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Peter Ivers: In Heaven Everything Is Fine

In the early years of US cable TV there was a syndicated show based out of LA that specialized in the new music of southern California ie punk, Post-punk, hardcore and new wave. The show was called New Wave Theatre and it was hosted by an eccentric free spirit named Peter Ivers. Peter dressed in day-glow suits and several pairs of cheap plastic sunglasses. The show would feature live performances, interviews and ended with Peter giving a 3-5 minute monologue/motivational speech. (Check YouTube for his Slap The Ginkels spiel.)

Peter Ivers was more then just the host of a semi obscure cable TV show. He was a musician, arranger, composer, screenwriter, a black belt in karate and a yoga master. He could speak several languages and could write in Sanskrit. His story begins in the late 1960’s when after leaving Harvard he recorded an album for Epic under the title “Knight Of The Blue Communion. A sought after piece of avante-psychedelia the album combined 20th century classical, psychedelic rock and experimental jazz. Not an easy listen. Unusual structures, difficult melodies and Peter’s unique voice. A voice that he himself described as sounding like “ Howling Wolf on helium”. The album did not sell particularly well and his second album was shelved.

Moving to LA with is girlfriend in the early 70’s Peter signed a new deal with Warners and released an album called Terminal Love. Featuring himself on the cover staring meaningfully out with an arrow stuck in his heart like a easy listening Saint Sebastian Terminal Love again was a difficult listen. One person has described it as sounding like “Captain Beefheart leading Chicago.”. The album is legendary is some circles and while it is neither particularly noisy or overtly psychedelic it is very popular with the Japanese Psych/Noise glitterati particularly those who put records out on the PSF label.

After the modest success of this album Peter was offered the support slot for Fleetwood Mac’s three sold out shows in LA. Being a rebellious, punk spirited 60’s child he decided to perform all three shows wearing a diaper. By all accounts his performances were not well received by Fleetwood Mac’s fans.

Peter had his own fans though and one of them was named David Lynch. David asked him to write a song for his debut film Erasurehead. Peter wrote and performed his most famous composition “In Heaven (Girl In the Radiator Song)” Recorded on a 4 track with layered organs and the vocals pitchshifted up to sound more feminine ‘In Heaven’” is awesomely dreamy, otherworldly and more then just a bit creepy. The song has been covered by everyone from the Pixies to the Able Tasmans..

Many people have spoken of his outgoing love of life so it was no doubt a shock to all when that life was cut short by his brutal murder,

One afternoon in 1983 Peter’s body was found bludgeoned to death in his LA apartment. The killer was never found although there is a rumour that the tempestuous producer of New Wave Theatre had confessed on his death bed in 2004 that he had done it after Peter quit the show.

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