Rockford business has hand in Martin Scorsese HBO series

By Jim Hagerty
Staff Writer

When customers walk into Sounds Classic, they are reminded of the old stereo “hi-fi” shops.

This is because Mark Peabody has built a reputation as a major source for fully restored stereo equipment from the ’60s and ’70s. From turntables, receivers and solid-wood speakers, Peabody’s shop is a vintage audiophile’s dream. It’s also why Martin Scorsese’s production company chose Sounds Classic to supply era-correct hi-fi pieces for the director’s upcoming HBO series.

Tentatively titled The History of Rock and Roll, the series was initially conceived by Mick Jagger as a feature film during the making of the band’s 2008 documentary, Shine a Light. Soon, Scorsese reworked the idea, and a series was born.

With a notable cast, including Ray Romano, Bobby Cannavale and Andrew “Dice” Clay, the drama is set in 1970s New York and explores the drug- and sex-fueled music business as punk and disco were sweeping the music scene, all through the eyes of record executive Richie Finestra (Cannavale), who is trying to resurrect his label and find the next new sound. Romano will play Richie’s confidant, Zak Yankovich, the tough and sharp-witted head of promotions at American Century Records, with years of experience dating back to the shady, mob-infested days of the recording industry.

Juno Temple, Max Casella and Jack Quaid have also been cast.

Peabody has been consulting with set production personnel for the past three weeks. During that time, he’s been busy packaging and shipping gear to Scorsese’s people.

We delivered 31 1970s stereo and recording studio pieces for the first sets, and another 11 1950s-era stereo pieces last week,” Peabody reported.

The hour-long pilot is being written by another recent Scorsese collaborator, Terence Winter (Boardwalk Empire, The Sopranos, The Wolf of Wall Street) and will be produced by George Mastras (Breaking Bad), with Scorsese in the director’s chair.

Jagger will be an executive producer and provide firsthand storylines to writers.

This is Sounds Classic’s sixth movie provision and second HBO project. Last year, it outfitted The Phil Spector Story, an HBO movie starring Al Pacino. The company has also provided stereo set props for the Rise of the Planet of the Apes, Surrogates, with Bruce Willis; Hi-Fidelity, with John Cusack; and the television series Days of Our Lives.

Service and restoration of vintage and high-end stereo equipment is what we do, and we’ve been doing it for more than 30 years,” Peabody said. “Nostalgia is a powerful thing and one of the reasons LP records and vintage stereo equipment have become extremely popular again. Rockford provides us with a wonderful base of operation. We can literally have anything re-manufactured here, which is key to our restoration process. Most of the stereo pieces on set are beautiful to look at, have been completely restored and sound fantastic.”

Sounds Classic is a division of Video Lab, Inc. The shop is at 4444 Center Terrace, across from Colonial Village.

From the July 2-8, 2014, issue

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