At 59, English techo-rocker Gary Numan is motivated by one factor: fatherhood. It’s why he’s given up his favorite pastime, flying World War II-vintage planes in professional air shows. He wants to give his three daughters the best care and advice he can. “To do that, I need to be alive,” he says. Parental concern even influenced his new “Savage (Songs From a Broken World),” a concept album painting a bleak future where accelerated climate change has turned the world to desert and made water more precious than gold. One daughter, Persia, sings with him on its industrial-strength single (and video) “My Name is Ruin,” and she’s been joining him in concert, as well.
”Savage” is an imagined future. But it feels all too real.
It’s a lot closer now, I think, thanks to Trump. It felt to me, with the Paris accords, as if the global-warming thing had finally been taken in hand, and the world had recognized the truth of it, the danger of it, and the need to do something about it. And then Trump lumbers over the horizon, and it all goes to s—. I mean, he puts a man in charge of the EPA who doesn’t believe in global warming! It’s unbelievable, shocking!
And obviously, you start to worry about your family’s future.
As I was starting to write this album, I had no intention of writing with an apocalyptic, global warming theme. But actually, I’d been writing a book about this for some time, so I turned to my book and stole a couple of ideas from that. And then Trump happened, and the album became more and more devoted to a vision of what the future might be. A fear of what might happen because of Trump.
And in your world, East and West have merged?
Over time, I thought religion would become unacceptable, simply forgotten, and the Eastern/Western divide, which is essentially a religious divide anyway, would evaporate. So I tried to do some things musically that would illustrate that as an idea, like the introduction of Eastern melodies and instrumentation on a lot of the songs. And on the sleeve itself, I chose a font that looked sort of Arabic.
Ultimately, it’s a terrible legacy for our children.
Before I had children, I probably wouldn’t have given two f—- about where the world was going. I was just having fun, which was really selfish. So “Savage” is something I wouldn’t have even bothered with 20 or 30 years ago. Getting older, and having kids, you start to look toward what you’re leaving behind for them, and what you can do to not only help them, but the world itself.
IF YOU GO
Where: Fillmore, 1805 Geary Blvd., S.F.
When: 8 p.m. Nov. 19
Contact: (415) 346-6000, www.ticketmaster.com