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‘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)