Update: In Wake of Tragedy, Gary Numan Cancels Tonight’s House of Blues Show

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click to enlarge Update: In Wake of Tragedy, Gary Numan Cancels Tonight’s House of Blues Show
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Update: Gary Numan has canceled tonight’s House of Blues concert after his tour bus reportedly hit and killed a pedestrian walking in downtown Cleveland.

The tragic accident occurred at 12:40 this afternoon, and Theblast.com reports that it's unclear if Numan, a New Wave pioneer who was on tour to support his most recent album, Savage Songs From a Broken Heart, was on the bus at the time.

Original Post: Gary Numan started writing the novel that informs the themes of the songs on his latest album, Savage (Songs from A Broken Heart), well before the U.S. presidential election that put Donald Trump into office. And yet, Trump still had an influence on the tunes that would appear on the finished project, which came out last year.

“I wrote the first two songs for the album based on the global warming idea just as [Trump] started to say it’s all part of Chinese plot,” says Numan via phone from a tour stop in Brazil. He performs with Nightmare Air at 7 p.m. on Monday, Sept. 24, at House of Blues. “Obviously, I didn’t agree with that. I thought it was a pretty crazy thing to say, and it made me frustrated and angry at the same time. I couldn’t believe it. The whole world had come together [to fight global warming], and we were all going to fight this common problem that affected us all. Then, Donald Trump comes along and says it’s all rubbish. No, it isn’t.”

Numan wrote a third and fourth song. Six months later, he had an entire album. He worked again with producer Ade Fenton to complete the project.

“It’s pretty simple really,” Numan says of the recording process. “I have my own studio in Los Angeles. What I try to do is produce the songs up to a point where there is a clear intent. I send them to Ade, who has a studio in England. There should be enough production level at that point. It gives him a useful starting point. We start to go back and forward a bit. Sometimes, we’ll bring it back a bit. Sometimes, he’ll take me in directions that I hadn’t planned. It’s really fun. It’s exciting to put these things together. I used to be much harsher about what I wanted. With Savage, there were no problems at all. I accept the fate if it goes off. I need to get used to it. Most of the time, he’s right. Sometimes, if it doesn’t work, we’ll bring it back to what I originally intended.”

The surging opener, “Ghost Nation,” recalls Downward Spiral-era Nine Inch Nails with its electronic bursts and whispered vocals. Set in a dystopic world where culture has been banned, the album presents the idea that Eastern and Western cultures have fused. Songs such as “Bed of Thorns” mix Middle Eastern-sounding chants with electric guitars and orchestral synthesizers.

“The songs are set in this post-global world where there’s no room for culture because it’s so difficult to survive and the environment is so hostile,” says Numan. “All the cultures have just vanished under the weight of trying to survive, and I try to show that with Eastern influences on the music. There’s bits of Western and Eastern music. It’s a fairly clumsy way of trying to express that idea, even down to the cover art. The writing is in in English, but the font has a Middle Eastern look to it. What I’m trying to do is express that point that there would be no cultural divisions if you were all just dealing with one major problem.”

For the live show, Numan says he'll primarily focuses on songs from Savage and its predecessor, 2013’s Splinter (Songs from a Broken Mind).

“I always do a few older songs, but I’m not a big fan of nostalgia,” he says. “I’m not a big fan of dwelling on what you’ve done before. I do three or four from the old days. I’m really interested in what I’m going to do next and what tomorrow will bring. I have very little interest in what I’ve done in the past. There’s a song or two in the past that did very well, but I think it would be a tragedy to try to live off that. As a musician, you have to sink or swim on each new record you make. I don’t think that because I did [the hit song] ‘Cars,’ I should expect to have a long career. You’re only as good as your most recent album. If your new album sucks, then your career should be over. I honestly believe that, and I’ve always believed that. I try really hard to make each album a forward step.”

About The Author

Jeff Niesel

Jeff has been covering the Cleveland music scene for more than 20 years now. And on a regular basis, he tries to talk to whatever big acts are coming through town, too. If you're in a band that he needs to hear, email him at [email protected]
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