Gary Numan is the first to tell you he was churning out rubbish in the early 90s. “Pretty shit”, actually, in his own words.
From 1979 to 1981 Gary Numan was kicking goals with songs like ‘Are Friends Electric’ and ‘Cars’ dominating global music charts. But it didn’t last long. “I haven’t been successful for a very long time. I’ve been around for a long time but I’ve only been successful for a tiny, tiny bit of it,” Gary Numan tells Noise11.com. “I did alright at the beginning for a couple of years. I’m doing alright again, in some places better than others. It is definitely the most positive period now since the beginning. But for all those bits in-between, I’m a terrible person to be asking about longevity because I’ve not done a really good job of it”.
Gary puts his longevity down to luck. “I’m just lucky,” he says “I’m lucky that I have been able to continue to make music over the years. In the last sort of 10 years it has started to come good again for me. But there were many, many, many years where I was absolutely nowhere”.
Gary’s latest album ‘Intruder’ reached no 2 on the UK charts. In the 90s he was considered obsolete but then people, famous people started talking about him. Foo Fighters, Fear Factory, Marilyn Manson, Nine Inch Nails, Kanye West were some of the acts covering or sampling his music.
The attention brought him younger fans. “It introduces a new generation of people to what you are doing,” he says. “But if when that happens the music you are making is not particularly good, then that new interest is wasted and there is nothing for those new fans to hang onto.
“I think I was very lucky. Most of that interest, Manson and all those people, it was into the 90s and early 2000s. I got myself sorted out by then. If that happened in the early 90s, the music I was making then was pretty shit to be honest. It was the best I could do at the time, but it just wasn’t anywhere near as good as what came later and what went before.
“When that new interest came, when that credibility was heaped on me, my songwriting was back on form again. It was lucky. Luck plays an enormous part in any of this and bad luck, bad luck plays as well in the ups and downs of what you do.
“There isn’t any renaissance like mine that was done single-handed. I’ve kept my head down and I’ve kept working and I’ve kept trying to write better songs, if you’ve got people like Foo Fighters doing cover versions of your songs or Nine Inch Nails or Kanye West who would say something complimentary, you need to be able to grab that with the music you are making and the performances that you do and make sure you are in as good a place you can be when those things arrive”.
Gary Numan’s new album ‘Intruder’ was released on 21 May 2021.
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