November 1995
Compiled by Derek Langsford

Edition 4 of our monthly interaction with Gary. Info on how to send questions are at the end of the session.

I have inclded questions that were sent in early December because I thought there was no need to wait till next month. Gary responded in one day - I was taken back!

As usual some questions have been reworded though only slightly this time, mainly to enable us to get more info from Gary.

I'd like to remind people to state their name and location on their questions. It is a pain for me to have to email people for more info. I think it only courteous for Gary to know who is asking the questions (many email addresses are quite anonymous).

It is quite noticeable that most questions come from people in the USA, UK and Canada. I know we have subscribers in many non-English speaking countries. Don't worry if you think your written English is not first rate (very few can claim that here) and I will adjust any questions that may have some basic problems.

OK, onto the Qs & As.

My name is Jeffrey Collins ( from Melbourne, Florida, USA.

I thoroughly enjoy the Human album and have a couple of questions
considering the soundtrack and instrumentals:

Q1. How did the sountrack project for The Unborn come about?  Will you
    consider doing any more soundtracks both  pursuing them yourself or
    being asked?

A1.  The director of the film, a man called Rodman Flender,
     had bought 'Cars' when it was first available and remembered
     the b-side song 'Asylum' as being something that might be
     useable on his first film project 'The Unborn'. He got in
     contact with us to talk about it and it kind of grew from
     then on. I wanted to work with Mike Smith for speed and for
     moral support as I had no idea if I was capable of writing
     film music or not and so, together, we sent a steady supply
     of music over to America for Rodman to listen to, approve
     and comment on. To be honest it was all very easy although I
     think another director could make it a bit of a nightmare as
     you are totally at their mercy.

     I would like to do more film work, things are often being
     rumoured as coming my way, but it would have to fit around
     my main music. I would guess that about 4 or 5 film projects
     have been mentioned since 'The Unborn' but none of them have
     come to anything. I don't exactly hold my breath waiting

Dan Coffey ( of Princeton, New Jersey, USA asks:

I would like to start (almost in cliche) by saying how much I have
enjoyed your writing style and overall musical charisma..I feel you
are one of the true musical innovators of our time.....

I have three questions...

Q2. On the DANCE album, you thank Roger Taylor (of Queen) for 'the
    airman..' could you elaborate as to the meaning of this credit?

A2.  The Airman was a small pub that put local bands on.
     Roger had come to visit me in the studio that evening and I
     had told him that, later on that evening,I was going to
     visit my brother John. John was playing his first ever live
     gig, as drummer, with his band at the pub. Roger said he
     would come along so it caused something of a stir to say the
     least that night when we both walked in to watch John play.
     Roger was very good with the public, very patient, and then
     he gave John some cool advice on drums and drumming which
     put John on cloud 9 for about a year. It was just a very
     nice and down to earth thing to do.

     One of my earliest memories is going backstage after a Queen
     gig in London when I was about 16 and being amazed at the
     time and care they had for their fans. I never forgot how
     well they treated them and it was a major lesson in how to
     behave, no matter how famous or successful you become. I've
     met them many times since, after my own success mainly, and
     they are exactly the same. They are VERY cool people. Real
     shame about Freddie.

Dan Coffey ( of Princeton, New Jersey, USA asks:

Q3. I understand you don't keep in touch with Ced Sharpley, Christopher
    Payne, and Rrussel Bell but do you know what musical projects are they
    are a part of today?

A3.  Chris writes music for library archives. When you see
     a documentary about animals or whatever, incidental music,
     that's the sort of thing Chris does. I'm told he is very
     good at it and quite successful now.

     Cedric has a band of his own that plays mainly in military
     bases at dances. It's not full time though.

     Rrussell, as far as I know, writes comedy sketches now but I
     don't know who for or if he still writes or even plays music
     anymore. Haven't seen Rrussell for a long time.

Dan Coffey ( of Princeton, New Jersey, USA asks:

Q4. Some artists claim they don't own their own albums...if this is
    not the case for you, what are your favorite songs or albums of your
    own...?    ( my favorite numan song, is 'Stories'..brilliant!!)

A4.  I don't have a very good collection of my own stuff
     although Gemma does so I can get to most of it. I had
     trouble finding the sleeves  to scan for the NuWORLD site
     and borrowed most of them from Gemma.

     This is in no way a well thought out list but without doubt
     my favourite album is 'Sacrifice'. It's been over a year now
     and I still think that so I tend to think that's a true
     statement and not just because it's the most recent.

     Songs, a quick top 10 and not including any from 'Sacrifice'
     would be:

     My Breathing
     Down In The Park
     Noise Noise
     This Is My House
     Slowcar To China
     I'm An Agent (latest live version)

     That's it, can't think of a tenth. Maybe 'Respect'.

Derek Langsford ( of San Diego, California, USA asks:

Q5. Why did you remix 'The Fear' and 'Puppets' on Babylon 3?  Did you want
    to or have to?

A5.  I had to do one, Puppets, because the original master
     was missing and the other track was on the same 2" reel so I
     thought I would do it as I was already there so to speak.

Lawrence Maynard of San Diego, California, USA asks:

Q6. If there were no limitations, are there any artists you would like to
    work with in the future and any you would like to work with again?

A6.  I don't really think that way to be honest. I suppose
     I'm a bit of a creative hermit really. I don't look around
     the business and look for people to work with nor am I so
     impressed with anyone that I long for a chance to work on a
     project together with them. This is not to say that I think
     nobody has any talent, far from it, as in my opinion my
     musical skills are minimalist to say the least and I look at
     others with great admiration. It's just that I'm comfortable
     in my own little world and I prefer to stay there, with only
     the smallest amount of outside contact, especially when it
     comes to work and music. Also, although I'm impressed by the
     talent of other people, they very rarely seem to have
     anything that I want to add to what I'm doing. I did try in
     the past to cautiously involve other people and I just
     slowly lost the 'Numanness' of what I was doing somewhere
     along the way. Hence the return to isolation resulting in
     the 'Sacrifice' album. However, who knows what will turn up
     in the future as I'm not saying no to any collaborations
     only that it would seem unlikely.

Dan Coffey ( of Princeton, New Jersey, USA asks:

Q7. Since I started following your music...(I can't lie, it was the
    Pleasure Principle...what else, right?) to me, what made you so
    different than other artists was the obvious musical style changes
    you experimented with from album to album, tour to tour. In my
    opinion, this is why no one will ever be sick of Gary Numan's music,
    b/c if you get sick of one album or style, there are many others...
    My question is, what musical influences were the basis for these
    changes? Where do all these ideas come from, musically speaking?

A7.  Very hard to say. Creativity, inspiration, whatever
     you want to call it, comes from anything and everything.
     From your life and experience, imagination (and that is fed
     from who knows where) and just having your eyes, ears and
     mind open to as many things as possible. My nature, my
     character, is the glue that binds these other influences
     together. It is the basic shape that everything else is
     draped over and that is why I have what people call a
     'style' or a 'sound'. Although the music itself would appear
     to have undergone many changes, underneath it all is a
     thread of continuity. Sometimes it may be difficult to spot
     because I've gone through a lot of growing up since I first
     started writing with some quite fundamental shifts in
     opinion and understanding but, nonetheless, my basic nature
     has stayed pretty much the same. I'm not sure this is a very
     good answer but it's impossible to list the infinite variety
     and mix of things that make us change as we go along.

Dan Coffey ( of Princeton, New Jersey, USA asks:

Q8. Does Gemma have a particularly favorite album or song by you??

A8.  Gemma's favourite album is 'Sacrifice' but she thinks
     that 'Exile' is already sounding better than that. 'Jo The
     Waiter' is her favourite song. Actually she just said that
     that is her favourite song by anyone, ever, so I guess that
     confirms it.

Ron Cadieux ( of Newmarket, Ontario, Canada asks:

Hi Gary,

        I have been a fan for only three years.  I found out about you
through a friend who told me that you and I had the same "style" of music.
I listened to his CD (which was Outland) and I thought he was insane (the
reason being that my sound was closer to the Sacrifice).  Until I listened
again and again and realized that it was perfection.  Anyhow time has
passed and I have every album you've ever made (my favourite being

I know that we'll probably never meet but I was wondering:

Q9. What is it that makes you write songs?

A9.  When I was young it was on overwhelming desire to meet
     women and make money. I was therefore shallower than a
     puddle. Then it became more artistic, then it became
     somewhat desperate and now it is more like a need.

Ron Cadieux ( of Newmarket, Ontario, Canada asks:

Q10. Are you influenced by personal experiences or is it something else?

A10. Personal experience is a major part of it and has
     been since Telekon onwards but many other things play a

Ron Cadieux ( of Newmarket, Ontario, Canada asks:

Q11. Do you write the music or the words first?

A11. I always write the music first, perhaps the odd
     lyrical line or two at times but I never write an entire
     lyric and then add the music. I think it's the wrong way to
     do it, certainly for me anyway. I have a real hang up about
     phrasing. I can't stand songs where people split words up to
     make them fit. Make the word 'street' have about five
     syllables, that kind of thing. I write the music and then I
     sing absolute gibberish across it making up noises as I go.
     These noises give me the correct phrasing, the best vocal
     'feel' for the song, and I then make the lyrics fit that. In
     that way everything fits together like a hand in a glove. It
     also helps in that the mood of the music will lead me,
     often, in a particular direction lyrically. Very few of my
     songs have many rhyming lyrics. Accurate phrasing helps
     avoid the need for rhyming in my opinion and that, in turn,
     helps avoid cliche lyrics that seem to plague so many songs.

Ron Cadieux ( of Newmarket, Ontario, Canada asks:

Q12. Do you spend much of your time creating (when you're not flying [or
     dealing with the Internet :-) - sorry couldn't resist - Derek])?

A12. Quite a lot. Flying doesn't actually take up much
     time. Last year I only flew for about 30 hours for example.
     The Internet is taking up about 14 to 16 hours a day and has
     been for about 4 months now, off and on, which is another
     reason why moving the 'Exile' album back didn't exactly
     break my heart. I have an alternative NuWORLD site
     completely built that I'm running on test at home, mainly as
     a learning vehicle, and another radically new design that
     I've been working on that I may use instead of the current
     look. I'm putting a huge effort into it at the moment but I
     do expect that to calm down a bit in the new year. It will
     have to as I have a lot of tour prep to get underway and I
     still have 'Exile' to finish.

        Anyway, thanks for your time and I hope to meet someday...and don't
every stop making music because it is your music that keeps me going.

Scott Jordan ( of Ottawa, Ontario, Canada asks:

Hi Gary.  I have a simple question that has been on my mind for
quite some time (years, in fact!):

Q13. I've often wondered what Zom-Zom's was in Down in the Park "Come to
     Zom-Zom's, a place to eat like it was built in one day...."  Is
     Zom-Zom's something that was just made up, or does it have any meaning
     to you?

A13. It's not a place that I was ever aware of but I'm
     sure I heard it somewhere. It may have come from a
     'Jobriath' song in the seventies as I was a big 'Jobriath'


Sue and Russ Ashworth ( ask:

Hi Gary, I'm an expat. Brit, living in Vancouver, Canada.  I've been a fan
of yours since the day I saw you do "Friends" on Top of the Pops all those
years ago.  I belonged to your fan club until I left Britain, and am sad to
see that we can't belong from overseas.  It's just one more thing I miss
from home.  My question is:

Q14. When you're getting your material together for the "unplugged" album I
     hear about, PLEASE could you do something about "Complex".  Complex has
     always been my favourite song anywhere, ever.  However, there is
     something wrong with it.  It's just too darned short.  Can you make it
     about 10 minutes long, and play it again, just for me?

A14.  First of all I'm pleased to say that the fan club is
     international as from Jan 1st '96, you can get all the
     details from the NuWORLD web site.

     The unplugged album is still quite a long way off but I
     think that 'Complex' would be a good candidate for that
     album. Don't know about 10 minutes though, how depressed can
     you get?

BTW If you ever feel like visiting Vancouver, I've got a venue for you to play.

Dan Coffey (yet again) ( of Princeton, New Jersey, USA asks:

Q15. Judging by the diversity, and the complexity of all your albums,
     it would seem like a lot of work for someone who puts out as much
     music as you do...were there any albums that standout as more of a
     pain in the ass to make, as opposed to others? or did you kind of
     develop a system whereby it flowed pretty smoothly throughout your
     career....(i know my band just recorded a cd and it took nine months
     and many grey hairs....)

A15. One of the advantages of working as a solo artist is
     that I don't have to endure the endless 'debates' in a
     studio about what should go where and how loud it should be,
     the 'I think it needs more of me' syndrome. This is good on
     the one hand but on the other can be very lonely and
     frightening when I run out of ideas and have no-one to lean
     on. My worst album for that has to be 'Machine And Soul'
     where I ended up leaning on Kipper and putting out an album
     that was not very 'Numany'. I find this kind of problem even
     harder these days as I now do virtually everything short of
     driving the truck to the shop with the CD's in the back. I
     don't always feel as though I can spare enough time to just
     lose myself and wonder the way I would like to because there
     are just so many jobs to do.

Jorja Fullerton ( of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania USA asks:

I think Human is beautiful and have been waiting to hear you do something
like this since I first heard your cover of Erik Satie's Trois Gymnopedies
back in "19whatever".

Q16. I've often wondered if there was any reason you chose to cover that
     particular piece, and why only the 1st movement and not the other 2

A16. It was always my favourite piano piece which was the
     main reason for choosing it and, in those days, I didn't
     realise it had three parts. I was only aware at the time of
     the one that I did, I think it was on a TV ad or maybe a
     nature program.

Joey Lindstrom ( of Calgary, Alberta, Canada asks:

Not much is known about your relationship with Robert Palmer back
around 1980.  All we've got is the fact that you've got co-writer
credits on his "Found You Now" and "Style Kills" songs, plus of course
he covered "I Dream Of Wires".  We also know that you're credited with
performing on keyboards in both "Style Kills" and "I Dream Of Wires".
My questions are:

Q17. How did this relationship come about?

A17. I was told that Robert was playing a couple of my
     songs live and so I went along to see him play at
     Hammersmith Odeon (Apollo), met him afterwards and he then
     invited me and Paul Gardiner out to work on a few tracks at
     his place in the Bahamas. That's where he first heard 'I
     Dream Of Wires'.

Joey Lindstrom ( of Calgary, Alberta, Canada asks:

Q18. Have you ever given any thought to recording either "Style Kills"
     or "Found You Now"?

A18. No, not really. I like both those songs a lot so
     maybe I should.

Joey Lindstrom ( of Calgary, Alberta, Canada asks:

Q19.  Does your relationship with Robert continue to exist in any form?

A19. I haven't seen him since an Italian TV show in about
     1981 but he was over here recently and still had kind words
     to say about me in an interview which was nice. For what
     it's worth 'Addicted To Love' is one of my all time
     favourite songs.

James Costa ( from New Bedford, Massachusetts, U.S.A. asks:

Hello Gary,

Q20. I read that you have an interest in firearms and was wondering what
     your favorite handgun was.  I purchased a Glock 17 9mm awhile back and
     really enjoy it.  Have you had any experience with Glock?

A20. A small interest yes but I don't really know one gun
     from another. I have a SPAS 12 shotgun, although made
     virtually useless by British regulations, and another over
     under shotgun. When I lived in America I had a couple of
     AR15 rifles (one smaller than the other, can't remember the
     names of each model), an Ithaca pump action shotgun and a
     Beretta (dodgy spelling I'm sure) handgun. I enjoyed them a
     lot but it's just too difficult here to really get involved
     unless it is a MAJOR hobby. I sold the guns when I left

John Stubblefield of Sharon Hill, Pennsylvania, USA asks:

Q21. On the cover of the 'America' single is a blurred image taken from a
     television screen which seems to depict two men, one standing, the
     other sitting.  So you have an idea what program or ad the image is

A21. I'm looking at it now and no, sorry, haven't got a
     clue. The sleeves for the IRS singles were mostly done
     without my involvement. Most things at IRS were done without
     my involvement actually.

From Stephen M. Jones (smj@SDF.LONESTAR.ORG):

Dear Gary,

Q22. My first question to you is, why did you choose a Gibson Les Paul?

A22. Mick Ronson and Marc Bolan used them. My first one
     was a 58 gold top but it was stolen when our house was
     burgled in 1977.

From Stephen M. Jones (smj@SDF.LONESTAR.ORG):

Q23.  Do you feel more comfortable writing a song on the guitar than you do
      on keyboard?

A23. No, I don't play guitar very well so I tend to write
     the same kind of thing thing on guitar whenever I pick it
     up. I'm not very good at keyboards either but I can at least
     come up with slightly different things. As soon as I put on
     a guitar the frustrated rock God inside of me leaps to the
     fore, poses intact and arms punching the air. If I didn't
     write music I would probably have ended up trying to get a
     job in a rock band.

Neil Mitchell ( of Chippenham, Wiltshire, UK asks:


Everyone seems to explain what an impact you have had on their lives, and
I for one can certainly vouch for that.  I remember back in '82 my mum
saying, "It's just a phase, you'll grow out of it"  Here I am, 27 and
more a fan today than I have ever been.  Also very excited about the
newer darker Numan, really asking the questions that seem to be taboo.

I have a slightly strange question really.  I am an amatuer Magician and
as such obviously find your music very powerful for performance.

Q24. Have you ever considered teaming up with a quality magician to mutually
     raise your profile?

There is a British Magician 'Wayne Dobson' who I am sure you have heard of,
he seems to suffer a lot of the things that you do with press etc.  I
strongly suggest you see him live as his show is extremely dark in places
and would work well with your music.  Not really sure how you could work
together, but the idea I think would suit your current music excellently.

A24. I can't think how we would work together either. I
     did tour New Zealand once and I think the support act did
     fire breathing and juggling. I thought about using a
     hypnotist as the support a while back but decided against
     it. I don't think that I could work with a magicain in a
     live situation, our on stage demands are very different, but
     I would be glad if they used my music during their shows.

Laura Hamilton of Denver Colorado (USA) asks:

Q25. On the _Replicas_ album, the speaker of the songs seems to be a human
     living in a futuristic environment.  On _The Pleasure Principle_, the
     speaker appears to have changed to a machine/robot.  Was there any
     conscious decision by you for making this change of speaker and

A25. Replicas was my only true Sci Fi album. I had a few
     songs before it and a few after that drifted on to the
     Pleasure Principle album, but since then they have been few
     and far between. The change in perspective from Replicas to
     Pleasure Principle wasn't an intentional change in any way.
     Replias was very much a collection of short stories that
     looked at a potential future, based around a particular
     city. The songs on Pleasure Principle were already becoming
     more personal, 'Cars' for example being about my fear of
     people and my feelings of security when in the car. The Sci
     Fi songs, M.E etc were seperate to the Replicas idea,
     probably because they didn't fit in with the Replicas
     scenario and where really just loose ends from my Sci Fi
     period. I don't actually have much interest in reading that
     stuff anymore either although I am very interested in future
     technology and still love Sci Fi on TV and at the cinema.

Laura Hamilton of Denver Colorado (USA) asks:

Q26. Also, given the dramatic change in style between the _Telekon_ and
     _Dance_ albums, I'm almost inclined to believe that there is something
     missing from this period.  Are there any experimental tapes/demos or
     songs from this time that reflect a synthesis of the two albums which
     were never released?

Thank you and keep up the great work!

A26. None whatsoever that I can remember. The thing to
     bear in mind is that I went through a massive change of life
     between those two albums. Telekon was my first, and very
     early, reactions to becoming famous. Dance was written after
     I'd had a short while to get used to it although, as it
     turned out, I was more confused then than perhaps at any
     other time of my life. I can't think of many bigger changes
     that someone can go through than the onslaught of fame from
     nothing. For a while I was one of the biggest selling
     artists in the world, that brings with it pressure that's
     just impossible to convey, especially as most creative
     people have a hint of instability running through them to
     begin with. I took it all very badly, reacted strangely,
     coped with it like a spoilt frightened child and eventually,
     when it was too late, realised what was so amazing about it
     and have tried unsuccessfully to recapture it ever since. I
     think the radical change that those two albums, and others,
     are witness to is what makes them so interesting. I can
     remember feeling that way, I can remember everything that
     was important to me about those days, I just can't remember
     the lyrics.


     That's it Derek, thanks as always.

     Gary Numan.

To reiterate:

Send your questions via email to Derek Langsford ( with a subject line of:

Gary's Qs

Please include your real name and the town/city, county/province/state and country where you are located. Please follow these directions carefully and don't post your questions to the Digest.

I reserve the right to delete and edit questions for content or length.

Till 1996!