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October 23, 2023 26 mins

Enter: The Acid King. People were equal parts inspired by and terrified of David Jove. He sold acid to the Rolling Stones, fled Canada on a felony charge, and… oh yeah, he created New Wave Theater.

This episode features information and audio from the following sources:

New Wave Theater

Rarefied Heir 

LIFE, Keith Richards

In Heaven Everything is Fine, Josh Frank

Sex, Drugs & Rock N’ Roll: The Rolling Stones’ Story

Marianne Faithfull, Queen of British Pop

The Great Rolling Stones Drug Bust

Lotus Weinstock; Comedian and Author

How the Acid King confessed he DID set up Rolling Stones drug bust for MI5 and FBI

The surprising afterlife of a ’70s L.A. cult: How the Source Family became hot IP in 2023

Father Yod: the 1970s cult leader whose wild psychedelia was more suited to Disneyland than dive bars

See for privacy information.

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Episode Transcript

Available transcripts are automatically generated. Complete accuracy is not guaranteed.
Speaker 1 (00:00):
This is Alan Sachs. The following episode talks about sex, drugs,
rock and roll. Listen to Discretion is advised, maybe listen
with headphones.

Speaker 2 (00:17):
The Rolling Stones are dropping acid at Keith Richard's country
home outside London. They're gearing up for their nineteen sixty
seven tour. Besides the ben Mary Anne Faithful is there.
She's Mick Jagger's girlfriend at the time, and this random
dude with a briefcase is also hanging out. No one

here knows him, at least not well, but that doesn't
matter because inside his case he's got lots of drugs quayludes, rainbows,
mary Jowana, highest quality LSD and cocaine running all around
my brain. A couple hours into their acid trip, there's

a knock at the door and whoa, it's the coppers.
They ranside the house looking for drugs, and of course
they find a shit ton.

Speaker 3 (01:14):
A national newspaper had tipped off the police that it
would be worth their while to raid Richard's home for
drugs on the Sunday afternoon, and the raid was carried
out on that Sunday evening.

Speaker 2 (01:25):
The cops raided the Stones to send a message to
the public If Mick and Keith can get locked up
for drugs, so can you. Throwing rock stars in jail
was away for the mainstream to sabotage the social revolution
of the sixties. Mick and the band thought they were
pretty much fucked emotionally speaking.

Speaker 4 (01:46):
Was very difficult because they thought were going to be
put away and never making another record for years and years.
And people want to have prison sentences. It wasn't just
a fine and a wrap across the knuckles.

Speaker 2 (01:57):
That's Mick Jagger speaking about the raid. It's from the
documentary Crossfire Hurricane. The trial of some of England's most
famous musicians was a huge news story. It had all
the cliche bs, sex, drugs and rock and roll.

Speaker 4 (02:14):
When the police arrived at around seven point thirty on
a Sunday evening, Meek's girlfriend mary Anne Faithful was sitting
between two men on the sofa wearing nothing but a
firsk in rug.

Speaker 2 (02:25):
Besides Marianne's rug, reporters also became obsessed with the briefcase guy,
who they named mister X. Who was he? Why was
he there that day? Mick and Keith are eventually convicted,
but only serve short sentences and the stones get to
keep on keeping on, but mister X he seems to

have fallen off the face of the earth. He never
shows up for court, and it's rumored that he fled
the country. He isn't seen again for a long time.
When he does finally appear, it's on the other side
of the world in Los Angeles, California, and by then
he's got a new name. The surprise success of New

Wave Theater helped turn Peter Ivers into a minor celebrity.
But for David Jove, the creator of New Wave Theater,
being in the spotlight was a problem because there was
a lot more to his story than most people knew,
and he was desperate to keep it that way.

Speaker 1 (03:33):
He went by different names. What kind of person does that.
By the time I met him, he was probably on
his third or fourth identity.

Speaker 2 (03:41):
Alan Sachs spent a lot of time with Jove over
the years. He was a regular at Jove's apartment, otherwise
known as the Cave. From the beginning, he could see
there was more to Jove than met the eye.

Speaker 1 (03:56):
He had this other side to him, and he was mysterious.

Speaker 2 (04:00):
I just have to say I always found David Jove
really creepy. I never understood why Peter wanted to be
around him, much less work with him. Maybe Peter was
just fascinated by David. A lot of people were he
was a guru.

Speaker 5 (04:16):
I thought, this man is absolutely the most fascinating man
I've met in the Hollywood sud Been.

Speaker 6 (04:20):
He was interesting, he was spontaneous, he was outrageous, he
was intelligent.

Speaker 2 (04:26):
And I'll tell you straight up, if David Jove was
still alive, I wouldn't be doing this show, wouldn't want
to be on his bad site. But he passed away
in two thousand and four. Today we're diving into the
mystery of David Jove, a guy enamored by and terrified
of success. He created new wave theater and he lost

it all the night Peter Ivers was killed. I'm Penelope
Spherus and this is Peter and the Acid King. Back

in the late sixties, Peter Ivers was just getting his
footing in the music world. Epic Record signs him for
a two album deal, and he's doing small shows in
Boston and New York. At the same time, in Toronto,
a guy named David snyderman later called David Jove, was
falling in love David met a woman named Lotus Weinstock.

Her fiance, the comedian Lenny Bruce, had just tragically died
of an overdose. But a few months later, as the
story goes, David falls for Lotus and Lotus falls for David.
It was an odd pairing where David is intense and abrasive,
Lotus is welcoming and soft. When he's not with Lotus,

David's trying to get his foot in the door of
the music industry and one day he meets John Brower.

Speaker 7 (06:14):
Well, I was pretty much, you know, a scene maker
in Toronto in sixty eight, sixty nine and seventy. You know,
I was a major rock promoter.

Speaker 2 (06:23):
And he invites John over to his house in Toronto.

Speaker 7 (06:26):
I can't remember who I went there with. We went
up there to get some dope, and then David wanted
us to come down and see his basement.

Speaker 2 (06:33):
The basement is dark, dingy, full of weird artifacts on
the floor. David's drawn a pentagram for years. He's been
obsessed with Aleister Crowley. Crowley was an author and philosopher
who wrote about mysticism, and he had a major impact
on Jove. Here's Nicholas Shrek who saw David's fascination with

Crowley firsthand.

Speaker 8 (06:59):
True, he was one of the few people I knew
at the time who had actually read all the old
magical literature and the grimoids and you know, the real
ceremonial magic. He was not just a dabbler.

Speaker 2 (07:12):
To understand Jove and his outlook on the world, you
have to know a little bit about Crowley and his
philosophy on magic. That's magic with a K. Here's Lorraine Montague,
an expert on Crowley.

Speaker 9 (07:27):
He was known as the wickedest man in the world.
He came from a really fundamentalist Christian kind of household
that was very restrictive. His teaching center around the power
and the will of the individual to break free of
establishment and tradition. The tenet of chaos magic and a

lot of Crowley's work is do what thou wilt. So
the power is centralizing an individual and their will is
really all that matters.

Speaker 2 (07:57):
In other words, according to Crowley, you determine your own
definition of good and evil. Sounds fun, right not.

Speaker 9 (08:07):
Crowley died in the nineteen forties, but his ideas really
took hold during the Sexual Revolution and this time of
trying to break freedom from establishment politics and all that.
This was really appealing, so of course it made it
into some mainstream music and symbolism, especially in the sixties

and seventies when things were starting to tear at the scenes.

Speaker 2 (08:32):
Crowley's ideas were so influential that the Beatles even included
an image of him on the cover of Sergeant Pepper.

Speaker 9 (08:39):
There were others that were the doors. Mick Jagger Bowie
famously admired and embodied him.

Speaker 2 (08:47):
And then there was Crowley super fan David Jove Here's
Nicholas Shrek again.

Speaker 8 (08:53):
His total belief in Crowley's teaching of the true will
and that you create your own reality. His meets and
very clear feeling that there was no morality, no ethics,
you know, beyond good and evil. That was Joe's main philosophy.

Speaker 2 (09:13):
And when Toronto saintster John Brower comes over to David's house,
David's fascination with the occult is obvious and it freaks
Brower right out.

Speaker 7 (09:24):
Guys in those days would be come on down to
my man cave and you know, they'd be like, maybe,
you know, if you had any money, you'd have the
whole thing with some beer or a keg or something
nobody holds had a fucking pentagram on the ground and
a cult shit everywhere in all dark lights and everything.

Speaker 2 (09:45):
You might be wondering, if John was so creeped out
by David's Crowley kink, why did he keep hanging around
with him?

Speaker 7 (09:52):
He always had really good dope, always fucking the best.

Speaker 2 (09:56):
In nineteen sixty nine, John Brower puts together a one
day music festival in Toronto, the Rock and Roll Revival.
The plan is to close the show with Yoko Ono
and John Lennon's new act, the Plastic Ono Band.

Speaker 7 (10:12):
So I get them in this cold soccer locker room.
They're sitting on wooden benches, you know, fluorescent lights and
stinky lockers filled with socks. I go, what do you
guys need? And John looks and he goes, can you
get us some coke? And I looked at Dennis and
I said, Dennis, let's get some cokes in here for
these guys. And I look back and John and Yoko
had this look on their face of complete absolute like

they were stunned, like they realized this guy thinks we
want Coca cola.

Speaker 2 (10:38):
Oh my god, where are we?

Speaker 7 (10:40):
And Yoko goes, no, cope for the nose. Well, I
don't know what the look had I had on my face.
What I was probably like it went white and I
just I remember, I just went, okay, give me a minute,
be right back.

Speaker 2 (10:56):
John Brower goes out on stage and grabs the microphone.

Speaker 1 (10:59):
It was between action and I go doctor Schneider leader.

Speaker 7 (11:03):
David comes back. He's got this, his handling this. I go, okay, man,
thank you give it to me. I said, I'll pay
for it. Goes no, I have to give it to
John Lennon myself.

Speaker 2 (11:12):
This is quintessential David Jove. He wanted to be where
the action was, and his drugs were the way in,
but they could only get him so far. He brought
a swirl of chaos everywhere he went. So, if you're
John Brower, you have two options. Let that energy bash
into John and Yoko before your big concert, or take

the coke and leave the weird dude outside. John chooses
option B and Jove's ambitions are thwarted.

Speaker 7 (11:45):
And I just looked at Dennis.

Speaker 1 (11:46):
I said, get it, and the dk krab name.

Speaker 7 (11:49):
He ripped his fucking got the vial, gave it to me,
pushed him like I said, I can't let you in here, man.
I'll take care of this later, but I got to go.
So I come in the dressing room and I'm this
thing and I open it up like this, and John
looked at me like I was Jesus, I swear to God.

Speaker 2 (12:06):
Not long after, the Plastic Ono Band gets on stage,
John Lennon is pale, sweaty, his eyes are darting around.
He closes them, shifting from foot to foot.

Speaker 7 (12:28):
Eric Clapton was quoted later as saying he has no
fucking idea how John even played a noke. He was
so coked up.

Speaker 2 (12:35):
A few months after the concert, Lotus and David have
a daughter, Lily. She's born on Christmas Day. As idyllic
as that might sound, Lotus and David ain't the Bradys.
They never lived together, and it's not even particularly clear
if they liked one another, but either way, they now

have a daughter, so they're tied together for life. In
seventy one, Lotus gets a gig in La and she
takes Lily with her. Not long after, David leaves for
the West Coast too, though he leaves on very different terms.
Here's Ed Oaks, the former Billboard editor.

Speaker 6 (13:16):
He was busted in a drug raid in which he
used a gun. He didn't shoot anyone, but he waved
a pistol in such a manner as to commit a felony.
He was bailed out and then skip bail.

Speaker 2 (13:37):
So David flees Canada and heads to Sonny, La for
a fresh start. It's possibly around this time that he
drops his family name Snyderman for Jove. But when David
arrives in La, he's hit with an unwelcome surprise. His
wife and daughter have joined a cult.

Speaker 10 (14:00):
A sister that came in we named your Lotus, and
she had a small daughter, Cherub.

Speaker 2 (14:05):
That's isis Aquarian. She was and sort of still is
a member of the Source Family, the cult that Lotus
joined when she moved to La with her daughter. The
Source Family's leader, father Yode, promised his follower's spiritual and
sexual enlightenment, which in this case meant having fourteen wives,

including Isis, and forming a rock band made up of
family members. They also had a vegetarian restaurant on Sunset
I used to go to. There were always little kids
running around with long dresses and no shoes on, and
there was a big white rolls Royce in the parking
lot I used to get the club sandwich there anyway,

as whack as that sounds. Lotus loved their life in
the cult. She called it the cheapest form of therapy around.

Speaker 10 (14:56):
And we knew that she had been at one time
in the morning, and at one time she'd been married
to this guy who was she was, you know, very
afraid of him. Actually, we never knew what he was
going to do. He could have loose things, and you know,
I'm around with the wrong people and very scary, very scary.

Speaker 2 (15:17):
Life with David Jove had been chaotic. Within the cult,
Lotus found peace and belonging.

Speaker 10 (15:24):
We were hippies, we were flower children, and we were
the innocence of the heart.

Speaker 2 (15:32):
Lotus and Lily may have been happy there, but Jove
was determined to win his family back. He tries to
convince Lotus to leave the source. When she refuses, he
goes to the very top, confronting the cult's leader, father Yode,
which was a pretty ballsy move.

Speaker 10 (15:52):
I don't care how crazy this guy was. You don't
know his father, Yode, He was you know, a marine raider,
judo trainer, six.

Speaker 2 (16:02):
' four and mess with them.

Speaker 10 (16:05):
There's a little bit you know, chi cosmic boosters standing
there facing each other. And at that point, I think
Lotus kind of felt, who's never going to end if
she didn't go, So she just said, yes, we'll come
back and you know, give me a couple of days,
and that's what happened.

Speaker 2 (16:28):
Lotus eventually leaves the cult, and when she does, her
comedy career takes off.

Speaker 11 (16:35):
Welcome, Welcome to the intimate, wonderful belly room.

Speaker 12 (16:38):
This is the room where we women get to develop
our humor even more than our breasts.

Speaker 2 (16:43):
By the way, the rumor is that Missus Masel from
the TV show is based on Lotus. Weinstock just so
you know. Anyway, Lotus and David aren't living together. David's
fucking around in the cave, doing drugs and studying Alistair Crowley.

Speaker 6 (17:00):
He would impose his will on anyone who came to
visit him. That often meant opening the books and being
subject to a reading.

Speaker 2 (17:09):
That's at Oaks, the former Billboard editor.

Speaker 6 (17:12):
And that reading could go on for an hour. He
would read from Alister Crowley. He would read passages and
they were there to be discussed and analyzed.

Speaker 2 (17:25):
Finally, in the spring of nineteen eighty ed Oaks convinces
Jove to start filming local bands. David brings in Peter Ivers,
and New Wave Theater is born. Hi welcome once again.

Speaker 1 (17:40):
New Wave Theater is not only a music show, but
a consumer advocate program of the.

Speaker 7 (17:44):
Arts, a rehabilitation opportunity. In forming and monitoring the changing
pace of music is an art form.

Speaker 2 (17:50):
Jove throws himself into New Wave Theater with the same
obsession he brought to freeing Lotus from the source. It
was all consuming.

Speaker 13 (18:00):
David was just entirely focused upon New Way Theater. It
was one h percent his life. That's why I don't
know anything else about him. He never talked about anything else.

Speaker 2 (18:10):
That's Michael Dare, the film critic. As New Wave Theater's
success grew, another aspect of Jove's personality emerged. Paranoia. Here's
his daughter Lily in interviews she did for the podcast
Rarefied Air, talking about her dad's paranoia. We've edited the
clips slightly for clarity.

Speaker 14 (18:31):
He had a real vale of secrecyed with me and
I was even blindfolded going to his house when I
was a kid. He thought that I might be compromised
and lead the authorities to him.

Speaker 2 (18:44):
Maybe it was all the drugs that were making Jove paranoid,
do you think, But according to Maggie Abbott, there was
another reason he was so afraid.

Speaker 5 (18:54):
David was paranoid about being discovered. He was terrified that
people would find out who he was.

Speaker 2 (19:14):
In the eighties, Maggie Abbott was an established talent agent,
and like any typical agent, she's entrenched in the la
party scene.

Speaker 5 (19:22):
San Lee, you know, Marvel san Lee and his wife
Joan were friends of mine and they invited me to
this big birthday party was and the party they were
having When I walked in, Sam said, oh, Mary Anne's here,
and I said Mary and he said Marian, Oh my god.

Speaker 2 (19:35):
Maggie hasn't seen Mary Anne Faithful for years. She's Mick
Jagger's ex girlfriend. But the two old friends pick up
right where they left off.

Speaker 5 (19:44):
Mary and I had this wonderful evening of getting together
and having fun. We went to dinner, we went and
had drinks, and it was like two o'clock in the
morning and she said, well, I can't go to sleep yet.
I'm jet like, where can we go? And I said, well,
I do know this strange man who's always awake at
this time, and he has people there and some pop
and everything. So I called him and he was, yeah,
it's come over whatever. So I walked in there with

mary Anne and I introduced him as if this as
mary Anne, and he didn't seem to take it, and
he was so high. And then we sat down and
he started to look at her with sort of mysterisan gazing.
He said, oh, you look just like this beautiful woman
I used to know, and she said oh really, He said,
your eyes are just like hers. So she said, well
who and he said, marry Anne Faithful and she loves him. Well,

that's findy darling, because I am mary Anne Faithful.

Speaker 2 (20:29):
For once in his life, David is speechless.

Speaker 5 (20:32):
He went into shock. It was like it was torn
between shock and excitement and horror and god knows what.
And he didn't seem to know what to say. But
shortly after that he once said he wanted to say
something to he and he guided her off, and then
when they came out, mary Anne was his very straight face,
and she sat down. She looked at me. She said,

I think it's time we left here. And when we
got to the car, she said to me, Maggie promised
me never to see that man again, and I said why.
She said, that's mister X, And I said.

Speaker 6 (21:07):

Speaker 2 (21:11):
David Jove was mister X, or as the Rolling Stones
had called him, the Acid King. Keith Richard still thinks
Jove was a snitch who told the cops there were
drugs at Redlands, or worse, that he was a cop himself.
Here's journalist Stephanie Mendez reading from Keith's memoir Life.

Speaker 11 (21:33):
And of course, mister X, who also went by the
moniker of Acid King, was the source of that very
high quality acid of the time, such brands as Strawberry Fields,
Sunshine and Purple Haze. Where do you think Jimmy got
that from? All kinds of mixtures? And that's how he
got in on the crowd by providing this super duper acid.

He was at every party for about two weeks and
then mysteriously disappeared and was never seen again.

Speaker 2 (22:02):
For Maggie, the truth hits hard. She was close to David.
She found his mystical rantings charming, but mister X had
rigged havoc in the lives of her friends. I can't
believe it.

Speaker 5 (22:15):
I've known this man for two years and you're telling
me he's the Acid King, and she said yes.

Speaker 2 (22:23):
The more Maggie thinks about it, the more it all
makes sense. If David had a secret past, it would
definitely explain his weird behavior on New Wave Theater why
he kept trying to stay out of sight even as
the show became more successful.

Speaker 5 (22:39):
And that's why he went through all those hidrinks during
the rehearsals and taping of hiding in this trailer in
the car park or where it was, and he still
didn't reveal himself, but he just wanted something where he
could hide behind the anonymity. All through the TV show
with Peter, he remained anonymous. He tried to make it

look like Peter was the person behind it.

Speaker 1 (23:03):
Back in the New Wave Theater days, there were signs,
really signs that something was off. In the credits, David
was just d dot Jove, not his full name, and
when he did appear on the show, he would wear
this strange mask that completely covered his face, completely full

of rubber mask that you know, he looked like an elderly, working,
working neighborhood guy.

Speaker 2 (23:33):
That's Alan Sachs again.

Speaker 1 (23:35):
And as the show got more and more popular, David
got more and more paranoid, and that paranoia made the
behind the scenes a New Wave Theater absolutely miserable for
Peter and everyone else.

Speaker 12 (23:48):
David was trying to pit everyone against everyone all the time.

Speaker 1 (23:52):
That was his mo.

Speaker 2 (23:54):
That's Tequila Mockingbird, the badass punk and booker for New
Wave Theater. She's probably spent more time with Peter and
David together than anyone else.

Speaker 12 (24:04):
So when he was trying to pit Peter against me,
we became closer and that just made him angry all
the time. But we had said we'd had enough of
him because we didn't want to hang out with him,
and he didn't like that. He didn't like that we
wouldn't be his little lapdogs anymore.

Speaker 2 (24:22):
It felt like something had to change, and then, in
the saddest way imaginable, it did. On March second, nineteen
eighty three, Peter Ivers woke up carrying a big secret.
By the end of that night, he was gone, taking

with him David Jove's TV career. What exactly happened that
day and what can it tell us about how Peter died?
That's next time on Peter and the Acid King. This
is Penelope over and out. Peter and the Acid King

is based on interviews recorded and researched by Alan Sachs.
It's produced by Imagine Audio, Alan Sachs Productions and Awfully
Nice for iHeartMedia. I'm Your Host Penelope Speerris. The series
is written by Caitlin Fontana, Peter and the Acid King
is produced by Amber von Schassen. The senior producer is

Caitlin Fontana and the supervising producer is John Assanti. Our
project manager is Katie Hodges. Our executive producers are Ron Howard,
Brian Grazer, Caarra Welker, Nathan Kloke, Alan Sachs, Jesse Burton
and Katie Hodges. The associate producers are Laura Schwartz, Dylan

Cainrich and Christatu. Co producer on behalf of Shout Studios
Bob Emmer. Sound design and mix by Evan Arnette, fact
checking by Katherine Barner. Original music composed by Alloy Tracks,
Music clearances by Barbara Hall, voiceover recording by Voice Tracks West,

Show artwork by Michael Dare. Special thanks to Annette van Duren.
Thank you for listening. Oh and one last thing. If
you liked this episode, rate and review us wherever you
get your podcasts. Please
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