Gary Numan's Electric Return

He's been dubbed the "godfather of electronica". And now, 18 years after he topped the charts with Are Friends Electric, Gary Numan is busier than ever.

He's just released a new best-of album (Premier Hits), he's the subject of a two-CD tribute set (Random), he's just got married and he's also finished writing a 138,000-word autobiography, Praying To The Aliens.

And Gary's releasing a new album, Exile. "The album's about God and the devil being the same," Gary says. "It's very heavy."

Gary, who turns 40 next March, is also moving into acting, and has been cast as a gangster in a new British film called Kinsmen.

Gary had huge hits at the end of the Seventies with Are Friends Electric and Cars. But after forming his own record company, Numa Records, he lost all of his money. "It's been pretty hard, to be honest," he says. "But now I'm enjoying the fact that people are saying nice things about me. I'm not sure if I am the godfather of electronica, but it's nice that people think that.

"I want to re-establish myself. I don't expect to be number one again. But I want to get back to a level where I can tour again. I'd like to come back to Australia." Gary was last here in 1980. "I remember meeting The Village People in a lift," he says.

Gary, a pilot, is also an aircraft acrobatics teacher. "I specialise in World War 2 combat aeroplanes. But I've had six friends die, so it worries me a bit."