Klaus Nomi – may your freak flag fly forever

I’ve thought a lot over the years about what it means to be a freak. I look pretty normal and can relate to normal people, but I’ve always kinda felt like a freak on the inside. Someone who thinks differently, who’s always looking for that third way. I have a lot of admiration for the people who are different, who know they are different, and use that to their advantage.

Klaus Nomi is a perfect example. He had some success, but he’s one of those artists whose gimmick turned out to be a double-edge sword. It got him attention, but now it’s the main thing people remember, if they remember. He was basically too much, even for the ’80s. He had that huge triangular suit with bowtie, hair sticking up in three spikes, very effeminate. He sang in a high falsetto. He was also one of the first celebrities to die from AIDS (at age 39).

People just didn’t know what to make of him. They were amused, but also disturbed, maybe even a bit scared. I had to learn about him after the fact. There’s no way anything so off the wall could’ve penetrated the rural airwaves where I grew up. Now that I’ve embraced postpunk, new wave, and just about everything else, I think he holds up pretty well as more than just a gimmick.

His songs are funny, sometimes beautiful and even a bit sad. He listened to his muse and didn’t care where it took him and I respect him a great deal for that. Here’s his Wikipedia entry if you’d like to learn more about him. And below are a couple of videos of him performing. I would also recommend getting hold of his self-titled album from 1981.

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4 Comments

Filed under classic postpunk, new wave, postpunk

4 responses to “Klaus Nomi – may your freak flag fly forever

  1. ceed

    Another artist that comes to mind when you discuss Klaus Nomi is Nina Hagen. She was somewhat a “freak” phenomenon also. An opera singer who went rock with elements of theatrical glam. I saw her live in Europe back in the day. Regrettably I never saw Klaus Nomi perform. Too late now.

  2. woodjean

    Very interesting post topic. I remember being in a meeting/training on diversity. The trainer asked that anybody in the class who could remember the first time (if ever) they felt different raise their hand. Everyone raised their hand. So I think everyone’s different.
    It makes me sad that this entertainer died of AIDS. He had a unique way of expressing himself.
    I also know what you mean about feeling different on the inside from the person you look like on the outside.

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