Anyone who has worshipped at the altar of the gods of the blossoming punk movement in the 1970s will be hanging on every word of Vinyl, an inspiring drama filled HBO series created by Mick Jagger, Martin Scorsese, Rich Cohen and Terence Winter.
Vinyl calls out a siren song to anyone who has had their life shaped by a punk rock mentality and lifestyle. In the very first episode we see a group of record executives attempting to sell their company to a team of Germans. The deal nearly goes through until company founder Richie Finestra (played by Bobby Cannavale) goes rogue and calls the entire deal off with true Finestra flare. “You know what? One of these days I’m going to grab you by those mutton chops and turn your head like a steering wheel motherfucker. We’re not selling the company”.
Set in post Vietnam New York City during the beginning of cocaine’s heavy reign on the drug market — you know, the one that led into the hazy coke-binge we now call the 80s — Vinyl gives you a taste of the anger, ego, and pure unadulterated passion of the generation. We follow Finestra as he begins to understand the heartbeat of the punk movement while breathing life into his otherwise dying company.
It is impossible not to become drawn into the lives of likable yet tragic characters intertwining around ACR, a record company run by faces we’ve seen on the silver screen before, but never quite like this. One of those faces is Ray Romano who plays partner Zak Yancovich. It’s refreshing to see Romano successfully portray a serious character, although he is a bit of a shlemiel as he navigates a feeble attempt at power and drags himself out of crippling personal debt.
Photo credit: HBO
The main storyline follows Richie Finestra and his struggles to keep his nearly bankrupt NYC company afloat. Finestra’s wife Devon (played by Olivia Wilde) is left alone at their exuberant home in Connecticut with their 2 children and the remnants of his drug binges to look after. As we are given a more intimate look into her life we can truly encompass ourselves in what it must feel like to be a wild, free spirited woman who took the leap into the quintessential “settling down” of motherhood a bit too early.