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Wednesday, April 18, 2001

Gary Numan chat transcript

Gary Numan: We will be starting shortly

Moderator: stand by for Gary Numan

Zerfboy: Gary, saw the Dc show last night and I thought it was great. Wonderful sound, the band were all fantastic and you sounded and moved about real well. wondering if there is any possibility of a second US trip later this year as rumoured in some quarters recently? And thanks for coming NOW!!!!

Gary Numan: Thank you for comments on the show. We always worry about the first one. We are hoping to come back in the fall. But it does depend on the record company support and also, the record company still wanting us too. Much of it depends on the outcome of this tour. If we don't come back in the fall, we will probably come back the spring of next year as soon as the next album is finished. I have all summer to work on it (the new album), if we don't tour in the fall. We have a festival...six weeks put aside in September for European festivals so that takes a big chunk out of recording for the next album. It's easier to work on the album during the festival season than during the American tour.

ZomZom: Hi Gary, Do you have any DVD releases planned, for example promo collections or concert footage?

Gary Numan: we do, I'm just buying broadcast quality editing software and I'm also buying some DVD authoring software. When I get back, the first DVD we're going to try is of the promo video we made for the song "RIP" and all of the extra shots and alternative versions and behind the scenes footage will be put together to make a 2-hour DVD. That's going to be our first experiment towards DVD. To see if I can do it. After that, I'm trying to make a video diary of this tour. We're filming many of the shows, we have a couple of cameras filming everything else too. Also, we all talk each day about how we feel the show went. It won't really be a concert video it will be a behind-the-scenes video with a bit of concert video. If that works , it will be the second DVD we do. Then we can look at doing old stuff. Targe date? We would like to have it out...sort of August time but I've not done a DVD before so I don't know if there are any difficulties with it in turning it around.

Svperstarr: I know this has been in the rumour mill for quite sometime, but if and when can we expect a collaboration between Trent Reznor and yourself? Seeing that you both have the highest of respect for each other, the Numan/Reznor fans of the world salivate at the thought of a collaboration.

Gary Numan: The also two times I've met him, he's talked about us writing some things together. I would love to. I'm a big Nine Inch Nails fan. But the way I feel is that Trent is huge, and he's obviously very busy. So it's one of those things that I feel more comfortable waiting for him to decide when he wants to do it rather than me pushing. I'm flattered it was his suggestion. But it would be awkward to push that forward cause he's busy. But I've been talking with Billy Corgan about writing some things together. It is coming together much faster now that we're talking about how it's going to work. That would probably happen before the Trent Reznor thing. Some of the musicians are people that Billy has worked with previously. The main thrust of it is that me and Billy would do most of the writing and then other musicians he knows. At the moment, I'm talking to his drummer Matt Walker and it turns out he likes what I've done. We try to find common ground between us. The distance does make it more difficult. It's as if we can just go around to other people's houses. Just working out the way it's going to work is boring but it's an important part.

Vector Addax: What is/was your favourite synthesiser, and does it compare to any of the newer technology? Have synths lost their soul or do you find that they are more expressive than ever?

Gary Numan: I prefer modern synths, I think they are more capable, they're more difficult to understand. I'm not a big champion of older synthesizers the way other people are. You had to retune them with every song. I guess it might be because when I started the old ones were all we had and so for me they were just a nightmare to try to work with. So I welcomed the new ones. You tend to have a new generation of people beginning to work with electronic music and they look back on the old equipment with romance, I look at it with pain. my favourite would be OBXa.

r churchward: Gary there are a lot of good Numan fan based sites out there doing a good job in promoting you have you got any messages for the site owners

Gary Numan: I think most of them are very helpful, very positive. There are one or two that have become more like media critics. They, I find to be a bit of a thorn in my side. But, overall, I'm very grateful for the work people put into them and flattered by how many there are. I find it difficult to keep up with them all. It would be a bit of a full-time job checking on all of them. On my site I link to 40 or 45 different site and that's not all of them. About a year and half I gave up on trying to keep up with all of them.

Courtney: What do you think of Radiohead's Kid A album?

Gary Numan: I'm not mad about Radiohead in general. I've never listened to Kid A. I'm not a Radiohead fan. I've been listening to Deaftones, Nine Inch Nails, Marilyn Manson, I like Limp Bizkit quite a lot. There's a British band called Sulpher, it's very very powerful, there's a band called Curve.

One-hit-wonder lover: "Cars" seems to be your biggest hit. How do you feel about being considered a one-hit wonder by the mainstream media.

Gary Numan: Oh it's only the mainstream media in America. In Britain I've had about 30 and 35 singles in the chart in Europe and about 22 albums. I have no problem with it. Better to have one than none. But I do feel that it gets in the way of other things I'm doing. If you get a mention on TV or radio, chances are they'll play "Cars" instead of one of the new songs. It depends on some respects, if you can engineer a situation like that - it highlights that you're still around, you're still making music. But it might reinforce the concept that it's the only song I've ever had. When Fear Factory did the cover of the song...it really helped me. It's really difficult at times - I'm proud of it, sometimes I feel like I'm dismissing it and I shouldn't but it does get in the way of things. Armand Van Helden (sampled the song)- it's very flattering, to have people like that covering the song. I think now that Nine Inch Nails, people like that, they've all done covers of my songs and that's done me no harm whatsoever.

Cary Wiltz in Charlotte, NC: Greetings! Where do you see yourself in, say, 10-15 years from now with your music? In other words, with the ever changing "popular sounds" that are out there over the radio airwaves and not, where would Gary Numan like to be and what type of music do you see yourself producing or would like to produce down the line?

Gary Numan: I struggle to really know what I'm going to be doing with the next album let alone in the next 15 years cause you can't predict creativity and as far as the way pop music is going, it doesn't really concern me. What I'm doing has nothing to do with pop music. I don't really care. It's bland, of no interest to me. Musically, it hasn't really offered that much for a long time in terms of innovation. Apart from that, I'll be very surprised if I'm still doing it 15 years from now. I'll be 58, I'll be living in a small cottage writing horror stories. Most careers, are quite short things really from a point of earning good money doing it - music careers anyway. I was 21 when it first happened for me and I wasn't thinking anything beyond 30 and I thought if I was still doing it at 30 it would be impressive. It's not because I've been very good at it, there wasn't anything else I found that had the same level of satisfaction or excitement to it. I fly planes, that's all very exciting but it doesn't have the same level of satisfaction that doing something creative does. You make records and a year or two later you have something with music on it and you've done that. I don't think there' anything else I could do that could do that except for story writing that I think would be quite interesting. I used to write stories before I got heavily into song writing. Some short stories became songs. The only thing I've written since was an autobiography which doesn't really count. The book writing is something at the moment that I do for my own fun as a hobby but because I do a lot of it I am confident I could attempt to do it for a living and I don't think I'd get bored doing it.

richard: After so many years, what is it about the man and the music that connects your voracious fans to the process? Have you ever analyzed the phenomenon?

Gary Numan: It's hard to say. Everyone says that my fans are really dedicated but it's difficult for me to know. I don't know what other fans are like so I just say, yeah, they are. When I go to other people's concerts their fans seem to be just as excited as my people are. I'm just happy my fans are enthusiastic. It's hard for me to say if that's true, why it would be true. The thing is, I sit at home, I write song and I'm very aware that I'm not a very good musician and I know there are far better songwriters than I am yet I'm able to put music together in such a way that some people get exactly what they're after. I'm aware it could be better, I wish I could sing better, I'm just glad I'm part of the business and I can learn enough from it that it means that's all I have to do. Beyond that, I don't really think about it that much really.

arno klos, Netherlands: Hi Gary! How did your attitude towards life change the last 20 years? What ideas from that time do you not support anymore?

Gary Numan: Twenty years!!!!! That's asking for some memory isn't it?! Everything is different, lot's of what's happened to me, because of being in a band, having some success and then not and then some again, I've been incredibly wealthy and I've been bankrupt. I've done huge venues and tiny venues. I've seen the music business from all sides and I think that's given me a fairly broad understanding of how the business work. And aside from that, what you just see from life - people close to me who have died, I've had enough terrifying experiences of my own, I'm married, my wife and I are trying to have a baby, one of our babies died and today we found out that one of our other babies didn't make it. All in all, I think I've probably had experiences that are more extreme and obviously I didn't have any of that 20 years ago so the way I seen the world is different. But to explain how I see the world would take hours. The only thing that haven't changed is my core values - honesty, courage, determination, I have no interest in morality, I have no religious beliefs, family is hugely important to me, those are core values that have remained unchanged.

Mick Rameri: What do you think about the whole Napster controversy?

Gary Numan: I can understand why some people would want to establish what the rules were now rather than later when it could be more difficult. However, I think there's been a big over-reaction to the dangers of Napster and I also think some of the ways its been dealt with has been too high profile and heavy handed. On the other hand, no one wants to see music they've spent years making, being given away. The other thing is people see using Napster as a crusade against record companies. But as I understand it, the people who earn the most from retail stores are retail stores. If you get rid of retail stores you'd cut CD sales in half. If you damage record companies you damage tour support, I'm only able to tour now because of the record label loaning me a chunk of money, they will take it back but if they didn't have the money, they couldn't have. You'll see some band who just can't afford to tour around countries as large as the states and Canada. You need record company support. I kind of sit on the fence and can see both sides of the argument.

swatkins: Gary, do any of the albums or songs you have done over the years stand out to you as particular favourites? Can you point to any one or two and say, this is some of my best work?

Gary Numan: There's a tendency to always think the most recent work is the best cause it's the freshest. If I exclude the current album, I would point at songs - "Down In The Park", I'm quite proud of, "Dark" from a recent album, I've got 320 songs on record, I can only remember half, from the early days, "Our Friends Electric", "Cars" obviously, more recently - "Absolution", that'll do. I could go on forever.

Gary Numan: I'd like to say thank you to everyone that sent in questions and also to anyone coming to the shows, I'm very grateful for that. It's an important tour for me.

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