The Secret Life of Numanoids ~ Part One

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In case you’ve been under a rock for the past thirty years, or simply have never come across the term, Numanoids are Gary Numan fans. A rare and close-knit group, they are loyal, honest, caring, and kind, brought together from all over the world to support and honor a musician who has accomplished much during his more than 30 years in the business.

As a relatively new Gary Numan fan, I have been extremely fortunate to be embraced by his hard-core circle of fans, making contact through the blogosphere, YouTube, FaceBook, MySpace, and other online sources. Most Numanoids have been with him since the very beginning, the Tubeway Army days. Others, like me, have made the connection with Numan because of his dark wave/Gothic/industrial genre of music that he began to embrace in the early 90’s, connecting fully with the release of 1994’s Sacrifice album.

Rob Stuart (Canada)

Rob Stuart shares that he has been a Numanoid since 1978 (age 13). Musically, he had never heard anything like Gary Numan before. He says, “I remember hearing ‘Are “Friends” Electric?’ for the first time on my little AM radio during the top 20 count-down in England on a Sunday afternoon and being totally transfixed by the voice, the music! I knew I had to save my pennies and immediately buy the album. Once I saw the cover art I was completely hooked. Who was this alien, androgynous looking man?”

When asked what Gary Numan’s music means to him, Rob recalls, “It meant so much to me at that age that I started a band as soon as I immigrated to Canada (age 14). We called ourselves ‘The Plastic Omniums’ and played our first gig at a high school battle of the bands contest. All the other bands played Zeppelin and Rush covers while we got up there with our synths, a reel to reel tape deck, and a drum machine and played three songs: Opening with ‘Airlane’ from The Pleasure Principle album, then a cover of ‘Are “Friends” Electric?’ and closing with an original number called ‘Red Shift Expanse.’ I distinctly remember two-thirds of the kids in the audience booing while the others cheered. The cool kids got it! I still have a recording of that show.”

Rob cites Replicas as his favorite Gary Numan album, with the first self titled album Tubeway Army not far behind. He feels that Replicas is a modern-day masterpiece from start to finish. As for his favorite songs, the list is pretty extensive: “My Brother’s Time,” “The Machman,” “M.E.,” “Pure,” “You Are In My Vision,” “A Question Of Faith,” “The Iceman Comes,” “Fadeout 1930,” “Every Day I Die,” “Are ‘Friend’s’ Electric?,” “A Subway Called ‘You,’” “The Aircrash Bureau,” “Bombers,” “My Shadow In Vain,” “Crazier,” and many more.

Rob’s most exciting Gary Numan moment was very recently when he met Numan in Toronto in October 2010. He tells us, “We had a fairly lengthy discussion about doing a remix contest of his music. He told me he didn’t see the point in it. I told him that many of his fans are musicians and would love a chance to remix his work, and that it was a great way to promote his music, especially on social networks. Lo and behold, a couple of months later, he has the ‘Back to the Phuture’ remix contest for ‘Scanners.’ I was happy that he took my suggestion. You can hear my remix here: http://soundcloud.com/rob-stuart

Rob continues, “I was also very proud to be on the same CD as Gary Numan once in Future Music Magazine Issue 101, Aug 2000. GN was on the cover being interviewed about the release of “Pure” and (my group) SLAVE to the SQUAREwave had the song ‘Heavy Bones’ featured on the free CD that came with the magazine.”

Asked what his favorite way to express his love for Gary Numan is, Rob states, “Doing cover versions of his music either live or recorded. Here is a cover I did of ‘Films’ back in 1995.”

Electronic Dream Factory – “Films”
via YouTube user Akito01:

He also shares, “Like all of my musical heroes (Bowie, Eno, Kraftwerk, Underworld, Tangerine Dream), Numan is an innovator, an original. And like all super-talented artists he is humble and down to earth. He’s not afraid to try something new and hang them out there. Sometimes it doesn’t work, but when it does, it’s life-changing and timeless.”

Meemz (Belgium)

Meemz has been a fan of Gary Numan’s for as long as he has been active in the music scene – since 1979. What initially attracted her to him, as she recalls, was Numan’s voice, music, and appearance, being “different.” And, as for his music, Meemz states, “His music touches my heart and soul any time, good or bad.”

Meemz lists the following albums as her favorites: Jagged, The Pleasure Principle, Telekon, Replicas, Sacrifice, Exile, and Pure. Her favorite songs include, “Jagged,” “Haunted,” “Rip,” “Metal,” “Seed of a Lie,” “Crazier,” “Crawl,” and, in her own words, “so many others.”

The most exciting Gary Numan moment for Meemz was the first time she met him at a concert in Bristol in 2009. An accomplished artist, she not only had the thrill of meeting Gary Numan up close and personal, she also presented him with a portrait that she had painted.

In addition to painting numerous portraits featuring Gary Numan, Meemz also does some very clever photo edits. Along with these creative endeavors, Meemz professes the best way to show her love for Gary Numan is “being and staying a Numanoid for as long as I live and far beyond.”

Finally, Meemz states, “I like his old and new stuff, and hope he’ll be making music as long as he can. When I talk to people about Numan in my country (Belgium), I can’t explain what it really is, the feelings us Numanoids have about him. It’s not only his music and all, but just the person that he is. He’s really one of a kind and we love him for it.”

Vikki (UK)

Vikki has been a fan for 32 years, the entire duration of Gary Numan’s career. When she was only 10 years old, she first saw Numan on the British music show Top of the Pops. Her initial reaction was to fall in love with the song he was singing, “Are ‘Friends’ Electric,” all the while thinking, “Ewwwwwww, he’s weird!” Needless to say, that first impression eventually yielded to a more mature, long-term, and undying love.

When describing the impact of his music, Vikki says, “His music means a lot of things to me. Because I’ve been a fan for such a long time each album reminds me of a different time in my life. Pure is my divorce album!” She also lists Jagged as a favorite. When pressed to list her favorite Numan tracks, Vikki’s reaction is, “Too many to mention. But off the top of my head: ‘Sleep by Windows,’ ‘Haunted,’ ‘Jagged,’ ‘Observer,’ ‘The God Film,’ and ‘My Breathing.’”

Recalling her most exciting Numan moment, Vikki observes, “Has to be the first time I saw him live, October 1983. He was ill, so I didn’t get to meet him. I was gutted!”

Vikki expresses her love for Gary by shouting/writing NUMMMAAAAANNNNNNNNNNNNNNNN! wherever and whenever possible. She adds, “Plus, wearing Gary Numan t-shirts – you cannot wear a Gary Numan t-shirt without someone making a comment or singing ‘Cars!’”

In closing, Vikki shares these anecdotes:

“I once lost my mum whilst out shopping. A record stall was playing “Are ‘Friends’ Electric?” and I just had to stop to listen to it. Of course my mother carried on walking and I lost her.”

“And, one thing I must add; Gary Numan fans are the nicest people you could ever meet. I took my friend to see him back in 2009 and she was gobsmacked at how nice people were. I’ve never been to a Numan gig where I haven’t got chatting to someone and shared some great moments. I once spent an evening with the band drinking before they went on stage. All my friends kept coming up to me saying ‘why are you sitting with the band?’ A roadie called Gary (who was miffed because he was called ‘Gray’ in the tour programme) fancied me so I got in with the crowd.

“I also came very close to sharing the tour bus with Gary Numan. His support band Hohokam invited us back to the hotel (nothing smutty!) but some security guy said we could walk as the hotel was only down the street. I still hate that man! Oh, and once my mum had a go at Beryl and his security guard which was very embarrassing!”

Kristin Harris (USA)

Kristin Harris, graphic and video designer, has been a full-blown Numanoid since late 2006.

When asked, “What drew you to Gary Numan?” her reply: “His newer music captured me first. I’ve never heard anyone like him. I was drawn to his beautiful voice and loved how atmospheric his music was. I eventually ventured on to YouTube and once I saw him in action, I was completely hooked. His looks don’t hurt either.”

Kristin goes on to explain that Gary Numan’s music is her escape and it has inspired her in her creative work. It’s difficult to pick just one of Numan’s albums when citing a favorite. When pinned down, Kristin chooses Jagged (closely followed by Pure, Exile, and Hybrid). Her favorite singles are “Haunted,” “The Fall,” “Crazier,” “Jagged,” “Pure,” “Replicas,” “Films,” and the song “Slide Away” from Ade Fenton’s album, as well.

Kristin recalls her most exciting Gary Numan moment: “Meeting him for the very first time in July 2007. He is so lovely and down to earth. Also, getting to work for him on the t-shirts. That was a huge honor.” She finds that the best way for her to express her love for Gary Numan is through her music videos and graphics. She also promotes his music using her favorite films and TV shows.

View Kristin’s videos here: http://www.youtube.com/user/knightvision1228

View her graphic designs here: http://www.kristinharrisproductions.com/musiciangraphics.htm

Paula Raven (Fallen Angel) (UK):

Paula is another lifelong Numanoid who has been a fan since 1979-80. His “distinctive style and amazing electro sounds” are what first drew Paula to Numan and his music. She goes on to say, “I had never heard anything like it before. He wasn’t like other bands of that time; he stood out from everyone else. I was looking for someone to blow me away with a unique style and sound, and found just that in Gary Numan. I remember thinking, ‘this man has come along in the music world, years before his time.’”

Paula continues, “Gary once said, ‘I am just an arranger of noises.’ I say to that, ‘Yes, Gary, you show us just how music is meant to sound.’ The machines rocked in 1979, and continue to do so to this very day.”

When asked what Gary Numan’s music means to her, Paula is very direct in her response: “His music is everything that makes my world tick. He has an album for every mood I’m in, and his music makes me smile, laugh, and cry. You can’t help but connect with his music and lyrics in some form or another.”

Paula pushed back a bit when asked about her favorite album. Stating that it was impossible to narrow the choice down to just one, she settles on her favorite top three: first, Telekon, “a masterpiece in its own right,” Exile, and Pure. She also settled on her top three singles: “The Fall,” “Every Day I Die,” and “My Shadow In Vain.”

Paula shares that her most exciting Gary Numan moment was meeting him in 2009, at Bristol, after waiting over 20 years for just that moment. She had met him back in the 80’s at one of his airshows, but that was only a very brief “Hello Gary” moment. “In Bristol I had a whole 10 minutes with him. I was so excited, we waited for over an hour for him to appear. He was so kind and sweet, and I asked him if he would sign my photo of him. It was an old photo of Gary when he was very young; a fan club photo. I said, ‘You look so young in that photo, Gary.’ He laughed and said, ‘I know (with a grin on his face). My wife keeps finding old photos of me, just to remind me of how old I’m getting.’ And we both laughed. He then put his arm round me so I could have a photo taken with him. It was an amazing moment in my life, and one I won’t forget.

Paula has chosen to put together her own Gary Numan website, “Pure Numan,” (http://www.pure-numan.com/) in order to pay him homage. It is her way of showing the love and respect that she has for the man who not only changed the music world, but has given his fans the best music and live stage shows possible.

Paula shares, “I have been a big fan since the very beginning, and feel like I’m growing old with him. But to put it in a nutshell, I couldn’t think of anything better than being a true fan. I’ve met along the way some fantastic people, and I wouldn’t change any of it for all the money in the world.”

Richard Cubbon (Canada)

Richard is another lifelong Numanoid, following Gary Numan since around 1978-79. Of that time, he recalls, “I was just getting into Kraftwerk and Jean Michel Jarre and heard “Bombers” from a friend of mine. I loved the use of the early synths in a way that no other bands were using them, like on the first Tubeway Army album. I was playing bass at the time and loved the hollow sound of the Moogs and that sort of swayed my intrumental choice towards synths. I got my first synth around the time that Replicas came out over here, and that led me towards more synths and learning how to produce the hollow sounds with that thick Nuclear Reactor sound.

Explaining what Gary Numan meant to him, Richard says, “Gary Numan’s music and the lyrics always meant something special to me. I never fit in with any group growing up, and the songs took on a special meaning to me.”

Asked which album is his favorite, Richard explains that it’s a tie between The Pleasure Principle and Telekon. The same goes for naming a favorite single: Richard finds that it’s a tie once again, this time between “Sleep by Windows” and “Airlane.” But when it comes to his most exciting Gary Numan moment, the answer is direct and without hesitation. It was seeing the Telekon tour back in 1982.

Richard adds, “I always tell everyone who likes any type of music that involves synths, electronics or processors, there are three bands that had the most impact on music we listen to today: Gary Numan, Kraftwerk, and Jean Michel Jarre. To me, it’s in that order of importance, too.”

Richard expresses his love of Gary Numan by writing and playing music that is heavily Numan-influenced, and insists will always remain inside of him.

JaggedHaloUK (UK)

JaggedHaloUK has been a Numanoid since 1986. What started this decades-spanning love was a friend playing “I Can’t Stop.” JH UK was instantly hooked on the sound and image that the song and Numan portrayed.

When asked what Numan’s music means to him, JaggedHaloUK replies, “Everything, It’s very inspirational.” He cites these albums as his favorites: Telekon and Jagged, especially the track “In a Dark Place” from the latter.

As with many Numanoids, it’s very difficult for JaggedHaloUK to narrow down a list of favorite songs to one. He provides the following list, instead: “When the Sky Bleeds,” “Jagged,” “Haunted,” “I Dream of Wires,” and insists that “there’s so many more I could list.”

By far, JaggedHaloUK’s favorite moment as a Numanoid was meeting and chatting to Gary after a gig. He was also invited into one of the after-show parties at the hotel where Gary was staying during a tour, and also had a photoshoot with Gary’s official photographer, Ed Fielding.

When asked how he expresses his love for Gary Numan, JaggedHaloUK responds, “Recording my own cover versions of his songs and going to his shows. Also, searching for Numan clothing to wear at gigs.”

In addition, JaggedHaloUK states, “Being a Numanoid is a way of life almost; it changes the way you see things and how you react to the world. If it wasn’t for Gary Numan, I would never have gotten into music and that in itself has led to many happy memories of playing in bands and doing live gigs. I gained live music experience with a band I played synths in called the “hottest state” and have since worked with the fantastic Replicas, a Gary Numan tribute band, and I’m also busy in my studio recording more cover tracks for them. I’m also involved in the running of a Gary Numan fan site called “Pure Numan” (http://www.pure-numan.com) and I’ve been doing some music for the site.”

As if that wasn’t enough, JaggedHaloUK also has his own Gary Numan tribute website: http://www.jaggedhalo-uk.com. The pictures of him on his website were all taken by Ed Fielding, official photographer to Gary Numan.

Karl Lyndon Donald (Ireland)

Karl is a die-hard Numan fan, and man of few words, that I met on YouTube several years ago. He left some comments on several Gary Numan fan-video montages that I had done (and have since removed when Eagle records got on their legal high horse). Karl and I have kept in touch through FaceBook, and he has introduced me to countless other Numanoids. I am very grateful for that.

Karl reports that he has been a Numanoid since the beginning, around 1979. His first recollection was seeing Gary Numan on Top of the Pops and thinking he was really unique.

When asked what Gary Numan’s music means to him, Karl replies, “His music helped me through painful teenage years.” He cites The Pleasure Principle as his favorite Gary Numan album.

Karl’s favorite single is “Remind Me To Smile.” His most exciting Gary Numan moment was, in his own words, “Speaking to him for over an hour at Derry Airshow.” Karl’s favorite way to express his love for Gary Numan was to copy his hair color and style at the time.

I also happen to know that Karl has another very special way of expressing his feelings for Gary Numan. He has a huge tattoo on his back that is the well-known Numan facial graphic from The Tubeway Army LP. Any description of Karl as a loyal Numanoid would not be complete without a picture of this amazing tattoo.

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4 thoughts on “The Secret Life of Numanoids ~ Part One

  1. Wow Miss P

    What a great read … so many interesting stories from the Numanoids.
    Perhaps one day I shall be one 🙂
    I can’t say I’m familiar enough with all his music … but what I have heard I do like … and I recall seeing him a year or two ago on the Graham Norton Show …lol… I was quite touched … Gary seemed to be such a down to earth , very sweet humanoid 😉

    I will make time to listen to more of him .

    Thanks Miss P

    XO
    Sheila

    Like

  2. MissP!!! *HUGS*

    Just finished reading your guest writing at Sad Clown on Gary Numan. Awesome stuff.

    I came over to say “hi” and you have a Numanoid piece. Cool. My youngest son, 19 YO Sora, loves-loves-loves Gary Numan’s work. I think some of his darkwave stuff influenced a recent remix he did.

    Sketchy Squares is the band he and some friends formed. Don’t Eat Cats is what he releases his solo work under.

    Like

  3. (((((MJ))))) – thanks so much! I’ll buzz on over to have a listen right now. I really appreciate the kind words. xo

    Like

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