Gary Numan rediscovers his 'Pleasure Principle'
When you hear the name Gary Numan, what comes to mind first? Probably his U.S. hit Cars. Maybe the album Pleasure Principle, which turned 30 years ago last year. (Even though that won't stop Numan for celebrating the big Three-Ohh on a U.S. tour that hit Orlando earlier this month.)
For better or for worse, the synth-electronica pioneer's career outside his native U.K. seems to have stopped in the year 1979, despite continued adoration and hits in his home country. It's a legacy he's grudgingly become comfortable with, Numan tells the A.V. Club in a new interview. Here are some highlights:
ON THE PLEASURE PRINCIPLE'S LEGACY: "I've learned to be proud of it, but for many, many years I wasn't at all. It’s almost like rediscovering it myself."
ON THE EARLY ELECTRONICA MOVEMENT: "The early electronic thing—when I found a synthesizer and started to use it, I was terrified that somebody else was gonna come out with it. I didn’t know about Human League, and I didn’t know about Orchestral Manoeuvres In The Dark. There were all these people that were doing electronic music, were right on the cutting edge of it, but we were all kind of doing it in isolation, so it wasn't a movement as such. There were lots of little sub-movements going around, but ignorant of each other."
WILL HE PLAY THIS ALBUM LIVE AGAIN? "No, I think it'd be a bit hard. If you were going out and doing songs that you would be embarrassed by, it would definitely feel like a step backwards. Like I said, I’m not a really big nostalgia fan. Quite likely, once this Pleasure Principle stuff is finished, then I won’t do it again, because what other anniversary is there going to be? Forty years?"