❚ DAVE GAHAN, MARTIN GORE AND ANDY FLETCHER of Britain’s original pioneering synth band Depeche Mode, formed in 1980, will play 34 must-see stadium shows in 25 European countries to an audience of more than 1.5 million fans, before taking the tour to North America. The tour kicks off with an open-air stadium show in Tel Aviv’s Hayarkon Park on Tuesday May 7.
Three faces engraved by a life in rock: Depeche Mode’s Andy Fletcher, Dave Gahan and Martin Gore have between them survived depression, addiction, mental instability, attempted suicide, divorce and fatherhood
❚ ESSEX BOYS DEPECHE MODE TODAY offer an audio stream exclusively at Facebook as a taster for the release of their newest compilation album titled Remixes 2: 81–11, through Mute Records on June 6. Both of the early members of the band have contributed tracks to the album which covers three decades of music. Songwriter and synth pioneer Vince Clarke, who established DM’s identity in 1981 as the first techno-pop clubbers to break the UK charts, has remixed Behind The Wheel; and Alan Wilder has remixed In Chains. He took Vince’s place in the lineup from 1982, but in 1995 regretfully departed to pursue production and his solo project Recoil.
The mainstays of today’s band remain Dave Gahan (vocalist, who not long ago told Interview magazine “Depeche Mode music somehow appeals to the oddball”), Martin Gore (keyboards, here telling BBC 6Music about the places in the world that were crucial to Depeche Mode’s history — and the problem with the UK), plus Andrew Fletcher (keyboards and on-off manager). Depeche Mode are without doubt one of the greatest of British alternative bands, whose sound and image have grown darker and more provocative with the years. They boast 48 UK hit singles and international album sales said to total 100 million, among which 12 titles were studio recordings and four live.
The new release (left) comes in various formats: a three-disc version holds 37 remixed tracks, while a one-disc version has 13, spanning the decades from the 1981 debut Speak and Spell, through to 2009’s Sounds Of The Universe. Purists will welcome the 6 x 12-inch vinyl LP box set.
❏ Today at Facebook all 3,456,660 fans of the band’s page must have been attempting hear the free stream simultaneously because for a long while it became impossible to join up and listen to the Alex Metric Remix of Martin Gore’s 1989 song Personal Jesus. To ease the pain for DM fans who don’t belong to Facebook, here’s a quick clip: ❏ Update April 4 — Since last Monday 56,290 people have sampled the Alex Metric Remix just mentioned. Today, another track is being streamed free at Facebook from DM’s upcoming album, with more to follow on future Mondays. Here’s a taste of Martin Gore’s 1987 number Never Let Me Down Again in its Eric Prydz Remix: ❏ On May 14 Martin Gore and Andrew Fletcher will be playing DJ sets at Short Circuit which is a two-day celebration at London’s Roundhouse of Mute’s influence as a label, featuring performances, workshops, screenings and installations by its artists who include Erasure and Alison Moyet on the Saturday. Friday May 13 has Mute founder Daniel Miller deejaying as well as Moby, plus Richie Hawtin, Recoil, Nitzer Ebb and other acts.
Dave Gahan wearing Roberto Cavalli jacket, $4,615, and pants, $2,285, styled by Bill Mullen, photographed by Mikael Jansson for The New York Times T Magazine in 2011
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MORE INTERESTING THAN MOST PEOPLE’S FANTASIES — THE SWINGING EIGHTIES 1978-1984
They didn’t call themselves New Romantics, or the Blitz Kids – but other people did.
“I’d find people at the Blitz who were possible only in my imagination. But they were real” — Stephen Jones, hatmaker, 1983. (Illustration courtesy Iain R Webb, 1983)
“The truth about those Blitz club people was more interesting than most people’s fantasies” — Steve Dagger, pop group manager, 1983
“See David Johnson’s fabulously detailed website Shapers of the 80s to which I am hugely indebted” – Political historian Dominic Sandbrook, in his book Who Dares Wins, 2019
“The (velvet) goldmine that is Shapers of the 80s” – Verdict of Chris O’Leary, respected author and blogger who analyses Bowie song by song at Pushing Ahead of the Dame
“The rather brilliant Shapers of the 80s website” – Dylan Jones in his Sweet Dreams paperback, 2021
A UNIQUE HISTORY
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❏ Header artwork by Kat Starchild shows Blitz Kids Darla Jane Gilroy, Elise Brazier, Judi Frankland and Steve Strange, with David Bowie at centre in his 1980 video for Ashes to Ashes
VINCENT ON AIR 2022
✱ Deejay legend Robbie Vincent returned to JazzFM on Sundays 1-3pm in 2021… Catch Robbie’s JazzFM August Bank Holiday 2020 session thanks to AhhhhhSoul with four hours of “nothing but essential rhythms of soul, jazz and funk”.
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UNTOLD BLITZ STORIES
✱ If you thought there was no more to know about the birth of Blitz culture in 1980 then get your hands on a sensational book by an obsessive music fan called David Barrat. It is gripping, original and epic – a spooky tale of coincidence and parallel lives as mind-tingling as a Sherlock Holmes yarn. Titled both New Romantics Who Never Were and The Untold Story of Spandau Ballet! Sample this initial taster here at Shapers of the 80s
CHEWING THE FAT
✱ Jawing at Soho Radio on the 80s clubland revolution (from 32 mins) and on art (@55 mins) is probably the most influential shaper of the 80s, former Wag-club director Chris Sullivan (pictured) with editor of this website David Johnson
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