“New Wave Theatre”
In the early 1980s, underground singer-songwriter-director David Jove and I created “New Wave Theatre,” originally as a public access TV show featuring hot new punk bands performing live. Jove was the director, main cameraman, editor and salesman, Mr. Everything, it was his show. David and I co-wrote “NWT,” which mainly consisted of coming up with a fresh socio-political “theme” every week and brief, machine-gun-style, brain-squeezing philosophical monologues on the nature of truth and reality, read by the show’s host, LA cult writer-musician Peter Ivers – with some fake commercials thrown in the mix. In between Peter’s antics blazed some of the most explosive new bands of the day performing unleashed as if there were no tomorrow. “New Wave Theatre” grew in popularity and ran on USA Cable’s “Night Flight” series until 1983. As the show was winding down from sheer exhaustion, Ivers was murdered in downtown Los Angeles in a case that remains unsolved to this day. Jove died of cancer in 2004.
Some of the basic facts on “New Wave Theatre” and my projects with David Jove can be found on the following Wikipedia links and in a recent book that discusses Peter Ivers:
David and I partnered in other crazy creative ventures over the years. In the late ‘70s we co-wrote songs for a concept band, Oxygen, and produced a demo that is frozen in limbo with his scattered “archives.” Some really good songs remain hidden there (“The Bones of Hollywood,” “Life Is a Carnival,” “Freedom Spy”).
We also co-wrote a feature film that David put together the financing for and directed, a “traumedy” originally titled “I Married My Mom!” and later changed to “Stranger Than Love” for the international film festival circuit. Amazingly, David got Academy Award-winning actress Sally Kirkland to play the lead dual role – of herself and her mother. David got Leonard Cohen to pen a letter of recommendation. The film has never been released, not even on home video as a zany curiosity, and I doubt if it ever will, though it should – it’s no better or worse than the glut of made-for-TV movies on the SyFy Channel. Well, okay, maybe just a tad sicker and raunchier. But “Stranger than Love,” like the songs of Oxygen (“New Wave Theatre” is available on DVD), are today owned by those who presently see no profit in releasing them to the public, and that may well be where their trails end
A Comet’s Tale — 10 Years Out
September 23, 21o3 marked the 10th anniversary of David’s body death. His birthday is December 14th, which would make him 73 this year. It’s really hard to imagine David at 73, and how he would have handled growing old. He made sure that was never going to happen. Even if his health had allowed, I expect he wouldn’t have changed much at all — physically yes, mentally no — no matter how long he lived, which is both the joy and sorrow, and the frustration, of knowing him. I do think if he was alive today he’d be making movies because that’s what he really wanted to do; that’s how he believed he could change the world, and change it overnight. That was his goal as an artist. Nothing less.
Yes, David wanted to change the world — amazingly, he had a lot of what he takes to make that happen — but he was more preoccupied with not living an ordinary life, and no one could question how far his life was, how many light years, from ordinary. Rather than do jail time for a situation he created, he ran, and rather than take a stand and focus on producing a body of a work, he was easily distracted, and infinitely more interested in playing parlor tricks, in seeing what serendipity he could conjure up in the wink of an eye, by turning life upside down and inside out to constantly evoke the punch lines in the cosmic joke. Again, it was both the joy and sorrow, the frustration, of knowing David.
This is how he passed through this world of illusion and unrealized dreams. All the LIFE FORCE he possessed, squeezed from a life lived the hard way, for the thrill and mystery in it — it still echoes in his music, and can be seen and heard in the dusty reels of New Wave Theatre. It tells me there will always be a place in history for the minstrels and poets, like David, who write and sing well about freedom — freedom of expression, freedom of thought, freedom of mind and body — because they are among the very few uniquely able to understand first-hand what Freedom means, and how rare and special a gift to man it is, and translate it into music for the rest of us.