Tuesday, September 2, 2008

The Best of New Wave Theatre (1980-1983)

"The Best of New Wave Theatre" was a Music Monday presentation screened in conjunction with a showing of David Lynch's "Eraserhead" and tied together by the release of Josh Frank's new book, "In Heaven Everything is Fine: The Unsolved Life of Peter Ivers and the Lost History of New Wave Theatre." The book is about the strange life and mysterious death of L.A. scene-promoter, musician, and performance artist, Peter Ivers, who, in 1983, was brutally bludgeoned to death in his bed.

Ivers, perhaps best known for composing and lending his voice to this famous scene from "Eraserhead," started his musical career in the late 60's, kicking around in a few bands before launching a solo career with the major label release of "Knight of the Blue Communion," a bizarre collaboration with opera singer, Yolande Bevan. After his second album, "Take It Out of Me," was shelved by Epic, he found a musical foothold in 1974 with the album "Terminal Love," followed up by a self-titled release in 1976.

In the early 80's Ivers was approached by journalist David Jove and asked to host a cable access program designed to document and promote the burgeoning L.A. New Wave music scene entitled "New Wave Theatre." The show aired, I believe, 70-plus episodes, each 30 minutes long and each featuring between 4 and 7 bands. Tons of locals bands gained exposure playing alongside better known Punk/New Wave acts such as Fear, Circle Jerks, Dead Kennedys, Black Flag, Angry Samoans, and Gun Club.

The shows were punctuated by Iver's incredibly strong and odd personality; his energetic, skillfully delivered monologues and playful post-performance questions were often highlights of each episode.

The Alamo Drafthouse presentation featured the author and contributor of "In Heaven Everything is Fine," Josh Frank and Ian Marshall, live in person to introduce and do a Q & A afterwards. The actual program ran about 70 minutes and was basically 2 episodes and an additional performance by Peter Ivers' Vitamin Pink of the song "At the Nightclub." The first episode was kind of a best of, but was really more of just an average episode. The second episode was a slightly better produced, and thus, unusual edition. Here is the actual intro from the Drafthouse screening:

Both episodes featured many shades of talent. Some of the bands were simplistic and goofy sounding (Marina Swingers), some were bulldozers at the height of their powers (Angry Samoans), and some were just Pop bands copping New Wave's style (Wet Picnic). Peppered in between it all were some spot on skits, silly commercials, and one amazing zombie-dance sequence. It was fun to not only see a rather authentic depiction of the L.A. scene (warts and all), but to also hear some of the unheard facts and stories surrounding the show.

Josh Frank was selling copies of his book in the lobby, but he also had these awesome "In Heaven" t-shirts, which I picked up one of.

One of my all time favorite blogs, Egg City Radio, not only posted 2 Peter Iver's records long ago, but also posted a homemade audio collection of New Wave Theatre performances, many of which were part of the Alamo screening. So I'm basically reposting some of his posts, along with Peter's rare first record.

To download, follow link to mediafire, and wait for "click to download" to appear.

"In Heaven" (mp3) - Peter Ivers - from the film "Eraserhead."

"Knight of the Blue Communion" (full album) - Peter Ivers (1969)

"Terminal Love" (full album) - Peter Ivers (1974)

"Peter Ivers" (full album) - Peter Iver (1976)

I had to split this one into 2 download. Sorry.

"The Best of New Wave Theatre Part 1" (Repost from Egg City Radio) - Various Artists

"The Best of New Wave Theatre Part 2" (Repost from Egg City Radio) - Various Artists


One of the performances in the Music Monday show was a spirited acoustic performance of a humorous song about hating Hungarians, performed by some guy with a very German-sounding name, that I didn't catch. When I watched it, I remember thinking that it was pretty funny, but that I would probably never hear it again. By some stroke of complete randomness, the next day I was looking at another one of my favorite blogs, Mutant Sounds, and I read the first line of one of their more recent posts. All I read was that the album that they were posting was by the lead singer of a band called the Deadbeats, who I was aware of only because of 70's Mod comp that I have. So I decided to download it based off of that. When I opened the file, I was shocked to discover that I had accidentally downloaded the album by the German dude who doesn't want to be Hungarian. His name is Geza X, and here is his album.

"You Goddam Kids!" (full album) - Geza X & the Mommymen (1982)

"The Best of New Wave Theatre screened on 9/1/08 at the Alamo Ritz and was presented by Music Monday.

The Best of New Wave Theatre 2.0," a completely different collection of footage will screen Monday 9/8/08. Check here for more details.


Romi Orchids said...

Can you upload the new wave theatre videos to mediafire again? thanks!

Novachild said...

I recently acquired some discs of New Wave Theater from a fan, and I'm happy to say that I've caught nearly every reference in your blog post.

I KNEW I recognized the host. His voice and eccentric mannerisms seemed awfully familiar. Now the mystery is solved. Thank you!

Anonymous said...

pure gold, thanks you!