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24 September 2014
top of the Pops 2 top of the Pops 2

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Electro-pop hard man Gary Numan popped in to see us following his recent return to the top of the charts with Sugababes!

Can you remember your early days on the show, way back in 1978?
 I've got loads of memories of TOTP but I haven't been on for a long time 'cos I haven't had any success for a long time. I never had a favourite performance that I did. I never could watch it. I'd always make my mates watch it first and tell me If I was OK. Then I'd watch it later on my own in a dark room. I'm still like that!

What's it like being back in the limelight again?
 I was on Graham Norton the other night and I couldn't watch it. It went really well. I was a bit nervous when I sat down to do the chat 'cos there are so many things in my past that you could make fun of - dodgy images, dodgy haircuts and stuff. I'm very cool with it but he had some great pictures! I just didn't know what he was going to do so I was a little bit daunted.

How do you feel about all these people covering your tracks?
Gary: I like the Basement Jaxx track ['Rip' was sampled on 'Where's Your Head At?']. I was very pleased with that.

And what about the Sugababes?
The Sugababes didn't know who I was. 'Are Friends Electric?' was No.1 seven years before one of them was born. So why should they know? But being No.1 with them paled into insignificance when I became No.1 on the Kerrang! channel. I was in Mexico on holiday when it happened and I was well chuffed.

And would you return the favour by covering a Sugababes song?
Oh no, not that I've got anything against them - I just write my own stuff. I would never do anybody else's songs. If this is what you do then writing songs is how to do it, not copying other peoples! You don't get no money for that and I love writing songs.

So are you surprised that people still remember you?
I am surprised that I keep popping up in the charts - I don't understand it at all! You've got Basement Jaxx and Sugababes now and Armand Van Helden before that. Plus I've worked with Marilyn Manson. It seems as if I've had some kind of effect on all kinds of music - rock, pop, dance and heavy industrial which is my favourite. That's incredibly flattering and I'm really proud of it.

Have you always been successful?
I've had my bad periods between '90 and '92 and I put out a really rubbish album so I wasn't happy. There was a whole lot of stuff going on - essentially I lost track of what I wanted to be and what I wanted to sing about. When I first started everything was from the heart - this was how I felt, this was what I wanted to sound like - and I knew what I was doing. Then I got famous and made some money and then it started to go a bit weird. Very quickly I started to add stuff to my records that weren't my own ideas. The record company said: "You should do something a bit calmer - a bit mellower! If you do what we say we'll put a big budget into the video." And then you sell yourself.

Looking back at the '80s, flying and Marilyn Manson >>>

  Simply Red  
  "That's a bit supermarket, isn't it. I'm not making that many bottles. "  
  Robin Gibb  
  "There's been great moments both as a songwriter and as a performer."  
  Paul Roberts - The Stranglers  
  "We certainly weren't going to call ourselves The Bay City Rollers."  
  Lisa Stansfield  
  "I just thought, how many times do I have to sing this song?"  
  Soft Cell  
  "I think it's the only time that a banjo's been played in the Ministry of Sound."  
  "Agnetha said she liked it. If I met them I would curtsey."  
  "We really surprised lots of people by simply hanging in there."  
  Kim Wilde  
  "I used to be really jealous of Claire Grogan...I thought she was gorgeous."  
  "Failure was not an option, we were materialistic and greed was good."  
  Human League  
  "We did a US tour with Culture Club and Howard Jones...solely for the cash."  
  Altered Images  
  "Women were treated as a bit of a novelty in the music business in 1981."  
  Belle Stars  
  "The pop music lark just seems like a lifetime away now."  
  Steve Strange  
  "Look, you’re playing me like a bitchy queen and I’m not like that."  
  Five Star  
  "We all grew up wanting to be famous and we lived our dream..."  
  Phillip from Ruby Flipper  
  "At my age, I'd find it difficult to get my legs where they used to go..."  
  Glen Campbell  
  "I got to work with literally everyone in the business; Nat King Cole, Sinatra..."  
  David Gray  
  "Lots of tension in the camp. We're battling Gareth Gates for the No.1 spot"  
  Robert Palmer  
  "There's this homegenised force feeding of what is hip."  
  "I think George manipulated our relationship for publicity"  
  Tom Jones  
  "I'm pulling all my old jewellery out now and comparing my rings with Wyclef"  
  Ruth From Pan's People  
  "I could show you dozens of times I forgot the moves..."  
  Badly Drawn Boy  
  "Everybody has to do what everybody else does in order to have a hit single"  
  John Otway  
  "I think the music business is probably not happy with what we've done..."  
  Jimmy Cliff  
  "I look at someone like Ms Dynamite, I come away with a positive feeling."  
  Human League  
  "We wouldn't trust anyone that didn't wear eyeliner."  
  Status Quo  
  "I probably went about four or five years with a pair of stage jeans"  
  Gary Numan  
  "There are so many things in my past that you could make fun of."  
  McAlmont and Butler  
  "We were big enough to get over any-thing that may have been exchanged."  
  Primal Scream  
  "The producer at the time told us we'd never work again."  
  "I prefer miming, I prefer if we weren’t playing live."  

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