Music History, Television

Punk Icon Richard Hell Reviewed ‘Vinyl,’ Calling it “Mediocre” and “Inaccurate”

vinyl hbo

Martin Scorcese’s punk-era period piece Vinyl premiered at HBO yesterday. Just a few minutes into the pilot, Bobby Canavale’s character marvels at an onstage approximation of the New York Dolls with a wide-eyed “I think there’s something big happening here” look in his eyes. It’s ham-fisted and silly.

In a stroke of genius, the folks at Stereogum asked punk icon Richard Hell to interview the pilot (the show features a character based on him). Hell didn’t think much of it, noting that “Vinyl is nothing.”

richard hell television

Richard Hell

As a member of both Television and The Heartbreakers, Richard Hell is one of punk’s original architects. He also may have been the first template for punk fashion; according to the knockout nonfiction account Please Kill Me (itself named for one of Hell’s homemade t-shirts), Malcolm McLaren exported Hell’s fashion ideas (i.e. safety pins) to the U.K. (and, by extension, The Sex Pistols). Please Kill Me is number one on my list of the best rock and roll books.

Maybe Vinyl will get better. If not, read Please Kill Me instead.

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