Posts Tagged ‘Nine Inch Nails’


I saw Gary Numan play another amazing show at The Mayan in Los Angeles last night. It was the second time I had seen him in the space of 6 months (I briefly talk about the first time  on an earlier post…go read it or reread it…NOW).

Anyway, a buddy and I met up before the show for dinner, then had a drink at a hotel right around the corner from the venue. As we get in the elevator to head down to the lobby, a young woman follows us in and asks us where we’re headed. With a bit of a old guy arrogance, I proudly proclaim we’re off to The Mayan to see Gary Numan. She smiles, and says,

“Cool! I’ve never heard of Gary Numan.”

Our jaws drop as we reply in unison “What???? You’ve never heard of Gary Numan????”

“No, I’m sorry,” she laughs, “I’m young. I’m only 21.”

After more gnashing of teeth, and moaning and groaning I finally encouraged her to search for the song “Cars” on Google, and she politely bid us adieu as we all exited the elevator.

Eventually the shock wore off, and perspective set in. Actually a couple of different perspectives:

  • I am definitely of a different generation than the majority of people I encounter on nights out in the various trendy night spots that make up the LA live music scene. I am not so vain that I don’t acknowledge my age, but I do get duped at times by the fact my taste in music parallels a lot of what “the kids” are listening to…and that is directly due to coming of age musically in the 80s.
  • Gary Numan was never “mainstream” (I actually could substitute “mainstream” with a disparaging version of the term “pop” in this case) enough to warrant cross-genre, cross-generational recognition. Sure, anyone who grew up in and around the 80s knows at least the song “Cars”, and possibly Gary Numan. However, whereas a band like U2 continually evolved a pop sensibility that managed to keep them relevant to the masses, Gary Numan evolved his music to more fully embrace and define a genre and in turn maintain a relevance akin to Nine Inch Nails and David Bowie.

So, in the spirit of my encounter on the elevator, I’m going to feature three Gary Numan songs, two from his 80s catalog, and one from his latest, and brilliant, album, Splinter (Songs from a Broken Mind).

Of course “Cars” is a classic, not only as a genre and decade defining song, but as a medium-defining music video as well.

“Are ‘Friends’ Electric” off of the 1979 Replicas album that also featured another favorite song of mine…”Down in the Park.” On a side note, as I’m sifting through various performance on YouTube, I realize that it is imperative I find my way onto those secret guest lists where you get to see bands like Nine Inch Nails play intimate venues like  The Echoplex, with guys like…Gary Numan.

Finally, “Love Hurt Bleed”, from Splinter (Songs from a Broken Mind).