Warriors (Gary Numan album)

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Warriors
Studio album by Gary Numan
Released 16 September 1983
Recorded 1983 at Rock City Studios, Shepperton
Genre New wave, experimental music, funk, jazz fusion, industrial rock, synthpop
Label Beggars Banquet
Producer Gary Numan, Bill Nelson (uncredited)
Gary Numan chronology
I, Assassin
(1982)
Warriors
(1983)
The Plan
(1984)
Alternative Cover
2002 Rerelease cover
Singles from Warriors
  1. "Warriors"
    Released: 26 August 1983
  2. "Sister Surprise"
    Released: 14 October 1983
Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
Allmusic 2/5 stars [1]
Smash Hits 2/10[2]

Warriors is the seventh studio album, and fifth under his own name, by the British musician Gary Numan, released in 1983. It was his last studio album released on Beggars Banquet Records.

Preproduction[edit]

Gary Numan returned to England in May 1983 to record the album. He had written most of the album's material in late 1982-early 1983, while he was living in Jersey, Channel Islands (after spending a few months in Los Angeles, California as a Tax exile). While Numan was working on the early Warriors material, Beggars Banquet suggested that, for the first time during his career, he should use a co-producer instead of producing the album entirely by himself (this was initially suggested by the label for Numan's previous album I, Assassin, a suggestion Numan refused at the time). Numan was not keen at first, but WEA managing director Mike Heap promised him "a virtually unlimited promotional budget" on the album if he signed up a producer. Numan eventually decided to recruit guitarist Bill Nelson for the job, as he was an admirer of Nelson's band, Be-Bop Deluxe. Numan claimed that Nelson was his "favourite guitar player, bar none." Unfortunately for Numan, Mike Heap was fired and the record company was no longer willing to cover all the costs for Numan's album. It was stated sometime after the release of the album WEA had, in fact, told Numan that he was reaching sales of 60,000 units, and that was satisfactory to them. Numan later remarked, "When the new people came in, I was as far from a priority act as it was possible to be. I felt as though they'd cut me down at the knees and it was the last time I got excited about a promise in the music business."[3]

Numan later claimed that Warriors pointed the way for his artistic decline throughout the 80s:

I thought that by getting in some of the best players and singers around I could make the albums more 'musical,' and that my own limitations would be less of a problem. What I actually did was progressively bury the very style that my fans had enjoyed. For a while I still sang, of course, but I swamped my own performances in huge layers of backing vocals. Musically I became much more of an arranger of noises than a musician, at least, that was how I felt. I didn't realise what I was doing, but with Warriors I was lighting the fires of what came close to being my funeral...If burying myself under the impressive performances of [other musicians and singers] was, ultimately, the wrong direction in which to be moving, it did give the albums some stunning musical moments. Warriors had as fine a bunch of players as it was possible to get.[4]

Recording the album[edit]

For the recording of the album, Numan retained drummer Cedric Sharpley, keyboardist Chris Payne, and guitarist Rrussell Bell, all of whom had played on Numan's albums and tours since 1979. Pino Palladino, the bassist on Numan's previous album I, Assassin (1982), was unable to return for Warriors. At Palladino's suggestion, Numan recruited Joe Hubbard as a replacement. Bill Nelson worked tremendously hard on guitars during the recording of Warriors, giving them more depth than they had been allowed on I, Assassin. Numan asked Dick Morrissey to be the saxophone player on the album, as he admired his work on the Blade Runner film score. Numan later described Morrissey as "brilliant, a musical genius. First take, perfect, not a single note wrong."[4] Ultimately, Morrissey would contribute to five Numan albums, from 1983 to 1991. Female backing vocals were also introduced to the Numan sound on Warriors. Tracey Ackerman provided backing vocals on Warriors.

Unfortunately, Numan and Bill Nelson quarrelled during the Warriors recording sessions; both men had different ideas as to how the album should sound, and shared differing philosophies on music in general. Numan later recalled:

It seemed as though our reasons for even breathing were completely opposed to one another. At one point we were talking about why we were in the business...[Nelson] told me that all creative people pick up beams of inspiration from across the cosmos and we channel it into creative art and we do what we do for the people. I said, 'That's complete bollocks,' and it all went downhill from then on really, as we began to grate on each other quite badly.[5]

The relationship between Numan and Nelson deteriorated to the point that Numan "would go out and play pool" while Nelson worked in the studio. Numan ultimately disliked Nelson's mix of Warriors (finding it "too tinny"), and so he remixed the album and made changes to the track listing: both parts of "My Car Slides" and "Poetry and Power" were relegated to B-side status (their place on the album being taken by other tracks), and "Sister Surprise" and "The Tick Tock Man" were almost completely re-recorded.[6] Nelson asked not to be credited on the final album. Despite Nelson's falling out with Numan, his influence on the finished version of Warriors is still distinct; his dream-like guitar-work added to the album's warm and distinctly jazzy feel. The overall sound of Warriors is epic, dreamy, and energetic, filled with fast rhythms, aggressive guitars and vibrant melodies. The album's song styles range from melodic rock and pop ("Warriors", "Sister Surprise", "This Prison Moon") to heartfelt ballads ("The Iceman Comes", "Love is like Clock Law") and jazzy numbers ("I Am Render", "The Rhythm of the Evening"). Some dubbed the general sound of the album "jazz electro". Numan later conceded that Nelson "did a lot of very inventive things on [Warriors] which, because of our differences, I failed to fully appreciate at the time. To be with him in a room when he was playing guitar was an honour. I would just sit back and listen and all my antagonism would float away."[7]

Numan floated prospective titles for the new album amongst his fanbase. Fans were given the opportunity to vote for one of three potential album titles - This Prison Moon, Poetry and Power, and Glasshouse. Numan ultimately overruled the fans' preference of This Prison Moon and chose Warriors as the album's title.[8] Numan's image for the Warriors album, singles, and live tour (consisting of black leather costume with weapon accessories, set against a post-apocalyptic backdrop) was influenced by the film Mad Max 2 (1981). Many parts of the actual costume came from a sex shop in Soho, London.

Singles, sales and tour[edit]

The title track was released as the first single from the album in August 1983, reaching #20 in the UK charts. Numan later claimed that the single's chart performance was "killed" because it was released as a picture disc, and the week it was released, the chart compilers decided that picture discs were ineligible and didn't count their sales.[citation needed] The single peaked at #12 before the picture disc sales were stripped[9] The album itself was released the following month, reaching number 12 on the UK charts, although four places lower than Numan's previous album, it did eventually sell more than I, Assassin with over 60,000 units worldwide (60% of these sales were in the UK). The album spent six weeks in the charts, and despite its relatively low chart placement, it gathered some of the best reviews Numan has ever had in the UK music press.[6] In October, a shorter, re-recorded version of "Sister Surprise" was released as the second and final single off the album. It charted at #32, making it the lowest-charting Numan solo single up to that point. Due to Numan's dissatisfaction with Beggars Banquet who were now just the middle men between Numan and WEA and other major record companies in general, he decided to form his own record label, Numa Records, in late 1983. Numan released his next three studio albums through Numa Records.

Warriors was supported by a 40-date UK tour from September to October 1983 (with support from robotic mime and music duo Tik and Tok). It was Numan's first live dates in the UK since his Wembley farewell concerts in 1981. Numan's friend and former bassist, Paul Gardiner, made an onstage appearance during a "Warriors" show at the Hammersmith Odeon, London. To date, no live albums or videos from the 1983 tour have been officially released, although the BBC did record the final night at the Hammersmith Odeon, and the 20 October show in Glasgow is believed to have been professionally filmed. Bootleg-quality audio from that Glasgow show has surfaced on YouTube, along with more professional-quality audio from the tour's 10 June 1983 Leicester date.

The popular music fortnightly Smash Hits ran a three-page feature on the tour entitled "The Mad Max Factor" featuring an interview with Numan and several photographs of the show and Numan and the performers backstage, and a candid look at the fans who attended the shows.[10] [11] [12]

A remastered version of the Warriors album was released on CD in 2002, with six bonus tracks.

Track listing[edit]

All songs are written by Gary Numan except for "I Am Render", with music by John Webb, and lyrics by Numan.

  1. "Warriors" – 5:50
  2. "I Am Render" – 4:56
  3. "The Iceman Comes" – 4:25
  4. "This Prison Moon" – 3:18
  5. "My Centurion" – 5:22
  6. "Sister Surprise" – 8:29
  7. "The Tick Tock Man" – 4:22
  8. "Love Is Like Clock Law" – 4:00
  9. "The Rhythm of the Evening" – 5:54
  • The song "I am Render" is based on Roger Zelazny's sci-fi novel The Dream Master (the novel's protagonist is Dr. Charles Render).
  • The song "My Centurion" was inspired by Numan's near-fatal 1982 plane crash.

Bonus tracks on the 2002 reissue[edit]

  1. "Poetry and Power" ("Sister Surprise" B-side) – 4:25
  2. "My Car Slides (1)" ("Warriors" B-side) – 3:01
  3. "My Car Slides (2)" ("Warriors" B-side) – 4:42
  4. "Nameless and Forgotten" – 5:02
  5. "Sister Surprise" (single version) – 4:52
  6. "Warriors" (full-length version) – 7:30
  • The version of "Poetry and Power" included as a bonus track is longer than the original version from the "Sister Surprise" single. Also, it does not fade out as the B-side version does, due to the remastering process undertaken on the original mastertapes. However, this bonus track was covered by an Industrial rock band from St. Louis, Gravity Kills in 1997.
  • "Nameless and Forgotten", originally titled "Gangster Strut", is a demo recording, featuring elements which were later developed into "Sister Surprise" and "This is New Love" (the latter being a track on the Berserker album). The existence of the track was forgotten by everyone, including Numan, until it was rediscovered during research for the album reissue. The title "Nameless and Forgotten" was suggested by Numan as a fitting one.[6]

Personnel[edit]

Musicians:

Production:

  • Gary Numan – producer, audio mixing
  • Nick Smith – engineer
  • Pete Buhlmann – engineer, audio mixing
  • John Webb – assistant engineer
  • Mark Brown – assistant engineer
  • Ray Staffaudio mastering
  • John Dent – audio mastering (remastered version)
  • Steve Webbon – CD Layout, additional design
  • Steve Malins – sleeve notes
  • Patti Burris – make-up

References[edit]

  1. ^ McDonald, Steven. Warriors (Gary Numan album) at AllMusic. Retrieved 7 July 2011.
  2. ^ Smash Hits, Tim de Lisle, 29 September 1983, p.21
  3. ^ Praying to the Aliens: An Autobiography by Gary Numan with Steve Malins. (1997, André Deutsch Limited), p.178
  4. ^ a b Praying to the Aliens: An Autobiography by Gary Numan with Steve Malins. (1997, André Deutsch Limited), p.180
  5. ^ Praying to the Aliens: An Autobiography by Gary Numan with Steve Malins. (1997, André Deutsch Limited), pp.178-179
  6. ^ a b c Steve Malins - Warriors 2002 reissue liner notes
  7. ^ Praying to the Aliens: An Autobiography by Gary Numan with Steve Malins. (1997, André Deutsch Limited), p.179
  8. ^ Electric Pioneer: An Armchair Guide to Gary Numan by Paul Goodwin. (2004, Helter Skelter Publishing), p.33
  9. ^ Praying to the Aliens: An Autobiography by Gary Numan with Steve Malins. (1997, André Deutsch Limited), p.182
  10. ^ http://www.flickr.com/photos/51106326@N00/8904404482/in/set-72157633837034998/
  11. ^ http://www.flickr.com/photos/51106326@N00/8903781021/in/set-72157633837034998/
  12. ^ http://www.flickr.com/photos/51106326@N00/8903989825/in/set-72157633837034998/