Tubeway Army – Bombers

Tubeway Army – Bombers (Beggars Banquet) 1978. I know what you’re thinking. First Wall of Voodoo, then DEVO and now Gary Numan? Joe Stumble, you have lost it.

Well, you kind sir, are wrong.

Have you ever seen Gary Numan’s performance of “Down In The Park” in Urgh! A Music War? It’s so sublimely ridiculous. Numan performs the whole song in a little car that scoots around the stage while he sings. He never gets out of the car. There’s enough smoke on the stage to fuel a Spinal Tap concert. His band, The Tubeway Army, play their OB-Xa’s and SCI Prophet 5′s in soundproof booths behind him in some sort of Spengler meets TRON stage getup. The whole time Gary sings, he never smiles or acknowledges the ridiculousness of his environment.

Kinda like in the video for “Cars”, actually. There he is in triplicate, shrunken down to the size of a football, driving down the keyboard. Not once does Gary Numan indicate to you that this is completely silly.

In fact, I don’t think he found it silly at all. I think Gary Numan was dead serious. And that makes it even better.

The same can be said about Numan’s lyrics. If you think Chrome could be campy…fuck, Numan was on a whole different level. In fact on this second 45 from 1978 he isn’t even Gary Numan yet. He goes by the name “Valerian”. Not Gary Valerian either. Just Valerian.

Seriously, if you want a sobering look into a dystopian, soul-less future set to soundscapes that will take you to the very heart of darkness, well I recommend Heathen Earth. But if you want the Ed Wood version, I challenge you to listen to this 45 by Valerian and his band of merry pranksters, The Tubeway Army. The guitars rock. Its punkish like early Ultravox. Its good shit.

And yes, a few years ago Gary made a bit of a comeback. He was in a video with Trent Reznor I believe. There he was with a wig on looking very Shatner-esque. But he didn’t smirk like Shatner. He was still dead fuckin’ serious…..

If you like this 45, there is another one before it called That’s Too Bad that I recommend. Both of them are stone cold classic slices of late 1970′s sci-fi punk. All of The Tubeway Army’s punk material has been re-released on The Plan, a great comp on Beggars UK.

I think that anything Numan recorded up until Telekon is worth owning. After that, it all starts to just get too silly.

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8 Responses to Tubeway Army – Bombers

  1. I love the Tubeway Army stuff, their first and second albums remain two of my fave albums.
    And I love the Gary Numan solo stuff as well. Especially “Pleasure Principle” and “Telekon”.
    Marvellous stuff.

  2. Tom says:


    You have the songs “O.D. Receiver” and “Blue Eyes” mistitled as each other. Sounds2 is really “O.D. Receiver” and Sounds3 is “Blue Eyes.” I’m getting conflicting information about what the order was on the single.

  3. Joe Stumble says:

    I know what you’re saying about the order. Here is what I know — in 83, I bought a cheesy Tubeway Army 12 inch EP on Beggars banquet entitled Numan 1978. It has both the singles and one outtake on it. On the Bombers side it has Blue Eyes last which makes more sense to me because its sort of a punky throwaway number. When I posted it, I found the writeup on wikipedia and they ahve it listed as 2nd in order. Since I do not have a copy of the single (just the EP from 83), I am not sure which is right.

    I changed the order to what I think it is….

  4. Tom says:

    Just to run this far into the ground, I checked 2 books (Volume 1 and The Illustrated Collectors Guide to Punk), and one lists the order as Receiver/Eyes while the other lists it as Eyes/Receiver. Until someone looks at their copy of the original, that’s all I got.

  5. Joe Stumble says:

    Of course it may also depend on what edition of the 7inch you have. Just to throw further confusion in the mix!

  6. Peter - KBD Records says:

    Tubeway Army needs to be rediscovered. Thanks for posting!

  7. G says:

    Amazing songs ! Thanks

  8. Sam says:

    Hi – thanks for posting all this great stuff!

    I have the original Bombers single & the track list is Blue Eyes – OD Receiver

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