Gary Numan (due Friday, April 4, at The Gothic Theatre
) is most widely remembered for his 1980 hit song "Cars." That song was merely the most popular in an influential career that had a direct impact on artists as diverse as Prince, Beck, Lady Gaga and, of course, Nine Inch Nails, with whom Numan has both toured and collaborated. Anyone who has seen the man perform on recent tours knows he doesn't skimp, with music that runs the gamut of electronic-based pop and rock music but always with a core of vibrant emotional vulnerability and openness. It is that quality that has allowed Numan as an artist to take in influences from his peers as well as those that identify his work as a foundational inspiration. Thoughtful and surprisingly candid, Numan revealed himself in our conversation to be the observant person you might assume him to be.