Peter Godwin’s “Correspondence” Crosses Digital Rubicon with “Dance Emotions” To Follow On Friday

peter godwin correspondence coverr art
Polydor | US | LP | 1983 | 422-815 025-1

Peter Godwin: Correspondence – STR – DL [2022]

  1. Baby’s In The Mountains 4:11
  2. The Art Of Love 4:54
  3. Window Shopping 3:10
  4. Soul To Soul 5:36
  5. Young Pleasure 4:25
  6. The Dancer 3:43
  7. Correspondence 3:34
  8. Over Twenty One 3:08
  9. Soul Of Love 4:19

Last Friday, while I was working hard on my home improvement-slash-vacation, a small miracle happened. The 1983 Peter Godwin album “Correspondence” was able to reach ears once again on digital platforms for streaming or DL purchase. I’ve written about the album in the early days of the blog, but only the experience of wanting to make a CD from my US LP and the history of Godwin in general. Curse me for the novice, I’ve never actually reviewed the album! Seeing as how I’ve had a REVO edition of it for a dozen years, perhaps now’s the time to actually review it, but currently the contents of my Record Cell are sitting in a neighbor’s home as we have new flooring installed this week. So there’s no telling how long it will take to have the bespoke disc in my hands again.

But for those of you who are of an immaterial persuasion, the album was released last Friday to the usual streaming services and if you’d rather have something to “hold onto,” it’s also available for purchase as a more desirable DL. As ever, the devil is in the details. My copy was the standard US LP of 1983, which had the following contents:

  1. Baby’s In The Mountains [John Luongo remix] 4:07
  2. The Art Of Love [John Luongo remix] 4:50
  3. Window Shopping 3:10
  4. Soul To Soul 5:36
  5. Young Pleasure 4:25
  6. The Dancer 3:43
  7. Correspondence 3:34
  8. Over Twenty One 3:08
  9. Soul Of Love 4:19

US Polydor fiddled a bit with the mixes of the two singles that opened the album; opting for John Luongo’s touch. Compare to the standard UK [and presumably Euro] edition:

  1. Baby’s In The Mountains 4:14
  2. The Art Of Love 5:31
  3. Window Shopping 3:12
  4. Soul To Soul 5:33
  5. Young Pleasure 4:24
  6. The Dancer 4:2
  7. Correspondence 3:35
  8. Over Twenty-One 3:09
  9. Soul Of Love 4:45

The original UK edition had a slightly longer, original mix of “Baby’s In The Mountains” and a 40 second longer version of “The Art of Love.” For this reason the original UK LP has been in my want list for a couple of years. Curious about what the version on offer now was, I went to iTunes to sample the wares. Wouldn’t you know that it’s not quite so cut and dried. Anyone listening to the digital “Correspondence” currently will get a hybrid approach with the original Georg Kajanus mix of “Baby’s In The Mountains” but the John Luongo remix of “The Art of Love.” Since I still don’t have the UK LP, I will probably grab a DL of “Baby’s In The Mountains” at some point just to have something in house until I get the UK LP. Which might take years.

That’s Not All…

Of further interest is the news that Godwin’s complementary “Dance Emotions” EP of remixes and non-LP singles from the fertile [but album-free] period just prior to that of “Correspondence” will also follow suit on Friday, July 8th, 2022.

Polydor | NETHERLANDS | EP | 1982 | 2478 169

Peter Godwin: Dance Emotions – NETHERLANDS – EP [1982]

  1. Emotional Disguise [Extended Version] 4:15
  2. Torch Songs [Extended Version] 5:35
  3. French Emotions 2:30
  4. Images Of Heaven [Dance Mix] 5:00
  5. Cruel Heart 3:12
  6. Luxury [Extended Version] 5:26

I don’t actually have a copy of this EP what was only released in The Netherlands 40 years ago, but I have all of the other releases that it was compiled from. Here are the songs from the height of the New Romantic era that saw Godwin rubbing shoulder pads with producer/buddy Midge Ure and the Blitz crew. The centerpiece of which was the sumptuous full length dance mix of perhaps the finest single of the 80s; “Images Of Heaven.”

Do we want these tracks on the silver disc? Of course we do! We’ve been rocking our bespoke copies for over a dozen years. But until that day comes [and it may never at the rate the CD is shriveling up] these releases will at least have the glories of Peter Godwin reaching fresh new ears. Which can only be fantastic.

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Posted in Core Collection, Immaterial Music, New Romantic, seminal single | Tagged , , , , , | 2 Comments

Song Of The Day: David Bowie – “This Is Not America”

david bowie + pat metheny this is not america cover art
EMI America | US | 7″ | 1985 | B 8251

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Posted in Bowie, SOTD | Tagged , | 8 Comments

REDUX: A Visage Post Script With Logan Sky and Steven Jones

November 20, 2015

logan-sky

With Visage now concluded, where does that leave us, the fans? There was a lot of talent stirred into Team Visage, and their keyboardist Logan Sky has many irons in the fire that offer ways forward now that the Visage story has wrapped up. Sky is one of the new generation of synth-heads dedicated to vintage gear with an analog emphasis for the textures that effectively got glossed over in the hasty migration to digital synthesis [spits] in the horrible mid-80s. As John Foxx has stated elsewhere; in the mad rush to dump analog for digital, the device’s potentials had been barely investigated before relegating them to the scrapheap of history. Sky’s projects are ready to take their time to investigate.

Chop Chop | 2013 | CC05DD
Chop Chop | DL | 2013 | CC05DD

Logan Sky: Face The Flames DL [2013]

  1. Face The Flames
  2. Blonde Cobra
  3. Guatami
  4. Fightback
  5. Snake Pit
  6. Black Clouds
  7. Start To Shiver
  8. Crash & Burn
  9. Zona Rosa Prime Time
  10. Nightshot
  11. We Fuel Progress
  12. Fightback (Reprise)
  13. Escape From New York (Logan Sky Remix)
  14. Face The Flames (Highway Superstar Remix)
  15. Nightshot (Demo)

Sky’s most recent solo album was an excursion into the world of early 80s Synthwave, ala John Carpenter. It’s been highly amusing to see that a generation and a half later, director John Carpenter’s synth soundtracks for his movies have been rediscovered by a new breed who like the tech noir grit that they exuded and consider it a fertile field for experimentation. To invoke a name that cropped up earlier in the Visage review, Roland Romanelli was another touchstone for this sort of instrumental analog synth vibe. The sounds here were rhythmic, to be sure, but not really to be considered dance music. This thread was an exercise in atmospheres re-explored.

Chop Chop | DL | 2015
Chop Chop | DL | 2015

Steven Jones + Logan Sky: Desire Lines DL [2015]

  1. Desire Lines
  2. Desire Lines (OGRE remix)
  3. Cold Fury
  4. Change Your Flight
  5. Change Your Flight (orchestral)
  6. The Distance

This year Sky has teamed up with vocalist Steven Jones and has taken a half-step away from the soundtrack genre to something a little more Post-Punk. Jones thrives in the gray area between singing and spoken word with these taut slices of minimal synth goodness. Sometimes Jones performs in a voice over style. At others, he gives a full-bodied vocal performance that pits his dignified voice against the throbbing synths of Sky and recalls the smoky hues of “Fabrique” period Fashion or even more closely, “Theoretically Chinese;” the excellent if surprisingly unsung solo album by Tuxedomoon’s Winston Tong. Yesssss [strokes chin thoughtfully]. Anyone who liked that superb album will find much to relish here.

Chop Chop | DL | 2015
Chop Chop | DL | 2015

Steven Jones + Logan Sky: Polaroids DL [2015]

  1. Polaroids
  2. Hi Rise New York
  3. Intersection
  4. The Now Crowd (slow exposure)
  5. Fake
  6. Polaroids (Daygun extended remix)

Jones and Sky have been very productive this year with another EP out just six months later. Visage fans should definitely try the touching tribute to Steve that was “The Now Crowd.”  Their latest was based on the Polaroid trope that plays so crucially in the New Wave and Post-Punk periods.

I need to come to grips with the fact that there is music out there that I would like and it’s only in DL form. On the upside, the cost is modest but you know me. I’m an old guy. I’ll always spend dollars on physical product first. Downloads just grate against my lifestyle. But that attitude must end eventually. Jones and Sky were recently part of the Inaugural New Romantic Festival that occurred in Steve Strange’s home town of Porthcawl, Wales on Halloween. With Steve gone, it was up to Steven Jones to sing lead along with Lloyd Daniels and the rest of Visage in what can be assumed to be the final performance of that band. As shown on “Polaroids,” Jones + Sky are already creating a new branch in the Visage family tree with their own analog electro project as evidenced here.

– 30 –

Posted in New Romantic | Tagged , , , , | 2 Comments

REDUX: Record Review: Wire – 154

post punk monk blast from the past

November 10, 2015

Restless Retro ‎| US | CD | 1898 | 7 72362-2
Restless Retro ‎| US | CD | 1898 | 7 72362-2

Wire: 154 US CD [1989]

  1. I Should Have Known Better
  2. Two People In A Room
  3. The 15th
  4. The Other Window
  5. Single K.O.
  6. A Touching Display
  7. On Returning
  8. A Mutual Friend
  9. Blessed State
  10. Once Is Enough
  11. Map Ref. 41ºN 93ºW
  12. Indirect Enquiries
  13. 40 Versions
  14. Song 1
  15. Get Down 1 + 2
  16. Let’s Panic Later
  17. Small Electric Piece

For years, I have begged ignorance when talk turned to the classic EMI period for the band Wire. I was an eager fan from the moment of the band’s re-emergence in 1985, but any of the large body of work by which they made their reputation was an unknown quantity to these ears. Sure, sure. I was aware of certain fan’s dismissal of the 80s material as inferior and compromised, but I always considered that to be elitism and sour grapes. To these ears, the material issued by Mute Records was exemplary work and worthy of praise and devotion. And yet, through 30 years of fandom, where every album I bought was compelling, I still had not heard “Pink Flag,” Chairs Missing” or “154.” As of last Sunday, this was no longer the case.

I was popping in Harvest Records while entertaining chasinvictoria, who was in town for a quick visit while visiting the Lower 48. As usual, we made a visit to Harvest Records and when I saw a used copy of “154” I immediately decided that the time was night to delve into Wire’s EMI era. The opening “I Should Have Known Better,” sounded not immediately dissimilar to anything from the early Mute era. In other words, it was dark, arty, Post-Punk with Graham Lewis singing lead. The main distinction was that with Mike Thorne producing, the vibe was warmer than anything on the Gareth Jones-produced “The Ideal Copy.” The one qualitative difference that I could name was that the material was far less reliant on synthesizers than what came six years later, but the overall sound was pretty familiar. The difference here was that Wire were primarily relying on guitars and effects to occupy the same space that synths did a few years later. In any case, Robert Gotobed’s metronomic timekeeping was, as ever, eerily similar to a drum machine.

The album was a familiar bland of understated art rock hooks with occasional forays into the avant garde. “The Other Window” featured B.C. Gilbert’s spoken word performance instead of anything approaching singing. “A Touching Display” proffered guitar harmonics coalescing to form whorling drones of energy presaging Robin Guthrie’s attack in the Cocteau Twins. “On Returning” was based on a guitar skank loop that was infectious for its brief 2:04 length.

wire - maprefUK7A

The one single here, the enigmatically titled “Map Ref. 41°N 93°W” was the only single peeled from this disc, but in spite of the relative poppiness on offer here, it’s relevant to note that the lyrics on this, as with all Wire songs here, were as cloistered as ever. In the realms of pop, the one tune here that went all the way to the threshold and over the line demarcating pop and art was “The 15th.” Were it not for the typically impenetrable lyrics [as shown below] it would have had a great chance to ingratiate itself into the ears of the great populace.

“Reviewed, it seemed
As if someone were watching over it
Before it was
As if response were based on fact

Providing, deciding it was soon there
Squared to it, faced to it, it was not there

Renewed, it fought
As if it had a cause to live for
Denied, it learned
As if it had sooner been destroyed” – “The 15th” [Colin Newman]

The program on this issue replicated the original UK LP which came with a four track 7” EP of extra tunes, appended here at the end of the disc. Many reissues of this album lack this material, and I understand why. As experimental as Wire get in their artistic viewpoint, these cuts were willfully so. The predominate mood was instrumental in nature, though “Get Down 1 + 2” featured spoken word/chanted sections of text. “Let’s Panic Later” was hitting uncomfortably close to The Residents in overall vibe. Had I gotten a later pressing of this album lacking this material, it might have made for a more wholistic listening experience. I understand why Wire have opted for this decision. The material on the EP was too diffuse juxtaposed next to a somber, powerful album like 154. While it does have moments lighter than anything I’d later heard from Wire, these were leavened with their consistently sober outlook and artistic POV.

Criticism I’d heard suggested back in 1985 that Wire were an astounding group who had reformed, perhaps against better judgement and produced material that did not stand up next to the past that they were so careful not to repeat; going so far as hiring another band to play that material as opening act on their “Ideal Copy” tour! Instead, what I hear on “154” 30 years later, is that Wire had a consistent point of view that was moving in a direction consistently from at least their third album forward. This material was definitely the work of the band who created the music that made me a fan in 1985. The sound here differed only in that Mike Thorne produced a consistently warmer sound than what I was used to and was also responsible for what few keyboards were on this record. This was still very much a Post-Punk guitar album. Now my brief is to obtain and finally hear “Pink Flag” and “Chairs Missing.” This time I can’t wait another 30 years.

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Posted in Record Review | Tagged , , | 9 Comments

REDUX: Record Review: Pulp – After You

post punk monk blast from the past

November 3, 2015

pulp vs soulwax after you cover art
Rough Trade | UK | 12″ | 2013 | RTRADST699

Pulp: After You UK 12″ [2013]

  1. After You [Pulp vx Soulwax]
  2. After You [original version]
  3. After You [The 4am Desperation Disco To Disco Dub Version]

I was excited when Pulp reactivated in 2011 after laying dormant for a decade and what I assumed was a final split. There were a series of concerts abroad and only in America at Coachella or, even worse, a Coachella Cruise. In other words, I would have to pay serious coin if I ever wanted to see the band give a show. And in any case, I won’t do a cruise ship! Still, when what seems to be the final Pulp single emerged in 2013 for Record Store Day, I naively imagined that it was the first salvo of a renewed recording career. Time has shown this theory to be invalid. This was, instead, one last arrow from the quiver of a band that had spent its ammunition and had walked off of the battlefield for a second time.

“After You” was produced by James Murphy of LCD Soundsystem; an act I’ve been hearing of ever since they surfaced, but I’ve not yet heard. As they have been described as “dance punk” to me that just means New Wave. It was all too right and proper that they linked up with Pulp, one of the last New Wave bands. Though their imperial period was a decade later, New Wave definitely informed their aesthetic, even in the 90s.

Word has it, that “After You” was a song from the “We Love Life” sessions that was never finished. I was surprised by this since the tune has the snarling demeanor of material from the darker “This Is Hardcore” sessions. The sense of self-loathing and hell-bent debauchery in the song was only hinted at in its lyrics, which remained nuanced in their reference to biblical apocalypse via sex and capitalism. The teaser of acoustic guitars at the intro were a ruse as the pulsing basslines and insistent drums revealed a music bed that was strongly redolent of Yello’s “Bostich,” albeit performed on instruments other than just synths.

While the lyrical tone was all about the darker “This Is Hardcore” thematic palette, the arrangement of the song was less plodding than most of that album. It was almost a half-step back to the much more upbeat “Different Class” vibe. The three verse structure gives way to instrumental vamping in the extended outrowhere the Moroder/Yello feel takes over the song after Jarvis Cocker had spoken his peace on the subject.

The 4am Desperation Disco To Disco Dub Version was a straightforward disco dub version with only the phrase “from disco to disco” surgically excised from the original mix as the sole lyrical content. Bringing the music bed front and center only served to exacerbate the song’s resemblance to “Bostich” by Yello. For DJs and completists only.

The Soulwax remix was technically the A-side of the single. It spun at 45 RPM while the other two mixes were relegated to 33. The reductive remix brought the dryly repetitive beat front and center with production touches on the synths that recalled early-mid period Depeche Mode from the time of “Construction Time Again.” That was probably a good decision, due to the mix heightening the decadence of Cocker’s delivery… not unlike that of a certain Martin Gore. The remix yielded to the dance floor after only the first two of the three verses that the song had. Losing the third verse climactic zinger that Cocker delivered in the original version muted the sense of irony that the original version had. The dry, minimal sound here was different enough from the original version, but there was no bettering the original mix since it was the only one here that delivered the full lyrics.

While I’ll miss Pulp, “After You” was, true to its origins, perhaps a half-realized, transitional single, best left off of an album. Originally, it was a free xmas download to the attendees of a December 2011 Pulp concert in Sheffield. And that was just about right for its merits. Having the song reach a wider audience for RSD was a sensible and admirable approach to that often excessive day of commerce. While the resulting song was less than a Pulp classic, it served as a reminder of their prowess at crafting driven, intense pop music. This time with a nod to the dance floor. I’ll miss ’em, but we’ll always have “After You.”

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Posted in Record Review | Tagged , , , | 2 Comments

REDUX: Record Review: Iggy Pop – Aprés

post punk monk blast from the past

October 5, 2015

Le Rat Des Villes ‎| FRENCH | CD | 2012 | RDV005
Le Rat Des Villes ‎| FRENCH | CD | 2012 | RDV005

Iggy Pop: Aprés FRENCH CD [2012]

  1. Et Si Tu N’Existais Pas
  2. Le Javanaise
  3. Everybody’s Talkin’
  4. I’m Going Away Smiling
  5. La Vie En Rose
  6. Les Pasantes
  7. Syracuse
  8. What Is This Thing Called Love?
  9. Michelle
  10. Only The Lonely

I can’t quite remember how I came across this title, but it had been in my Amazon want list for at least a year, with it being among the titles I was searching for when visiting the Amoeba chain last year during my last vacation.  To no avail, I might add. This album, released only in France on CD, remained a decidedly difficult CD to obtain before my wife thought that it would make a nice birthday present for me and did the deed herself. Much to my delight!

ryuichi sakamoto - riskyJPNCDVA

I was very ready for this album since I had loved the rare tender side of The Ig that had slipped out of the closet every now and then in his long and storied career, most notably with the ballad “China Girl.” But if one notices, it’s been available if not on his own records, then most notably on his many guest performances on other people’s records. The “Risky” single from Ryuichi Sakamoto has long been one of my favorite examples of Iggy the crooner, with his sonorous baritone working to devastating effect on the number. Then, a few years ago I bought the DLX RM of his “Party” album from 1981, and while the romantic ballad “Sea Of Love” was noted on this fine album that I’d had for decades, the CD also featured an amazing cover of the iconic Sinatra number “One For My Baby” really staking out a claim that no one would have anticipated. Alas, the latter was an unreleased cut from the 1981 sessions that by rights should have been on the album proper. All of this activity over the years had primed me for “Aprés.”

The program is brief but well rounded with titles [all covers] split between English and French. The album started out with a bang with “Et Si Tu N’Existais Pas” coming on full strength with a large band arrangement with dreamy femmevox, and four [four!] guitarists coming together to give this one a vibe redolent of a Leonard Cohen track. Following that the pace cools a bit to become more quiet and intimate following the “all guns blazing” opener. “La Javanaise” shows Iggy’s hand with a Serge Gainsbourg cover. While Serge is a ghost who hovers over all modern French chanson, Pop was painting with a much broader stroke here.

By the time of the next track, an excellent cover of Fred Neil’s “Everybody’s Talkin’” the large combo of the first two tracks had reduced to an intimate trio approach which most of the remaining tracks skewed towards. Even so, guitarist/producer Hal Cragin’s gently distorted electric solo is a subtle delight among the acoustic guitars and brushed drums.

Iggy Pop or Clint Eastwood? ©2012 Guillaume Le Grontec
Iggy Pop or Clint Eastwood? ©2012 Guillaume Le Grontec

Having touched upon Gainsbourg, Pop ups his Francophile ante with the thousandth cover of “La Vie En Rose.”  While you won’t forget Grace Jones at the mic, Tim Ouimette’s boozy trumpet adds a welcome and delightfully lax punctuation on this Gallic classic. Other tunes, like “Les Passantes” and “Syracuse” offer less well-trod territory for your approval. The former features just the producer Craggin on acoustic guitars while the latter adds Jerry Marotta on low key drums. The late night vibe was certainly welcome.

Finally, the album closes with a trio of well known covers of songs in English. I prefer the Cole Porter classic [“What Is This Thing Called Love?”] to the one huge gaffe I find on this album; a cover of The Beatles’ rusty piece of kitsch you may have previously heard; “Michelle.”  The clear winner was the Sinatra cover, “Only The Lonely,” which opened with dinner party noise not a million miles away from that that heralded “Remake/Remodel” before it receded for Iggy and pianist Jon Cowherd to take center stage. The appearance of the phrase “fun time” in Sammy Cahn’s lyrics carried with it frissons of enormous ironic resonance. Iggy’s voice, which is deepening as he ages, has gotten to the point where he’s vying with Lee Marvin for bass frequencies. For anyone who’s ever heard Marvin’s orotund pipes on the “Paint Your Wagon” OST you’ll know whereof I’m speaking. If you’ve not, be glad – basso profundo aside, Marvin was painfully tone-deaf.

The album was an intriguing delight that successfully hit the target that I was expecting even as I was unsure of the technical particulars. The backstory for the album was possibly more astonishing. Iggy recorded it as a follow up to his earlier “Préliminaires” album of 2009. Except that this time Virgin balked and Iggy retaliated by licensing it himself in France. Hence, its scarcity. Fans of Iggy with open minds are encouraged to give this a spin. It’s an open secret that wild, Dionysian rock stars [Alice Cooper, The Cramps, etc.] usually listen to placid, easy listening tunes when relaxing at home off the tour grind, so it’s bold of Iggy to offer this glimpse into his less, commercial, private inner world as a balm for our sore ears. Remember; if you scratch a punk rocker, don’t be surprised if you find a romantic underneath the coat of graffiti. At the very least, it’s a rare glimpse of Mr. Osterberg actually wearing clothes!

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Posted in Blast From The Past, Core Collection, Record Review | Tagged , , | 2 Comments

REDUX: New Wave Theatre

post punk monk blast from the past

September 16, 2015

NWT logo

Old timers will remember this title card from the days of Night Flight ca. 1981-2

Great Googly Moogly! It’s hard to believe but I’ve been blogging for over five years and a thousand posts, and I’ve yet to discuss the TV show New Wave Theatre, which had a vise-like grip on my peer group’s minds for a solid year back in 1981. We could not wait for the latest episode to air and given that only one of my friends [Dave] had both cable and a VCR, we would end up at his place to see any new episodes.

nightflight

The program had the look of being a public access cable program from the late 70s; shot on equipment not much more sophisticated than what Dave’s family used to tape their children’s puppet theatre shows [don’t ask] with. The program was hosted by a man none of us had ever heard of; Peter Ivers. He was an eclectic and storied guy who had done everything from play blues harmonica, write musicals, to creating a trio of solo albums in the mid-70s that resist classification to this day. For some reason, he had been selected to be the mouthpiece for series creator D. Jove.

ivers shades off

Cue cards read, Ivers would whip off the shades at every episode’s closure

The seat-of-its-pants series would last for a half an hour and showcase bands whom none of us had ever heard of in 1981. Local L.A. New Wave bands that somehow never managed to leave the city’s gravitational pull. In between the live performances and stock footage used between acts in a completely free associative way, came the two parts of the show that we all lived for. Firstly, the band interviews where Ivers would ask these bands deep questions [“what is the meaning of life?” was always the closer] to which they would sputter and try their best to ad-lib a semi-coherent response. Secondly, at the end of each episode, Ivers would read a prepared statement [undoubtedly penned by Jove on cue cards] of incredible pretense, attempting to somehow ennoble the previous 28 minutes we had just seen of local bands geeking out on coast-to-coast television. To mask the obvious reading of cue cards, Ivers would always wear shades during this closing segment, which was our favorite part of the show. Then, he’d whip them off at the conclusion and leave us with that week’s pseudo-profound bon mot of choice; grinning like a smug cheshire cat.

It was exquisite, but you probably had to have been there. I did not yet have a VCR, so when at Dave’s watching the shows, I’d get Dave to audio dub the soundtrack to a C-60 K-Mart® brand tape so I could re-live the magic at home later. What I would not give for that set of tapes [looooong since gone] now! The bands were pretty awful across the board. No-namers but one sticks in my mind decades later. The Creed, with their tune “Hostile Gospel.” When I heard Wall Of Voodoo in late 1981, I wondered why New Wave Theatre couldn’t get an artistic band like them, with actual talent in addition to their pretense. Most bands on NWT only had the latter. For the most part.

mentors - getupanddieEPAThen there was a band like The Mentors. They were a trio of extreme metal louts in black hoods who performed an incredible song called “Get Up And Die” with lyrics like:

“Get up and die!
I wanna see New Wavers suffer and cry!
I have, a brain!
I wanna see you suffer in pain!” – “Get Up + Die” The Mentors

These guys came on like smack-talking wrestlers; mercilessly baiting Ivers and lording their obnoxious sexism and deliberate repugnance over him like so many badges of honor.  The song was painful to listen to, with barely coherent attempts at solos intermittently occurring throughout the “song.” The interview with Ivers after the performance was not to be missed. Naturally, we were hooked! As far as I can tell, The Mentors were the flashpoint of the “rock and wrestling connection” right then and there.

NWTBOX_V2The series seemed to go away at the end of 1981, but at some point in 1982, after my neighborhood had been graced with cable and a ßetamax was sitting in my home, there appeared what seemed to be a second season with dramatic differences. New titles and an ill-considered uptick in tech gear gave us a New Wave Theatre that we could barely recognize. The schlock comedy bits were cut to almost nothing. There were bands that I now had heard of playing on the show [The Plugz, Fear, etc.]. Worst of all, Ivers was barely in evidence on the show. “Interviews” were cut down to what seemed like a single question. All of the pretension had been stripped from the show. Even the legendary pseudo-intellectual closing was gone. In short, a huge deflation of the NWT balloon. I didn’t even bother to videotape these episodes, even though I could. Sadly, it was from these “more professional” episodes, that Rhino drew from for their two volume “Best Of New Wave Theatre” series on VHS back in the mid-80s.

peter ivers - nirvanapeterUSLPAThen, in 1983, tragedy struck. I remember reading that Peter Ivers had been beaten to death in his apartment in L.A. and the murder was never solved. That Ivers was a black belt in karate suggested he knew the murderer. It was a sad end to a TV show that had previously burned so brightly. The mixture of pretension with amateurishness was never done so well anywhere else. I did eventually buy on principle, the “Nirvana Peter” posthumous compilation album drawn from Ivers’ solo albums, though I’ve never listened to it for almost 30 years. It’s currently in my discard pile, but I don’t know sitting here whether the record stores I’ve been selling to lately have taken the bait. As the eighties ground forward, most of us moved on from New Wave Theatre… with the exception of my friend Tom.

Still reveling over the amazing Mentors appearance a few years earlier, he was out and about in record stores and actually came across a Mentors album, and could hardly be blamed for buying it. He later summed up the experience of listening to it thusly; “if you could catch a disease from playing a record, this is the one that could do it!” Apparently, The Mentors had moved considerably on from the relatively genteel sentiments held in “Get Up And Die” on to much more foul and scabrous sentiments which we will refrain from invoking. Suffice to say that the Parent’s Music Resource Center got a lot of attention by parading around Mentors lyrics as rock status quo, and thus fodder for censorship. Thirty three years later, Ivers’ death is still an unsolved murder, but in 2009, there was a book published on the mystery surrounding it to act as a last word on the subject. No, that’s not appropriate. It’s better to let Peter himself have the last word.

new wave theater – peter ivers from kenneth thomas on Vimeo.

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