Comments: Are 'Friends' Electric? 2.0.

I recorded Are 'Friends' Electric? 1.0 in 05/93. I believed strongly that the time was right for a cover of a Gary Numan song, and spent the next 4 years trying to convince everyone that someone else might beat me to it. Sure enough, Republica put out a version of this song in 06/97. Oh well. My fault for not starting earlier, I guess. Fred and I recorded version 2.0 in 07/96 and 08/96.

Along with DEVO, Gary Numan was the most important music to me during my all-important high-school/college period. If I was happy, it was DEVO. If I was meloncholy, Gary Numan. Not only was AFE my favorite Numan song, it was also my favorite piece of music in the world, and probably still is. By 1992, I was wanting to hear the song with more power to it, and more drama.

My impression of the meaning of this song is that, like most of the songs on Numan's first 5 albums, the character is so isolated, so dehumanized and eomtionally shut down that all he can do is dispassionately describe images and minor events around him. Also like most of Numan's earlier songs, there is a strong futuristic, 1984/distopian flavor to it.
But then there are those whiney, complaining choruses. I thought they were great when I was 17, but now they seem kind of clueless and adolescent. Of course, Gary was probably only 21 or so when he wrote that song. I know that he went through some seriously disturbing break up around that time, perhaps that's what he was writing about.

Numan fans among you will notice that I changed "In a long coat, gray hat, smoking a cigarette" to "In a long coat, gray HAIR, smoking a cigarette". I had thought it was 'hair' since I was 16, and I just couldn't bring myself to change. Sorry. You will also notice that I sang the choruses, whereas Gary spoke them. Not only did I feel that my version needed more drama than speaking the parts would have provided, I also thought that speaking was such a highly Gary-specific thing, that it would have been trying to be him, rather than to interpret his song.
And hey hey hey... hear that metal "CLINK!" sound? Where have you heard THAT before? I wanna know! Most of the guitar sounds in this song started life as guitar parts on even OLDER Gary Numan songs. Appropriate, or appropriation?