[For Vinyl “E.A.B” or any other recaps on Fetchland, assume the presence of possible spoilers.]
E.A.B. Richie grows desperate and approaches Maury about doing a deal with Galasso.
Irony abounds in the “E.A.B.” episode. Every scene bursts with ironic twists and witty repartee. The episode begins with a classic song, Here Comes the Sun playing as Richie, Zak and Skip enter the bank to ask for a loan to highlight a classic financial irony of life. When you really need money most nobody will loan you any, least of all a bank. But when you’ve got plenty they’re throwing it at you. Because American Century’s at rock bottom, they’re denied the loan. Once outside the bank Richie gets coke off Skip and explains that he built the company high on coke and they lost it all when he was sober – yet another irony. As Richie jumps into their limo and abandons them in the street, Skip asks Zak, “How much of this shit are we going to take?” A valid question.
Then Andy meets with American Century’s lame marketing guy and and reams him a new a-hole because he’s “risen to the level of his incompetence” before she fires him. He says Andy can’t do that because Richie loves him. “Not as much as me,” Andy explains. Later in the episode the guy loses it in the lobby and curses the company as his final adieu, holding up a pentagram necklace he’d kept hidden inside his heinous polyester shirt.
Next Richie gives the Bitz a pep talk because without a hit from them there will be no Alibi Records. He pumps them up with his Richie brand inspirational lingo then leaves the band fiddling around but still pretty lost in the studio. Lester guides them, though. He teaches them that the chords “E.A.B.” in progression are a simple way to find their song. Lester illustrates with ease how “E.A.B.” serves as skeleton for all sorts of great songs. All the Bitz need to add is some flesh, hair, and eyes, he explains. Ironically, the Bitz now see that the guy they hired to handle their record deal is their studio savior too. “Just write what you feel, boys. It ain’t magic,” Lester says before leaving the studio to smoke on the roof. But he’s not done helping yet. Kip joins him for a smoke and asks if the Bitz can rearrange Lester’s song, one that he gave as an example when he was teaching them about “E.A.B.” Later Kip sings an edgier raw version of Lester’s song and all of a sudden The Nasty Bitz have a hit. Turns out it was pretty magical after all.
At a restaurant Zak meets with the singer he discovered at his daughter’s Bat Mitzvah, Gary. He brought along the American Century lawyer, Scott, to sign Gary as a new artist with the label. Gary sings at the table, he’s so happy. At first the other customers are annoyed that somebody’s singing but Gary’s song is so glorious; they end up clapping. This irony of artistry often happens in New York City because real art usually disrupts at fist impact, so it can be greeted initially with rejection but then wins us over with valiant beauty. This is Gary in a nutshell. He’s so special, in fact, that Zak decides to mortgage his house so American Century can pay for Gary’s demo. This makes Richie feel terrible and he can’t let Zak do it. Instead he strikes a deal with the devil, borrowing the money from the mobster Galasso and thus risking the loss of everything, even his life, in an attempt to save the company – the most savage irony of all.
Then Joe Corso visits Richie’s office to say the cops know they were with Buck the night he was killed. He accuses Richie of killing Buck and, of course Richie yells back that, in fact it was Corso who did the deed. It’s evident from Corso’s belligerent denials that he’s some brand of psychopath so there’s no reasoning with him. the detectives who’ve been listening in on his convos give him a ride. They take him to the station where he sits at the end of an interrogation table. The detectives ask him if he killed Buck Rogers and then have the follow up question, why’s he protecting Joe Corso? Richie won’t budge or answer so they play the tape of Richie talking to Corso in his office and say they planted a bug there right before he had that “interesting alibi talk” with his father. He’s screwed. After puffing on his cigarette a bit, the silent Richie heads to a holding cell until somebody bails him out.
There’s not a lot of Devon in “E.A.B.” but still, she’s got it goin’ on. Living at the Chelsea Hotel now, Devon’s finally creating an artistic life for herself. Inconveniently, and with a hint of irony, though she’s still got her two kids in tow. A resident yells at Devon’s kids for killing her cat and the Chelsea’s landlord admits that he wasn’t fond of the cat BUT Devon still owes him so maybe it’s best if she leaves anyway. Sure she paid her rent check but residents of artist rooms have to contribute art work and she’s in an artist room. So, Devon promises to bring him some art soon. Next we see Bob Marley play at Max’s Kansas City where Devon notices a sexy paparazzi photog, Billy McVicar. Billy’s being shooed away by John Lennon who’s in the midst of his infamous lost weekend at the moment. Devon approaches McVicar and borrows his camera. She brings it over to John and asks if he minds taking a picture. In yet another irony, Devon has Lennon take a pic of her and Ingrid rather than taking one of him. Because she surprised him, Lennon likes her. She jokes with him that “they” say sometimes you can even see a celebrity in this place and makes him smile even more. Later we see Devon developing pics with Billy in a dark room and there’s a rad one of John Lennon. McVicar tells her she’s talented and he can hook her up with his editor but Devon’s just happy she’s got the picture to pay her rent at the Chelsea. To celebrate, she gets down and dirty with Billy in the darkroom. Maybe Devon will finally have that creative collaboration with him that she always wanted with Richie.
Back at the mailroom Clark confronts the guy who steals records and then they become friends over some cocaine to make the day go faster. Clark’s new friend explains that he gives the records to his DJ buddy at a club so he can get free drinks and girls when the guy plays the records. Then in the last scene of the epidode we see Clark with his new buddy from the mailroom entering a world unlike anything Clark’s ever seen before. It’s full of vivid color and invigorated people dancing to funky music. Turns out the guy he gives the records to is the same guy Lester knows who samples from those records in an inventive new way of making music. It’s a unique and vibrant sound that got Clark’s inspired. In the final irony of “E.A.B.”, Clark’s getting sandwiches and coffee at American Century when he finally finds a fresh sound that he could pitch to the label. He’s discovered disco and the art of modern club mixing completely by chance when he was just out looking for a good time.
It’s also kinda ironic that Clark’s experience validates Richie’s defensive stance about his use of cocaine in the first scene. The first time Clark does cocaine he discovers a whole new genre of music and when he was sober all he found was a band of bloated tin-eared wizards. But in contrast we see Richie’s untenable position; indebted to a mobster, sitting in a jail cell with a murder charge pending, his divorce on the horizon, and company failing. Richie’s woes are all due to his BFF cocaine and whether Richie wants to see that or not the evidence is clear.