GARY NUMAN: ANDROID IN LA LAND
01 / June / 2016
At the end of the 1970s a nervy young musician topped the music charts...
He quickly became one of the most famous men on the planet...
Three decades of groundbreaking and hugely influential music would follow...
Then six long years of silence...Until now.
Leafy Waldron, England... Somewhere between Eastbourne and Royal Tunbridge Wells
Inside a 1920s six-bedroom house painted fuchsia pink and pillar-box red, the unmistakable silhouette of a singular and quite peculiar British rock star and music-making pioneer is bent double in black denim, painstakingly packing away synthesizers and flying suits -- souvenirs of more than 30 years in the music business. Everything goes into a large aluminium flight case.
On its side, a label boldly reads: 'G.A.R.Y. N.U.M.A.N.' The Godfather of electronic pop music is moving home -- lock, stock and apparel -- to embark on a one-way trip to crack America, break into Hollywood and return to the studio for the first time in nearly a decade.
With him go wife Gemma, daughters Raven, Persia and Echo, and filmmakers Rob Alexander and Steve Read.
Numan took the sound of early electro and fused it with the strong images of his onstage alter-egos to invent something unique. Seemingly coming from nowhere and topping the charts with songs about the merits of being an android and the solitude of car interiors, he took the planet by storm.
He went on to perform in front of adoring fans worldwide, sell millions of records and carve out an impressive career. What’s even more impressive is that he achieved all this with Asperger’s syndrome – only recently diagnosed. It’s hardly synonymous with the pop star’s perceived need for unparalleled self-belief and ability to perform to and interact with others.
In fact, life for Numan has been far from easy. At a time when the general public knew or cared little about the Asperger’s, the media world wasn’t kind. He was labelled a freak, one paper going as far as to declare that his parents should have been prevented from giving birth.
Depression, anxiety and near bankruptcy followed, while his a die-hard followers never deserted him a long period in the wilderness followed. Then he fell in love with his biggest fan, and married her…
Since meeting Gemma, there has been a resurgence in Numan’s career. A Numan fan herself from childhood she convinced him to get back into the studio and back on the stage. Critically acclaimed albums, a new-found love for touring and an ever younger growing fanbase has developed as a result, and is documented as filming has progressed. Numan has influenced many of today’s leading music artists, from Lady Gaga to Damon Albarn, been covered by the likes of Nine Inch Nails and Marilyn Manson, and sampled by Sugababes to Basement Jaxx.
Filmed with candor, actuality and humour, Android In La Land explores love and second chances for Numan and his family as they set up home in Los Angeles. What will be the reaction to the release of his 24th album, Splinter, six years in the making? Can he do justice to a thriving US and European tour schedule as he takes Splinter on the road? And can he break into the hugely competitive movie soundtrack-scoring business?
With exclusive access to the Numan family as they unpack in California, the story unfolds at home, in the studio and on the road. It explores the many contradictions and misconceptions that have cropped up in the life of Gary Numan, with an emotional roller-coster of an ending that reveals that the man behind the mask is human after all.