“From the Trader’s Desk”:
Bobby Axelrod – a Man and his Music

There are many things that Bobby Axelrod and I have in common: New York born and bred; working class backgrounds; very non-traditional road to Wall Street; our love of gambling lead us to our career paths. However, the one thing that has always been my favorite commonality is our love for heavy metal bands and their music. Heavy Metal is not the most well known genre of music, so let’s explore Bobby Axelrod and his music, and what it says about him.

In each season of Billions, at least one episode has featured a song and a t-shirt of a metal band that must be Axe’s favorites. The writers of Billions don’t do anything just to do it, so we know that these choices are there to tell a story, shine light on who the character is, and to set a tone.

Metal is very misunderstood: devil worship, drugs, biting the heads of bats, or just screeching guitars may come to mind if you say the words “heavy metal”. But, it is so much more than that! Last season, I used Black Sabbath lyrics to open (and in some cases close) my “From the Trader’s Desk” recaps. In most cases, if I hadn’t referenced it to Sabbath, you’d have wondered what philosopher or poet I was quoting. Metal lyrics are some of the best I have ever heard; they tell stories of pain, loss, confusion, success, etc. – lyrics that would certainly resonate with a young man from Yonkers who’s Dad has up and left, and whose home life is full of conflict. Continue reading ““From the Trader’s Desk”: Bobby Axelrod – a Man and his Music”

Desert Island Discs with Damianista

I identify a lot of things in my life with music. Almost every piece of music I love reminds me of some sweet moment, and sometimes a bittersweet one from a particular time in my life. I associate my memories with music so much so that I believe we all should have a life soundtrack. And I know my husband would tell you mine should be the soundtrack of the movie Amelie! 😀

Damian playing the piano after Game for Grenfell, September 2, 2017

It has been pretty easy to identify the pieces of music that reminds me of Damian, who is a very musical man, or several characters that he brings to life. The only challenge has been to limit the list to eight. I have done my best to choose the eight I feel most strongly about and I hope you enjoy them! Continue reading “Desert Island Discs with Damianista”

Happy Birthday to SONY Walkman: I had one and Damian had one, too!

“I remember going to work with one of those enormous, brick-like Walkmans that we all used to have…” -Damian Lewis on NPR

Happy 39th Birthday SONY Walkman!

One of the great things about writing on Damian Lewis is that he’s from my generation. This essentially means I very easily relate to a lot of things about him, from the football team he supports, the pop culture references he makes, his sense of humor or the music he likes — I know some people have found his music taste “unsophisticated” on Desert Island Discs, but hey, we both grew up in the 80s, cut us some slack please ☺ And so some of the stories I write are mine as much as his… like… this one!

Today’s throwback takes us back to 1980s, to a big cultural icon and a real coolness symbol of the times: SONY Walkman… and Damian Lewis, too! Well, as the Great Charlie Crews says “everything is connected.” And everything, in our universe, finds his way, ultimately, to Damian.

Continue reading “Happy Birthday to SONY Walkman: I had one and Damian had one, too!”

From The Trader’s Desk: “All The Wilburys” – We’re going to the end of the line

Every day I sit and wonder
How my life it use to be
Now I feel I’m going under
Now my life is hard to see
So tell me people, am I going insane, insane?
Am I Going Insane – Black Sabbath

Greetings from the Headbanger’s Ball, oops, I mean the Trader’s Desk! It will never get old for me, but once again I’m starting my post with lyrics from Black Sabbath. This episode had me yelling at my television, and asking if Axe is going insane. He is making all the emotional decisions that have brought him to the brink of disaster.

A triumphant Axe parades into Axe Cap to the tune of “Never Say Die” by Black Sabbath! What else would a victorious kid from Yonkers wear but a Black Sabbath “Master of Reality” t-shirt to confirm his bad-ass self is back! Of course Axe is a Sabbath fan; in Season 1, he showed his love for Metallica and in Season 2 his appreciation for Megadeth. He’s now going old-school, as Sabbath is considered by many the fathers of heavy metal (don’t come at me with the Led Zeppelin or Deep Purple argument!) Axe has lived to fight another day. It’s nothing but high-fives and cheers for the returning King. Continue reading “From The Trader’s Desk: “All The Wilburys” – We’re going to the end of the line”

Billions Season 2 Music

We know how important music is the world of Billions. Showrunner Brian Koppelman recently said on his podcast The Moment that he writes to music. He shared that he wrote the penultimate episode of Season 2, “Golden Frog Time” with Tom Petty’s “Even the Losers” as inspiration and that song played during the writing of the show as well as within the show itself. When the question arose to whether they’d get the rights to use the song in the episode, Koppelman insisted that without the song there’d be no episode, literally and metaphorically. Thankfully they did get that song and many more memorable cuts for Season 2.

In a wee bite of a taste of what to expect in Season 3, we learned that “Born in San Antone” by Garrett T. Capps will open the first episode. Here’s some of his Lou Reed-ish styling here:

Just occurred to me and I had to go and listen and check to make sure they indeed haven’t used this song in either S1 or S2: LCD Soundsystem’s “North American Scum” totally brings up the ethos of the Billions world. Again, not one from the show as we know it, but certainly one metaphorically connected, at least in this viewer’s head.

In the spirit of getting geared up for another season of rich musical accompaniment to this show, let’s revisit Season 2’s playlist. Enjoy!

Continue reading “Billions Season 2 Music”