Klaus Nomi article - UNCUT magazine

UNCUT magazine August 1999
"STRANGE DAYS - The underbelly of showbiz: David Bowie's favourite operatic oddball, KLAUS NOMI"

It'S December 15, 1979 and every self-respecting American Bowie fan nervously anticipates his performance on that evening's Saturday Night Live. But when at last he makes his entrance, David himself is imprisoned in an inverted plastic triangle like some human Dairy lea, carried on by two similarly spikey freaks who, having planted him centre stage,take up position as backing singers. One of them acts permanently startled - but with a bleached white face and jagged Toblerone hair-do, who wouldn't? As Bowie launches into a radical treatment of "The Man Who Sold The World", the same three-pointed clown has the audacity to drown out the main man in a piercing, crystal-cracking squawk. It seems like, this time, the lad has really gone insane.

Well, almost. Rather, Bowie had chosen this occasion to give the world its first glimpse of the unquestionably peculiar Klaus Nomi, the man who brought 17th century opera to the discoes of early-Eighties New York........ When not parading himself at the heart of New York's disco underground, Klaus could be found posing as a human mannequin in the window of Fiorucci's - a Warhol-frequented, new wave mecca of Day-Glo plastic party wear. Here, the undiscovered Nomi's destiny was but a customer away, a chance visit by Mr Bowie resulting in an invitation to join himon that now notorious broadcast along with fellow Fiorucci fop Joey Arias -a similarly precocious eyesore of space-age clothing and garish hair dye. On the strength of this invaluable patronage if nothing else, Nomi's performance earned him a deal with Bowie's own label, RCA, who in 1981 finally found the courage to issue Klaus' self-titled debut.

Yet, by 1983, while his celebrated mentor dived headfirst into mainstream hell with "Let's Dance", Klaus was spending what tragically proved to be his final agonised months bed-ridden in hospital. Nomi died that August aged just 39, one of the music world's first reported AIDS victims."

back to articles page