Tuesday, April 10, 2018


 Above, fair use screen captures of the HBO cable television series 'Vinyl,' produced by Martin Scorsese who also directed the pilot, created by Mick Jagger and Martin Scorsese, written by thirteen screenwriters throughout its 2016 ten episode story arc, including personal fave Terence Winter who authored "The Wolf of Wall Street" for Scorsese and "The Sopranos" for the rest of the world.

Despite this pedigree, most viewers seem to have loathed it. My subjective tally includes: 
Phyllis who was right there among the major players; Anita and Wendy who knew the subject matters backwards and forwards;  Mark, who like me, worked for a major record company in the mid-1970s which had all the stereotypes depicted (but a different one than the one for which I worked.  'Didn't matter, same stereotypes come to life.)

And add the factor that Martin Scorsese has always liked the challenge of tentpole-ing his films with profoundly unlikable protagonists. That said, who else has tried to make a well-funded, researched fictional series about our youth amidst the music biz? They usually get it ALL wrong, instead of somewhat wrong with lots of juicy insider jokes. For instance, the aspect I loved about the film "The Runaways" was that this was the first depiction of the SoCal '70s music scene with OUR music, not whatever chart hits they could license (and the premiere featured our locals cheering Michael Shannon's dead-one depiction of Kim Fowley.) 

So taking on the flexibility of the writers' apologia in the dvd Special Features that they knew they were taking a chance to bend facts and factors to fit their stories, I find myself enjoying the ambience the second time around rather than just sputtering "wwhhhaaattt?!?!" at every scene. Also commendable on second glance were excellent parts for female actors in a difficult to depict era: Olivia Wilde as the trophy wife who had given up her own wild child/party girl life to provide stability for the protagonist and of course missed same as well, but with different outcomes; Juno Temple as an ambitious, cute young adept in a Troglodyte era of kneejerk-dismissing talents of those with XX chromosomes; and Annie Parisse as the executive with more music biz know-how than anyone else in any room. 

And lastly, I wrote my second (now long out of print) book "Punk Rock 'N'Roll" for a major record company as the same battle cry of the few 'Vinyl'  characters who really loved music per se, let real talent rip! And sure enough, 'Vinyl' featured a Greek chorus of this:
ghosts of past (dead) rockers haunting the Richie Finestra character, with each episode depicting lookalikes of well known R&B and RocknRoll legends performing, which in essence mocked his once genuine love of quality music...

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