In 1978, future British musical legend, Gary Numan entered the studio with his band Tubeway Army. Recently signed to Beggars Banquet, the trio was there to record a punk album for the label, but on the very first morning of the very first sessions for their very first release, something serendipitous occurred that would go on to alter the development and direction of popular music forever: Gary Numan discovered the minimoog. When he stumbled across the synthesizer in the studio, it had such an immediate impact on the composer, that it prompted him to go back and transfer the guitar lines from all of the tracks, just so that they could be performed on the instrument. Famed BBC radio DJ and tastemaker, John Peel was an early supporter, recognizing the innovation behind his work and with the sophomore release, Replicas, Gary pursued his new sound even more fervently. Writing the entire album on piano with the express intention of employing synths in the studio during it’s recording, Numan modified short stories that he had been writing for a book and applies them cohesively with these brooding mechanical new soundscapes, as well as the future, in mind. Featuring groundbreaking tracks like the hit “Are ‘Friends’ Electric?” (initially 2 separate unfinished songs jammed together), Replicas presented something to the world that they’d never heard before and launched Gary into a massive star over night. His crisply stylized and icy appearance, was not like anything else at the time and, being at odds with with current trends, went on to set their own. Although Numan had been inspired thematically by the work of legendary science fiction author, Philip K. Dick, and his masterwork Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?, specifically, the term “replica” was never expressly utilized in the novel to refer to the androids within it; however, when Dick‘s book was later adapted into the classic Ridley Scott film, Blade Runner, the director went on to use the term “replicants” quite famously, 3 years after Numan‘s similarly titled album was initially released.
Only months later, in 1979, the frontman/sole-songwriter of the preject officially dropped the Tubeway Army moniker to release Pleasure Principle under his own name. This album featured his break-out smash, “Cars,” and effectively kept the momentum going stronger than ever. Within a matter of about 12 months, Numan had been springboarded from relative obscurity to having all 3 of his albums positioned in the top 20 at the same time. The most recent shows that he had played were in sparsely attended pubs; now he found himself performing in Glasgow to a massive audience without any real transition in between. With an over-the-top stage setup featuring a mesmerizing lit-up backdrop, he more than won over new believers, but not necessarily the critics… not yet. As is often the case with such success, there was a backlash to his stardom, with other first-wave electronic musicians who felt as if he had not paid his dues as they had in the genre wondering why this guy should arrive out of nowhere and yield such fortune for himself. The subject matter of 1980s Telekon — his 3rd and final #1 album — addressed his difficulty adjusting to the drastic shift into a public figure. He didn’t have a personality or disposition that was really built for it and by 1981, Gary Numan had announced his retirement from live performing with a 3-night run of farewell shows at Wembley Stadium with the intention of pulling the brakes on the overwhelming momentum to focus on working in the studio. Although he was trying to find his footing, this misguided decision effectively and permanently wound his career.
Throughout the following decade, Gary deviated from his trademark sound in an attempt to become more “musical,” losing his way and making one misstep after the other. He lost both direction and inspiration, even starting and running his own label temporarily, with his increasing downfall culminating in the lackluster 1992 album Machine + Soul, which found him wearing a studded leather jacket and incorporating female backing vocals into an incredibly “nineties” shiny pop trainwreck. Meanwhile, his early catalog had gone on to become a tremendous influences on artists as varied as Nine Inch Nails, The Magnetic Fields, and Basement Jaxx. The Beastie Boys have shouted him out and Afrika Bambaataa has even cited Numan as a tremendous inspiration on himself, affecting his own work, as well as the development of hip hop as a whole. Gary‘s inferiority complex regarding his vocal abilities or musicianship loomed for far too long without him recognizing the value of what his unique approach and vision offered to the artform, but, in somewhat of a reaction to the disappointment he felt at putting out what was, arguably, the shittiest album of his career, Gary Numan released Sacrifice in 1994, which saw him returning to his darker, synth-based roots, reclaiming his voice, and rejuvenating his career — a path that he has continued on with increasing success over the last 20 years and 6 more studio releases.
Thanks to our friends at the STG Presents, we have a pair of tickets to give away for the upcoming Gary Numan performance at The Neptune Theatre in Seattle on October 8th. Pick up your tickets now, and/or enter our contest below to see the musical innovator pull from his catalog, both new and old. You don’t want to miss your chance to see one of the true pioneers of electronic music that has left an indelible mark on the industry forever… especially if you can get in for free.
[CLICK HERE to buy tickets]
THE CONTEST / GIVEAWAY:
*1 Winner will receive a pair of tickets to the following performance :
The Neptune Theatre – Seattle, Wa
Tuesday, October 28th, 2014 @ 8pm
HOW TO ENTER:
This giveaway will center around Gary Numan’s breakthrough sophomore effort, Replicas
Your mission as the entrant is to answer one of two questions (or both, if you just can’t choose).
A: How could your life benefit by a replica of yourself existing?
B: How could your life be hindered or destroyed by a replica of yourself existing?
Post your answer(s) in either the comment section below, or on our instagram post (we’ll be checking both).
There is no part 3. That’s all there is to the contest. It’s pretty straightforward… but you should probably read the fine print.
The Fine Print:
All entries must be received by Saturday, October 25th, 2014 at 11:59pm to be eligible.
You can enter as many times as you want, but use a valid email so that we can contact you.
If you sign in with Facebook, make sure that your account can accept a message from us.
Winner will be chosen arbitrarily, based on our personal “favorite.”
If you are not sure that you will be able to attend the show, please do not enter! You’d be surprised how often that shit happens and we don’t want these going to waste.
If we are unable to contact the winner in a reasonable amount of time, a new winner will be chosen. Good luck!