Richie is snorting coke in an alley, desperate. He's using a cop's card to cut a line. He calls the police, asks for the detective, who is in homicide, when a crew of kids comes pounding out to the street, around his car and over it. They're on the way to see the New York Dolls. Richie is mesmerized.
This is his story. He's selling his company, American Century Records, to the Germans. He chats about his partners and how they took a $100 deal and made it into a $5000 deal. They buy chart toppers and radio play. But his deal with Zeppelin goes whack and things start to fall apart.
Richie starts to question everything. What happened to his love of the music? What about his employees' love of the music? Only Jamie, the A&R gal at the office, seems even remotely interested, having found a band because she liked the singer's look on the subway. The Nasty Bitz.
After Jamie sees him play and the crowd wants to kill them, she thinks he needs a persona. What does he give a shit about? Fucking and fighting. Nothing.
As Jamie leaves Kip's place, he's shooting heroin. She tells him to be careful with it. Is that foreboding?
For the first time, Richie goes home to his wife and kids. When his wife notices his eyes are bloodshot, he assures her he's not high. She says it's just an observation. He tells her if the sale doesn't go through, they're screwed. And when it does, they company is over, it's as if 20 years was nothing. She says maybe he should take the Polygram job. He says that's not him. Neither of them know what the other wants.
When American Century again meets with the Germans, Richie tells them Zeppelin's manager, Peter Grant, hates Germans. That's why they can't work with him. At Richie's birthday, Devon tells the group they never made it to Woodstock because they were in bed on their one year anniversary.
The guys get him a square guitar for his birthday.
Richie gets a call from Buck Rogers who has been going since they were there. His fat friend wants him over now.
Richie remembers Lester Grimes wanting to cut a record under his own name four years after their original deal. He says he's going to start his own label and will take him along. The world is his.
Buck is playing Black Sabbath Iron Man and he's on the drums. He puts a gun to his head and is full of dramatics. Richie is annoyed.
The guy is talking whack, and when he starts to attack Richie, the friend beats him over the head. They think he's dead. They get ready to wrap him up, but he runs over and attacks again. The dude smashes his face in. Richie wants to call the cops. Joe says it's not self defense.
Richie is freaking out. At the office, a secretary delivers the detective's card just seconds before he learns the Polygram board OKed the buyout.
Richie tried to get the deal with Little Jimmy Little, but the guy who was buying out Richie liked that song. He wouldn't let Jimmy go. Richie walked anyway.
Lester was beaten and his windpipe crushed when he refused to sing for the mob bastard who took over Richie's part of his original label.
Richie gets wasted after seeing Buck's body being found on the news. He's playing his birthday guitar and stomping on the couches having a good ol' time.
His son Ronnie wonders what's happening. Daddy's just dancing. Uh oh.
He tells Devon he fucked up and can't tell her. He tries to get her to drink, but she spits it in his face.
FF to the New York Dolls concert. The building is collapsing and he's loving every minute of it, standing in the middle of it as it comes pummeling down. He's covered in dust and debris, but relatively safe. he stumbles away with a fucked up happy look on his face.