Roswell Christopher Bottum III was born on July 1st 1963 in Los Angeles, California. Roddy grew up the prosperous Hancock Park district of Los Angeles and attended Loyola High a Catholic school with neighbour Bill Gould. He studied Classical piano from a very early age, his mother would make him practise for two hours every morning. The moneyed Hollywood surroundings meant Roddy would mix with celebrities form an early age, he even baby sat for Rosanna Arquette's family. When he was 18 he relocated (with Bill) to attend San Francisco State university as a film student.
In 1983 he joined Bill and Mike Bordin in the band Faith. No Man replacing Wade Worthington on keyboards. Courtney Love sang for FNM on several occasions over the next year and Roddy and Courtney were lovers who became life long friends.
During Chuck Mosley's time in FNM the two became close and after Chuck was ousted they continued their relationship despite tensions with Chuck and the other members. Roddy co-wrote the lyrics to the song We Care A Lot for their debut album of the same name in 1985, due to his rap influences including Run DMC he helped to bring hip-hop into FNM's early sound.
On 1989's The Real Thing album his keyboard sounds added a more commercial pop side the FNM's music with catchy riffs to From Out Of Nowhere and Falling To Pieces.
During their 1991 South American tour Roddy kept a tape recorder on him to collect audio samples, some of which would be used on FNM's forth album Angel Dust. The record company accused the band of 'gratuitous sampling' and FNM en-sighted a law suit from Iris Lettieri after using a sample of her reading a flight announcement at the Rio de Janeiro-Galeão International Airport. Roddy co-wrote the lyrics to the song Be Aggressive which describes male oral sex .
Whilst on tour with Gun N' Roses he spoke openly to the press about his distaste for their treatment of 'groupies'.
In 1993 Roddy discussed his homosexuality in an article published by The Advocate. He explained that he had never hidden the fact that he was gay, only that the question had never arisen.
In 1994 Roddy suffered personal tragedies with the loss of his father and close friend Kurt Cobain. Coupled with the fact he was struggling with heroin addiction this led to him contributing little to the writing and recording of FNM's fifth record King For A Day Fool For A Lifetime. However he recovered in time to tour the album often playing guitar.
It was at Roddy's wedding in 2007 that FNM re-connected after not seeing each other for some time, and talk of reforming the band began.
In 2014 After 5 years of touring old material FNM released their first new music in 18 years. The premiere single from 2015's Sol Invictus was Motherfucker , Roddy provided lead vocals for the first time in an FNM song. The music on the album heavily featured live piano and very little programmed synthesiser sounds unlike its predecessors.
In 2016 FNM reissued their debut album We Care A Lot , the band played two shows to celebrate their early roots and Roddy was excited to be working with his friend Chuck once again.
In 1994/95 Roddy formed the indie pop band Imperial Teen (originally Star 69) with Will Schwartz (guitar/vocals), Lynn Truell (drums/vocals), and Jone Stebbins (bass/vocals). Imperial Teen became known for their boy/girl harmonies and for all four members switching off on instruments during shows.
The group have released 5 studio albums and their 6th Now We Are Timeless was released on July 12th 2019.
Sasquatch The Opera
In 2016 Roddy composed a mini-opera called The Ride, for the Experiments in Opera Story Binge series. The opera was about two gay men from different generations who bicycle from San Francisco to Los Angeles for an AIDS charity, based on his real life experiences.
In 2017 he took Sasquatch: The Opera to the Edinburgh Fringe Festival in Scotland for a full month. It tells the story of a hillbilly family who con tourists in search of the mythical monster known as Bigfoot, until the daughter, Dodder, meets him and falls in love.
Roddy has over the years returned to his roots in film and composed the music for several movies. Including Adam and Steve (2005), What Goes Up (2009), Kabluey (2007), I'm Reed Fish (2007) and Gigantic (2007). In 2010, he scored the documentary Hit So Hard about drummer Patty Schemel and Fred: The Movie for Nickelodeon. Roddy has also tried his skills in front of the camera with playing the role of 'Dylan' in Tyrel, an American drama film, written and directed by Sebastián Silva.
Roddy is a member of Nastie Band who released their debut self-titled album in 2019.
In 2018 he formed a new band called Crickets with DJ, producer and songwriter JD Samson and Michael O'Neill, their debut album is due out in 2020.
Photo © Jonathan Grassi