"And if the 'friends' all go home, you know love needs no disguise."
Love Needs No Disguise
The Gary Numan FAQ V2.0b - Feb 7 1996

Compiled by Kay Teel with input from various members of the Gary Numan Digest mailing list. Special thanks to Derek Langsford, Brian Hammond, Joey Lindstrom, and Markus Dietrich. Much information was taken from "Gary Numan: the Authorised Biography"Kay Teel. HTML translation by Joey Lindstrom.

Please Note: This FAQ does NOT include the complete Numan discography, which can be found in the ftp sites at ftp.uwp.edu and mirrors.aol.com/pub/music/lists/numan, or at The "Compleat" Gary Numan Discography


  • I. Biographical and Personal Information
  • II. Common Questions (Personal, Lyrics, Misc.)
  • III. Collaborations
  • IV. Covers of Gary Numan Songs
  • V. Numan versus IRS Records
  • VI. Chart Positions
  • VII. Numan Books
  • VIII. Useful Addresses
  • IX. CD Releases
  • Section I: Biographical and personal info:

    1.) The basics

    Return To Index

    2.) Problems with the press

    From almost the start of his rise to fame, Gary has been beset by problems from the British music press. Bad reviews, misquoted interviews, and sniping comments were common. For a while in 1980-81, Gary refused to do any interviews, saying the papers would print whatever they wanted anyway. The press eventually went on to other targets, but the initial nastiness has meant a legacy of the British music press never taking Numan seriously.

    2a.) Problems with the BBC

    The BBC boycott really took hold after 1980. As Numan has mentioned in one of the Images albums, "Down In The Park" was the one and only single of his to ever get good reviews. John Peel of BBC1 did like Numan and even allowed him to cut two Peel Sessions (most groups only got one). Numan's music was played on BBC1 during his peak years (1979-1982) but by _Warriors_ onwards, getting radio play became increasingly difficult. By the time he formed Numa Records in 1984, it was nigh impossible to get BBC1 to play anything more than once. Numan is left having to do promotional spots and interviews on independent radio in the UK because BBC1 still won't have anything to do with him. The only exception was the single "Radio Heart" which did get played a little bit - but this wasn't really a Numan single.

    Return To Index

    Section II: Common Questions:

    A.) Personal:

      • Where did he get the name Numan from?
      • Gary changed his last name to Numan around the time he formed Tubeway Army. He found the name by leafing through a London telephone directory and finding "Neumann," which he altered to "Numan."
      • I have an old Tubeway Army single that gives his name as Valerian. Where did that come from?
      • The band was trying to use "futuristic" names and Gary chose that one. The idea was soon abandoned. Gary's comment: "Quite probably my most stupid idea."
      • Has Gary ever composed music for commercials?
      • In 1978 he sang (but did not provide the music) for a Lee Cooper Jeans advertisement. Gary commented on this: "Apparently the man in charge of making the music for the ad heard my voice when a man in the next office was playing the blue album, several months before I had the success with "Are 'Friends' Electric?". I was paid 40 pounds. Actually I was paid 40 pounds again because they changed some of the words and got me back in to redo it. I was ripped off badly, no repeat fees. When I asked if the ad was going to be made into a single, which was all the rage at the time, I was made to feel pretty small and sent on my way like a silly little boy. A few months later I was number one and took great pleasure in telling the same arrogant git of an ad-man to fuck off when they asked me to sing the song again as they were going to put it out as a single after all."

        In 1982 he wrote the music for a 7-Up ad (UK only). He also wrote music for a French perfume commercial in 1994. Some of that music ended up on _Sacrifice_. It was not used by the perfume company as it was considered too dark.

      • Has Gary ever composed movie soundtracks?
      • He did the soundtrack for the horror film, _The Unborn_ (1991). As of 11/1/95, the soundtrack has not been released, though the film is available on video. A Fall 1995 Numa Records release, _Human_, contains music written for consideration for use in the film, although it isn't the actual soundtrack. Several of Gary's previous songs have been used in variety of films.
      • When did Gary "retire" from touring and why? And why did he return to touring?
      • In August 1981, Gary put on his highly-publicized farewell concerts at Wembley Arena, near London. He was still at his peak in popularity and had completed his very successful Touring Principle and Teletour tours. He lost money on all the tours, because of the huge shows he put on, but his main reason for announcing his retirement was pressure. He had risen to fame very quickly, and wanted to step out of the spotlight for a while. He wanted to concentrate on his music, and devote more time to flying. He also saw video as the future of music and planned to go into making short films but this never materialized. He returned to touring after the album _Dance_ was released. He missed it, and the fans had never stopped asking for his return.
      • Has Gary had a hair transplant operation?
      • He had one in 1982, and discussed it in detail in a _Smash Hits_ interview around that time.
      • Didn't Gary live in America for a while?
      • In 1982 he left the UK for tax reasons, and lived in Los Angeles for a year.
      • Is Gary gay? Married?
      • Gary is not gay, though some of his lyrics have been interpreted to contain gay-themed references. He is not married, and has been living with his girlfriend for several years.
    B.) Lyrics:
      • Who was Jo the Waiter?
      • Although "Jo the Waiter" is probably a fictitious character, Gary once dated a girl named Jo during the time he was keeping a notebook of story and lyric ideas.
      • What are S.U.'s?
      • According to the Coleman biography (p.70), S.U. was "a comment on his turbulent relationship at the time with Su Wathan, the press girl at Beggars Banquet."
      • Where did MachMen come from?
      • MachMen was an abbreviated form of Machine Men, taken from a comic strip Numan used to read.
      • What is the Japanese bit in "This Wreckage?"
      • Transliterated as: "wakareyo", it can be translated as "I am going to leave" or "I am going to part company [with you]."
      • What were "letters like D.E.B." in "We Take Mystery (To Bed)"?
      • Another comment on a girlfriend, Deb.
    C.) Misc:
      • Has Gary been influenced by William S. Burroughs?
      • Numan started reading Burroughs after hearing others talk about his writings. Numan is quoted in the Coleman biography (p.68) as saying, "I couldn't figure out Burroughs' books at all, but I did find I could get so many ideas from page to page."
      • Has Gary been influenced by Philip K. Dick?
      • Gary read the books by science fiction writer Philip K. Dick, and got many ideas from them. The title "Are 'Friends' Electric?" was probably modeled on _Do Androids Dream Of Electric Sheep?_. Also, _Bladerunner_ (based on this novel) is one of Numan's favorite films, and he has used samples from the film in several songs.
      • Who were his other influences?
      • Other influences he has mentioned are: Marc Bolan, David Bowie, Ultravox with John Foxx, Kraftwerk. He mentions modeling his early, androgynous look on Bolan and Bowie. His Warriors image was drawn from Mad Max, and his Dance and I, Assassin image from watching old Humphrey Bogart films.
      • What happened to Paul Gardiner?
      • Paul Gardiner released a solo single, "Stormtrooper In Drag" backed with "Night Talk" (from _Dance_) which was a collaboration with Numan. Unfortunately, his addiction to heroin led him away from Numan, and in 1984 he died of an overdose. His single "Venus In Furs" was released posthumously on the Numa label.
      • What is the symbol on the _Sacrifice_ album?
      • It is a caduceus, a wing-topped staff with 2 snakes winding about it, carried by Hermes in Greek legend. To the Greeks, it symbolized fertility, sun-gods, wisdom, and healing. It is a common symbol for the medical profession.
      • What is the album _Photograph_?
      • It was a German compilation album released in 1980, apparently without Numan's consent. For whatever reason, it was quickly deleted and has become a collectors' item, although it does not contain any rare or unreleased tracks.
      • Is that really a sample from Tears For Fears song on "I Wonder" ?
      • That really is a sample of Tears For Fear's "Shout" on there. In an interview with TFF's Roland Orzabal some years ago, he stated that he lifted the part himself by programming his Drumulator drum machine to play the same part played by a human in the song "Seen and Not Seen" on the Talking Heads album _Remain in Light_.
      • Is it true Numan is planning a ballad album and an "unplugged" album?
      • Yes, it seems so. We wait.
      • What are some of the old band members doing now?
      • Chris Payne and Ade Orange formed the group Big Noise UK. They released an album called _Good Morning Baby_. Also of interest, in the mid-1970's Jess Lidyard played drums on the albums _Druid Toward The Sun_ and _Fluid Druid_, which have been rereleased on CD in the UK.
    Return To Index

    Section III. Collaborations:

    Return To Index

    Section IV. Covers of Gary Numan songs:

    Return To Index

    Section V. Numan and IRS Records:

    In 1987, Numan penned a deal with long-time fan Miles Copeland to produce _Metal Rhythm_ on Illegal Records (U.K.'s IRS counterpart). However, Gary's 3 record contract with IRS expired upon the release of _Outland_ and Gary was left without a U.S deal once again. For _Metal Rhythm_, Gary wanted to call it "Cold Metal Rhythm" but was told it was too long a title. The UK release was the only one that contained Gary's own choices for the album. The US, continental European and Japanese releases of the retitled album _New Anger_ had two tracks omitted, 3 songs remixed, and two tracks from _Berserker_ added, one of which was remixed. Gary was not happy with this level of interference in his artistic conceptions.

    IRS did not want to release the soundtrack Gary did for the movie _The Unborn_. This upset Gary as he was proud of the work he did for it and thought IRS would jump at the chance of putting out an album of music that has a film to advertise it.

    Gary wanted IRS to help fund a US tour to promote the US album releases of _New Anger_ and _Outland_. IRS would not. The lack of any advertising or promotion apart from a brief visit to New York, Los Angeles and San Francisco made Gary feel IRS were not serious about him as an artist on their label. Even the attempt at issuing a US single from _Outland_ was half-hearted. The "My World Storm" US remix only appeared on 12" when CD5s were the more popular format for singles and the T-shirt offer associated with it fizzled with none being printed.

    Gary's comments on the IRS situation: "IRS fired me, or in music biz parlance, decided not to exercise their option. They messed with my songs in the most disgraceful way, behind my back and at times against my express wishes. They made me work with people who were completely crap and clueless [...] A most unpleasant period."

    Return To Index

    Section VI. UK Chart Positions

    This information is available at The World Wide Webb in the Radio Heart section.

    Return To Index

    Section VII. Numan Books:

    1. Coleman, Ray. _Gary Numan: The Authorised Biography_. London: Sidgwick & Jackson, 1982. 128 pages, b&w ill. ISBN 0283988762
        The best and fairest assessment of Numan's life and work, but sadly out of date.
    2. Vermorel, Fred & Judy. _Gary Numan By Computer_. London: Omnibus Press, 1980. b&w and color ill.
        A shoddily-created book of photographs and quotes.
    3. _The Gary Numan Songbook, vol. 1_. London: Chappell Music Ltd., 1982. 79 p., b&w and color ill.
        Sheet music for 1978-1979 songs (covers songs on the 1st album, _Replicas_ and _The Plan_). Also contains a few reprints of articles. As far as is known, there were never any more volumes published.
    4. _Electric Shadows_. circa 1984.
        A scrapbook-like compilation of magazine articles and clippings.
    Return To Index

    Section VIII. Useful addresses:

    Gary Numan UK Fan Club

    Gary Numan Fan Club
    P.O. Box 14
    Staines, Middlesex
    TW19 5AU

    Check the NuWORLD web site at http://www.numan.co.uk for complete fan club information.

    Gary Numan North American Fan Club (Official)

    Ron Cole and his wife attempt to provide UK Fan Club services to the rest of the world. For information, please write:

    Kristina Cole
    P.O. Box 1412
    Ridgecrest, CA

    Gary Numan North American Fan Club (Unofficial)


    Jim Napier
    165 Enfield Center Road East
    Ithaca, NY

    Return To Index

    Section IX. CD Releases:


    As of February 7th I have not had time to update this information, which will shortly be presented in a different format. If you just GOTTA have the information right now, please check the text version of the Gary Numan FAQ for all the latest.

    A.) UK CD release of _Living Ornaments_ (BEGA 155CD):

    B.) _Berserker_ CD: C.) Derek Langsford's CDiscography:
      Title Status
    Tubeway Army & Dance DELETED
    Replicas & The Plan DELETED
    The Pleasure Principle & Warriors DELETED
    Telekon & I, Assassin DELETED
    Replicas (UK budget rerelease) CURRENT
    Asylum 1 (1st 4 BB albums + bonus tracks) Jap 4CD Collection DELETED
    Asylum 2 (2nd 4 BB albums + bonus tracks) Jap 4CD Collection DELETED
    Asylum 3 (Living Ornaments 80 + some of 79) Jap 1CD Collection DELETED
    Tubeway Army & Dance UK 2CD (+ bonus tracks) CURRENT
    Replicas & The Plan UK 2CD (+ bonus tracks) CURRENT
    The Pleasure Principle & Warriors UK 2CD (+ bonus tracks) CURRENT
    Telekon & I, Assassin UK 2CD (+ bonus tracks) CURRENT
    Berserker (extended mixes) UK Fan Club-only CD Fall '95
    White Noise UK 2CD Live CURRENT
    The Fury UK CD album out of print
    Strange Charm UK CD album out of print
    Ghost UK 2CD Live CURRENT
    New Anger (US version of Metal Rhythm) US/Ger/Jap CD Album DELETED
    Metal Rhythm UK CD album DELETED
    The Skin Mechanic all markets CD Live DELETED
    Outland all markets CD Album DELETED
    Machine and Soul UK CD album CURRENT
    Machine and Soul Extended UK CD album CURRENT
    Dream Corrosion UK 2CD Live CURRENT
    Sacrifice UK CD album CURRENT
    Sacrifice Extended UK CD album CURRENT
    Dark Light UK 2CD Live CURRENT
    Human UK CD album CURRENT
      Title Status
    Compilations Exhibition UK/Ger/Can/Jap 2CD DELETED
    The Collection UK CD Compilation CURRENT
    Isolate UK CD Compilation CURRENT
    Document Series presents Gary Numan UK CD compilation CURRENT
    The Other Side of Gary Numan UK CD compilation DELETED
    The Best of Gary Numan 1978-1983 UK/Ger/Jap 2CD CURRENT
    Here I Am UK CD compilation CURRENT
      Title Status
    Peel Sessions UK CD5 Studio Live DELETED
    Selection UK CD5 EP out of print
    Exhibition Jap CD3 EP out of print
    New Anger UK CD5 Single DELETED
    America UK CD5 Single DELETED
    Heart UK CD5 Single DELETED
    Emotion UK CD5 Single CURRENT
    The Skin Game UK CD5 Single CURRENT
    Machine and Soul 1 UK CD5 Single CURRENT
    Machine and Soul 2 UK CD5 Single CURRENT
    Dream Corrosion Live EP UK CD5 EP CURRENT
    A Question of Faith UK CD5 Single CURRENT
    Absolution/Magic UK CD5 Single CURRENT
    Dark Light Live EP UK CD5 EP CURRENT
      Title Status
    Fan Club-only
    Berserker (extended mixes) UK Fan Club CD out of print
    Radial Pair Video Soundtrack UK Fan Club CD CURRENT
    Babylon vols 1-7 back catalogue issues UK Fan Club CD due Jun-Nov 95
      Title Status
    Images 1 & 2 2LP Interview near future
    Images 3 & 4 2LP Interview near future
    Images 5 & 6 2LP Interview near future
    Images 7 & 8 2LP Interview near future
    Images 9 & 10 2LP Interview near future
    Images 11 CD Interview CURRENT
    (UK Fan Club)
    Interview (b&w Fury era cover) CD Interview out of print
      Title Status
    Collaborations Automatic (with Bill Sharpe) UK CD Album out of print
    All Across the Nation (with Radio Heart) Holl CD album only a
    few exist
    I'm On Automatic (with Bill Sharpe) UK CD5 out of print
    No More Lies (with Bill Sharpe) UK CD5 out of print
    Voices (same tracks as No More Lies) Ger CD5 out of print
    All Across The Nation (Radio Heart) UK CD5 impossible
    to find
    Adrenalin (Numan/Yen) UK CD5 out of print
    Like a Refugee (with Da Da Dang) part 1 UK CD5 CURRENT
    Like a Refugee (with Da Da Dang) part 2 UK CD5 CURRENT
    Are 'Friends" Electric? (with Generator) UK CD5 CURRENT
    Are Friends' Electric? Parts 1 & 2 (Nancy Boy) CURRENT

    There are also numerous various artist compilations which feature Gary but mostly the tracks are "Are Friends Electric?" and "Cars."

    "Change Your Mind" with Bill Sharpe never had a CD single release but the 7" version is on the Canadian Polydor release of "Exhibition" along with "No More Lies" and "Voices." The "Change Your Mind" 12" mix can be found on the Canadian compilation "Hardest Hits, Volume II" CD. This series supposedly had a US release in 1995.

    Return To Index