We’re back with the smooth vocal stylings of Vinyl and it’s magical music arrangements. Let’s see what 70s acts we can kinda sorta find out about!
We open with the piping notes of what has to be a Jethro Tull knockoff; Richie looks skeptical, but this is who Clark found, this is his ticket to not being fired. He found them at a Renaissance Festival and I believe that. But it’s not just Jethro Not, Richie asked for a big showcase and he got it: he’s gonna be there all night.
We have leather dudes, 60s Beatles suited bands, blues acts, and a WHOLE lot of unwashed hair. Richie looks depressed.
He stares out the window while being driven home, all emo and he doesn’t even know Devon was threatening him with divorce like two days ago! He may have kinda hung up in the middle, so I don’t think her seeing the divorce lawyer was quite the trump card she thought it was gonna be. Most of the time I am firmly in the Anyone But Devon camp, but it has to suck to be married to someone who won’t even listen to you long enough to let you threaten them with divorce. ANYWAY, his car phone rings, it’s his dad (who does NOT have a functioning prostate, it would seem), who we only met at the end of the last episode when Richie was asking him for an alibi. We also know what Richie and his dad’s relashie is fraught, but we don’t know why just yet. Back to the phone!
Dad wants to go over the alibi in detail, sounds like Richie’s hashed together a couple of his days to make it fit, but his dad wants to go over all of it right now, which makes Richie nervous. Everyone knows all the car phones in the seventies are tapped! Come to Richie’s fancy office!
Clark is outside Julie’s office, waiting to be ushered in. It must be two weeks in and this must be the “stay or go” talk. Have a seat, Clark. Speech time! Julie says that inside each man is another version of that man. Perhaps a man with a sense of primordial destiny; hard to say. What isn’t hard to say is that Clark is fired, his fcuking Vikings with stratocastors didn’t save his primordial destiny after all. He begs, saying he almost signed Alice Cooper and kiddo, you were never going to sign Alice Cooper. He was settling a grudge with Richie and you were just gullible and desperate enough to believe it. Julie tries to usher him out with a “There’s no shame, kid. *shoulder pat* This business isn’t for everyone” and I was JUST thinking that! He cries and begs, and ohhhh, Julie offers him Jamie’s job. Clark says he went to fcuking YALE and Julie says “really? Cause you never mentioned that” and HAHAHAHAHA and Clark takes it. Julie advises him to take that Whiffenpoof shite off his resume, not doing him any favours.
Jamie rolls up on Heather covering CeCe’s desk for Richie, is anyone gonna cover the front? The 400s are coming in later and they don’t wanna look closed. CeCe’s been pulling some pretty late nights lately; not coming in daily at noon or later in Hannibal’s limo. Gossip! Jamie braces CeCe about her late nights; women in the music industry stare down.
The Nasty Bitz are having a marketing meeting with Richie and Zak, it’s not going so well. They want Kip to fly around the country to maybe “bugger some radio jock” and write a bio, but so far it’s a little light: “I’m Kip Stevens. Fcuk your mom.” He doesn’t want to do marketing OR promotion and where’s Jamie, the “towhead with the tits?” I would have probably have referenced the curls, not the colour, but whatever. Where IS Jamie, asks Richie? Julie probably told her she wasn’t to go, she’s in the lunch room setting up doughnuts and trying to take Clark Morelle, Sandwich Maven, seriously. He wants to take over the “weed and blow for the executive branch” but she’s not down, no way. But his salary just dropped! To the same as hers. But the difference is that SHE found an artist and he didn’t and he still thinks he’s the one getting screwed here. CeCe finds her; you’re wanted in the conference room, and not even for sammies or either kind of blow, Jamie! Go!
In the meantime, Kip’s come up with another bio! “I’m Horatio Meatsack, a sad, fat wanker!” Hey, I want him to write mine now! No, wait, I probably don’t. Jamie is so working for the band here; she talks Kip into the trips to massage DJs, says she’ll write the bio and wants to know where the rest of the band is? Ah ha, this is not just marketing, Richie wants Kip to cut a guitarist so now it begins. Richie doesn’t want to just cut A guitarist, he wants to cut THE guitarist, saying Duck doesn’t have a stage presence, know how to play guitar or even a real name. That last part may have just been me. Duck?
Lester and Kip push back, there may have been some aging fcukhole talk, but then Richie lays it out nice and clearly: this is what labels do when they pick up a band. They finetune, they trim the fat, they make bands marketable. He has a gig for them next month opening for the New York Dolls, so if they want it, there better be 4 band members on that stage, one of who better not be Duck. With lots more swearing and eye-knifing. Message received.
A cleanup crew has been working in Richie’s office all day (I gather because of the fire / sprinkler last week):
But when the last guy leaves so Richie can snort some relaxation, he goes really slow and I find myself wondering about taps again. How close is this to Watergate? CeCe comes in, he asks her if he needs another secretary. She suggests Heather, but he needs to replace her with another black chick, makes him look hipper. Hepper. Neither of those, but I would suggest having a black woman in a role subservient to you is neither new OR hep, Richie. He tries to warn her about the exceedingly married Hannibal who has no intentions of leaving the vegan Starr, but she warns him instead. Jackie Jervais is making serious inroads with Hannibal, mostly because his PR gal, Andrea, who Richie taught everything he knows to. Imma have to hit IMDB up again! Koronet records thinks they can cross Hannibal over, instead of what Richie’s doing, which is ghettoizing him in the soul market. I did not know that was a real word, me and Richie are kind of shocked. He asks CeCe to set up a double date with Hannibal for that night.
Richie calls home to let Devon know they have a business dinner that night, Devon is her usual cheerful self but agrees to meet to impress the big fish with her “wearing something sexy” harpoon. Sigh. Marriage is tough, y’all, and watching a bad marriage is as much fun as harpooning myself somewhere uncomfortable.
It’s time for Jamie to meet with Julie to get her big promotion! Or not. Clark has her job and she signed a band, but she’s just lucky to be vice president of coffee, I guess, and oh, yeah, she will be doing the job of an A&R rep, but no, no promotion. Julie’s gonna maybe add her to his Nice list and fuuuuuuuuuuuccccccckkkkkkkkk that. She needs to quit and work directly for the Nasty Bitz, not be going out to buy records so that Kip can understand chord progression. Julie does not understand what NB has, he’s trying to make them into The Kinks still and well, we already have a Kinks, right? And some of us have kinks even, but we certainly don’t need another cookie cutter band and Julie does.not.get.that. My money’s on Jamie.
Andrea (Annie Parisse) from Koronet Records is at a photo shoot involving some truly fantastically 70s looking rockers, seriously, the only thing that comes close to how good the music is on this show is the wardrobe and set design. That only sounds like damning with faint praise.
Richie and Andrea chat, I wonder if there was something there romantically? Because the first person she asks about is Devon, and he tells her the truth, wow. Dev didn’t know about the sale and it’s never about money until there’s no Brink’s truck, right? Andrea’s glad he didn’t sell, he knew she’d get it and
Ohhhhh. They did cross that line, but that’s not the real crux of their relationship: she was his admin. If you’ve never been this type of admin, you may not understand. She cleaned his stove (she’s particularly pissed about that), and messed up and THEN made his bed. When you’re that type of administrative assistant, EVERYTHING becomes blurry. And I bet he couldn’t see her for how good she was at her job, even as he taught her. It takes a while to see your Right Hand as anything other than YOURS, and able to function on their own and everything, without you. I get it now. Plus the secks.
He asks her to come work for him (I think), but she thinks the problem is deeper than PR, she can’t sell his outmoded strategies, he needs a complete revisualization! She wants to be partner but he offers her a voice and to call the big shots; she shuts him down clean. I like this woman, she’s tough and smart. She says she loves him, always has, and she’s gone.
Jamie is meeting her mother (of the calling the police; “there’s a whore robbing my business”) in a very schwanky restaurant. Jamie is already wrongfooted, being late (train suicide?), but her mother’s insistence on treating her like a child (I don’t WANT consomme) and her accepting it means this dynamic isn’t new. Lots of Polish talking and Jamie defends herself but this woman. She came from nothing and she has everything and she will CUT HER if Jamie doesn’t get it in line. She’s got a business for Jamie to take over, she doesn’t wanna hear about Jamie’s stupid faux-motion. Jamie does not eat the consomme.
Daddy Finestra is regaling the staff with tales of a naked preteen Richie singing about Josefina; what’s the deal with them, anyway? Sal (David Proval) is there to work on Richie’s alibi! He’s gotta bust Richie’s balls a bit about his gold records hanging on the wall and spout some racist bs. “It’s a known fact mulattos can’t hold their liquor” and I need a ruling. That’s clearly racist, but someone I know likes to wax political about how First Nations Canadians have been attacked by the epidemic of alcoholism and it has decimated their ranks, given that their bodies are not able to process alcohol properly. That’s totally racist, right? That sounds like Hitler pseudo-science racism hiding under the guise of concern trolling even, but I need an outside eye from someone else: skeevy or legit?
Ahhh sorry, I got off on a tangent and missed the fact that they were talking about Richie’s mother, the mulatto in question. Sal was an absentee father and I’m pretty sure Richie’s the same. Sal is really digging the chance to rake Richie over the coals here, especially since he suspects that Richie was involved in Buck’s death (I still don’t really think of it as a murder, even though technically…). Best part of this whole scene is Sal saying “Artie Shaw is an ASSHOLE” and my awesome gif-maker Veronica is hamstrung by a deep sea cable slice or I’d put that right on top, baby.
He leaves and Richie is set upon by inspiration: Alibi Records, baby. “Little Richard” takes us out. Side note on Little Richard; it’s easy to discount LR as a freak, especially in later years, you know, the skin stretched too tight, the makeup, even for a drag artist, the recluse nature of his life, but his music. Wow. In the beginning the energy was UNTOLD and it has so much passion, it makes so much of what passes for entertainment these days look like pablum.
In the studio, Jamie is working Kip, who doesn’t wanna ditch the Duck. He refuses, saying they’ll find another label, but during the demo, while the sound tech mixes (is he removing Duck’s tracks?) and Jamie watches, he starts to see it. Duck’s sitting on is amp, going through the motions and you can see Kip realise, he’ll never be able to lead this band if he doesn’t skid Duck. This is why you don’t play with best friends. Duck stands. Eventually.
Hannibal and CeCe are turning a lot of heads (picture that gif and please join me in a non-denominational prayer circle for Veronica’s internet to return to normal soon) on their way to a fondue dinner with Richie and Devon, and damn. Now I want fondue. Richie’s telling the story about Devon playing Ophelia in her death scene, but instead of her drowning in water, she’s drowning in guys dressed in blue. That are grabbing her tits. Richie is about to rush the stage, even though Devon says the dudes were all gay (musical theatre, Richie), that one Canadian guy…all Imma say is that every gay man I’ve ever met (save one, and I think he may just be confused) loves bewbs. And what the FECK, Richie?? What have you got against Canadians? Last week it was gingers?? WHAT’S WRONG WITH CANADIAN GINGERS??
Hannibal flirts with Devon, who re-directs to Sweet Catch Me, which refers to CeCe and it’s an anagram of her name. He can do them in his head! He flirts through anagrams with Devon a bit more and then does Richie: Terrifies China. And then He In Racist Fire and we get the grammatically incorrect episode title, although I may go with “Artie Shaw is an Asshole.”
Lester comes into the studio; they all stare at the band and the tech offers to cut Duck out of the mix and I KNEW that was gonna come up! He does say that Duck isn’t any worse than the others, though. Lester calls dinner and Kip bails, leaving Lester to fire Duck while he gets his “new notebook” with the really magic lyrics.
It goes about as well as you would expect, Lester starting by asking if Duck can get his bowling alley job back and ending with ‘you know you’re better than Kip but ain’t nobody wanna look at you’ (slightly paraphrased).
At Kip’s apartment, Jamie isn’t there to get off, but neither is Kip, really, he’s there to play with his works and this musical career will be a fight against time and drug addiction. Although, I thought that of Guns ‘N’ Roses, too, and here they are, 30 years later reuniting at Coachella.
Jamie puts on music while Kip stares at his heroin; he’s concerned about losing his friend more than anything, it’s the Us v Them mentality. Jamie Ono crawls into his lap and says she’ll be his pal, pushing aside the heroin.
The party has moved to a private room, and Hannibal is testing a very high, very jealous Richie as to how MUCH he wants Hannibal to stay at the newly dubbed Alibi Records. He’s all over Devon and CeCe doesn’t like it any more than Richie does. She doesn’t need Richie’s jealous / pity groping, either, fankyouverymuch, she’s not the Andrea type of admin.
There is a very uncomfortable scene where Devon is grinding her arse on Hannibal’s bump and let’s just say there’s a lot going on here. Devon is pissed she’s being used to keep Hannibal with the label, so she’s pushing Richie’s number one button, Hannibal is planning to sign with Koronet no matter whose bagina Richie throws at him, but I think he thinks it’s worth the fun to taunt Richie and CeCe just wants everyone to go home so she can have her married bf all to herself for a couple of hours.
Richie cracks first, grabbing Devon and literally dragging her out the door. Hannibal knows that is some neglected bagina over in Greenwich, so he just nods, knowing he’ll be seeing her again. CeCe rushes to smooth it over.
Devon and Richie face off in the elevator, more choking and then the chemistry…they kiss and she pushes his hand down and I got really worried and yeah I should have been. He’s so angry: she’s wet and he thinks it was for Hannibal. I would argue that it was for messing with Richie AND the attention, physical and otherwise, but I don’t think ol’ jealous Richie is gonna make those fine distinctions.
Oy. More married fighting and she slaps him when he says “I gave away millions of dollars and you thought a black c*ck was your consolation prize” and can we just agree that they’re both right? She’s so neglected, what started out as a way to get back at Richie turned into dancing with a hella sexy debbil and baginas don’t really know from complicated. She stomps away into the night.
Aha and I was right!! There was something hinky about that repairman leaving Richie’s office so slowly; it was one of the cops and they taped him coaching his dad about his alibi for the time of Buck’s death. At least Richie lied to his dad, sorta, so there’s that. Young cop does blow while they listen and older cop is skeptical.
Richie drives around pretending he’s not looking for Devon when Jackie Jervais calls: he’s just signed Hannibal, not even 15 minutes after Richie left.
At this point I have to ask: is Richie a schmuck? The pilot, directed by Momentous Scorcese, who never saw a scene he couldn’t make even more portentous, made him seem like some kind of mafia records maven (which I thought BEFORE I saw who directed it) but since then, all I’ve seen in someone holding on by his thoroughly bitten fingernails. I’m okay if he’s in a slump, but if we’re just gonna watch a long slide into oblivion punctuated by marital spats…Imma need some of Kip’s heroin to really get into the mood.
Richie loses it, but since he’s already done alls the coke, where else is there to go but down?
Jamie struts around nekkid but for ginch for absolutely no reason while Devon checks into the Hotel Chelsea. I guess that makes sense, neither Richie or her have cared one white squibbly shite over the kids since the beginning, let the housekeeper raise them properly, at least they’ll have some stability, not Mommy leaving them in a diner and Daddy freaking them out by destroying the den while on a coke bender.
A leather-clad band looking like Iggy Pop with clothes on plays while Richie searches for Andrea. He finds her and the best conversation ensues. He offers her everything she said she wanted; ahhhh, but there was more. They were together when he and Devon got together. He wanted the seemingly easy Devon instead of the equal Andrea. I LOVE their scenes together, their relationship is authentic and everything his scenes with Devon are not. Hmm. He finally cops to why he chose Devon over her: Devon was more beautiful. In a weaker woman, that would have been the end of the conversation and their relationship, but that’s exactly what Andrea thought, for years she wondered and now she knows. The truth is more important than her personal vanity, and that’s because she doesn’t trade on her looks.
She sits down, he follows and now that the truth is out there they have this beautiful exchange “You look like me.” “What, you gonna cry?” “Fcuk you”, awww, they are like family! That used to have sex with each other, erh-ohh so maybe family by marriage. They fight some more, but it’s all for show, she just won’t tend to him anymore. She can tell he’s off the wagon and points out a couple of drug dealers in the crowd, hammering the point home: do you, Richie, she don’t curr.
She agrees to come over to Richie, and now he has a shot. That was the real deal of the night, Hannibal was always a forgone conclusion and one artist wasn’t gonna make a difference, the needed a complete revisualization. I hear. I seriously doubt he could cross over anyhow, although he may be the Sly.
We’re out at Richie watching the cokehead Andrea pointed out dance seductively before him, I say go for it. That marriage is over and sounds like a sham from the get-go. I think Devon should call Hannibal, too, that woman needs some attention and now that her and Richie are effectively separated…take an evening. Just an idea.
So. We’re at it now, can Richie revitalize his label with his soulmate, or is he really a putz? I don’t think his and Devon’s marriage will survive, he’s just not a Greenwich guy and neither is she. They both need the city and everything it has to offer, maybe the kids could come too? On weekends? He has that big apartment full of white furniture and all. The police are closing in, but they don’t know exactly, and one’s coked up to his eyeballs, so who knows when that particular trap will close? And we’re done for this week! See you next time on the flippity flop, y’all.