My roommate in college had ‘Urgh! A Music War’ on VHS (and vinyl). Someone desperately needs to release it on DVD. We used to sit around and watch it constantly. So many amazing performances of punk rock, new wave, and post-punk acts from The Police to The Fleshtones to Gang of Four to XTC to Wall of Voodoo to Joan Jett. It’s what introduced me to Gary Numan, and this freak in the video above, Klaus Nomi. He was a back up singer for David Bowie’s 1979 performance on Saturday Night Live and was the first known musician to die of AIDS in 1983 back when it was called GRID.
Nomi was a cult figure known for his bizarre, theatrical stage persona, which combined dramatic bombast with exaggerated costumes, heavy make-up, bizarre hairdos, and high-pitched, operatic singing. In 2004 Andrew Horn produced a documentary called ‘The Nomi Song‘, portraying Nomi’s impact on the avant-garde scene in the east village in New York in the early 1980’s.