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Baker's Dozen

Music For A Chameleon: Gary Numan's 13 Favourite Albums
Julian Marszalek , December 6th, 2012 07:46

Quietus hero Gary Numan tells Julian Marszalek about his 13 favourite albums and how they "kicked my arse"... plus the time Freddie Mercury sent a limo to buy him a Big Mac


Depeche Mode – Songs Of Faith And Devotion
Oh yeah! This is like the Systems Of Romance album; this is absolutely pivotal! This was '93 and I'd just done an album called Machine And Soul which is the shittest album I've ever made! By quite a margin! I was in a right state thinking, 'Oh, this is so shit!' I didn't know what I was doing, I had no direction, there wasn't anything I wanted to sing about, my career was going down the toilet, I couldn't sell albums and fucking fair enough if you're going to put out shit like that! I couldn't sell tickets and my career was at an absolute all-time low. I had massive money problems and had huge debts and there was no obvious way that I was going to pay them off. I thought I was finished and I didn't have a record deal and then Songs Of Faith And Devotion came out – about the same time I met my wife, funnily enough – and again, it was her who introduced me to that album.

She absolutely sorted me out musically, I got to say. She introduced me to things that I should have, should have been aware of.

I was doing an album at the time called Sacrifice, an album that I thought wouldn't come out because I didn't have a deal, and I did it pretty much as a hobby. I did it on my own little home studio. I did everything on it myself and that was partly down to [wife] Gemma's pushing, because [prior to that] I'd be using guitar players and backing and all kinds of people and she explained to me that what I'd been doing, in an attempt to make my albums more musical, I'd actually taken out the Gary Numan part of them.

And as she explained very, very patiently – because I was arguing angrily back at her and I was saying, 'But you don't understand!' and she was saying, 'No, you don't understand!' – that I might not be the best guitar player ever but what I did has a an appeal to certain people and I shouldn't stray away from it and that I should be proud of that. And the way I sing, play keyboards and write songs. She said it is what it is and you shouldn't be ashamed of it and I should enjoy the fact that a lot of people do actually like it.

And it encouraged me. I'm never going to be confident at what I do but she made me feel confident enough to recognise that I should at least use the skills that I've got. So I went back in to make Sacrifice on my own and as I was doing that, Songs Of Faith And Devotion came out and it gave me that blueprint thing again that I had with Systems Of Romance album. It really helped shape a new direction. The difference between Sacrifice and the one that came before it is vast. It's a huge leap in direction and sound and subject matter. I got into that whole anti-religious thing - a lot of that was lyrically driven by things that I'd heard on Songs Of Faith And Devotion.

It's a huge album for me and re-kindled my love of darker music. It's a massively important album and it helped to massively change my own direction and I've been going out in that direction ever since.