punk Rock in general. Given the Keith Morris book, My Damage, and the My Life As A Jerk film are already out there, it’s near miraculous the Bennett has uncovered more facts and insights. This book also acts as the perfect accompaniment to those, filling in a few holes and raising a few smiles, frowns and tears along the way."
"...Circle Jerks fans and/or curious folks will enjoy Bennett’s writing."
"...a quick, sometimes funny, sometimes sad look at a founding member of one of the major bands of the second wave of punk rock."
"...does a superb job of capturing the story of Rogerson and this very unique moment in the history of American hardcore punk rock."
I found Roger to be not too terribly sympathetic as a subject,... That did not stop me from enjoying this account of his time with the Circle Jerks, in fact, I did it in one sitting.
"...the tale is both tragic and hilarious but above all, riveting reading. Miss reading this one and your life will never improve..."
"...a much needed epitaph in the history of American hardcore music. "
"absolutely drew me into a story I would otherwise never have read."
"At one level Roger Rogerson is just another case of an addict who died the death of an addict. In short, his was an unnecessary and sad fate. But at another level Rogerson’s life was one big goof, and his humor and insanity made an indelible impression on anyone who ever crossed his path. Bennett has done an impressive job of resurrecting a character who might have otherwise have been just another footnote in rock history."
"Fascinating for all CIRCLE JERKS fans, this gives insight into his time in the band, quitting the band, returning and, well I won’t ruin it."
"A worthy footnote to an enigmatic career and a highly recommended read..."
"...a fitting tribute to an oft forgotten and woefully ignored figure who, while he may not have believed in it, gave his soul to punk rock."
"[The reader has] a hell of a reading journey ahead of them...It's an entertaining, heartbreaking and maddening read."
"Microcosm paints images, this time via Bennett, defining the individual stories of this broad spectrum of punk instead of general histories of a forty year subgenre of rock and roll. Bennett wonderfully illustrates Rogerson’s pinball existence as he struggled through bi-polar disorder and addiction. Bennet’s work here is an essential read for any punk."
“Hunter Bennett has burrowed deep into the punk rock substrata to uncover the story of the mercurial and mysterious Roger Rogerson. In doing so he illuminates the madness, the audacity and the danger that fueled the early hardcore scene in Southern California.”
“With a taste for the ironic and a relentless eye, Hunter Bennett provides the definitive account of one of hardcore punk’s most enigmatic figures, Roger Rogerson. Rare recollections and rich reporting reveal a rock rebel running rapidly from reality and at war with himself.”