Tag: Afrika Bambaataa

A Beginner’s Guide To ARTHUR BAKER

Boston-born Arthur Baker began as a DJ, but aspired to be a producer following taking an engineering course at Intermedia Studios. He wanted to make music, rather than play records.

After some early experiences, Baker became wise to the swindling ways of the music industry. He eventually released his first single ‘Kind of Life (Kind of Love)’ under the name NORTH END in 1979.

But his breakthrough as a producer came after he moved to New York in 1981. Working for urban label Tommy Boy Records, where he met engineer and keyboard player John Robie, they came up with ‘Planet Rock’.

Utilising the-then new Roland TR808 Rhythm Composer, in particular its distinctive analogue cowbell, rimshot and snare sounds, its lasting effect on the future of music came about more by chance.

Baker wanted to employ a more mechanised electronic aesthetic in the vein of KRAFTWERK and YELLOW MAGIC ORCHESTRA to the output of Tommy Boy and saw an advert in The Village Voice: “Man with drum machine, $20 a session”… the rest is history. But the programmer of the track’s iconic 808 beat pattern remained unknown, thanks insisting on cash for his services, having declined a cheque.

‘Planet Rock’ featured sampling without a sampler, its ‘Trans Europe Express’ synth parts manually recreated by Robie.

Although Baker did use a Fairlight CMI for the orchestra hits, he considered it “a $100,000 waste of space”. Released in 1982, ‘Planet Rock’ put electro, as it came to be known, on the map.

Never one to waste a good thing, Baker produced ‘Play at Your Own Risk’ for PLANET PATROL, taking unused recorded parts from ‘Planet Rock’. His midas touch continued with the similar sounding ‘IOU’ for FREEEZ, once again maximising the rigid character of the 808.

Always in touch with what was going on at street level, Baker often tried out his rough mixes at clubs like Paradise Garage, The Danceteria and The Fun House. Although missing out on THE BEASTIE BOYS, Baker achieved major worldwide success when he signed NEW EDITION to his Streetwise Records. The label also released Eartha Kitt’s Boystown favourite ’Where Is My Man?’ , while other artists on the roster included Colonel Abrams, Cuba Gooding and Loleatta Holloway.

In 1989 with THE BACKBEAT DISCIPLES, Baker gathered a diverse all-star cast of Al Green, Andy McCuskey, Martin Fry, Jimmy Somerville and Etienne Daho to sing on the ‘Merge’ album, a pop hybrid record tracing his love of soul, synthpop, disco, HI-NRG and Europop.

Reflecting his trailblazing reputation in dance music with an ear for a good tune, Baker was commissioned to provide remixes for a wide range of mainstream artists including Cyndi Lauper, Bruce Springsteen, Neneh Cherry and Tina Turner, as well as more middle of the road acts like FLEETWOOD MAC, HALL & OATES and WET WET WET.

Baker’s varispeeded treatment of ‘Spaceman’ by BABYLON ZOO was used in the 1995 Levi’s TV commercial ‘Planet’, but many were disappointed to be met with the dirge rock original when the track was released as a single.

Now based between London, Miami and Ibiza, Baker continues to DJ while he notably co-produced and appeared in the 2015 documentary film ‘808’ directed by Alexander Dunn about the machine which he helped turn into a cultural icon.

Featuring reminisces by Phil Collins, Jori Hulkkonen, Felix Da Housecat, Richie Hawtin, Rick Rubin and Norman Cook among many, Baker himself interviewed the late Roland founder Ikutaro Kakehashi who had deliberately purchased faulty transistors to create the machine’s distinctive sizzling sound. Continuing his interest in documentaries, Baker is currently making one about NEW ORDER.

With such a varied career, ELECTRICITYCLUB.CO.UK presents a Beginner’s Guide to Arthur Baker featuring 18 tracks that cover the breadth of his influential music portfolio.


AFRIKA BAMBAATAA & THE SOUL SONIC FORCE Planet Rock (1982)

Recorded by Baker at Intergalactic Studios, the ‘Planet Rock’ synth leadline interpolated KRAFTWERK’s ‘Trans Europe Express’ while the Roland TR-808 drum machine mimicked ‘Numbers’; the track even included a chant of its Japanese count. But where there’s a hit, there’s a writ so when Baker later had to pay up for using elements of KRAFTWERK, he just put up the price of the record to fund the settlement. ‘Planet Rock’ eventually sold one million copies and paid for its debt.

Available on the AFRIKA BAMBAATAA & THE SOUL SONIC FORCE album ‘Looking For The Perfect Beat 1980 -1985’ via Tommy Boy Records

https://www.facebook.com/ArthurBakerDJ/


PLANET PATROL Play At Your Own Risk (1982)

More in the vein of classic soul groups like THE TEMPTATIONS, PLANET PATROL offered an electro twist on that five way vocal template and even featured a member named Melvin Franklin! ‘Play At Your Own Risk’ was made from recorded parts that did not make the final version of ‘Planet Rock’, with Baker even saying that both came from the same multitrack. Listening back, it was also the blueprint for Baker’s ‘IOU’ which became a huge hit for FREEEZ.

Available on the PLANET PATROL album ‘Planet Patrol’ via Tommy Boy Records

http://www.roland.co.uk/blog/arthur-baker/


ROCKERS REVENGE featuring DONNIE CALVIN Walking On Sunshine (1982)

Mechanising Eddie Grant’s funky favourite in the sparkly pulsing vein of D-TRAIN, Baker’s cover of ‘Walking On Sunshine’ was specifically made for the Paradise Garage. Baker assembled ROCKERS REVENGE as a studio project with vocalists Donnie Calvin, Dwight Hawkes and Baker’s wife Tina B. While there an electronic feel, its looseness pioneered a more freestyle form that would later emerge in its own right. Continuing the covers theme, a version of Jimmy Cliff’s ‘The Harder They Come’ came out in 1983.

Available on the ROCKERS REVENGE album ‘Walking On Sunshine’ via Acrobat

https://www.facebook.com/RockersRevengeOfficial/


AFRIKA BAMBAATAA & THE SOUL SONIC FORCE Looking For The Perfect Beat (1983)

With a funky urban twist over colder European electronics, ‘Looking For The Perfect Beat’ with its freestyling and mighty breakbeats took hip-hop up to the next level. With its self-prophesising title, it was far more complex and varied than ‘Planet Rock’, with nearly a year taken in the making. It showed ‘Planet Rock’ was no fluke, but Baker later remarked that the track was motivated as a taunt at Tommy Boy’s rivals and pioneers of rap, Sugar Hill Records. “Beat Dis”!

Available on the AFRIKA BAMBAATAA & THE SOUL SONIC FORCE album ‘Looking For The Perfect Beat 1980 -1985’ via Tommy Boy Records

https://www.facebook.com/808themovie


FREEEZ IOU (1983)

Originally a jazz funk combo, FREEEZ had fragmented to the duo of John Rocca and Peter Maas when they became fascinated by ‘Planet Rock’. Meeting Baker in New York, he suggested recording his self-penned ‘IOU’. While there was a appearance from the ubiquitous Roland TR808, an Emulator was used for the staccato voice passages but key to the song’s appeal was Rocca’s falsetto. It was co-mixed by John Jellybean Benitez, the DJ at The Funhouse who later worked with Madonna and had a solo career.

Available on the FREEEZ album ‘Gonna Get You’ via Cherry Red

https://www.discogs.com/artist/8670-Freeez


NEW EDITION Candy Girl (1983)

Signing what was effectively the modern electro incarnation of JACKSON 5 to his Streetwise label, Baker hit paydirt with NEW EDITION and their sweet worldwide No1 ‘Candy Girl’. With the tune’s writers Maurice Starr and Michael Jonzun working in the studio with the young quintet, Baker was executive producer and did the final mix with Starr. Unusually for a boy band, Ralph Tresvant, Bobby Brown, Ricky Bell, Michael Bivins and Ronnie DeVoe all went on to have successful careers after the group.

Available on the NEW EDITION album ‘Candy Girl’ via Streetwise Records

https://www.facebook.com/newedition4life/


NEW ORDER Confusion (1983)

With NEW ORDER’s interest in dance music, having opened the Haçienda with New York clubs in mind, a collaborative union with Baker was inevitable. But Baker wanted to make ‘Blue Monday’ while and the Mancunians wanted to make ‘Planet Rock’, so the result was quite literally ‘Confusion’! Drummer Stephen Morris in particular had admitted frustration during the recording sessions as Baker would not let him alter his Roland TR808’s already-programmed patterns, fearing he would lose his trademark sound.

Edited version available on the NEW ORDER album ‘Singles’ via WEA

http://www.neworder.com/


ARTHUR BAKER Breaker’s Revenge (1984)

For the film ‘Beat Street’, Baker helped produce its soundtrack and contributed the frantic beat and sample laden instrumental ‘Breakers’ Revenge’ to the score. The movie itself was a based around New York’s hip hop and breakdancing scene, with part of the plot based on the graffiti documentary ‘Style Wars’. Noted figures such as GRANDMASTER MELLE MEL & THE FURIOUS FIVE, THE SYSTEM, DOUG E. FRESH and THE SOULSONIC FORCE all appeared.

Available on the ARTHUR BAKER mix album ‘Breakin’ via Mushroom Records

https://twitter.com/arthurhbaker


ARTISTS UNITED AGAINST APARTHEID ‎ Sun City (1985)

ARTISTS UNITED AGAINST APARTHEID was formed by Steven Van Zandt and Baker to protest against apartheid in South Africa, while drawing parallels with the plight of Native Americans. “A song about change not charity, freedom not famine”, ‘Sun City’ highlighted the hypocrisy of the South African government allowing entertainment there that was banned in the country, with a call to reinforce the international boycott. It featured Bruce Springsteen, Bob Dylan, Lou Reed, Miles Davis, U2 and RUN DMC.

Originally from the ARTISTS UNITED AGAINST APARTHEID ‎album ‘Sun City’ via Manhattan Records, currently unavailable

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Artists_United_Against_Apartheid


FINE YOUNG CANNIBALS Ever Fallen In Love – Club Senseless remix (1986)

‘Ever Fallen in Love’ was a noted song of punk and disaffection written by the late Pete Shelley and performed by his band BUZZCOCKS. But FINE YOUNG CANNIBALS caused  a stir with a dance friendly version co-produced by TALKING HEADS’ Jerry Harrison for the film ‘Something Wild’. With his Club Senseless remix, Baker exploited the track’s funkier possibilities, his theory being “if you had a really groovy bassline, the drums don’t have to be a straight kick, because people dance to the bassline.”

Available on the FINE YOUNG CANNIBALS album ‘The Raw & the Cooked’ via Edsel Records

https://www.facebook.com/RolandGift.Tour/


PET SHOP BOYS In The Night – Arthur Baker remix (1986)

‘In The Night’ was the B-side for the first single version of ‘Opportunities’ and saw PET SHOP BOYS reusing the same chord progression as its A-side. The lyrics referred to Les Zazous, an apolitical group in France during the Second World War who were disliked by the Nazis and the Resistance. Although Phil Harding produced, Baker did a more percussive 12 inch remix which opened the ‘Disco’ collection. This was later edited and used as the theme music for the BBC’s ‘The Clothes Show’ between 1986 and 1994.

Available on the PET SHOP BOYS album ‘Disco’ via EMI Records

https://petshopboys.co.uk/


NEW ORDER Touched By The Hand Of God (1987)

Arthur Baker developed an enduring relationship with NEW ORDER, both in the studio and as friends, having co-written ‘Confusion’ and ‘Thieves Like Us’ like he was a member of the band. Working as the music supervisor for the movie soundtrack of Beth B’s parody of televangelism ‘Salvation’, NEW ORDER contributed six tracks. The best known was ‘Touched By The Hand Of God’, its title inspired by the controversial Argentine footballer Diego Maradona and mixed by Baker for singular consumption.

Available on the NEW ORDER album ‘(The Best Of)’ via London Records

https://newordertracks.wordpress.com/


WILL DOWNING A Love Supreme (1988)

Will Downing had sung with Baker’s project WALLY JUMP JR & THE CRIMINAL ELEMENT on the single ‘Turn Me Loose’ in 1986. So when the New Yorker signed as a solo artist with 4th & Broadway, the US-based subsidiary of Island Records, Baker was a natural choice as producer. A cover of the John Coltrane jazz piece with additional lyrics by Downing, the arrangement made the most of a soulful deep house vibe that was emanating from the US at the time.

Available on the WILL DOWNING album ‘A Love Supreme – The Collection’ via Spectrum

https://www.willdowning.com/


ARTHUR BAKER & THE BACKBEAT DISCIPLES featuring MARTIN FRY Mythical Girl (1989)

A&M Records offered Baker an album deal, but rather than facing the opportunity alone, he recruited a studio collective comprising of John Warren, Tiny Valentine, Mac Quayle, Bobby Khozouri, Philip Damien and Cevin Fisher, several of whom were to become notable in their own right. ‘Merge’ consisted mostly of dance flavoured pop; ‘Mythical Girl’ was an ABC track in all but name, involving not just Martin Fry but musical partner Mark White too, with Baker and his team producing.

Available on the ARTHUR BAKER & THE BACKBEAT DISCIPLES album ‘Merge’ via A&M Records

https://www.abcmartinfry.com/


NEW ORDER 1963 – 95 (1995)

‘1963’ came from the 1987 sessions NEW ORDER had with PET SHOP BOYS producer Stephen Hague that also spawned ‘True Faith’. However, much to the annoyance of Peter Hook, his contributions on ‘1963’ were virtually written out, only making a brief appearance at the end of the original version. Released as a belated A-side in a 1995 remix, Baker took the opportunity to make the bassist’s presence heard throughout the song in this dreamier cinematic reinterpretation.

Available on the NEW ORDER album ‘Singles’ via WEA

https://www.facebook.com/NewOrderOfficial/


TINA TURNER Whatever You Want – Massive Jungle Remix (1996)

Written by Baker with Taylor Dayne and one-time studio associate Fred Zarr who had worked with Baker on several recordings, ‘Whatever You Want’ for Tina Turner was an archetypical production from Trevor Horn in its single variant. Baker’s Massive Jungle Remix though did exactly what it said on the tin, but crucially kept Turner’s mighty vocal while also retaining the key cinematic essence that had made the song appealing within its mainstream context.

Originally from the TINA TURNER 12″ single ‘Whatever You Want (The Arthur Baker Mixes)’ via Parlophone Records, currently unavailable

http://www.tinaturnerofficial.com/


NEW ORDER Behind Closed Doors (2001)

“I listen to The Coors behind closed doors” suggested Bernard Sumner ominously on this 21st Century NEW ORDER B-side produced by Baker. With its dark cinematics, the introspective tone of ‘Behind Closed Doors’ was very different to the more rocky tension of the ‘Get Ready’ comeback album. Sumner’s observations on domestic violence, lack of parental responsibility and chemical dependency coupled with mournful bass from Hooky made for sinister listening.

Available on the NEW ORDER single ‘Crystal’ via WEA

https://twitter.com/neworder


HURTS Wonderful Life – Arthur Baker remix (2010)

‘Wonderful Life’ had an epic cinematic backdrop with noirish synths and brooding woodwinds that saw singer Theo Hutchcraft telling the story of a suicidal man saved by love at first sight. The sub-six minute Arthur Baker remix took away the big compressed drums and replaced them with the tight electro snap of an 808. Adding a squelchy bassline sequence reminiscent of a 303, Baker kept the song intact and satisfied those who felt HURTS were nothing more than TAKE THAT dressed like ULTRAVOX.

Available on the HURTS single ‘Wonderful Life’ via RCA Records

https://www.informationhurts.com/home/


Text by Chi Ming Lai
14th September 2019

RUSTY EGAN Interview

Photo by Adam Szigeti

The one thing that Rusty Egan is not short of is something to say…

It makes him the most ideal guest for talk events and ‘An Audience with Rusty Egan’ returns to London this June for a fun couple of hours in the animated company of The Blitz Club DJ and VISAGE drummer.

Loud and frank, not always subtle and occasionally angry, but always interesting and lively, his anecdotes combine laughter, tears and a vivid eye-witness account of his role as a catalyst in popular culture over the past four decades.

ELECTRICITYCLUB.CO.UK had originally met up with Rusty Egan for what was intended to be a 10 minute chat to obtain quotes for a mooted Beginner’s Guide listings article but one hour later, the interview ended and only because he had a soundcheck to do for a DJ slot at Blow Up.

The resultant career spanning conversation over several cups of tea was far too enthusiastic, amusing and informative not to make public, so this is Rusty talking, with only a few edits to stop him from going to jail…

How did VISAGE come together in 1978?

Midge Ure and I had some demo time left over after THE RICH KIDS’ demise and EMI let us have Manchester Square Studios.

We got Barry Adamson and Dave Formula from MAGAZINE, Midge and me in, during that time we did ‎’If You Want Me To Stay’, ‘In The Year 2525’, ‘The Dancer’ and ‘Eve Of Destruction’, I can’t remember much about that last one as I wasn’t a fan, it was something Steve Strange wanted.

Photo by Sheila Rock

So ‘In The Year 2525’ and ‘The Dancer’ were among the first VISAGE recordings?

We did ‘In The Year 2525’ in half a day, but it was an example of the future sound of London you could call it, it was an example of what we wanted to do, as was ‘The Dancer’.

These were demos for what became VISAGE but were turned down by EMI! ‘In The Year 2525’ was just me and Midge with him doing vocals and vocoder.

We were keeping it simple and all that but it was heavily influenced by KRAFTWERK. I had my CR78 Compurhythm and drum triggering while there was that Morse codey type intro. I loved it and I think still sounds great today, although some people hate it!

‘The Dancer’ was obviously influenced by NEU! as you can hear from my drums and a little bit of ‘One Of These Days’ by PINK FLOYD, we wanted that “sccchhiiiing!” and that was one of our trademarks. As Midge was doing guitar and John McGeoch played the sax.

How come ‘‎If You Want Me To Stay’ was made during those early VISAGE sessions with Ronny singing it?

I met Ronny in Paris, she was very androgynous and she had a low voice so people were going “is it a boy, is it a girl?”. I had this song in mind, Barry Adamson absolutely loved Sly Stone and at the time, we were being VISAGE. We knocked out as much as we could, as fast as we could.

I adored that record and we had an instrumental flipside. It had a lounge type concept like ‘Cracked Actor’; we literally played it live, got it going and pressed record. I bought the Swan Vestas to have the sound of the cigarette match burning.

Ronny later met Warren Cann who then introduced her to Hans Zimmer who he was working with in HELDEN at the time. Then through them, she met Vangelis and then Peter Godwin, so her whole creative life opened up. We remained friends and I’d often see her in clubs but as far as recording went, she was doing her own thing.

You spent a period playing drums with THE SKIDS in 1979?

There’s a hell of a lot of intricate drumming on THE SKIDS, when you talk about the NEU! drumming, I was trying to be a Motorik drummer. So on ‘Charade’, I got this CR78 drum machine banging away and the producer Bill Nelson, who did a great track called ‘Living In My Limousine’, he loved working with them.

So you influenced Bill Nelson’s later use of drum machines in his work?

Yes, I worked quite closely with him on the production of ‘Days In Europa’ at Rockfield Studios in Wales.

DALEK I LOVE YOU were in the next studio, I lent them my drum machine. Funnily enough at the same time, SIMPLE MINDS were in the rehearsal room there!

So I’m stuck in Wales and going “Who’s here? Oh SIMPLE MINDS in the farmhouse!”, so we all got to hang out with each other as there was nothing else to do on a farm.

Want to know why the album is called ‘Days In Europa’? THE SKIDS had a hit in Germany and we were on a TV show called ‘Scene 79’ in Munich… it always happens to me but they only had one drum kit in the studio! It’s a live mimed show, MOTORHEAD were on before us and Philthy Animal Taylor wanted ALL the drums.

So I’m waiting for the kit to be moved from MOTORHEAD’s stage and the announcer goes “Und jetzt DER SKIDS!”… I’ve not even got my f***ing drum kit and I’m standing there like “great!”, the track’s already started and the roadies are bringing me the kit but it’s a live show! *laughs*

You got involved with the New Romantic mime troupe SHOCK and recorded a cover of ‘Angel Face’ backed with ‘R.E.R.B.’ for their first single in 1980?

When VISAGE was recording demos etc, I found out Midge had a professional relationship with some 70s pop writers Bill Martin and Phil Coulter who were involved with SLIK, the bottom line is this led him to know John Hudson who worked with THE GLITTER BAND and owned Mayfair Studios. I thought “Brilliant, I don’t have to go to Wales”

We sat in the control room talking, I loved THE HUMAN LEAGUE’s cover of ‘Rock ‘N’ Roll’ and said I wanted a sound like that clap, so John went round the back and got these two floorboards with some door handles and clapped them together, that’s how they the claps did those records! I said I’d like to do this sound but with computers and triggered drums.

I said I could make a track with this trademark sound but without physically playing anything. So I told him I knew this bloke called Richard Burgess who had been doing the linking interludes on the VISAGE album and had that massive Roland System 700 modular with the Micro-composer. Richard had a Fairlight as well, he seemed to be able to get access to all this stuff via the tech companies.

Basically Richard was my tech guy, he’d got hold of Dave Simmons and got me a deal on only the brain of the synthesized drum system they were working on, cos they hadn’t got the pads as they hadn’t been made yet. He said I could trigger them which is how I got the drum fills on ‘R.E.R.B.’

So basically, doing ‘Angel Face’ was the catalyst for ‘R.E.R.B.’?

We programmed the whole thing to do a cover of ‘Angel Face’ first at Mayfair and John Hudson said “You know I can get hold of Gerry Shephard who wrote the song”, so he came along and helped us with the backing vocals… and the lead vocals! *laughs*

Meanwhile, Robert Pereno from SHOCK did ‘Top Of The Pops’ as a member of TIGHT FIT for that ‘Back To The 60s’ medley before ‘The Lion Sleeps Tonight’!

You know that Tim Friese-Greene produced ‘The Lion Sleeps Tonight’ and it was when Mark Hollis heard that, he got him to work with TALK TALK?

REALLY? Well, the sound of that was amazing! Anyway I haven’t finished!! *laughs*

So we’re talking about SHOCK, and “R.E.” Rusty Egan and “R.B.” Richard Burgess… so we had this 7 inch and 12 inch record of ‘Angel Face’ done, John went to RCA and said they loved it and would put it out, but we needed a B-side. So I quickly threw up ‘Angel Face’ and took off all the vocals and things, me and Richard sat at the piano to do that “da-da-dah” theme. I wanted to call it ‘The Red Bridge’ because it was in Luxembourg and has the most beautiful view, I had been there with Brigitte who was the girl’s voice on ‘Fade To Grey’, I wanted to get this feeling of European grandeur but we ran out of time to do any words. So ‘R.E.R.B.’ came out of ‘Angel Face’.

Now if you go back to THE SKIDS, on the album track ‘Animation’, the closing track of ‘Days Of Europa’ is ‘Animation’ backwards, but with the drums put forwards while Stuart Adamson and Richard Jobson wrote another song over it, but it was the basically same backing track. So I had this idea that you could do music over another one, so that’s what we did on ‘R.E.R.B’ with a new melody and those signature drums.

Your first remix was ‘ Burundi Black’…

It was 1980 and I’m DJing in a club. I knew Marco Pirroni from ADAM & THE ANTS and they dropped this record ‘Kings Of The Wild Frontier’ and I knew it was the Burundi drums. So I said to my then partner Jean-Philippe Iliesco who produced SPACE about wanting to get hold of it and he said he knew Eddie Barclay of Barclay Records who had released it.

So he called him and got the multi-tracks for me. I just wanted the drums on their own with the tribe and no music, then I added a drum machine and some playing, I wanted this tribal feel and the future together.

I don’t believe I did a great job on that to be honest… it’s funny but recently Mark Reeder released an album ‘Mauerstadt’ and as I was listening to it, I noticed one track ‘Giant Mushrooms’ was like that, I heard the Burundi sample and loved it. I mentioned it to Mark and said “Oh, you sampled Burundi” but he replied he’d sampled someone who’d sampled Burundi! *laughs*

And that’s the world of sampling now! I might come back to that you know, I’ve got an idea based on what you can do today.

Let’s talk about ‘Yellow Pearl’…

If I’m not mistaken, ‘Yellow Pearl’ was a track that Midge was working on for the VISAGE album but hadn’t got past the drum machine stage. But I had done the break in a rehearsal room somewhere with him that lodged in his head.

After Midge did the THIN LIZZY tour, Phil Lynott came to The Blitz Club and heard the sounds there so when he was doing his solo album, he said he wanted me in on the drums. I did a few songs like ‘Kathleen’ which were very normal. Then I got this call back from Midge that Phil wanted me to do ‘Yellow Pearl’ and use that break. So I said “yeah”, turned up and I did that. Then Midge’s manager showed up with a single piece of paper and asked me to sign my life away so I did, then it got on ‘Top Of The Pops’ as the theme and I was a bit p*ssed off because I’d signed my life away!

SPACE are most famous for ‘Magic Fly’ and you did a remix of a later single ‘Tender Force’…

When I get a remix, I don’t necessarily want to put Rusty all over it, I just like something a lot and I feel that I can shine a light on it.

If you get a song which you like that didn’t make it, sometimes a remix can bring people’s attention to the original and people go “I heard this version by Rusty which I didn’t like, but then I found the original”. So I did timbale drumming cos when you’re a drummer, why don’t you do some drums?

SPACE introduced me to Didier Marouani and Jannick Top who were exceptional musicians, I thought these guys were amazing. Through them, I got on really well with Roland Romanelli and I programmed everything on his solo album ‘Connecting Flight’ which was very pioneering.

So what was ‘Do What Ya Wanna Do’ by THE CAGE featuring Nona Hendryx ‎all about?

I’d got myself a TR808 by now, I had this beat and sequence to make people dance so I’m playing around with it and thought “why don’t I do T-CONNECTION but totally electro?”, it could sound like ‘I Feel Love’. I called up Gary Barnacle who played with SOFT CELL, he brought his bass playing brother Steve and we had this little Casio out for the break, there’s this 64 bar build with the percussion before I smash a light bulb, it was literally hitting fire extinguishers, bashing everything. It was great, I was grabbing everything in the studio, bits of wood…

Through my trips to New York, I’d known Nona Hendryx was session singing having been in LABELLE who did ‘Lady Marmalade’. So Vicki Wickham who managed Dusty Springfield and Nona suggested having her on the track. It was this time that I met producer John Luongo who had remixed THE JACKSONS, so it was all about dance music for me as The Camden Palace was about to open and had the biggest sound system in the world.

The final classic VISAGE track ‘I’m Still Searching’ was moody but still very New York…

It was actually just me and Steve, mostly me although I did credit the other members of VISAGE because at the time, I didn’t believe we had split up, the fact that they weren’t there was irrelevant. VISAGE was always about a group of people where some show up and some can’t like John McGeoch, but he was still a member. So we had to do a B-side…

It’s unusual in that it was a VISAGE B-side that had a vocal…

Yeah, it was just one finger on the synth…

It sounded a bit like PET SHOP BOYS…

I’d never heard of PET SHOP BOYS back then in 1982…

Well that’s cos they didn’t exist at the time! *laughs*

HA HA!

Ok, so what’s the story about your UK remix of MADONNA’s ‘Everybody’?

I’ve been recently linking and tweeting over the years about how upset I am about this, but the reason I’m upset is based on my knowledge of Blockchain and how in the future, musicians will ALL be paid, there will be none of this not paying people and all the b*llocks that the music industry loves…

So the bottom line is we did a verbal agreement in New York that I would remix the track for Warner Bros that needed a British introduction. Basically at the time, you could make it easier in England than you could in America.

Was this a thing you sorted with Seymour Stein of Sire Records who were part of the Warners set-up?

Yes, I did a lot with Seymour, I gave him SOFT CELL whose publishing I looked after, B-MOVIE, the ‘Batcave: Young Limbs And Numb Hymns’ compilation album, we did a lot.

Everything was agreed and we put her on at The Haçienda in Manchester, that would introduce her to ‘cool’ England, the tune would be cool and I think it did the job, the press were all over it. I think I did a great mix and you can find it online. If you go to madonna.com there is information on it even though it’s not credited “Rusty Egan”, it says “UK mix” but that IS the Rusty Egan mix. I only played my mix at The Camden Palace, all the time…

So what did you do specifically on your mix that was different to make it more UK friendly?

I gave it a lot more space, it was more on vocals and guitar because I liked that rhythm thing like on ‘The Anvil’ plus I especially liked the talking. I think the regular MADONNA version is a pop song and I made it more of a seductive groove in a club, I extended the breaks, I put echoes and delays on the vocals and brought it right up.

So, let’s enter ‘The Twilight Zone’…

I had an agreement with Warner Chappell and each project they turned down, this was a Warner movie and a classic theme, I did not want to use the main theme, just the well-known sequence adding all the rest myself, bassline and string stabs and percussion. Rob Dickens of Warners came to the studio and said he would not accept the mix unless I edited in the main orchestral and organ theme. So it was released like that as ‘The Twilight Zone’, RUSTY 1 on Warner Bros Records.

That tw*t John Pitcher of MRC who stole VISAGE, ‘R.E.R.B’ and Blitz Club Records then added it to a compilation ‘Trevor Jackson ‎– Metal Dance 2: Industrial New Wave EBM Classics & Rarities 79-88’. But what Trevor did was edit out the main theme back to what I submitted, so it’s all me.

TIME ZONE ‘Wild Style’, you’ve reclaimed this one…

The story is I heard this band called YELLO and I was invited by Ian Tregoning of their label Do It Records to meet them. There was this place on the way by train where these blokes SUPERSEMPFT had made a record I liked, so we went to their studio. I sampled all these records by BLANCMANGE and KRAFTWERK into a beat, programmed the drum machine, played the bass on the Moog and did all the pieces in one night.

I had a cassette of it and went on my journey to meet YELLO, but when I got back, I sent it to Celluloid Records in New York who released a lot of French electronic music I was liking like MATHÉMATIQUES MODERNE, the French seemed to like quite odd records at the time. Anyway, next thing I know, Afrika Bambaataa loves it and suggested we go 50:50 as I’d done the music.

But over the years, people online I’ve never heard of who have claimed they wrote it by logging into this publishing database, I didn’t know about that… in 1993, Todd Terry made a record called ‘My Definition Wild Style’, all he did was take the B-side of the record and added a nice beat, that was it! We don’t mind that BUT what we mind is he claimed he wrote the f***ing thing! I was furious, then a load of other blokes claimed they wrote it, so I had to get Notting Hill Music to say 100% written by Rusty Egan and all the others can F*** OFF! But they’d all been paid for 20 years!

Anyway, I reworked it for ‘Welcome To The Dancefloor’ as ‘Wonderwerke’ because I kept saying in German “Was ist das? Ein Wonderwerke?”, so I’ve reclaimed it from Todd Terry!

To continue the German connection, what about when you worked with German act HONGKONG SYNDIKAT in 1984?

These guys sampled Ronald Reagan’s speech in Berlin for a track called ‘Berlin Bleibt Doch Berlin’ and they did this beat. I met with Gerd Plez from HONGKONG SYNDIKAT, he played me the demos for the next album and I suggested mixing it at my Trident Studios and adding overdubs. We did this song ‘Divided By’ which was literally a pocket calculator that went “9-8-7, 7-8-9, divided by-divided by”, it was hard, maybe too hard.

Then there was a song called ‘Too Much’, I introduced him recently to HP Hoeger and the chill out mix has ended up on a few ‘Buddha Bar’ albums.

Now, you formed THE SENATE and released ‘The Original Sin’…

Yeah, with Kirk Brandon… well, ‘The Original Sin’ was the one everyone says is about Kirk’s friendship with Boy George. Now the other day on The Blitz Club Facebook group, there’s a picture of Kirk Brandon which the poster labelled “closet”, what a f***ing thing to write? Don’t forget, The Blitz was a place where people who were unsure of their sexuality could go to.

While it wasn’t a gay club, you had to be open-minded so why do we have people on The Blitz Club Facebook group talking like a homophobic thug?

Well it’s rather like electronic music fans who are into KRAFTWERK ‘Europe Endless’ and ULTRAVOX ‘New Europeans’ but being staunchly pro-Brexit…

Yes, so basically this song is Kirk admitting that Boy George was a beautiful boy, as was Marilyn, and about when you’re 19-20 years old and you are unsure of your sexuality. We loved that “is it a boy, is it a girl?” time and when I heard that lyric “since you came into my life, I had to rearrange my heart”, boy did Kirk have a voice and I wanted to have this orchestrated epicness behind it, but I think I went way over the top!

Was THE SENATE meant to be a limited project?

Yes, it was one-off, me and Kirk were mates and I’d produced SPEAR OF DESTINY, ‘Mickey’ is a classic and featured Anne Dudley on strings.

PULSE’s cover version of LED ZEPPELIN ‘Whole Lotta Love’, you were having a hit again…

This was 1988, on the bottom of the rear artwork, it says “Every generation has a musical revolution…” and I was part of the 1980 musical revolution. But I was sitting in the Island Records office, working as a friend for U2 on a little salary, I’d lost my wife, my home, my car so basically I’m losing it, 80% of the people at Island were into DEACON BLUE and I was at my lowest ebb! It really wasn’t happening, I liked THE CHRISTIANS and SHRIEKBACK but I was desperately looking for something.

I knew Paul Oakenfold and all these DJs that had come to The Camden Palace so I thought to myself “something is going to happen musically to get me out of this”. But in the meantime, it wasn’t house as it hadn’t arrived yet, electro and techno had probably peaked.

I did this psychedelic record sleeve and I just thought of Robert Plant, so I had this idea of doing ‘Whole Lotta Love’ with Tracy Ackerman from SHAKATAK on vocals, an amazing singer.

Dave Robinson who was Stiff Records but now Island MD at that time was linked with Trevor Horn cos of FRANKIE GOES TO HOLLYWOOD.

So I was invited down to Sarm Studios and they offered to let me use it, so we made that! Then U2 released it on their Son Records imprint…

Ah yes, Son Records released that novelty Country & Western cover of ‘The Fly’ by THE JOSHUA TRIO and ‘Riverdance’…

And again, I never got paid! *laughs*

So it all ended for a few decades but you came back with a club remix of FILTHY DUKES ‘Messages’ in 2009…

I think it’s f***ing great that mix! The late Mick Clark who signed SOUL II SOUL suggested I remix so they put me in this studio with all the parts of FILTHY DUKES, but of course I hadn’t been in one for 20 years so didn’t know what to do, it was all computerised! So I’m there with this guy Sie Medway-Smith who I was told had remixed DEPECHE MODE and I was like “WHAT?”… they said he was the right guy for me.

BUT, when you go back into the studio for the first time in ages and don’t really know how it works anymore, you tend to let other people do things and then say “I don’t like it”… but when you say “I don’t like it”, it tends to go down like nails down a blackboard! So what happened with him was he went “well, this is how it works mate!”

I just wanted it simple and I did all the synths, but everything about it was an argument! Sie Medway-Smith was way advanced and in-demand so acted like he was doing me a favour, I couldn’t p*ss him off!

So there’s this interesting side-story with LA ROUX…

Because of that mix, through Mick Clark I got the chance to see and remix LA ROUX. I went to the Notting Hill Arts Club and I heard ‘Bulletproof’. So I went back to Sie and said “I want to do this!”, but he went “it’s f***ing rubbish Rusty”! Sie pulled up the lead vocal and said “it’s terrible” and I was like “IT’S NOT! IT’S A POP SONG!”, so we basically had this argument. I’m trying to do a remix and he’s literally downing tools, doing anything to avoid finishing it! *laughs*

I was powerless cos I don’t know what to do, so we get like a half finished version to Mick Clark who said “it’s good but it’s not right and you’ve missed the deadline, they’ve gone for some drum ‘n’ bass guy and it’s blowing up!”…. I had to ask what that meant!! I was so angry! You can hear it on my Soundcloud.

Fast forward to 2014 and you do this mash-up with Antony Toga on TINY MAGNETIC PETS ‘Control Me’?

I search for stuff all the time and I found ‘Control Me’, I thought it was brilliant although the drums were sh*t, so I knew Antony Toga and his adaptation of ‘Seconds’ by THE HUMAN LEAGUE so I mashed them together and sent it to the band. I said “I think you’re great and I love your songs but you need to sort your drums out”…

Funnily enough, I said the same to them after I first saw them live in Düsseldorf 2015…

It was only supposed to be an idea, but TINY MAGNETIC PETS made a video and uploaded it saying I did it but it wasn’t me as such. They left it as it is but I suggested they contact Antony Toga to make sure he didn’t mind. They do this version live…

Some of your most high profile remixes recently were for U2?

I had always been a U2 fan, but I lost it around ‘How To Dismantle An Atomic Bomb’. I hadn’t really reconnected to their new music, their first five albums were classic as most people I think would agree, although I did like ‘Beautiful Day’.

But I reconnected on this new album ‘Songs Of Experience’, I felt it had a message and that message was love. It had vocoders, synthesizers and I thought “this isn’t your rock ‘n’ roll’, I would love to do something with this”.

So I wrote to U2 asking if I could remix them, not realising 20 other DJs had already done so. They sent me a link and they were HORRIBLE, sh*tty terrible EDM! I asked to do ‘Love Is Bigger Than Anything In Its Way’ which I did with HP Hoeger, one without drums, one with drums and one in the style of ‘In The Air Tonight’ by Phil Collins.

NOW, we all know ‘In The Air Tonight’ is a Roland CR78 drum machine, it’s got this sound but I just wanted to put a beat on it, which I programmed on a plug-in. I sent it to the band and they loved this version but wanted more guitars on, so it became like the ‘band’ mix. But the Chill mix without the drums is my preferred mix…

U2 go with the ‘band’ mix which is not the one I love, but then this well-known remixer from Holland, Ben Liebrand is on YouTube and Soundcloud going “RUSTY EGAN HAS STOLEN MY DRUMS!”, so I’m like “what?”… I searched and found he had remixed a version of ‘In The Air Tonight’ in 1988, I listened to it and went “OH F*CK! It sounds like the same thing!”, but then that’s because it’s the same drum machine!

Anyway, when you Google “Drums In The Air Tonight Phil Collins”, there’s all these YouTube tutorials going “Hi! Whassup? Today we’re going to show you how to programme the ‘In The Air Tonight’ drums”… I was like “Hang on Ben Liebrand, there’s 25 guys here who can programme the ‘In The Air Tonight’, I DIDN’T do ‘In The Air Tonight’, I did U2 and used the same f***ing drum machine! There is no ‘In The Air Tonight’ drums on it, it is just SOUND!”

But using a drum sound is not like nicking a bit off an actual song…

That’s right! So if you want to get into that, I made THE ART OF NOISE drum sound! I’d brought JJ Jeczalik who did ABC into my studio, I paid him £500 to press all these buttons on a Fairlight as none of us knew how to work it, he took my sound and he had a band of his own called THE ART OF NOISE!

Was that the VISAGE ‘Beat Boy’ drum sound?

YES! You can tell ‘Beat Boy’ and THE ART OF NOISE are the same sound! We made it before! *laughs*

If Ben Liebrand had written to me privately about the similarity or whatever, we could have handled it in an “oh my god, I didn’t realise” manner. ‘Yellow Pearl’ IS my drum sound, people when they listen to music always go “oh, it sounds like…”

Let’s talk about ‘Thank You’, the closing track on your album ‘Welcome To The Dancefloor’…

‘Thank You’ is as it is, I just believe a lot of people should say “thank you” but they don’t… so I felt when I made my album, my career and everything that I am is because of that list of people.

And even if in there I thank Nikonn who worked with me on that album and I clashed with, or people that I disagreed with, it’s about the music. I even end it poignantly by saying “VISAGE”, regardless of any problems or issues that I had with Steve Strange, I am still immensely proud of the music I made with VISAGE, so I am very upset when it is imitated or faked as anybody would be…


ELECTRICITYCLUB.CO.UK gives its warmest thanks to Rusty Egan

‘Welcome To The Remix’ + ‘Welcome To The Beach’ are released by Black Mosaic in digital formats, both available from https://rustyeganpresents1.bandcamp.com/

http://rustyegan.net/

https://www.facebook.com/rusty.egan/

https://twitter.com/DJRustyEgan

https://www.instagram.com/rustyegan/

https://soundcloud.com/rusty-egan

https://www.mixcloud.com/rustyegan/


Text and Interview by Chi Ming Lai
20th April 2019

A Beginner’s Guide To GARY NUMAN

It cannot be denied that it was GARY NUMAN who became the world’s first synthesizer pop star.

Born Gary Anthony James Webb, he joined Paul Gardiner in THE LASERS at the height of punk although the band soon morphed into TUBEWAY ARMY.

Then as now, Webb was shy, so crucially it was Gardiner who handed over a demo tape to Beggars Banquet on learning of the record store chain’s intention to start a label.

Beggars Banquet saw some potential and signed TUBEWAY ARMY to take on GENERATION X with speedy pop punk tunes like ‘That’s Too Bad’ and ‘Bombers’. Webb changed his surname to Valerian and then to Numan after seeing a directory listing for a firm named Neumann in Yellow Pages.

But he was starting to tire of punk and began to see electronics as the way to realise his concept of machine rock, having become inspired by the likes of ULTRAVOX, THE HUMAN LEAGUE and THE NORMAL.

Numan’s debut album as TUBEWAY ARMY was not an immediate commercial success, but it was championed by John Peel while his unusual detached vocal style was beginning to attract media attention. In late 1978, he provided the voice to ‘Don’t Be A Dummy’, a song in a TV advertisement for Lee Cooper jeans.

Still using the band name of TUBEWAY ARMY at the behest of Beggars Banquet, the astoundingly long ‘Are Friends Electric?’ with its diabolus in musica structure reached No1 in the UK singles chart in 1979 and became many an electronic music fan’s entry point into the genre. A few months later under his solo moniker, ‘Cars’ followed ‘Are Friends Electric?’ to the top spot and became a huge international hit, even making sinewaves in the more conservative territory of North America where it reached the Top 10. As a result, he won the Best Male Singer category at the 1979 British Rock and Pop Awards, the-then equivalent of the BRITS.

But despite scoring three UK No1 albums in less than two years and having a loyal legion of fans who were dubbed Numanoids, not everyone could accept the synthesizer or the man behind it. This was all beginning to take a toll on the man who had realised most of his musical dreams by the time he was 23 years old. So Numan retired from touring with three spectacular farewell shows at Wembley Arena in April 1981.

Having got his flying licence in 1980, Numan had other ambitions so later in 1981, he followed his dream of flying around the world. His first attempt ended in arrest in India for espionage after an emergency landing, but the second attempt was more successful and completed on Christmas Eve 1981.

Numan subsequently returned to touring in the summer of 1982 with a low-key jaunt in North America before a full blown UK tour in 1983. Since then, he has played live regularly while the rollercoaster ride of highs and lows and highs during his 40 year recording career have been well documented; the recent documentary ‘Android In La La Land’ revealed many of the fears and insecurities that had lingered throughout his career.

Photo by Dick Wallis

Now firmly established as a highly influential music figure with a significant number of artistic contribution awards to his name, his songs have been covered by artists as diverse as ROBERT PALMER, NINE INCH NAILS, FOO FIGHTERS, BECK, MARILYN MANSON and AFRIKA BAMBAATAA.

Meanwhile SNOOP DOGG, SUGABABES, ARMAND VAN HELDEN and BASEMENT JAXX are among those who sampled Numan’s work.

Not a best of listing, this expanded twenty-two track Beginner’s Guide chronicles the varied musical adventures of GARY NUMAN through his own work and collaborations, with a restriction of one track per album project.


TUBEWAY ARMY Listen To The Sirens (1978)

Despatched by Beggars Banquet to record his debut album at Spaceward Studios in Cambridge, Numan discovered a Minimoog left behind from a previous session and had that legendary Eureka moment when he tried it. He now turned his punk songs into electronic ones, although essentially ‘Tubeway Army’ was still very much a new wave record; “Mr Webb, there is no way out” was a line from album opener ‘Listen To The Sirens’ that would forever haunt him!

Available on the TUBEWAY ARMY album ‘Tubeway Army’ via Beggars Banquet


TUBEWAY ARMY Down In The Park (1979)

Whereas the TUBEWAY ARMY debut featured punk tunes with synthesizer added almost as an afterthought, ‘Replicas’ would be where Numan would see his Philip K Dick inspired vision become reality with electronic songs to soundtrack his dystopian Sci-Fi stories featuring android characters. Originally written on a second hand upright piano, ‘Down In The Park’ was the first of these songs and while it was not a hit, it was to pave the way for the success of ‘Are Friends Electric?’

Available on the TUBEWAY ARMY album ‘Replicas’ via Beggars Banquet


GARY NUMAN M.E. (1979)

With the success of ‘Are Friends Electric?’, Numan was able to drop the TUBEWAY ARMY moniker and for his next offering, he opted to make an album using no guitars. What this meant was that the power had to be arrived in a more inventive fashion, so synths were fed through guitar effects pedals to add a more sinister metallic tone. ‘M.E’, a story about the last computer on earth where humanity no longer exists, was where this aural desolation was at its most effective.

Available on the GARY NUMAN album ‘The Pleasure Principle’ via Beggars Banquet


GARY NUMAN Telekon (1980)

By 1980, the negative side of fame was beginning to linger into Numan’s occasionally paranoid psyche, and while his songs were never the most cheery, his new material was starting to take on a more personal downbeat nature away from the Sci-Fi nature of the previous work. Held down by a snaky Compurhythm backbeat and squealing synth, the title track of the resultant ‘Telekon’ album captured that neuroticism with a detached hum and some sinister horror flick piano.

Available on the GARY NUMAN album ‘Telekon’


PAUL GARDINER Stormtrooper In Drag (1981)

With Numan’s retirement from live performance, bassist Paul Gardiner opted not to join DRAMATIS with the other band members. Sadly, he went into a downward spiral as a heroin addict. An attempt to give his friend since the TUBEWAY ARMY days something to focus on musically came with this collaboration between the pair, which Numan provided the lead vocal for. Gardiner sadly died in 1984 due to drug related complications; Numan later wrote ‘A Child With The Ghost’ as a tribute.

Available on the GARY NUMAN album ‘Dance’ via Beggars Banquet


GARY NUMAN & DRAMATIS Love Needs No Disguise (1981)

Live band members RRussell Bell, Chris Payne, Ced Sharpley and Denis Haines formed DRAMATIS and signed to Rocket Records to release their only album ‘For Future Reference’. On a visit to see his old band mates, Numan was played a hypnotically percussive song they had recording about their days out on the road. He loved it so much, that he asked if he could do the lead vocal. Some pretty guitar and viola were the final touches to a track that was barer than most Numan fans were used to.

Available on the GARY NUMAN album ‘Premier Hits’ via Beggars Banquet


GARY NUMAN Noise Noise (1982)

After the downtempo nature of ‘Dance’, Numan got more energetic again with ‘Music For Chameleons’ and the subsequent ‘I Assassin’ album. On the B-side was what was considered at the time, a strange collaboration with DOLLAR or more specifically, Thereza Bazar on a track that saw Numan’s first use of sung female vocals on one of his recording. Heavy and electronic, he was back on form and the song would be a mainstay of live sets for several years to come.

Available on the GARY NUMAN album ‘I Assassin’ via Beggars Banquet


GARY NUMAN My Car Slides 1 (1983)

By 1983, Numan was making a full live comeback after retiring in 1981. To add another dimension to what was to become the ‘Warriors’ album, Bill Nelson was signed up as producer but the two quickly fell out in the studio. One track that the pair completed was ‘My Car Slides 1’, a beautiful ballad featuring Nelson’s distinctive E-bowed guitar. Alas, it was not included in Numan’s revision of the ‘Warriors’ concept while modest sales saw the end of his relationship with Beggars Banquet.

Available on the GARY NUMAN album ‘Warriors’ via Beggars Banquet


GARY NUMAN I Still Remember (1985)

Co-produced with PPG operators The Wave Team, ‘The Fury’ was Numan’s best album since ‘Telekon’. Although very much with the times and in line with acts like FRANKIE GOES TO HOLLYWOOD and DEAD OR ALIVE, the hard but bright digital sound complimented Numan’s downbeat lyrical outlook. One particular highlight was the haunting closing track ‘I Still Remember’, effectively a vocal reimagining of the 1979 instrumental ‘Random’ and featuring ‘Blade Runner’ saxophonist Dick Morrissey.

Available on the GARY NUMAN album ‘The Fury’ via Eagle Records


RADIO HEART featuring GARY NUMAN Radio Heart (1987)

In an unexpected collaboration, Numan teamed up with Hugh Nicholson, a former member of Scottish soft rockers MARMALADE for his RADIO HEART project. The eponymous song was catchy and got airplay, enough for Numan to attain a UK Top 40 singles chart placing despite, like ‘Change Your Mind’ with Bill Sharpe of SHAKATAK, not having written the song . Two other RADIO HEART singles ‘London Times’ and ‘All Across The Nation’ were issued but failed to make any further impact.

Available on the NICHOLSON / NUMAN album ‘1987-1994’ via The Record Label


SHARPE & NUMAN Voices (1987)

When the excellent ‘Change Your Mind’ was released as a single in 1985, it gained extensive radio play and reached No17 in UK and gave Numan a brief commercial renaissance. A SHARPE & NUMAN album was recorded and ‘Voices’, which had originally been the B-side to ‘No More Lies’ stood up as one of the best songs from what has now been considered to be his wilderness years. Indeed, Polydor in Germany had considered it so good, they released it as a single in its own right complete with a 12 inch mix!

Available on the SHARPE & NUMAN album ‘Automatic’ via Cherry Pop


NUMAN & DADADANG Like A Refugee (1994)

Despite the funk rock excursions of the ‘Metal Rhythm’, ‘Outland’ and ‘Machine & Soul’ albums, the biggest curio in the Numan catalogue has to be ‘Like A Refugee’. Composed again by Hugh Nicholson, it was a rousing number featuring strummed acoustic guitars and Uillean pipes in collaboration with DADADANG, a robotic Italian marching band! “An Intergalactic Close Meeting”, it was melodic number if nothing else and would have actually made a good Eurovision entry.

Available on the NICHOLSON / NUMAN album ‘1987-1994’ via The Record Label


GARY NUMAN A Question Of Faith (1994)

The ‘Machine & Soul’ album in 1992 had all but killed Numan’s career, but then he met Gemma O’Neill, the lady who would become his wife; she made him understand that he needed to become more of a Numan fan to understand what Numanoids saw in him. The final album to be released on his Numa label which he started in 1984 and using DEPECHE MODE’s ‘Songs Of Faith & Devotion’ as its template, ‘Sacrifice’ was his most Numan record since his heyday and ‘A Question Of Faith’ was its dark calling card.

Available on the GARY NUMAN album ‘Sacrifice’ via Eagle Records


DUBSTAR Redirected Mail (2000)

Following recording a sexily deadpan cover of the masturbation anthem ‘Every Day I Die’ for the ‘Random’ tribute album, DUBSTAR actually collaborated with the man himself on one of the B-sides to ‘The Self Same Thing’ EP. Of this almost Beatle-esque number, vocalist Sarah Blackwood said: “I was in Manchester when we recorded ‘Redirected Mail’ but Steve and Chris actually went down to Gary’s and sat and had ham and chips with him. They had a right laugh and had a really good time”.

Available on the DUBSTAR EP ‘The Self Same Thing’ via Food Records


GARY NUMAN Prayer For The Unborn – Andy Gray Mix (2001)

By 2000’s ‘Pure’, Numan had fallen under the spell of NINE INCH NAILS and embraced an intense rock gothique with industrial metal guitar on songs like ‘Rip’ and ‘Listen To My Voice’ that won him a new audience, but there were more delicate moments too. Inspired by his own personal tragedy, the heartfelt blippy cacophony of ‘A Prayer For The Unborn’ remixed by Andy Gray was a triumph that bridged the gap between his classic synth and current rock styles.

Available on the GARY NUMAN album ‘Exposure: The Best of’ via Artful Records


AFRIKA BAMBAATAA Featuring GARY NUMAN & MC CHATTERBOX Metal (2004)

Aside from KRAFTWERK, one of the other key influences on AFRIKA BAMBAATAA & THE SOUL SONIC FORCE was GARY NUMAN with the drum breaks of the late Cedric Sharpley, who played on ‘The Pleasure Principle’, particularly appealing to the youth of Urban America. So it was no big surprise that the rap and hip-hop pioneer covered ‘Metal’, a key track from the album and even persuaded Numan himself to duet on his meaty electro reworking.

Available on the AFRIKA BAMBAATAA album ‘Dark Matter Moving At The Speed Of Light’ via Tommy Boy Records


GARY NUMAN The Fall (2011)

2006’s ‘Jagged’ had a one-dimensional sound that proved underwhelming and stalled Numan’s momentum after the positive reception for ‘Pure’. But he returned with ‘Dead Son Rising’ which started life as a set of discarded demos from previous projects, but quickly took on a life of its own. Wearing his NINE INCH NAILS influences proudly on his sleeve, the industrial beats and blistering chorus of ‘The Fall’ combined for the beginning of a creative recovery.

Available on the GARY NUMAN album ‘Dead Son Rising’ via Mortal Records


GARY NUMAN My Last Day (2013)

The ‘Splinter’ album took a long time to realise but when it was finally released, it won Numan some of the best reviews of his career. While there was still a heavy rock element, two of the album’s slower numbers ‘Lost’ and ‘My Last Day’ proved to be album highlights. Beautifully dramatic, ‘My Last Day’ pictured blood red skies with the vox humana synths providing a most chilling musical mantra to soundtrack the apocalypse before a chilling close with some lonely casading piano.

Available on the GARY NUMAN album ‘Splinter (Songs From A Broken Mind)’ via Mortal Records / Cooking Vinyl


JOHN FOXX & THE MATHS featuring GARY NUMAN Talk (2016)

‘Talk’ has been used by JOHN FOXX to explore different approaches from a singular idea with other kindred spirits. Retitled ‘Talk (Are You Listening To Me?)’, Numan’s take naturally screamed alienation and fully exploited his haunting classic synth overtures. “John Foxx has been a hero of mine for my entire adult life” said Numan, “It was a real honour to finally have the chance to contribute to one of his tracks… it was every bit as creative, unusual, demanding, and rewarding, as I always expected it to be”.

Available on the JOHN FOXX album ’21st Century: A Man, A Woman And A City’ via Metamatic Records


JEAN-MICHEL JARRE & GARY NUMAN Here For You (2016)

For his ambitious ‘Electronica’ project, JEAN-MICHEL JARRE sought out collaborators and worked with them in person as opposed to remotely online. The unlikely friendship that developed between Jarre and Numan resulted in ‘Here For You’. Possibly the darkest thing that the French maestro had ever recorded, he described it as “Oscar Wilde Techno”. Significant in its absence of the crunching guitars that characterise much of Numan’s later work, the track wonderfully combined the best of both artists.

Available on the JEAN-MICHEL JARRE album ‘Electronica 2: The Heart Of Noise’ via Columbia / Sony Music


TITÁN Featuring GARY NUMAN Dark Rain (2016)

In collaboration with Mexican electro rockers TITÁN, the resultant ‘Dark Rain’ was a brilliant slice of electronically assisted Gothic disco. Propelled by a superb syncopated bassline and thunderous drums while layered with classic vox humana lines, interestingly the guitars only appeared about two thirds of the way through before a magnificent burst of foreboding synth into the final chorus! Numan himself was in great form, “waking like wings upon your shoulder”.

Available on the TITÁN album ‘Dama’ via ATP Recordings


GARY NUMAN And It All Began With You (2017)

With a lot less goth metal guitar and much more prominent use of synths, ‘Savage’ successfully outstripped ‘Splinter’. And it was the haunting ‘And It All Began With You’ that stopped all in its tracks, with an exposed and soulful vocal. Borrowing CHRIS ISAAK’s ‘Wicked Game’ for its chorus, the subtle orchestrations and a gentle shuffling beat coupled to a steadily discordant electric piano riff to close, it beautifully brought out the best in classic Numan while maintaining forward momentum.

Available on the GARY NUMAN album ‘Savage (Songs from a Broken World)’ via BMG


For further information on GARY NUMAN, please visit his social media platforms

http://www.garynuman.co.uk/

https://www.facebook.com/GaryNumanOfficial/

https://twitter.com/numanofficial

https://www.instagram.com/garynuman/


Text by Chi Ming Lai
11th November 2017