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HBO's Vinyl: Featuring Raspberries!

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HBO's 'Vinyl' puts a 'Goodfellas'-meets-Shakespeare spin on '70s music scene
By Chuck Yarborough

PREVIEW
Vinyl

What: HBO series about the 1970s music scene. Produced by Martin Scorsese, Mick Jagger and Terence Winter, created by Jagger and Winter. With Bobby Cannavale, Ray Romano, James Jagger, Andrew Dice Clay, Olivia Wilde, Matt Casella and Juno Temple.
When: 9 p.m. Sundays on HBO.

CLEVELAND, Ohio -- It really wouldn't have been a surprise had star Bobby Cannavale uttered, "All my life, I wanted to be a record company executive'' to open Martin Scorsese's project for HBO, "Vinyl.''

And, given its Scorsese pedigree, it shouldn't come as a shock that the series about the record business in the 1970s that launches with Sunday night's premiere has at least as many F-bombs as F chords, many delivered by Ray Romano, outstanding in a decidedly anti-"Everybody Loves Raymond'' role. (Read Michael Heaton's story about Romano here.)

But - and this is a big but - the other names behind it are executive producer Terence Winter and Mick Jagger. The Rolling Stones frontman created the premise for the series, had a hand in writing part of the project, and his son, James, who sports the family skinny hips and pouty lips, plays the lead singer of the group central to the story line, the Nasty Bits.

The Jagger presence keeps the dark story - and it's so dark that it feels as if someone forgot to the pay the light bill through half of it - from becoming a "Goodfellas'' music parody, even though there are more parallels than there are '70s rock-star lookalikes.

Murder, racism, the mob, anti-Semitism, deceit and all the rest of the "Goodfellas'' stereotypes are there, but the sex, drugs and rock 'n' roll aspect leads to an intriguing story of what the music business probably was like back in those days.

The problem is that the necessary expository nature means the two-hour premiere moves like a Conestoga wagon minus its rear wheels. Each subsequent episode is only an hour, thank Ahmet Ertegun and all that's holy. That means that we can get to the real meat of the series.

The basic story line has Richie Finestra - Cannavale - who has worked his way up in the music business ranks to launch his American Century label -- trying to avert a financial disaster. He pins his hopes on signing Led Zeppelin, then selling his label -- lock, stock and roster - to Germany's Polygram Records.

The deal nearly comes unraveled when Zeppelin discovers Richie and his company have tried to undercut the band's percentage, and the band refuses to sign.

A word about that: The show is chockfull of actors portraying that era's rock-scene illuminati, from Zeppelin's Robert Plant to Elvis to the New York Dolls to Lou Reed to Otis Redding to Andy Warhol. It would be easy to get caught up in waiting for the "next'' lookalike.

Easy and wrong.

Yeah, the guy who plays Lou Reed looks like him a little. And the actor who portrays Robert Plant is the spitting image of the Zeppelin singer, right down to the hip-hugger jeans that ride just above the pubic bone. And the fellow who is John Bonham has Bonzo's look down pat.

Even Cleveland's own Jesse Bryson appears as his father, Wally, in a scene in Episode 3 that features the Raspberries.

"I think they called my mom [Kay] to get permission to use his name and likeness, and she said, 'Actually, my son lives there and looks like him,' '' said Bryson, a part-time real estate agent and full-time musician in Brooklyn, New York.

"They wanted real musicians, and I think they did a good job of casting,'' said Bryson, who said the "Vinyl'' Raspberries lip-synched the group's song "I Wanna Be With You.''

Bryson said he spent two days on the set filming his part, but really only "worked'' for about half an hour.

"The rest of the time, we sat around and watched them shoot other scenes,'' he joked.

Admittedly, for the series to be an accurate - albeit fictional - portrait of the '70s music scene, you have to have those characters. But the story is the story, and all the men and women in it merely players, as some dude wrote a few centuries ago.

Maybe not so coincidentally, the series is more Shakespearean than you might think, with vestiges of "The Merchant of Venice,'' "Hamlet,'' "Richard III'' and even "Othello.''

Forsooth, methinks, however, that mine brainpan may analyzeth too much.

After all, it's only rock 'n' roll. But I like it, yes I do.

Cleveland Plain Dealer, February 13, 2016

__________

The cat's out of the bag! Can't wait to see this!

:D

Bernie

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LC   

Sweet! They nailed the '70s hair, and the Eric lookalike is pretty good (especially next to your avatar, Bernie). That's Jessie Bryson as Wally, according to the story. He's definitely a smaller guy than his dad, but great casting.

 

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This photo fooled me completely :) . I noticed EC hear, didn´t  look closely, then I started to look for Wally Bryson - no Wally, where is Wally? :) No no, this is not right, Eric is not taller than the others (and shirt must be little more opened, then the others :)) , who are these guys??? 

I got my answer from the article - very interesting. 

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Batman   

How great is it that Eric and Raspberries continue to be relevant, musically, some 45 years after releasing their debut album. Two years ago Guardians of the Galaxy used GATW in the soundtrack of the hit movie, and 5 years ago Life On Mars, an ABC-TV series, used GATW in an extended scene that played the entire song. Bravo Berries!!  Makes me wish, almost, that I had HBO.

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AnneNR   

I can see how much the guy looks like Mr. Carmen --- and yet at the same time he kinda looks like that "Bobby C" guy from "Saturday Night Fever" . . .

. . . and I can see the left guy looks a lot like Mr. Smalley, I guess the other one is Mr. Bonfanti (I'll have to look at another picture of Mr. Bonfanti again to compare), and Mr. Jessie Bryson.... needs a little work on the hair because it doesn't look quite like Wally-hair. ^_^  But how EXCITING IS THIS??!!!!!!

AnneNR

 

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GirlFan   

What a cute picture those 4 guys are wearing black and white suits like the ones Dave,Jim,Wally and Eric wore on the Fresh Raspberries albums---Tammy Quick  :):):)

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LC   

Wow! Thanks for posting those trailers, Katariina! I had heard a little about this; now I'm really pumped up to see it. Way to go, HBO! And the name is perfect: Vinyl, especially now that vinyl has become so trendy. I see a lot of young kids going after vinyl like... like... like we used to do in the '70s. 

Martin Scorcese talks in the trailer about how the set and fashions and aura felt so comfortable during filming because he lived through it all. Yet he also calls it a historical film. And it is funny to think about how, as teens in the '70s, we wore those colorful bellbottoms and platform shoes and floppy hairstyles. Now it's all period stuff, and part of "history" that will seem ancient to millennials and younger....

Also, the trailers reflect the loud, raucous, undisciplined, all-hell-breaks-loose rock'n'roll that was exploding at the time  (and that for me as, like, a 13-year-old, was just too heavy). The beauty of it is that on the outskirts of all that chaos was our Raspberries—in clean, white suits and not grimy or out of control at all—playing really spectacular, well-crafted, well-played rock'n'roll and ballads and mid-tempo numbers.

Obviously, it has held up extremely well, so well that the 'berries are way more highly regarded now than they were in 1973. I find that kind of cool... and very ironic. The fact that they're represented in Vinyl shows the impact... and makes me want another little blast from the past:

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This is a big deal legacy-wise for the Raspberries.

Will anyone other than Jessie Bryson be banking anything for the use for their names and music ?

I hope they all make big money$$$$$!

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Kirk   

I hope they do right by Raspberries...you never know what kind of 'spin' they could put on it.  I don' t get HBO- I'll have to do some sleuthing to see it!

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7 hours ago, LC said:

Also, the trailers reflect the loud, raucous, undisciplined, all-hell-breaks-loose rock'n'roll that was exploding at the time  (and that for me as, like, a 13-year-old, was just too heavy). The beauty of it is that on the outskirts of all that chaos was our Raspberries—in clean, white suits and not grimy or out of control at all—playing really spectacular, well-crafted, well-played rock'n'roll and ballads and mid-tempo numbers...

This is a good time to remind about  an interesting book "Marathon Man". Chapter 3 - The Cyrus Erie perform before the band The Who, Boys are looking for mod-clothes , and choosing what to play. There is very well described how The Who players were behaving on stage (Pete Townshend on stage :) ), and what kind of impression they made to those young Cyrius boys with that. 

I read it, and I could imagine myself in the time I was not even been born yet :) .Now I can´t wait, to see the TV-series.

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James   

Will be interesting.  What comes to my loco mind is the integrity with which they´ll tell the story.  Today in the U.S.A. there is a budding pc mob inspired censorship from various groups who bully their way into getting what they want.  Artists / Directors / Producers are under pressure to keep the mobs off their backs, so they often  appease the mobs by adjusting their work to conform to what the mobs want.  Hopefully this series will not be affected by that,...hopefully Scorcese, Jagger and whoever else has control will have the balls to tell the story as they see  the story in their minds, and not be whipped around by the mobs.

It was an interesting time. The time through which I grew up.  I have a strong love for those times. Very strong.   There was a mix of greatness in those times (a lunge for individual freedom, justice, guts to non-conform,  standing up for a person´s right to be who that person wanted to be, etc.) and there was also a lot of negative stuff that was seminal in a lot of the bad we see today.  IMHO.

But the best part of the 70s?....for me??? :  chicks on marijuana, at rock & roll concerts, wearing droopy tanky - top type tops, revealing to this teenager a couple things they shouldn´t have been revealing. ;) 

James to friend:  "Hey friend, you wanna go see Foghat???  Friend :  "Heck yes,....... here we come "Droopy Boobsville !!! "

Sorry.

Please carry-on...
:)

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I watched and liked it. They had a number of musicians being portrayed by actors in the first episode, most notably David Johansen and Robert Plant. They showed each performing with their groups, the New York Dolls and Led Zeppelin. Cool to watch. There seems to be a lot of detail they've fussed over, although the facts have been worked into the fabricated fictional tale of the record label invented for the series. The show is VERY dark. Lots of sex, drugs and even a murder. Wondering how Raspberries fit into that world. Guess we'll all see in a couple of weeks.

Bernie

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Enjoyed the scenes with everyone dancing in the clubs showing the extreme feelings from the sights and sounds of new music.  It's gritty and truly a NY kind of story. 

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Batman   
On ‎2‎/‎13‎/‎2016‎ ‎4‎:‎20‎:‎05‎, Mary Ellen said:

Waiting impatiently to get hooked on VINYL!  

I've been hooked on vinyl since I was a kid!

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Batman   
On ‎2‎/‎12‎/‎2016‎ ‎10‎:‎43‎:‎41‎, Kirk said:

I hope they do right by Raspberries...you never know what kind of 'spin' they could put on it.  I don' t get HBO- I'll have to do some sleuthing to see it!

I also do not get HBO. I'll have to wait till it is released on DVD.

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Val,

The first episode was the pilot which had to be jam packed with action, including a bloody murder of course.  I'd read it would be Sopranos-esque which was to be expected considering all of the players involved in making the series.  Knew that, but was still jolted a bit myself during a few scenes.  Anyhow, I'm hoping with each episode there can be more about the music discoveries and character development and I can get into the show more.

We need to remember the music business - all business - especially during the 70s and 80s was still a boys' club.  Everything you'd expect to go on in that club, and under the influence so to speak, will be shown.  

M.E.

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