Electric pioneer back on track; He was a pioneer of electronic music but Gary Numan has faced a rollercoaster career seeing him hit rock bottom in the early 1990s. But he's once again at the top of his game preparing to embark on a UK tour, RUTH LAWSON chats to him about the lessons he's learned along the way ahead of his Newcastle date.
LESSONS Gar y Numan ONCE bitten, twice shy is a sentiment that remains at the forefront of Gary Numan's mind.
Having endured the highs and low of superstardom, he knows all too well how fickle the music business can be and after more than 30 years in the industry, he finally feels like he's got it all worked out.
With his 12-date UK tour starting next week, including a stop-off at Newcastle's O2 Academy, an American tour and another new album all planned for 2012, the "grim" period of the early 90s seems to be a distant memory. But it's something he will never forget, he tells me, and makes him eternally grateful for his current successes.
Gary explains: "It's lovely. It's all the better to be honest because I was in such trouble in the early 90s it almost feels like a second wind and a second chance.
"I was absolutely dead and buried, I couldn't get a record deal, owed about pounds 600,000 in debt and had no obvious way of seeing a fraction of that money.
"To go through that and still be here now and to have people talking about me and doing covers of my songs, well that would be lovely at any time, but to have been through such a low and to be here makes it all the better.
"I can honestly say I'm enjoying myself more now than any other time in my career."
Fans are set for a feast of Gary's best bits from his 33-year career, as his latest tour celebrates the release of a new DVD, Machine Music: The Best of Gary Numan.
This limited-edition DVD will bring together for the first time promo videos and TV appearances from right across his career, including the pioneering videos made for tracks such as We Are Glass and I Die: You Die, right up to more recent promos The Fall, and the Battles collaboration My Machines.
The 54-year-old says: "We have been talking for a long, long time about putting a compilation together and it was just finding the right time to do it.
"At the moment I'm in the process of emigrating to America and in a strange way it starts giving you deadlines. I don't know why because it's not that it wouldn't happen if I was in America, it just focuses your mind on dates."
If there's one lesson learned by Gary from his time in the limelight, it's never to be complacent. And this ethos drives him to ensure his live shows stimulate more than just the audiences ears with the added use of visuals.
Determined to give the fans their money's worth, he's hoping the crowd in Newcastle won't be left disappointed with the spectacle that will incorporate some of his best-loved hits accompanied by projected images and impressive lighting.
"Gary explains: "I do think the visual side of it is definitely something that should be important. If you get them right it enhances the music to no end.
"More importantly, people pay a lot of money to go to a gig and they should get their money's worth."
Gary shot to fame in 1979 as the frontman of punk band Tubeway Army, but he was soon making waves on both side of the Atlantic when he ventured out alone releasing hit single Cars.
He continued on with his success in the following years making a name for himself as a pioneer in electronica music. Following the blip in the late 80s and early 90s, Gary managed to recapture his fans and he continues to not only make his own music, but influence other, younger artists breaking on to the scene.
Everyone from the Sugababes to Basement Jaxx have sampled his tracks with the likes of Magnetic Man and the Wu-Tang Clan citing him as an inspiration.
Unlike most, Gary is relishing the challenges artists are facing with the rise in downloads and plummeting CD sales.
He says if offers bands the chance to explore their options and think of different ways to engage with an audience.
"The music industry generally has got some massive problems at the moment not just in the UK but everywhere I go.
"We are all having to think outside the box. I look around at what other bands are doing in terms of packaging, how they're presenting their albums because everyone seems to be doing their own little versions.
"I've got friends who are horrified with the way it's gone, but I think it feels like a golden age because there's so many different ways of people doing things, I think it's fascinating."
But as fascinating as it all is, Gary is thinking even further outside the box when it comes to his long-term goals.
Fearful that his career could at any time take a turn for the worst, he is upping sticks and moving to Los Angeles this summer to broaden his working horizons should his fears be realised.
Gary, who currently lives in Sussex with wife Gemma and their children Raven, Persia and Echo, says: "Part of the reason for moving to America is because I wanted to make sure I'm in a position where, should my album/ touring schedule start to struggle again, there are other areas for me to go into.
"Film composing and composing for TV shows is what I'm interested in so I just want to make sure I keep the options for my future open and there's no better place to go than LA for that.
"There really isn't a strong enough film industry here in the UK for that. I have a family and I have to think about them and I just want to make sure I'm in a place where there is a future."
But he has no plans to stop releasing music any time soon, regardless of where he lays his head.
He adds: "There could easily come a time when I think I have had enough in terms of releasing music but I think I will always want to make it and I honestly think I will always want to release it." * Gary's Machine Music Tour will hit the Newcastle O2 Academy on Thursday, May 24 where fans can buy a copy of the limited DVD.
Are you a local band with a gig or CD release coming up? Ring Ruth Lawson on 0191 201 6344 or email ruth.lawson @ncjmedia.co.uk
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|Publication:||Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)|
|Date:||May 18, 2012|
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