Sunday, May 8, 2016 – As I sit here, tears rolling down my face, finishing up my binge watching marathon of the inaugural season of HBO’s gut wrenching, and incredible, 1970s rock and roll series “Vinyl”, I realize that I’ll probably never meet my drum idol, Ginger Baker. Yes, this is a stray bullet, random thought, mainly because Baker’s heyday was a few years earlier than when the Vinyl storyline begins. But I digress…
Vinyl is a finely crafted flashback story of a time, the early 1970s, when the record industry was a mishmash of creativity, decadence and wicked corporate exploitation, that morphed it into a powerful and at times manically reckless force. There were stars created and casualties rendered.
Created by Mick Jagger, Martin Scorsese, Terence Winter and Rich Cohen, Vinyl is set in New York at American Century Records, a fictitious label that delves in the good, and the bad, of the time. The soundtrack alone (which no doubt was influenced by Scorsese’s directing style of using music as well as visuals to tell the story) features every gem imaginable, both popular and obscure, of the time. The strategic musical placement throughout the show will surely send shivers down the spine of anyone who existed during this nonsensically ripe era.
I’ll be honest, the depiction of drug abuse was harrowing for me. It scared me. I felt like I was watching a psychological horror film sans the monster prosthetics and makeup. The fright was created by the writing and acting. Bobby Cannavale, who first burst onto my radar as Gyp Rosetti in HBO’s “Boardwalk Empire”, goes full ‘Scarface’ emotionally in his role as record company head Richie Finestra. It got to the point where I would get stressed out watching the show. Yet…I kept coming back. Part of it’s deep effect on me surely was a result of my own experiences in ‘the biz’ during that same time. But, with all that being said, I can’t wait for season two..