The Martin Scorsese-backed period music dharma, Vinyl. has hit the right notes
Good things take time to come along. And that’s true in the case of the recently launched, and highly anticipated TV series — Vinyl. Set in 1970s, it follows the life of a record label owner Richie Finestra who is trying to put his company back on top of the charts in the middle of changing music scene in New York. It’s the coming together of The Rolling Stones’ frontman Mick Jagger, film geniuses Martin Scorsese, Terence Winter, and Rich Cohen as executive producers. While Jagger had this project in mind, albeit in a different form, for decades, he spoke about it to Scorsese when the two were working on a documentary about The Rolling Stones in 2008. So to finally see it on air is a fulfilling experience, says the Goodfellas and Casino hitmaker, adding, “It’s been a long time since we first discussed the idea. We would get together every few years, and every time we talked it would get bigger, changing shape and form. It went from a movie, to an epic movie, to a series.”
The Oscar-winning filmmaker, who has also directed Vinyl’s pilot episode, shares about this music biz saga, the 70s New York, and more.
Why do epic storylines, like that of empires falling, appeal to you?
I’ve always been drawn to them, because I saw it happening in real time. In other words, you would see guys like the ones in Goodfellas and Casino driving the Cadillacs and wearing the thousand dollar suits and the shoes, with the manicures and the haircuts, and you could see the downfall already — the story was being written before your eyes. It’s the drama of knowing the world around you, the world that’s part of you, which therefore seems like reality, and the astonishment and confusion you feel when you see it dissolving before your eyes. Sometimes it happens on a very small scale, within your family, inside your house. Sometimes it’s a whole way of life. And sometimes it’s a business, a way of doing things, as in Vinyl.
You have worked together with Winter before, and delivered hits such as Boardwalk Empire, and The Wolf of Wall Street. What makes you both click?
Good writers are in short supply. And Winter is absolutely one of them. He’s extremely talented, of course, but he’s also tireless. He’s always generating ideas for new areas of interest, new projects, and he’s endlessly inventive. With a script in production, if there’s a problem, he starts right away in generating possible solutions until he gets it right. He has that great gift of keeping the audience on the edge of their seats.
What are your personal memories of 1970s’ New York, your hometown?
I was out in LA for most of the 70s, but of course I was in New York a lot too. And for me, that was, and actually still is, New York: a city in the process of falling apart. The garbage strikes, the subway trains that didn’t run on time, the crime — to me, that was New York. All this along with the amazing creativity: the avant-garde and independent film scenes, the extraordinary things that were happening in painting and visual art, in music, in theater, and obviously in rock ‘n’ roll — that’s what our series is about. Great things don’t happen in sedate environments filled with comfortable people. It was a great time to make movies, music, operas, and plays; you name it. The process of writing, casting, and then shooting that brought it all back. The New York of today is, to me, like an alien city.
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— Team Indulge