sir ivan

It was a bleak, dismal, thunder-filled eve as I entered the strong and powerful gates protecting Sir Ivan’s castle. Suddenly the darkness lifted and was exchanged for a sprinkling of stardust replacing God’s tears, just by recollection of the rainbow-lit palace that decorated the night of Sir Ivan’s Royal Tea.

I was ushered inside by the handsome manager of the acropolis and asked to sit on what served as an arena just a few short nights ago, where Sir Ivan made his grand and glorious entrance on a monstrous motorcycle driven through his home and up to the stage. It was there he performed his hit anthem, “Kiss All the Bullies Goodbye,” for 600 people who attended “The Peaceman’s” charity celebration. The former banker turned electropop, glam rock singer-songwriter is best known for his remixes and covers of songs from the ‘60s and ‘70s, all relating to “Peace” as well as “Kiss All the Bullies Goodbye,” a song whose lyrics are original. He formed The Peaceman Foundation, a non-profit organization combating violence, hatred, bullying and post-traumatic stress disorder.

Sir Ivan Wilzig greeted me with a hug in the opulent sitting room, overlooking the water and his vast property, adorned in a sexy black shirt and tiger-striped pants, portraying the essence of a true glam rock star. Conversation is always brilliant and intriguing surrounding the grand master as he spoke about music, fame, family and his brand new song about to be recorded. 

Let’s begin with your DVD. What caused you to make it, how long did it take to complete and what are some of the features on it?

The DVD took a number of years to make, because it was filmed over a long period of time. Fortunately it has an interview on there of my late mother. What’s nice is you get to hear about what she has to say about her son before she passed away. She was quite of a one-of-a-kind, special woman.
I Googled her. She was amazing.
Yes, a pioneer, the only woman to ever have a collection of erotic art to that extent, in the world. There was actually a very funny trivia question asked in one of the tabloids, the “Enquirer” or the “Globe.” It said, “Who owns the largest privately owned collection of erotic art on display in the world? A) Hugh Hefner, B)Bob Guccione, C) Larry Flint, or D) a little old Jewish grandmother in Miami Beach?” It said, “If you guessed D, you’re correct!” That really said it all! Also, my brother comments on his differences and my differences in lifestyles, which are quite extreme, so it adds the humor to the DVD, and the rest touches upon the things that are important to me: music, charity, beautiful women and nice people that have a good heart, that are down to earth and sweet and generous. It shows what I am all about. It’s a pretty accurate depiction.
The songs, the remixes, are extreme.
Yes, the songs, why I chose the ‘60s. The back story on my father having been an Auschwitz survivor, having lost 59 relatives during the Holocaust simply because they were Jewish, left me with that sensitivity for all minorities and all oppressed people, and those that are not receiving justice, fairness and kindness. That way I take up certain issues and help various groups. That holds true. Just like my father used to say – “He lives in Auschwitz every single day of his life” – when he was alive. That was kind of a very heavy thing to grow up with as a child, as a teenager and even as an adult. The thought of that, once you know what it was really like to be in Auschwitz for one day. To think that 30, 40, 50 years later, because of the post-traumatic stress disorder (one of the other causes I support), the fact that it lingers and lasts for the entire length of your lifetime and comes back to haunt you and torture you and give you sleepless nights and nightmares, so that it’s ever present in your mind. What pleasure and what happiness you’re having, you can’t get away from the death and the destruction. The violence and the brutality is a sad thing, which is why it’s a cause I took up. It’s driven to the furthest extreme. Those that can’t handle the trauma that they were subjected to, no matter how many years ago, it can cause someone to become an alcoholic, a drug addict, unable to work, homeless, at risk of getting HIV. When you’re homeless you have nothing, and you’re desperate, and can actually attempt suicide, which many people do, who are subjected to daily pain, daily bullying. So it’s a serious thing. But I like my parties to be as non-serious as possible, because the more fun people have, the more likely they are to donate to my foundation, The Peaceman Foundation, which is a broad array of fantastic charities. If I subject them to a “typical” charity dinner with speeches and honorees and thank yous to everybody, and they show you a film on whatever disease, social cause or problem that’s going on…it’s hard to ask people to sit through these. Therefore I chose to deviate from that style if it accomplishes the same good. I make it a happy affair rather than a depressing affair.
Oh, it was happy.
People have the time of their lives; they remember it, and they are appreciative. Then I’m not shy about asking them for donations, because I choose to do good, and I can’t do everything alone. I wish someone would invite me to the kinds of parties I throw. The best party in the world was considered the reveling at Studio 54 in its heyday. The entire world waited to get into that club. They would dress any which way. They would beg, borrow and steal to get in. They would bribe anyone or “blow” anyone to get into that club.  It was a more carefree, risk free, good time. Obviously we can’t reverse history, but at the same time, having gone through that period, if you learn from the greats, you yourself become great. You saw it was the outfits, the costumes people wore, the entertainment. You didn’t know who would suddenly perform that night. You saw it was a mix of celebrities and regular folk, you saw they are from all walks of life, all different religions, all different sizes and shapes, all different colors and sexual persuasions. That’s what made it cool, and that’s what made it fun, unique, one of a kind, and that was like my party was. That was my goal. That’s why I christened my castle that night and renamed it Castle 54. I knew some of the younger attendees might not been around when that club was opened; they had only heard about it. Those who had been lucky enough to get in that club knew what I was talking about, as far as good, positive energy and a spirit in the air of camaraderie and love. Whether it was the love of the music, or the love of having a good time together, or the love of community or just the love of getting a good buzz.

It was a good time, and everyone was well behaved.
Yes, there was no rowdiness, no one out of control. You saw no one rude or abusive.  It was just good, positive, happy energy. The people were in wonder, those who had never been to my home before.
To me the hit of the party was your entrance to your performance on that super huge motorcycle that you rode through the house.
That part is the artist in me, the creative part, part of my psyche. That’s what makes a good party doing something out of the ordinary. It means taking some risks.  I purposely kept it under cover, how I was going to enter the party. I told no one, not friends or lovers or cousins, no one, and not my security, which is who you’re supposed to tell in advance if you’re going to drive something that weighs thousands of pounds through your house. I’m not really a biker. I was just dressed like a biker, because it’s the costume I chose as one of the Village People.  I figured I’d look good in black, I’d look thinner, I’d look sexier. It was a good look for me, and I happened to have a black patent leather motorcycle jacket. So I attached a black “peace” cape to it, and there I was. So I was a biker form the Village People as “Peaceman.”
It was a great performance and a great theme.
So of course I realized that wearing a long cape on the back of my jacket, that there was a danger involved. It could get caught up in the wheels or the spokes or the engine. So I had to have my driver. That part I really felt like “Sir” something, I felt like royalty. He had to run after the motorcycle, after this giant chopper that’s practically spitting out flames. He had to run holding the two corners of my cape so that it wouldn’t get caught in the wheel, and we wouldn’t wind up on the gravel bleeding. So that we’d make it from the front of the castle, over the drawbridge, around the moat and then drive it without security, just a few of my own men trying to part a crowd of over 600 people who were moving out of the way left and right to not get run over, and then this was the part that required do or die – “I’m going to give them something to talk about” – is when I drove through the French doors straight through the crowd. I wanted everyone out of the way, because I had to get to that stage and perform “Kiss All the Bullies Goodbye.” I knew that would take the party to another level. If I had any regret it is that I didn’t have as much time to spend with any of those 600-plus guests.
But you know what, I wish you were more famous.
You and me both! More than being a singer or a dancer or a comedian or a storyteller or an interviewee, I’m a showman. I’m just an all-around entertainer. I like to be out there, to be on stage. I like to make people happy. I like to see their reaction.  I do appreciate and glow in the applause like any entertainer; if they tell you they don’t, they’re lying. They all have egos. It doesn’t matter what you do. If you stuff envelopes, you still want your boss to come around and say, “You’re doing a great job.” People like to be reinforced.
I just feel like you need to get out there.
Every year the popularity grows. Every year more people know about me.  It would take a powerful manager like Jason Weinberg maybe. I need somebody to understand what I’m doing and have an appreciation for it and take me under their wing. But articles and publicity all help. You never know who’s going to read what.  The more stuff I produce, the more stuff I’m in, the more interviews I give, the greater the chance that somebody who has the power will do it.  At this point I think the only thing that would bring me the popularity that you speak of is my own reality show. So for that I need a reality TV producer. It’s not so easy, because everyone wants one.  The ability to enter that field at this time is more difficult than ever. They have seen how lucrative it could be for a family like the Kardashians, so everybody thinks they could make that same fortune.  Even with the increase in the number of networks, there’s still a glut on everybody’s desk in that business to try and get a show, which is not to say I’m never going to stop trying. Somebody could have been sitting on a big pile of dough had they given me my own reality show a long time ago.  It’s not that it hasn’t happened. I’ve had the biggest reality show producers offer me contracts. The problem is the creative control. I didn’t want to give that up, cause when you do give that up, you’re at their mercy. So when you’re at the mercy of a producer, they only care about one thing: ratings. All they want to do is get more money from advertising, and the only way they do that is by increasing their ratings.  There is a big risk involved, because they can make you look foolish and catch you at a certain light that’s not particularly flattering, and there is not a damn thing you can do about it. If you knew where lightning was going to strike, you’d be a genius. You never know what’s going to happen, but I’m enjoying the process of it so much that it’s not like…

You’re having fun.
Did you write “Kiss All the Bullies Goodbye?”
Yes I did, 95% of it.
So what’s next for you?
What’s next is the song that could do just what you said you were hoping gets done, for me to become more famous. Short of having my own reality show, which is becoming less and less important, because I’m getting more and more news and entertainment specials on TV.  So my face is getting out there, but the alternative to that, to becoming an overnight household name, is to have a pop hit on the mainstream radio charts, which is even more difficult than getting your own reality show.  Way harder, way more expensive, and literally impossible for someone my age in a field that’s fueled by the young teenagers. But nonetheless, that doesn’t stop me either.  When you have a mainstream top 40 hit, it’s being played on every Clear Channel, I Heart Radio station in every city.
And you have a song like that?
Yeah. It was my aim. I have a new producer named Ali Dee, and 20 years ago he produced “Crocodile Rock” for Elton John. He has his whole team working with me, and they’ve come up with what they thought is the “Sir Ivan” song of the century. Of course it will come with a video. We will use Erik White, the same director that we used for “Kiss All the Bullies Goodbye,” because he did such a powerful job. He is huge and has worked with every major hip hop and rap star in the country. The fact that he even works with me, I’m honored.
What is the name of the song?
“I Am Peaceman,” so it’s really about me. If I had to describe it in terms of a genre, I would say it’s a fusion of LMFAO and Psy. It’s fun, it’s happy, it’s moving, it’s grooving.  On Tuesday I laid the vocal down, and we’ll take it from there.
On the way out of the castle after our conversation, I was treated to a tour of the decadent front of the dwelling with its moats, bridges, changing colored lights and ominous dragons. Centered above the stone in a layered peace sign was the flamboyant limousine draped in brightly colored flowers and fascination splashed through the vehicle. When asked if the castle had a history, he replied, “No, I built it myself. I designed the whole thing.”
To learn more about Sir Ivan you can visit his website at

Eileen Shapiro

Best selling author of "The Star Trek Medical Reference Manual", and feature celebrity correspondent for Get Out Magazine, Louder Than War, and Huffington Post contributor, I've interviewed artists from Adam Ant, Cyndi Lauper, and Annie Lennox to Jennifer Hudson, Rick Springfield, LeAnn Rimes, and thousands in between. My interviews challenge the threat of imagination....

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