Music

'Bad decisions' nearly cost Gary Numan his career

The 80s synth-pop legend wrote about being shaped by struggle for this week's Big Issue

Electronic music icon Gary Numan has admitted to making some “extraordinarily bad decisions” throughout his life — which he said did more damage than “all the bad press in the world”.

Writing in the Big Issue to mark the release of his autobiography, (R)evolution, Numan said: “My life seems to have been as much about dealing with setbacks as it has celebrating the high moments of success and I have, most certainly, been shaped by the many struggles far more than the few successes. 

“I like the man I’ve become. I haven’t always liked the man I’ve been, and telling the story of how that evolution took place is what drove me to write the book.”

While he says he made some good decisions and wrote “a few decent songs” he’d sometimes “stumbled” backwards, and even sideways. 

“I have made some extraordinarily bad decisions, decisions so awful I was lucky the career survived. I believe it’s true to say that I have done more damage to my career than all the bad press in the world was ever able to do, and yet I’ve survived,” he said. 

Numan said there were many reasons why people decide to write an account of their lives, and that he believed people are “shaped” by their experiences.

“My book is about the journey that took me from a troubled school life, where I was expelled more than once and came out of school with not a single qualification, to the world stage,” he added. 

“I have Asperger’s and I talk about how I have always seen that as an advantage, not a problem. How it has also shaped my life and how I wouldn’t change it for the world. 

“I talk about how the career was all but dead and buried and how meeting Gemma, my wife now of 23 years, saved me from the very brink of destruction.

“For the last 28 years every album has done better than the one before and so I have found myself on a different journey. (R)evolution is the complete story, and now seemed the right time for it.”

Read what Numan has to say in full in this week’s Big Issue, available online and from your local vendor now.

(R)evolution by Gary Numan is out now (Little, Brown, £20)

Support the Big Issue

For over 30 years, the Big Issue has been committed to ending poverty in the UK. In 2024, our work is needed more than ever. Find out how you can support the Big Issue today.
Vendor martin Hawes

Recommended for you

View all
Bob Vylan: 'Is it OK for me to cry? As a man you can feel there's not space to be vulnerable'
Bob Vylan
Music

Bob Vylan: 'Is it OK for me to cry? As a man you can feel there's not space to be vulnerable'

Soweto Kinch on ripping up the jazz rulebook and how his new BBC show is building community
Soweto Kinch
Music

Soweto Kinch on ripping up the jazz rulebook and how his new BBC show is building community

Iron Maiden legend Bruce Dickinson: 'You don’t need some rock star saying war is a bad thing'
Bruce Dickinson
Letter To My Younger Self

Iron Maiden legend Bruce Dickinson: 'You don’t need some rock star saying war is a bad thing'

Grassroots music venues need your help to survive now more than ever. Here's why
The Nefarious Picaroons play at Fiery Bird in Woking
Venue Watch

Grassroots music venues need your help to survive now more than ever. Here's why

Most Popular

Read All
Renters pay their landlords' buy-to-let mortgages, so they should get a share of the profits
Renters: A mortgage lender's window advertising buy-to-let products
1.

Renters pay their landlords' buy-to-let mortgages, so they should get a share of the profits

Exclusive: Disabled people are 'set up to fail' by the DWP in target-driven disability benefits system, whistleblowers reveal
Pound coins on a piece of paper with disability living allowancve
2.

Exclusive: Disabled people are 'set up to fail' by the DWP in target-driven disability benefits system, whistleblowers reveal

Cost of living payment 2024: Where to get help now the scheme is over
next dwp cost of living payment 2023
3.

Cost of living payment 2024: Where to get help now the scheme is over

Strike dates 2023: From train drivers to NHS doctors, here are the dates to know
4.

Strike dates 2023: From train drivers to NHS doctors, here are the dates to know