I believe that Klaus Nomi fans are referred to as “Nomies”. If that is the case, then consider me a proud new member among their ranks. For Klaus Nomi has, in only a relatively brief amount of time, become not only one of my favourite artists (I ended up ordering a “best of” CD before I’d even listened to that many of his songs) but also one of my biggest inspirations. Klaus Nomi has achieved legendary status among those who are connoisseurs of the strange and unusual. His music combined New Wave rock and opera in what I suppose you could call Popera. I suppose the musicians I’ve listened to who have come closest to his style would probably have to be Lene Lovich (who I only discovered recently, thanks to AsylumAttendant) and Martyn Jacques (lead singer for The Tiger Lillies). But to be honest, there was no one like Nomi. And we need more musicians like that.
Klaus Nomi came from outer space, and though he tragically lost his life in 1983 because of AIDS, many of his fans prefer to believe that instead of dying, he just returned to his home planet. This just shows how much of an effect Klaus Nomi had on people, and to be honest, I don’t consider that theory to be too far-fetched at all. An apt expression to describe him would be “out of this world”. And if you don’t believe me, just listen to his heavenly song Valentine’s Day- of which Father Cornwallis said: “If I had to describe a field of brilliantly colored tulips to a blind person, I would play them this song” -and tell me if I’m wrong. Actually, listen to any of his songs, both the covers and the originals. They’re all splendid.
Nomi once performed with fellow space oddity David Bowie on Saturday Night Live, where they sang The Man Who Sold the World. Bowie even influenced Nomi’s signature look- or maybe Nomi influenced Bowie, I can’t remember. Klaus Nomi said that his biggest influences were Elvis Presley and Maria Callas. This can be seen from his music, and he even did a wonderful cover of Elvis’ Can’t Help Falling in Love. More mundanely (is that a word?), he was born Klaus Sperber and worked as a pastry chef to support himself. Like many of my heroes, he was dedicated to his art, though he sadly ended up losing a lot of control over his music. Nomi died before the completion of his space opera Za Bakdaz, which was released posthumously in 2007. It really was a shame that he never had the chance to finish it, as one could only imagine how amazing the whole thing would have been. Well, at least we can be thankful for the magnificent work that he did leave us unworthy human beings.