Alex Blaze

Queer Music Friday - Klaus Nomi

Filed By Alex Blaze | January 28, 2011 5:00 PM | comments

Filed in: Entertainment
Tags: klaus nomi, queer music

It's been a long week, so here's German countertenor Klaus Nomi. Before his death in 1983, he frequently collaborated with David Bowie and was on his way to being a star of glam rock, fashioning a look around an extraterrestrial persona.

This is a brilliant live performance of "The Cold Song":

This is "Total Eclipse":

Nomi appeared on SNL once with David Bowie and sang back-up for "The Man who Sold the World. Here's audio.

He also did a cover of Lesley Gore's "You Don't Own Me," a singer who came out as a lesbian later in her career. Hmmm... it's almost like queer artists are attracted to the idea of freedom and self-ownership. Also, he keeps the genders the same in the song, singing about playing with boys:

Nomi died in 1983. Here's part of the biography on him that ran in the East Village Eye:

Unfortunately, in 1982, another plague appeared, one even more deadly than heroin. Acquired immune deficiency syndrome, or AIDS, had been spreading anonymously for several years, primarily through the gay population. The disease was barely identified when Klaus Nomi was diagnosed and hospitalized.

"They made me wear a plastic bag when I visited him," recalls Arias. "I wasn't allowed to touch him. After a few weeks, he seemed to get better. He was strong enough to walk around. So he left the hospital and went home. His manager was making him sign all these papers, like we'll give you $500 if you sign your life away one more time. He developed kaposis [lesions associated with Kaposi's sarcoma, a rare skin cancer linked with AIDS] and started taking Interferon. That messed him up real bad. He had dots all over his body and his eyes became purple slits. It was like someone was destoying him. He used to make fun of it. He'd say 'Just call me dotty Nomi.' Then he got real weak and was rushed back to the hospital. He couldn't eat for days because he had cancer in his stomach. Herpes popped out all over his body. He turned into a monster. It hurt me so much to see him.

I talked to him on the night of August 5th. He said, 'Joey, what am I going to do? They don't want me in the hospital anymore. They pulled all the plugs. I have to stop all this stuff because I'm not getting any better.' I had this dream of Klaus getting strong and singing again-only he's be a little deformed, so he'd have to stay behind a screen or something. 'You'll be the phantom of the opera,' I told him. 'We'll do shows together again.' 'Yeah, maybe,' he said. But Klaus died in his sleep that night."

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Awww. You didn't use the one from Ed and me? I'll use it for a post this week then.

Herc & LA have already been on QMF, and I haven't repeated in almost 4 years. No need to hate on Klaus Nomi because of that.

Hey - I didn't hate on him. I didn't even mention him. :)

I adore Nomi. He was a genius in the most true sense of the word. I hope he is having fun in a place far more welcoming to him than this world was.

The first video (to my knowledge) is his last performance.
Nomi also began composing a beautiful opera titled Za Bakdaz. He would have been 67 this past January 24th.
Klaus Nomi, we miss you.

Genuinely brilliant and insane.