In the late ’70s and early ’80s, Saturday Night Live and National Lampoon were leading a comedy renaissance, while punk and new wave turned the music world on its head. At the nexus was the underground, cable-access show New Wave Theatre, hosted by the visionary Peter Ivers. Pre-MTV, the show forged a groundbreaking union between comedy and punk, placing comedians like John Belushi, Chevy Chase, and Harold Ramis onstage with Black Flag, the Dead Kennedys, and Fear. On the cusp of mainstream recognition, New Wave Theatre came to a sudden end on March 3, 1983 when Ivers was found beaten to death in his downtown Los Angeles loft. The show was forgotten, but Ivers’s influence on pop culture has lasted. A magnetic creative force, his circle included Doug Kenney, Jello Biafra, David Lynch, Ramis, and Belushi. He was also a fascinating musician: in addition to composing the centerpiece song on the soundtrack of Lynch’s cult classic film Eraserhead, Ivers recorded seven albums. Josh Frank’s research inspired renewed interest in Ivers, and the abandoned murder investigation was reopened. Through his narration and interviews with the LAPD and those close to Ivers, Frank brings this underappreciated and compelling creative figure to life.
Peter used to sign off personal notes with the words ’All good things, ’ and that’s what he was. His life was an extraordinary gift and Josh Frank captures Peter’s grace, talent, and incredible spirit with insight and compassion. The details and impact of his tragic death are offered in awful but compelling counterpoint, and this terrible contradiction continues to deeply affect all of us who knew and loved him, as it should anyone who reads the story of this remarkable man.
A must read for anyone who thinks that the L.A. subculture supported by true creativity and lack of monetary ambition ended in the sixties. Peter Ivers was the figurehead for a movement that burned through underground Los Angeles before the eighties--and his death--extinguished the flame. Josh Frank commits to shining a light on this extraordinary man and his time, delivering an intricate thriller told through the voices of those who were there.
Surrounded by crazies, Peter Ivers faced the growing pains of a musical and social upheaval with a smile and aplomb. In Heaven Everything Is Fine is a transparent view into that world. Josh Frank’s interviews remind us of how many people we change a little while we are here.
Frank intersperses newly documented interviews to write an engrossing account. Overdue and highly recommended, this work assays a crucial era of popular culture history."