Gary's enjoying a new golden age as his own boss
Gary Numan has had a rollercoaster of a ride in the last four decades. From the chart-topping hits in the late Seventies, to hitting rock bottom and financial ruin in the Nineties, before finding success again.
As his career comes full circle he is set to tour the UK again, this time with a collection of his singles and his new DVD, Machine Music: The Best of Gary Numan.
He says: "I've been sitting on this idea for the last few years. There was a plan to do a best of... DVD but I thought it would be boring because it's stuff everyone has heard before.
"I liked the idea that it would show how the music had changed and the way I had evolved from beginning to end, but I wanted to make it more interesting – something a bit new.
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"We approached some TV companies because I did a performance on Saturday Night Live and that was the single performance that broke me into America. I knew that no one outside America would have seen it and so we contacted the company and bought the footage from them.
"Then we did the same with TV companies in Europe and we began to build up a collection of rare appearances from around the world. We show them on the DVD and I'm really pleased how it's turned out. It's become something worthwhile and I think the fans will find it interesting."
With singles such as Are Friends Electric?, Cars, We Are Glass and I Die: You Die, Gary rubber-stamped his trademark sound, mixing heavy synthesiser hooks with post-punk guitars, and lyrics about science fiction and teenage angst.
He says: "I was a late bloomer when I started writing. I still felt like a teenager when I was 21/22 and I felt like no one understood me and I think that's where all the angst comes from.
"I have Asperger's Syndrome and I think there is an element of that in everything I've done. It's a sense of not quite belonging and there will always be a part of that in my song writing because I can't change that. Over the years I think the biggest change has been my attitude."
Despite encouraging bands, such as Depeche Mode, to swap guitars for keyboards, and paving the way for contemporaries such as The Human League and Soft Cell, Gary often divided opinion and was labelled pretentious and bombastic.
It was only after a decade of dwindling sales and the belief that his career was over that he managed to find success once again. Suddenly, in the nineties, bands such as the Prodigy started citing him as their inspiration.
"I think the fact that people started to talk about me positively was actually just good timing," he says.
"It all started well for me in the early eighties and the end of the eighties and into the nineties it all went wrong. I was in trouble, I was out of money and my career hit the rocks.
"I met my wife at this time and she helped me reassess my attitude.
"I used to think that I couldn't sing very well and that my guitar playing wasn't that great. I was embarrassed that I had done so well with, as I saw it, no talent.
"She helped me rethink all of that – she told me that I should be proud of what I had done, that people liked the way I played and sang, even if I didn't.
"We had a lot of arguments about it but I went back to doing things for myself.
"I changed the reason I was writing songs and instead of trying to salvage my career by writing what I thought would be a commercial success, I went back to writing as a hobby.
"My song writing had improved and that coincided with people saying nice things about me.
"I was lucky. To be very honest, I fell on my feet; I was given a second chance."
So what are the changes he has seen in the music industry over the last 33 years?
"Technology is the biggest change," he says. "The way you can record music, for one. The internet is another. This has created massive changes for the industry. In one way it has caused the music business to crumble, but for me it means I can be independent.
"I have my own record label, I make my own decisions and I am in charge to a degree that I never was before."
And while Gary is planning a move to America, with a long-term goal of writing film scores, artists such as Lady Gaga, Prince, Wu-Tang Clan continue to cite him as an influence in their work – ensuring his sound continues to pepper the British charts.
"I read a lot that people say I'm an influence for them and I'll always be grateful for that."