Gary Numan :: The Aquarium Drunkard Interview

Gary Numan was 20 years old when Tubeway Army's self-titled record dropped in 1978 and launched a career that became very successful, very quickly. Over the past 35 years, Numan's influence on the shape of electronic music has only grown, casting a heavy shadow over 80s and 90s synth and industrial music. Carrying into the 90s and 00s with a sound influenced by and channeling his industrial descendents, Numan's latest album, Splinter (Songs from a Broken Mind) is due out on October 15th. We recently caught up with Numan by phone, from his new home in Los Angeles, about the seven years it took to bring the album to fruition, working with Nine Inch Nails' Robin Finck on the new album, the brutal honesty of fans and the simple joys of banging a lead pipe.

Aquarium Drunkard: I don't expect you to remember this, but I met you once years ago. I went to your show at the Shepherd's Bush Empire right after 9/11. I hung around outside with a bunch of people I didn't know. You signed a picture vinyl single of "Are Friends Electric?" for me. You were very nice for someone who had just performed a big concert and two hours of people trying to talk to you.

Gary Numan: I used to do that all the time. I used to always go out and meet fans afterward, sometimes for a few hours, but then there were two incidents - one time a fan suddenly turned nasty and beat me up. And another time, this gang of people were walking by and again I nearly got beaten up. So I had to stop doing it. But I used to really enjoy it. It was the only time I really got to meet fans and get genuine face-to-face feedback. I used to love it and would do it for hours. But I had to stop doing that.

AD: The new album, Splinter (Songs from a Broken Mind) is your first new studio recording since 2006's Jagged, but in doing some research, I read an interview with you from 2010 where you said you had expected Splinter to be out in about a year. So can you walk me through what the process has been for getting this album out? It seems like it took a bit longer than you expected.

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