Gary Numan

Gary Numan

White Noise


I think Cleopatra is doing some serious penance for releasing the turgid Exile comeback album, which effectively turned Gary Numan into a Goth relic curio object (Marilyn Manson really likes him! I’m there, man!!!). At least they’re trying to do him right by giving this very hard to find live gem, White Noise, a decent release and distribution. It’s a well-packaged double CD recording of the last night of his Berserker tour at the London Hammersmith in 1984 to the world at large. But to pathetic Nu Wave devotees such as I, this is a milestone. We now have our own little eternal and frozen moment of Numan before he went terminally embarrassing and silly — with the whiteboy funk of the late ’80s and the worse pseudo-goth of the ’90s. Berserker-era material also never made its way over to the States because by that time everyone was under the distinct impression that Gary Numan had only recorded “Cars” and then fell off a cliff. In a car. One last irrelevant point on why this is an essential record- “Berserker” is Numan’s best image! The make-up took four hours to apply, and he ended up looking like a fragile, blue-haired, blue-lipped mime wearing Star Wars desert planet cast-offs.

Music? After this concert, Numan would never again be able to capture the icy distance that made his early work so captivating. And the careful listener can even hear his musical Cassius and Brutus lurking in the background, waiting for the right moment — pointless saxophone flourishes and stupid fretless bass. But tonight, we can excuse all of that. Numan’s band is tight and robotic — old favorites like “Are Friends Electric?,” “Me, I Disconnect From You,” and just as a fan yells for “I Die, You Die,” the song begins! Faced with a crowd clearly in his thrall, Numan even loosens up his bad blue-haired self and banters with the masses. In retrospect, this is a bad idea, because he comes off sounding like an amiable country squire with a duck under his arm.

So now we can listen to the robot disco weirdness of “This Prison Moon,” “Music For Chameleons,” and the definitive version of “Metal,” and marvel at the mediocrity of his supposed resurgence. Until he starts making decent records again, this slice of kabuki motorik will prove a fitting epitaph. See, kids, things weren’t always this bad. And stop making those hairpiece jokes!!! Cleopatra Records, 13428 Maxella #251, Marina Del Rey , CA 90292

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked with *

Recently on Ink 19...

  • Mixtape 172 :: My Old Bassist
    Mixtape 172 :: My Old Bassist

    Like pre-teens throwing every liquid into the kitchen blender and daring each other to drink the results, Woody and Jeremy fuse all manner of sounds legitimate and profane into some murky concoction that tastes surprisingly good.

  • Demons/Demons 2
    Demons/Demons 2

    Synapse Films reissues Lamberto Bava’s epic ’80s gore-filled movies Demons and Demons 2 in beautiful new editions.

  • Sylvie Courvoisier and Mary Halvorson
    Sylvie Courvoisier and Mary Halvorson

    Searching for the Disappearing Hour (Pyroclastic Records). Review by Bob Pomeroy.

  • Payal Kapadia
    Payal Kapadia

    Earlier this year, director Payal Kapadia was awarded the Oeil d’or (Golden Eye) for best documentary at the 74th Cannes Film Festival for her debut feature, A Night of Knowing Nothing. Lily and Generoso interviewed Kapadia about her poignant film, which employs a hybrid-fiction technique to provide a personal view of the student protests that engulfed Indian colleges and universities during the previous decade.

  • Roger’s and Hammerstein’s Cinderella
    Roger’s and Hammerstein’s Cinderella

    A classic children’s tale re-imagined by America’s greatest composers.

  • Taraka

    Welcome to Paradise Lost (Rage Peace). Review by Bob Pomeroy.

  • AFI Fest 2021
    AFI Fest 2021

    The 2021 edition of the American Film Institute’s Festival, was a total success. After mounting a small virtual festival in 2020, AFI Fest came roaring back this year with a slate of 115 films representing over fifty countries. Lily and Generoso rank their favorite features from this year’s festival which include new offerings from Céline Sciamma, Miguel Gomes, and Jacques Audiard.

  • Comet Of Any Substance
    Comet Of Any Substance

    Full Of Seeds, Bursting With Its Own Corrections (COAS). Review by Carl F. Gauze.

  • Poetic Song Verse
    Poetic Song Verse

    A study of how poetry crept into rock and roll.

  • Foreigner

    Is it really Foreigner with no original members?

From the Archives