This is the text of an article by Ed Naha from issue #11 of Future Life - July 1979.

Space Sounds


In August of 1976, a mysterious Canadian band called Klaatu released its debut album. The group refused to have either their names or photos on the album jacket, preferring a science-fictiony portrait of the Sun instead. Three years later, all that's known about Klaatu is what was known in 1976. Klaatu is a self-contained, four-member group based in Canada. They took their name from the character Michael Rennie portrayed in the classic, The Day The Earth Stood Still.

Klaatu's first LP was an SF theme piece, detailing life - past, present and future - on a planet called Klaatu. Their second LP, Hope, chronicled the adventures of a group of space travelers who visit the remnants of a distant civilization... the same civilization which fell at the close of their premier LP. Their third LP, Sir Army Suit, found the group returning to Earth and penning tunes about Charles Manson, Tim Leary and perpetual motion machines. Despite their fame, Klaatu has chosen to remain totally anonymous for three years. At on point, their anonymity caused a rumor to surface that Klaatu was really a re-united Beatles, a band they resemble stylistically.

"Not True," says a Klaatu member identified only as "John" over a phoneline from Canada. "Klaatu is Klaatu. The whole Beatle rumor just happened because people were frustrated at not knowing who we were. As for the anonymity bit, who really cares about that? If we choose to avoid the spotlight, why should anyone care?"

"The band took the concept of Klaatu from The Day The Earth Stood Still. We felt that the movie carried a strong message and we identified with the central character, Klaatu. He was an individual who brought a message of intelligence to the people of Earth. He held up a mirror for them to gaze at their lives in. He asked them, 'Here. Look what you're doing. Does this really make any sense to you?' In a sense, that's what we've tried to do with our albums. The anonymity has helped us. You tend to listen to someone more if you don't imagine them in disco outfits and frizzy hair."

Despite their interest in science fiction fables, the four members of the band don't consider themselves an SF band. "No, we're not really science fiction oriented as a unit, although we've used SF and futuristic fantasy in our last three LPs. We've also included songs about historical fiction, rock and romance, too. We like to think we're diversified."

At this point in time, Klaatu is so pleased with its faceless brand of futuristic rock that, with the release of their fourth LP sometime in late '79 or early in 1980, they will come out of the kloset, showing their faces for the first time. "It will be a gradual thing," John laughs. "We started it on our last LP when we allowed drawings of us to appear on the cover. This year we'll do a few TV shows. Next year we'll tour. For the first time Klaatu will bring its message to the people in a one-on-one situation."

Asked whether Klaatu's emergence into the spotlight will dilute their spacey bouts with sociology, John laughs. "Not really. In the film, Michael Rennie showed his face when addressing the Earth. Even without his mask, he had a lot of important things to say."

-Ed Naha