In a career spanning over forty years, Gary Numan has notched up twenty-two studio albums, twenty three hits in the Top 40 singles charts and an impressive fifteen million in record sales – not bad for a lad whose music was once slated by critics, including the King of Glam Rock, David Bowie. Now, as well as a string of accolades, including an Ivor Novello Inspiration Award, Numan has earned his own title as the Godfather of Synth.

Currently living in Los Angelos, the singer is gearing up for his UK 2024 tour, which, Scottish fans will be delighted to know, includes a performance in Glasgow’s O2 Academy next week. Taking time from a busy schedule, Numan, chatted to me about his latest albums, shared his love of family and explains how ‘faking it’ helps him cope with the social awkwardness that has plagued his career.

Following on from the success of Savage (2018), Numan’s latest album, Intruder (2021) has proven yet another winner. Described as his ‘most emotional work to date’ the album, thrums with passion and energy as it tells the story of a ruined earth that decides to fight back. Climate Change may be at the heart of both albums but the perspective is different.

The Herald: Gary NumanGary Numan (Image: free)

“I’ve always been fascinated by humanity, what we are doing and, more importantly, where the fxxk we are going to end up?! I have a very low opinion of our species. We are so self-serving, self-centred and cruel that, I often think, humans are an accident of nature.

"Now we have AI and, ironically, we could end up wiping ourselves off the face of the earth. That’s a scary thought. You know, it (AI) could be good for the planet. But then again, it might not.

"As an artist, I like to explore these more extreme scenarios. In the last two albums, I’ve used the same theme but very different perspectives. While Savage focuses on the human aspect, speculating on how our species could survive in what would be a very hostile environment, Intruder looks at the situation from the Earth’s point of view. The latter is set very much in the present – a different angle but the same issue.

"To be honest, it was my daughter Echo who gave me the idea for Intruder. Aged just 11, she wrote a poem, in which the earth was talking to other planets, telling them, how badly humans treated it. It really was quite a brilliant idea, and I shamelessly stole it!”

Written during lockdown, Intruder, is pure theatre and proof that even in the bleakest landscapes, inspiration blooms. His use of sinister synths and brooding undertones, give texture and atmosphere while the beat of electronic drums and various industrial sounds, create a haunting other worldly melancholy.

Married to Gemma since 1997, the couple have three daughters, Raven (21) Persia (19) and Echo (17). Like all parents, Numan and his wife found lockdown a major challenge and worried that the enforced isolation would have a negative impact on their children’s mental health.

“At the time, we really were quite worried about them. Initially, they enjoyed the holiday from school but as time passed, they became anxious and even depressed. Now, I find it fascinating to look back and see how each of them have coped and even used the experience to do something creative. Raven poured her energy into music, writing and composing.

"In fact, her song ‘My Reflection’ (written during lockdown) is currently out there and doing well. Persia, became quite depressed but she has come out of it and is doing amazing things. She’s back to her music and has even co-written and sang the song Just Like a Movie which is on the new Billy Morrison album The Morrison Project. Unlike her sisters, Echo is not so into music. But she is a fantastic artist. She’s very funny, kind and considerate. They’re all amazing kids. We’re incredibly fortunate.”

Numan has made no secret of the fact that he suffers a mild form of Asperger’s Syndrome which causes extreme shyness and makes social settings a nightmare. Has maturity made the condition easier?

“I don’t think it gets easier,” he says. “But you do learn to fake it. As time goes on you learn little tricks to help you cope. For example, nowadays, after a show I do a ‘meet and greet’ event but twenty or thirty years ago that would have been impossible. I just wouldn’t have been able to think of a thing to say. It’s not that I’m not interested, because I am. I’m also very approachable and friendly but in social situations I still feel awkward and haven’t a clue what to talk about.”


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It's been over four decades since Numan played at the Apollo in Glasgow. The building has long since gone but the star’s love of Scotland remains.

“We live in LA now, but when we were in the UK, we spent more time in Scotland than anywhere else. I’ve very fond memories of holidays spent whale watching on the isle of Mull. Scotland is a very beautiful place and I’m looking forward to coming back to perform for my Scottish fans.”

When he’s not writing, composing or performing, Numan likes to unwind with a hobby. Although, for a man who lives in a castle with a bronze dragon in his garden, his definition of the word, is not what most would consider a relaxing leisure pursuit. In the past, he turned a ‘hobby’ into a second career when he qualified as a pilot and became an aerobatic flying instructor and evaluator. However, a lucky escape from a plane crash in 1982, followed by the loss of several friends to other airplane tragedies, he decided to stop flying.

I wondered whether he had a new interest.

“No,” he laughs, “The fact is, I’m just far too busy at the minute. I’m at that stage in life when raising kids, helping them with their future, takes priority. You know, being a dad means everything to me. Having said that, I was just saying to Gemma the other day, I kind of miss having a little ‘project’. To be honest, there’s a kind of emptiness there. But, I was just thinking, my daughter’s boyfriend is into parachute jumping and he invited me to get involved. It sounds exciting, so maybe...”

Gary Numan plays Glasgow’s O2 Academy on May 21. For further info visit: