Baker's Dozen

Artists discuss the 13 records that shaped their lives

Music For A Chameleon: Gary Numan’s 13 Favourite Albums

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

Gary Numan, one of the pioneering figures of synth pop and a man whose influence has been keenly felt by any number of bands and artists fascinated with the possibilities of electronic music, is explaining to The Quietus how his legendary status has done little to help with the problems incurred with moving to California. A resident of Los Angeles since October, Numan has discovered – along with the many other Brits who have moved Stateside – the hassle of getting oneself settled in without an established US credit history.

So while high-profile artists such as Nine Inch Nails and Foo Fighters’ Dave Grohl have spoken warmly of Numan, it doesn’t count for much sorting out a mobile phone, let alone a mortgage.

"I love being there but the settling in thing is far more tortuous than I thought it would be," he explains down the phone from his hotel room. "It’s an amazing country and I love being there but it’s bureaucracy gone crazy. I just bought a big house out there and got a mortgage to do some stuff with it and I kid you not, the woman who came to the house, she was there for over an hour while we signed forms and documents. Can you imagine how many bits of paper that is?"

He continues in incredulous tones: "I’ve just taken out two mobile phones – one for me, one for my wife – two iPads and they wanted $2000 up front! Because I’ve got no credit! I’m leasing a car for my wife and it’s costing me $1000 a month to lease a car I could buy for the same money as that’s because I’ve got no credit. I’m paying double the lease rate because I’ve got no credit. I’ve had to put down $25,000 on two credit cards. I’ve had to put all the money down upfront for the credit cards. For the TV and cable I’ve had to pay two years up front! Fucking hell! And all because I’ve got no credit history there!"

However, as far as Numan is concerned, the hassle has been worth it.

"It’s an amazing place," he says. "Two weeks ago we drove up to Big Bear. It was a two-hour drive into the mountains with snow and then we came back down and went to the beach! Where else can you do that? I love it!"

Yet whatever troubles have made his entry into the United States a bewildering and frustrating experience, they are but nothing compared to his efforts to put together a list of 13 of his favourite albums for The Quietus. So much so that Numan was forced to enlist the help of family and friends.

"Oh, I was ringing around my mates and talking to wife and asking what albums I’ve liked over the years! Terrible, terrible!" he laughs. "They were saying, ‘You used to play that all the time…’"

What becomes apparent with Numan’s choices and the rationale behind their inclusion is just how much of an effect they’ve had not just on his music but also his life. These aren’t records chosen for the entertainment value; this is a collection of music that has had a profound effect on Numan and in many ways makes him both the person and the artist that he his today. Click the picture of the Nume – currently on a UK tour, with the Officers LP discussed later on out now – to begin the Baker’s Dozen.

First Record

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