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1982 Sep I, Assassin
Title: I, Assassin
Artist: Gary Numan

White Boys And Heroes
War Songs
A Dream Of Siam
Music For Chameleons
This Is My House
I, Assassin
The 1930’s Rust
We Take Mystery (To Bed)

How old: This Album is old!
Release Date: September 1982
Format: LP 
Record Label: Beggars Banquet
Catalogue No: BEGA 40
Price Guide: £8.00
Country:  UK
Additional info: Deleted 
Highest Chart Position: 8
Full Artist List:

Gary Numan (Vocals, Keyboards, Guitar)
Roger Mason (Keyboards)
Pino Palladino (Fretless Bass)
Chris Slade (Drums, Percussion)
John Webb (Percussion)
Mike (Saxophone, Harmonica)

Produced by Gary Numan

Engineered by Nick Smith
Assisted by Sean Lynch

Recorded at Rock City Studios, Shepperton


WEA K 453723




CLICK HERE 1982 Feb Music For Chameleons 7"/12"

3:35 Music For Chameleons (Edit) 3:39 Noise Noise 7" UK Beggars Banquet BEG 70 6:54 Music For Chameleons (Extended Version) 3:39 Noise Noise 4:27 Bridge? What Bridge? 12" UK Beggars Banquet BEG 70T

CLICK HERE 1982 Jun We Take Mystery (To Bed) 7"/12"

3:31 We Take Mystery (To Bed) (Edit) 5:59 The Image Is 7"  UK Beggars Banquet BEG 77 7:42 We Take Mystery (To Bed) (Extended Version) 5:59 The Image Is 5:58 We Take Mystery (To Bed) (Early Version) 12" UK Beggars Banquet BEG 77T

CLICK HERE 1982 Aug White Boys And Heroes 7"/12"

3:30 White Boys And Heroes (Edit) 3:58 War Games 7" UK Beggars Banquet BEG 81 6:27 White Boys And Heroes 3:58 War Games 4:49 Glitter And Ash 12" UK Beggars Banquet BEG 81T


The 2002 re-release of the original 1982 album has been digitally remastered and the sound is greatly improved.

The sleeve has new text and all lyrics (where known) to songs added to the original track list.

This version has fifteen tracks compared to the original versions nine. 


It’s Nothing Personal
Gary Numan: I, Assassin

In January 1982,  Gary Numan  started work on the follow-up to 1981’s Dance album. It had only been 9 months since his “retirement” from touring.
Numan had had time to reconsider this brash, youthful announcement & his desire to be a performer to an adoring public had led to a re-evaluation of who he was & who he wanted to be. 

Numan entered Rock City Studios with the intention of creating a more up-tempo successor to the Dance album. He wanted to record tracks that could be reproduced in a live context with maximum bums off seats, dancing in the aisles potential. 

Given the huge finale of the last “Numan” band, it was time to explore different avenues. Numan recruited new musicians from quite alien sources:
his powerful new drummer would be Chris Slade who’d recently been tub-thumping on the Uriah Heep reunion gigs. 
The new bassist was Pino Palladino, his previous claim to fame was supplying some amazing fretless slide work in Paul Young’s Royal Family backing band.
Paul Young was famous for being the only unsigned act to be shown two weeks in a row on Channel 4’s new music programme “The Tube”, there were two contributing factors: 1) Pino’s bass playing.
2) The fact that his backing vocalists, The Fabulous Wealthy Tarts, wore tight t-shirts & no bras! 

Out of the “old” live band, Joe Brown look-alike Roger Mason was the only survivor! 

Numan recruited his brother, John Webb, on keyboards & the elusive “Mike” on sax & harmonica. 

Numan has since stated that working with Palladino brought out a creative high in him. Pino’s fluid playing, whilst reminiscent of Mick Karn’s Dance work, was more controlled & melodic. His bass lines were pushed to the fore & worked in conjunction with a heady mix of Slade’s thunderous drumming & heavy electronic percussion. Peppered into the mix were detuned bell chimes & heavy metallic clanks. It’s easy to look back & say that Numan was using pre-sets from new-fangled synth technology but hey, he had the money to buy them & be first off the starting block! 

When Mick Karn first heard Chameleons, he thought it was an unused Dance track.. He announced on a radio interview that he couldn’t believe that Numan had hired a bassist just to sound like him.. I’d like to throw my hat into the ring & postulate that Karn could not have played Chameleons with the reserve & unswerving attention to detail that Palladino displays on the track!  

Onto the album:

White Boys & Heroes

A brilliant slab of white boy funk. Numan’s love of old B-movie imagery litters the track. The programmed rhythm track is the star of the show & rides high over Numan’s vocals! Palladino performs one helluva bass line throwing in all kinds of syncopations & hammer on/off techniques.
This was THE track that finally saw me pick the frets out of my old Vox Jazz bass guitar & attempt fretless work!
Chris Nelson saw the potential of the interplay between bass & percussion & mixed them to the fore on the U.S remix 12”.
At this stage, Numan’s lyrics held up the good guy image of 30s/40s film noir. He would later revisit the theme from an alternate angle on Strange Charm’s “The Need”. 

War Songs

Numan had explored the trappings of fame on Telekon & Dance. This track was a cheeky sideswipe that added that hell; fame & money ain’t too bad after all! The lyrics included punches at Steve Strange, Debbie Doran & those who felt that Numan was racist? 
The track features a wonderful choppy guitar line played by Numan himself.
Alas, like much of the album, this track is plagued by tape hiss. This was the third album Numan recorded at Rock City, strange then, that it should have production flaws. 

A Dream Of Siam

Possibly the track that was most influenced by Numan’s short-lived dalliance with Japan. Maybe he’d heard “in-progress” tracks from Tin Drum, maybe not but the Oriental feel to this track is hard to deny!
The lyrics hark back to Telekon paranoia but the music is something else!
Pop your headphones on & listen to the last couple of minutes: the interplay between the bass & metallic synth stabs are something else! The fade-out whistle seems to be a coda to a post-hit assassin walking away & blending into one of William Burroughs’ beloved 1930s street scenes. Numan later revisited this Oriental slant on Cold Metal Rhythm.  

Music For Chameleons

What can I say? When this premiered on Richard Bacon’s Saturday afternoon slot on Radio 1, I thought it was a new mix of Slow Car To China… until that huge drumbeat kicked in! I don’t know whether Numan actually read Truman Capote’s novel but this was a superb single & a taster for where I, Assassin was coming from!
Has that bass-line ever been equaled on a Numan track?
Pino, petrol money aside, surely you’re proud of this one?  Numan has tried to recreate this live 82/84 but it just doesn’t seem to work. The vinyl album edit is nasty, cutting out a huge chunk of the instrumental section & crashing back in on the vocals.   

This Is My House

A powerhouse of a track! The moody intro, the heroic finale, a bloody bruiser! One of only a couple of tracks on the album that deal with Numan’s emotions at the time.
Chris Slade beats the hell out of his kit on this track.. Subtlety be damned!  One of the Warriors 83 highlights!
On one of the rare occasions when I met Numan, he said he’d love to reintroduce it to the live set.  Still waiting!  

I, Assassin

A superb title track! Brittle electronic percussion, invaded by Slade’s powerhouse drumming & some of the meatiest analogue synths ever!
Numan adopts the persona of the hired hit man, called in to clean up for a mobster. The lyrics are textbook Burroughs. Hell, Numan could’ve been reading The Last Words Of Dutch Schultz as he wrote this!
The finale is a revisit of the classic Everyday I Die 80 solo. Did Mason play this at the shows? A similar solo graces the wonderful This House Is Cold outtake! 

The 1930s Rust

Hmm.. Let’s get the rumours out of the way:
No, it wasn’t written for Marti Caine.
No, BB didn’t envisage it as a shock single!
Numan has stated that the track came about from him jamming on a newly bought acoustic fretless bass.  Numan was so pleased with this homage that it made the album..
Numan singing “babe”! Oh dear.. maybe Noise Noise should’ve gone here instead! 

We Take Mystery (To Bed)  

Hell, almost a homage to stripped down 70s funk.. the break on the 12” mix was pure disco! Sadly, mastering conventions at the time prevented Numan from using the full-length mix on the album.
Lyrically, another kick at Debbie Doran.
This track became a live favourite for nearly a decade. Strangely, when it made it’s live debut in the U.K the following year, it was Pino Palladino’s tutor, Joe Hubbard who played bass!
Probably the starting point for all that woh-oh business!  

Visually, the album the album harked back to Replicas.. even down to the typeface. The Assassin wasn’t too far removed from Numan’s “grey man” concept.
The rain-swept streets & blistered paintwork were lifted wholesale from William Burroughs.
Perhaps, fitting then that I, Assassin’s release coincided with the release of the paperback of Burroughs’ Cities Of The Red Night, the first part of Burroughs’ Western Lands Trilogy & arguably, his greatest works.
Both authors were at creative peaks..
Burroughs never wrote another novel after he finished this trilogy. Numan went on to write “Warriors”.. a review for someone else…  

I, Assassin was the point where Numan crossed over from an angst ridden young man to an exponent of conceptual continuity that I’d previously only encountered with Zappa & Dylan.  Numan had fun exploring the possible avenues of his music..
something he should sit down &  take stock of now. Lyrically, he revisits old themes & plays with them. Not a lack of imagination, far from it. Many years later, the IRS debacle made him drop this kind of self-reference. Interesting that recently, another Numan / Burroughs character “The Priest” has returned to the fold.. perhaps the Assassin will also come in out of the cold one day? 

As mentioned in War Songs, the album is plagued by tape hiss. Strange that neither Telekon nor Dance suffer from this problem. Numan has said in the past that the old Rock City mixing desk had a badly earthed metal strip across the front of it that actually hummed if you touched it!    


Noise Noise 

Original flip to MFC. Numan threw away a track strong enough to sit on the album! The female vocals added a softer side to the huge, cold electronic noise… Numan would continue to mine this vein for nearly a decade! 

Bridge? What Bridge? 

Throwaway track. Initial session as early as the Night Talk recordings? Features the vocal “talents” of David Van Day & Theresa Bazar. 

The Image Is 

A wonderful track, perfectly in-tune with I, Assassin. Strange then that it’s stitched together from various elements, some that pre-date “Dance”! 

We Take Mystery (Early Version) 

An insight into Numan’s method of composing on the piano. Could easily have sat on the Dance album! 

War Games 

Echo-laden spin on War Songs. More conceptual continuity! 

Glitter & Ash 

A throw-away jam.. Palladino & Slade prove their mettle over another Oriental keyboard hook. a fitting finale to the I, Assassin album?  I think so!   

By cathedral

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