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Gary Numan happened to wake up early one morning recently. Unable to get back to sleep, at 5.30am he began going through some contracts: Gary has managed his own career for four years. Two hours later, his wife Gemma was woken up by the sound of her husband laughing to himself. “What are you giggling at?” she asked. “In the last two hours, I’ve sorted 10 things about contracts, tours, a film offer – and I’ve not got out of bed”, Gary told her. “This is what my life is like. Isn’t it brilliant!”

To some people, Gary Numan will always be the stern, distant replicant he appeared to be at the start of his career. His lifelong love of science-fiction fed into the black-clad warrior intoning Are ‘Friends’ Electric? and Cars as if Kraftwerk were a bit too chirpy, actually. The music has remained ominous – there’s a reason Marilyn Manson and Nine Inch Nails leader Trent Reznor are devotees – but the Gary Numan of 2019 is able to celebrate the fact he’s spent the past 40 years being singularly, determinedly, totally himself. He’s also bloody funny. Hardcore fans already know that: you could tell at the “An Evening With” interview events around most recent album Savage in 2017 that Gary is a big Ricky Gervais fan.

He can afford to joke about his career, not least that refusal to sell his soul. “The fans mean everything”, he says. “I can be as arrogantly focused about only doing what I want and talk until the cows come home that I won’t do nostalgia tours but if nobody comes to see me and the records don’t sell, it’d all be for nothing. I’d just be someone talking in a little room to myself with nobody interested.”

Savage (Songs From A Broken World) reached No.2 in the UK albums chart, only denied the top spot by Foo Fighters’ Concrete And Gold, and was Gary’s first Top 10 LP since I, Assassin reached No.8 way back in 1982. It must make Numan feel like he’s riding the crest of a wave now that he’s started a new album? “Waves are fragile things”, he chuckles. “I’ve ridden waves before, and I’ve crashed them spectacularly. The fact that Savage was successful doesn’t make me feel buoyant about what I do next, it’s just extra pressure. I have to raise the bar again. What if the next album only gets to No.5? If you’d asked me before 2017 how I’d feel about a No.5 album, I’d have jumped up and down and thought it was the best thing ever. Now, it’d feel like a step back after a No.2 album. If you’re a glass-halfempty person – which, yes, I am! – success only makes the next record harder.”

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About Classic Pop

In the latest issue of Classic Pop we have a world exclusive interview with Duran Duran who reveal all about their forthcoming new studio album and the iconic show they played for NASA to mark the 50th anniversary of the moon landing. A candid Gary Numan talks to us about his 40 years as a ground-breaking icon of electronic music and Kim Wilde explains why it’s taken her 38 years to release her first live album, plus we also chat to Metronomy’s Joe Mount about his band’s ambitious new studio LP.

For our latest album-by-album feature we examine the amazing back catalogue of Blur and we also look back at the technology that drove the electro revolution with the help of members of the Human League and Landscape. 

Our classic album is Prince’s Sign O’ The Times and we also meet his collaborator Cat Glover to hear about her recollections of the project.

Our packed new album reviews section includes Charli XCX, Kim Wilde, Bon Iver, Keane, Chrissie Hynde, The Brand New Heavies and more. On the reissues front, we serve up a selection including Prefab Sprout, Goldfrapp, Janet Jackson, Jimmy Somerville, Echo & The Bunnymen and The Teardrop Explodes. In our live reviews section, we check out shows by New Order, kd lang, Stevie Wonder, Jenny Lewis and more.

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