Please Ease Ray Romano’s Mother’s Fears and Recognize Him in HBO’s Vinyl

The cast of Vinyl

Over the course of the pilot, Richie encounters the first stirrings of punk, hip-hop, and disco and isn’t quite sure what to make of any of them.

Richie rushes back and forth between Germany and NY, his Manhattan crash pad and his CT mansion, hookers and his wife, Devon (Olivia Wilde), a former party-girl who is now an immaculately groomed suburban mom. The subject material – drugged-up crooks who happen to be involved in rock & roll in 1973 NY – is pure Scorsese, while the exquisite attention to period detail, time-jumping narrative and real historical figures interacting with fictional ones are all elements that Winter perfected on Boardwalk Empire. “It was clear that nobody was making this movie”. Rather, the television series is firmly anchored in 1973. That said, the music does show masterful mixing that could not have been brought to the series by anyone with less experience than Mick Jagger. Though a devoted family man, hard worker and lover of music and the industry, Richie is an addict with an affinity for booze and cocaine who is trying hard to stay sober. “That’s not to say in subsequent years we might not do that”.

Bobby Cannavale play the series’ central character, a coke-snorting, volatile record executive named Richie Finestra, who’s trying to keep his struggling label afloat.

As for Romano, who’s no longer playing the clueless dad, he practically reinvents himself as Zak Yankovich.

What we would do to play dress-up in Vinyl’s wardrobe department… there are suede platform boots, flared jeans and sequinned catsuits, and that’s just for the boys. When we meet him, he’s in a bad place.

“I think when we find her in the beginning, they’ve sort of worked out this happy life for themselves and the sobriety thing is going well …”, he continues. “It’s easier doing movies”, he said wearily. And speaking, earlier, of the soundtrack, it’s positively killer. “Well, I do love a man in heels because after a long day at work they were complaining”, she says with a laugh. I know; I’m getting dark in what’s supposed to be a recap. Every facial expression is loaded with ambivalence – she loves Richie, but she’s unhappy in the life he’s forced her into.

Classic tracks from Iggy and the Stooges and New York Dolls feature in the Vinyl trailers, with newer music from Kaleo and The Raconteurs too. “I know there were just certain touchpoints along the way musically that I wanted to build sequences around”. There’s some blocks [around the Garment District] that kind of have that period look, but we started finding out you’d have to either be there or you could go up, like Upper West Side or along Central Park.

I grew up with that music. “I grew up with a great education in rock’n’roll, going back to the early ’50s, then all through the Beatles and Herman’s Hermits into the ’70s”. “Things get a little HBO-naked”.

However, “Vinyl” doesn’t use excellent music as a crutch to make itself interesting. There are so many landmark moments that I associate with the music that I listened to.

Nevertheless, Vinyl employed consultants tasked with keeping an eye on authenticity.

Yet many of his movies share a notable trait: an almost-operatic sensibility, with raw emotions triggered by a mythic worldview in which good and evil are easily defined at first, then disassembled with a skillful dexterity.

Yes, that’s a lot of adjectival matter to unload on one series, especially all at once, right off the bat. “So he certainly was there for all that stuff and is aware of keeping it realistic in that sense”.

Lombardo – who says he used to lie in his bed listening to “Angie” on repeat – was provided with a potent reminder of Jagger’s fame one night over dinner with Plepler when, during an intense conversation about the challenges of the series, a young female server came to the table.

“You can’t always get what you want, babe”. “Vinyl” also wants to prove, however, that these very emotions reflected in music are not always positive. A drama about the contemporary music industry would be interesting, he contemplates, but for very different reasons.

He believes in American Century against all odds – and, more to the point, he still believes in the music. College students [today] are more interested in the Kardashians. Graffiti spans every inch of the street and one gets the feeling as though a trash compactor has simply just vomited its guts everywhere, with no one to clean-up.