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You Should Already Know: Gary Numan

By Gary Numan; illustration by Josh Giroux on January 14, 2014

 

You Should Already Know: Gary Numan


 

THE HIGH POINT OF OUR CAREER

1979. I had a double Number One in the UK, single and album, twice in the same year with different singles and different albums. It was a very good year.  
 

THE LOW POINT OF OUR CAREER

1992. I put out an album called Machine + Soul, which was, to put it kindly, not the best. I lost my record deal, I went massively into debt and I sold less records than I had when I was a complete unknown. I literally couldn’t give tickets away for gigs and my songwriting was one-dimensional and aimless. I thought I was dead and buried as far as my career was concerned.  
 

THE FUNNIEST THING A JOURNALIST EVER WROTE ABOUT US

“Gary Numan’s parents should have been sterilized for giving birth to him.” I thought that was a little strong and it wasn’t funny at the time. It is now, though. 
 

WHEN THE JOURNALISTS GOT IT RIGHT

They spell my name correctly: N-U-M-A-N. I accept that they might not like the music and I hold no grudges or bad feeling about that. Oh, and I’ve never crashed a plane. I was in a plane crash. It’s different.  


BEST SHOW EVER

Bestival 2012. A big festival in the UK. Just one of those nights where everyone in the band played to perfection, where the crowd was huge and everyone seemed to be lifted to a higher level. It was also the day that me and my family were approved to leave the UK and move to Los Angeles. That may have helped the euphoric atmosphere somewhat. 
 

WORST SHOW EVER

In Jacksonville, Florida, back in the ’90s, I think. The promoter had pushed me as some house music legend, which I am not, and that’s what they came to see. They didn’t know who I was or what I did, and obviously didn’t like what they got. Plus, a pipe that ran along the roof over the stage was leaking actual shit from an upstairs toilet. I was, literally, shat on. As the final end to an imperfect day, somebody was shot in the face right next to the tour bus after the gig. 
 

WHEN WE KNEW WE WERE GOING TO MAKE IT AS A BAND

I had a song called “Are Friends Electric” go to Number One in the UK. A few weeks before that, I’d not done a single interview, so it was all very sudden; I had no idea if success would ever come.
 

THE BEST SONG WE EVER WROTE

“A Prayer for the Unborn.” My wife Gemma and I lost a baby during pregnancy and this song comes from that experience. It was a very emotional time and I was, understandably I think, very upset and angry.
 

HOW WE’RE MOST LIKELY TO BE REMEMBERED

As that English bloke who wrote that 
“Cars” song.
 

HOW WE’D LIKE TO BE REMEMBERED

As that English bloke who wrote that “Cars” song and that Splinter album. 


Gary Numan picks 3 of his records you should already own

 

 The Pleasure Principle

(1979)

This is the album that “Cars” came from and that many people now write about as an innovative classic. I’m not sure about that but it’s nice to read just the same.

 

 

 

 

 Pure

(2000)

This is the album when I felt I really began to get a grip on the whole heavy electronic/ industrial thing.

 

 

 

 

 Jagged

(2006)

This was the album that saw me working with producer Ade Fenton for the first time. It started a working relationship that has now continued for well over 10 years. Ade also produced the new Splinter album.

 

 

 

This article is from FILTER Issue 54