Gary Numan Plays Cars, Are Friends Electric? Live on KCRW

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I have to be honest. I only knew two things about Gary Numan before his Morning Becomes Eclectic set this morning – that he had a smash hit with his song “Cars” in the ‘80s (which I love) and that my favorite Dead Weather song is a cover of his track “Are Friends Electric?

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Photo by Larry Hirschowitz (The original image is no longer available, please contact KCRW if you need access to the original image.)

What I didn’t realize is that he is a true pioneer of electronic music. He switched from a guitar-driven sound to synthesizers at a critical point in the history of music making, making his solo release “The Pleasure Principle” (in 1980 here in the U.S., 1979 in the UK) a landmark album. He’s incredibly modest and told Jason in the interview that it could have been anyone – he was just in the right place at the right time.

It’s easy to hear how big of an influence his music has been on artists like Trent Reznor and many others. He’s come to terms with having a song as  big as “Cars” – which tend to be both a blessing and curse – and seems pleased to have written a song that is so beloved.

The entire set sounded spectacular, with his voice in mint condition. (funny thing, after the session he complimented Jason on his voice, saying it was like “chocolate.” Hilarious and not an uncommon sentiment among visiting performers)

He’s touring behind the album now and you can hear his full set online.


Gary Numan Live on KCRW Set List

The Fall





Are Friends Electric?

Prayer for the Unborn


Also, this is the video Jason talks about in the interview — a Scottish “Go Greener” commercial encouraging walking over driving…