"Five years later, I saw Joey Arias in the film Mondo New York—I immediately fled to Manhattan in search of other signs of life. A year later, I was one of Joey's support dancers in Klausferatu, in which Joey performed some of the songs from Za Bakdaz. At the time it felt very wild and redemptive. All things go in cycles, and sure enough, 10 years later a valiant but somewhat spotty biopic [The Nomi Song, CV Films, 2004] resurrected Klaus's life and work, perhaps giving him more influence now than he had ever known in his lifetime."

Act II

Setting: Now (Los Angeles)

In which Nomi collaborator Page Wood disproves F. Scott Fitzgerald's dictum about American lives and second acts.

Scene 1: "Perne-a-Gyre"

"These recordings exist because Klaus was frustrated at not being involved in the composition process. Kristian Hoffman and Manny Parrish [Nomi Show musicians and songwriters] both worked alone. They'd write something, demo it, and then hand Klaus the tape. But George and I treated these sessions more like a workshop. Klaus, Joey, and Tony Frere would come over and just do stuff. There were always two sides to Klaus: the baroque-classical Klaus and the streamlined, futuristic Klaus. And he was obsessed with the whole grand-opera-meets-Buck-Rogers thing. Za Bakdaz is his great space western. We were always making tapes and revising them with Klaus. We figured if we got anything out of the sessions we'd go and re-record them at a better studio. But that never happened.

credit: woodarts

"When Klaus died, we were all bitter and depressed. I got out of the music business completely and focused on graphics. When Andy Horn started work onThe Nomi Song, he asked me if there were any unreleased recordings. Well, I did have those old four-tracks—literally in a shoebox. . . . And I thought: I can revive those tapes. It was like they were frozen in a block of ice. We were mesmerized by what we got out of the tapes."

Scene 2: "You Don't Own Me"

"Who knows where it'll go next? Back then, you had to have a major label—and nobody wanted Klaus because he was just too weird. Now anybody can release a record on the Internet, so we decided to do Za Bakdaz ourselves. We wanted to make it something people would want as an object, not just as a download. That'll come later. We've always wanted to release the original demo tapes. They're the crown jewels—they really define the punky sound of the live shows, but they have a murky legal history. Another idea is a tribute with Bowie, Marilyn Manson, Morrissey. . . . We could revive the old show, or even stage the opera. Because Nomi isn't dead—Klaus Sperber is dead. And I think he'd have loved the idea of this character going on."

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