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

In The Prodigal Rogerson, J. Hunter Bennett pieces together the turbulent life and career of Circle Jerks bassist Roger Rogerson through interviews with former bandmates, wives and friends.

Rogerson was an original member of the successful Southern California hardcore band from the bedrock of Los Angeles punk in the 1970s and '80s, alongside Black Flag, Agent Orange and TSOL. But his drug use and behavior plagued the group. A classic example: he would often trash his bass at the end of a set. Drummer Lucky Lehrer laments, "We'd make like $1,000, but we'd have to buy him a new bass." Following a heroin overdose and deteriorating playing ability, Rogerson was kicked out of the band. He promptly stole their van and disappeared--for 13 years.

The Prodigal Rogerson pieces together what happened leading up to his disappearance and following his brief return, hoping to reunite the band but instead dropping dead. The chronology jumps around, and bandmates' memories often clash. One section is even called "1976 or '77. Or '78. Or maybe even 1979." But despite Rogerson's substance abuse, 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. Photos in the book lend life and authenticity, a window into Rogerson's antics as well as his attitude: a scowl, a smirk and sometimes even a smile. --Katie Weed, freelance writer and reviewer

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