Promotional photo for the 'Exile' album

The first 'Tubeway Army' single

Promotional photo for 'New Anger' album

Theatre lobby card for 'Argh! A Music War'

Book jacket for the 1997 autobiography
As a pioneer of the 1980s post punk, new wave, new romantics era, Gary Numan (real name Gary Webb)  has only recently begun to get due credit for his accomplishments in that time period as well as his influence upon today's music makers.  Acts such as Beck, Smashing Pumpkins, Foo Fighters, and Marilyn Manson, Trent Reznor, and Afrika Bambaata have been namedropping Gary.

After fronting several punk bands, Numan struck out on his own, forming a band, Tubeway Army.  During the recording sessions for their album on then fledgling Beggar's Banquet label, Gary came across a synthesiser in the recording studio.  He quickly transformed Tubeway Army into a synth based band.  His idea was to make what he referred to then as machine rock.  In 1979, Numan had an international hit single with the quirky, infectious "Cars", the follow up to his UK #1, Are Friends Electric? Unfortunately for Gary, this would be the only time he cracked the US top 10 charts, peaking at #6.  The song earned him a musical guest appearance on "Saturday Night Live" in February 1980.  I've been hooked on his music ever since. 

Gary is a prolific songwriter, compiling seven studio albums between 1978 and 1983 before virtually disappearing altogether from the US scene.  Back in his native UK, he continued to record mainly on his own Numa label through 1997.  He returned briefly to the US in 1989, releasing three albums on the now defunct I.R.S. label . 

Gary returned to the North American continent in 1998 with a new album "Exile", now on the Cleopatra label.  The release included a 24 city tour of the US and Canada in May 1998.  I was fortunate enough to catch the inaugural show in Philadelphia on May 1 and was even more fortunate to have an opportunity to chat with Gary, his wife Gemma (a long time fan), and the band after the gig. 

In addition to his musical talents, Gary is an expert formation and stunt pilot, flying circa World War II planes in air shows throughout the UK and has made an around-the-world flight. His 1997 autobiography, "Praying To The Aliens" was written with assistance from freelance writer Steve Malins (who's most recent work was working on an autobiography with Depeche Mode). Gary has a strong contingent of fans around the globe and has a large Internet presence, flagshipped by his own NuWorld site that he personally programs and maintains. He and wife Gemma are also animal lovers and have aided a variety of animal shelters.

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Author: Terrence Thoman
Last Updated: October 15, 1999