Get ready to see some new sides of Ray Romano.
In "Vinyl," the new HBO drama about the 1970s music business from Rolling Stones frontman Mick Jagger and director Martin Scorsese, the former "Everybody Loves Raymond" star plays a record promotion guy and pal to troubled label executive Richie Finestra (Bobby Cannavale).
Romano has a dark brown beard for the role. Oh, and something else is different too.
"People who just know me from 'Everybody Loves Raymond' - well, they should avoid Episode 7 because I'm naked," Romano revealed to reporters Thursday at the TCA TV media tour in Pasadena. Jagger and Scorsese, beamed into the news conference from separate locations via satellite, both erupted in laughter. "Yeah, they should go bowling for Episode 7," Romano added.
"It is different than what they will remember me [for], but that's great," he said. "I was a teenager during this era, so the music is connected to a very important time in my life."
"Vinyl" sounds, casually at least, like a retro version of "Empire," with Finestra trying to save his record company amid the rise of disco and punk.
But the basic idea is one that Jagger presented to Scorsese 20 years ago as a possible movie epic spanning 40 years. Terence Winter, creator of "Boardwalk Empire," joined the project in 2008. But after the Wall Street collapse made a movie epic look less likely, the group turned its attention to TV, Winter said.
While the characters are fictional, Jagger said the story is based on his own experiences. As the Stones rose, he grew more involved with business decisions he had previously left to others, including talks with label chiefs. "I was really involved, because we got really screwed in the '60s," Jagger said.
Scorsese directed the pilot and seems eager for more.
"I hope I can work out the time to direct a few more," he told reporters.