“There are still people trying to work out what a genius Gary Numan is.”
New York fans will have a chance to work it out for themselves when the self-professed geek with Asperger’s who saw the future forty years ago tears up Webster Hall on Saturday March 22nd.
Originally part of punk/new wave act Tubeway Army, Numan famously switched on a Minimoog synthesizer at his label’s studio while he was working on his debut solo album, The Pleasure Principle (1979) and never looked back. The Pleasure Principle, featuring the global smash “Cars”, was the first to mesh synths with guitar pedals, and went to number one in the UK. The label’s initial objections quickly turned to elation and a legacy was spawned.
Since then, “Cars” has been sampled countless times, and Numan has influenced everyone from Prince, Afrika Bambaataa, Basement Jaxx, and Tricky to Trent Reznor (with whom Numan has performed several times). The Random tribute compilations featured covers of Numan classics by The Magnetic Fields, The Orb, and Saint Etienne who turned “Stormtrooper in Drag” into a rave anthem. I Dream of Wires, a recent documentary about modular synthesizers takes it name from a song on Numan’s follow up album, Telekon (the bonus edition includes Numan’s haunting version of Erik Satie’s “Trois Gymnopédies”). An upcoming re-mastered version of Grace Jones’ Nightclubbing album will include a previously unreleased cover of Tubeway Army’s “Me! I Disconnect From You.” And “Are ‘Friends’ Electric?” has been a password amongst synth and sci-fi geeks for decades.
Although Numan never achieved the same degree of commercial success (which he was never concerned with), he continued releasing music through the 80s, 90s and into the new century that has seemingly, finally, caught up with his futuristic man-machine obsessions. No museum icon sitting idly by, in 2012 Numan moved to Los Angeles, in 2013 he released a new album Splinter (Songs from a Broken Mind), and in 2014 hit the road on tour, most recently electrifying new and old fans alike at SXSW.
Splinter (Songs from a Broken Mind) is out now. Numan’s Splinter tour through the U.S. and Canada continues through April. Hit the link below for upcoming dates.