In Heaven, Peter Ivers Is Fine
Cult heroes can pop up in the strangest places. Unlike mainstream celebrities who are plastered everywhere (how much do we need to know about idiots like Jon and Kate? Why are we forced to know anything about them at all?), and who you can’t escape, the cult celebrities are more elusive, and you usually have to go searching for them.
Sometimes, like Peter Ivers, you discover them quite by accident.
It began when I was listening to the songs on “The Best of New Wave Theatre” which I’d found on the internet. I remembered the show from the early 1980s on the USA channel, back when my parents first got cable TV. USA had a show on Friday and Saturday nights called Night Flight, that was made up of weird TV shows and even stranger movies and music videos that aired all night long. Sometimes I’d be lucky to catch an episode of New Wave Theatre, a music show out of Los Angeles that was one of the first showcases for punk and new wave music. The host was Peter Ivers, who I remembered for his distinctive (if a bit goofy) voice. He’d introduce bands like The Circle Jerks and the Blasters and Suburban Lawns and Fear and in between they’d have goofy SNL-inspired fake commercials or a swami who spouted nonsense. But mostly, it was music. Being a major fan of punk and new wave, I dug the show the few times I was able to catch it.
So here I am listening to audio of the “Best Of” show, having this nostalgia flashback for a show I haven’t seen in over two decades, and I find out that the host, Peter Ivers, was murdered in 1983, bludgeoned to death in his apartment. The killer wasn’t found. That was the end of his career, and the show.
So I did a little detective work. Ivers put out about six solo albums (I found a few on iTunes, the best so far is called “Terminal Heart”) and he wrote the song “In Heaven” that was so prominent in the David Lynch movie Eraserhead. “In Heaven” has become a sort my theme song on the internet TV show I do, so that was a cool bit of trivia. There’s also a book about Ivers’ life and death called “In Heaven Everything in Fine” which supposedly led to the LAPD reopening the case of Ivers’ murder.
So here I am listening to the music of Peter Ivers, who has been dead for over 25 years, and he has a bigger effect on me than what Jon and Kate, or Britney Spears or Brad and Angelina are doing.
Funny how these things happen.