Tag Archives: Depeche Mode

2013 ➤ From Essex, Depeche Mode announce: Tomorrow the World

Depeche Mode, 2013, Stadium Tour, dates, Europe, pop music
❚ 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.

SECOND UK GIG ADDED

❏ London O2 tickets on sale Friday Oct 26 (pre-sale Oct 25) for May 28 and 29 at:
➢ Live Nation and standing only at ➢ TicketMaster

➢ Oct 23: Depeche Mode also unveiled a new track with ripe Gahan vocals, provisionally titled Angel, plus a studio video

Depeche Mode, 2013, Stadium Tour, dates, Europe, pop music

Updated Oct 30, 2012

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1981 ➤ Hot days, cool nights, as Blue Rondo join the new Brits changing the pop charts

Blue Rondo à la Turk , pop music, 1981

Blue Rondo’s official debut in Chelmsford, June 1981: Moses Mount Bassie, Christos Tolera and Chris Sullivan front the seven-piece. Photograph © Shapersofthe80s

◼ “GET IN THE BACK OF THE VAN,” I was told on this day 30 years ago. “You’re coming for a ride.” Graham Ball was a club host empowered to open the trendiest of doors in Soho, so “No thanks” was not an option. “I’ve got a new band to show you. And you’re not quite going to believe what you’ll hear and see.” He was, apparently, now also a manager. We arrived in blisteringly hot sunshine at a characterless modern pub in Chelmsford, Essex, well away from Soho clubland, and there of course were the rest of The Firm — the handful of sharp young dudes at least half the age of the grunters who dominated the pop industry, all being groomed by Spandau’s 23-year-old Steve Dagger to inherit the mysteries of management for a new generation of bands.

Assembling an assortment of instruments onstage were five, six, no, seven of the most variegated musicians you felt might belong in a special institution for their own safety. I had been invited to write the first piece about the craziest combo  inspired by London’s Blitz Club, which had closed the previous autumn, and by this summer they were but one among the slipstream of bands erupting on London’s burgeoning nightlife scene. From their opening vocals — “Oo-oo, aa-aa, mm-mm ah!” — Blue Rondo à la Turk were sensational, and my review appeared in the second issue of New Sounds New Styles. It took only three months before Rondo signed a deal and charted in November.

➢ Read that first review of Blue Rondo as they create a buzz with their new Latin sounds — from NSNS August 1981

This was the summer
of New Romance

Spandau Ballet, Ultravox, Duran Duran, 1981

Leaders of the Romantics in 1981: Spandau Ballet, Ultravox, Duran Duran

ON THIS DAY in 1981 the UK charts were bursting with the new generation of image-conscious British groups who whose linking of soul and electro-pop were to change the style and the rhythm of pop charts for ever. . .

Ultravox were enjoying their fifth hit single All Stood Still.
Linx were enjoying their third hit Throw Away the Key.
Spandau Ballet were enjoying their double-sided third hit single, Muscle Bound/Glow. At Easter they had also signalled their new funky direction by introducing Chant No 1, which would become London’s clubbing anthem and reach No 2 later this summer.
Duran Duran were enjoying their second hit Careless Memories.
Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark were enjoying their second hit Messages.
Japan were charting with The Art of Parties.
Landscape were charting with Norman Bates.
Shalamar (with honorary Brit and body-popping pioneer Jeffrey Daniel) were charting with A Night to Remember.

➢ Elsewhere at Shapers of the 80s: 100+ acts who set the style for the new music of the 1980s

Light of the World were charting with I’m So Happy.
Imagination were charting with their debut Body Talk.
The Human League entered the charts on this day with Empire State Human.
Depeche Mode’s second single New Life was soaring towards No 11.
Visage’s second hit single had just fallen out of the chart.
❏ Likewise Heaven 17’s debut Fascist Groove Thang.
❏ Likewise Altered Images’ debut Dead Pop Stars.
❏ Likewise Level 42 with their second hit, Love Games.
❏ And the honorary Brit, Kid Creole, was heading into the charts with his Coconuts and their debut single, Me No Pop I — a compulsively danceable new sound on Antilles introduced to London last year by i-D co-editor Perry Haines.

New Romantics, bands, Swinging 80s,Japan the band, pop music, Depeche Mode, Altered Images

Going Romantic in 1981: Japan the band, Depeche Mode, Altered Images

Oh, and two nights earlier at Le Beat Route I’d snapped the new boy in George O’Dowd’s life enjoying their first date. Nobody dreamt that George and Jon Moss would one day be putting together their own band.

♫ VIEW fine Northern Soul footwork from Rondo mentalists in this performance of Me and Mr Sanchez shot at the Venue in London:
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➤ Index of posts for March

depeche mode, Remixes 2,electro-pop,

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

➢ 2011, Adam Ant reveals his terrifying years in purgatory

➢ Martin Kemp’s live tutorial via bass cam

➢ 2011, Clarke and Wilder pile in for Depeche Mode’s ultimate remix album

Mick Karn, Peter Murphy, Dalis Car, pop music

Mick Karn and Peter Murphy: teamed as Dalis Car in 1984

➢ Mick Karn takes a last journey in Dalis Car 2

➢ Anna’s Army — how the English-born editor of Vogue became her own global brand

➢ Crazee or crazed? David Lynch’s view of Duran’s live concert from within his hellish cave

➢ 1932–2011, Liz Taylor — Hollywood glamour to a T

➢ 2011, Despite sniffy critics, ultimately Duran’s best album since their glory years

➢ Smartphones become UK shoppers’ essentials

➢ 2011, Spandau and Duran square up for battle just like the old days

➢ Gary Kemp puts his neck on the block — Spandau ‘the best live British band of the Eighties’

➢ Haunting video catches grim carnage of the Japanese tsunami

➢ 1981, The day Duran’s fortunes really took flight — 30th anniversary of Planet Earth

➢ Kid Creole’s in pink so he’s ready for the funk

Duran Duran, 2011, All You Need Is Now, YouTube, live stream, pop music

Duran Duran earlier this year: US and European tours, plus a live concert stream. Picture courtesy duranduran.com

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2011 ➤ Clarke and Wilder pile in for Depeche Mode’s ultimate remix album

depeche mode, Remixes 2,electro-pop,

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.

Depeche Mode, Remixes2 81–11, Mute Records , albumThe 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.

See the tracklistings at Depeche Mode’s news page.

❏ 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.

Depeche Mode, Dave Gahan, New York Times , Roberto Cavalli

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

➢ Visit Ballad of a Thin Man in The New York Times T Magazine, March 11 — more skinny looks on Iggy Pop, Lou Reed, Bryan Ferry, David Johansen and other godfathers of glam

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1981 ➤ New Romantics have their day — rearranging the deck-chairs at the posers’ ball

People’s Palace, Valentine Ball, New Romantics

Valentine ball, 1981: last gasp for the New Romantics. Photographed © by Caroline Greville-Morris

❚ VALENTINE’S DAY 1981 was not so much the Woodstock of the New Romantics movement, but more akin to a Scouts and Guides jamboree in a giant ornamental wigwam in north London. Instead of boasting proficiency in camping and camouflage, a few hundred suburban Romantics fluffed up their frills and plastered on the Pan Stik to parade their skills in masquerade and maquillage. The “People of Romance”, as the tickets described them, paid £3.50 for a long evening starting at 5pm. They were expected to hold their own as stars alongside the cult’s budding bands at a venue renamed for a day The People’s Palace.

Astoria Finsbury Park, church, cinema, London

Andalusian fantasy: balcony view of the 1930 Astoria Finsbury Park, now restored. Photographed 2008 © hjuk/Flickr

An auditorium in Finsbury Park made the perfect backdrop. When it opened in 1930, the Astoria was one of Europe’s flagship cinemas seating 3,000 people. Its gloriously kitsch interior architecture depicted an Andalusian village whose rooftops and twisted barley-sugar pillars climbed towards a horizon and the starlit indigo ceiling way above balcony level. For a decade from 1971 the theatre had become a live rock venue, hippily renamed the Rainbow, where finally the stalls had been deprived of seats in favour of dancing audiences. Later the very year it hosted the People’s Palace, the place was to fall into disuse for a decade and a half, before being rescued and restored by a Pentecostal church.

People’s Palace, Valentine Ball, New Romantics, Steve Strange

Steve Strange at the People’s Palace, 1981: plus loyal acolytes Myra, Judi and Mandy. In a fleeting fashion show, Judi showed six outfits which along with others for Strange’s videos helped shape the New Romantics silhouette. Photographed © by Caroline Greville-Morris

Thirty years ago today, posses of over-the-top Romantics incongruously wandered its vast auditorium and bars and cavernous Moorish lobby in search of photo opportunities. It seemed at times as if photographers outnumbered the cast. Richard Young, king of London’s celebrity snapperazzi, had arranged two sheets to create an impromptu studio where he was immortalising the generation who relished calling themselves posers, garbed from top to toe in bejewelled, befeathered lace and velvet and ridiculous hats.

People’s Palace, Valentine Ball, New Romantics

Performance contracts for the People’s Palace, 1981: Shock were paid £500, Metro £250 and Depeche Mode £50. Source: Rusty Egan archive

The soundtrack throughout was the latest electronic pop, spun on Rusty Egan’s turntables as well as played live onstage. On this Saturday Ultravox were arriving at No 2 in the singles chart with Vienna, and here at The People’s Palace they were topping a bill booked by the event’s promoters, Egan and Steve Strange, to capture the zeitgeist, even as the duo planned their next clubbing venture following the closure of their Blitz nights.

Much as Midge Ure protested about his band qualifying as New Romantics, in February ’81 any band toting synths ticked the box. Among supporting acts the then unknown Depeche Mode opened the live sets for a handsome fee of £50 in their first major performance off the clubbing circuit, one week before releasing their debut electro-single Dreaming of Me.

Metro band, pop, Future Imperfect, record sleevesPeter Godwin revived the new-wave band-name Metro, surfing in on the strength of their 1980 album Future Imperfect, followed by the dance troupe Shock, dressed by Birmingham’s Kahn and Bell, as exponents of the robotic dance-style across Britain’s clubland where their single Angel Face was a dancefloor hit.

Steve Strange had hoped to stage a splashy fashion show too, though according to Judi Frankland — who had featured with her outfits in Bowie’s Ashes to Ashes video the previous summer and is visible second from right in the masthead for Shapersofthe80s — “The other designers pulled out at the last minute and as I was still under Steve’s spell he made me carry on and do a ‘show’ alone with a mere six outfits. When he pulled me onto the stage, ohhh that still makes me cringe! However the one good thing I got out of it was being on the same stage as my faves, still to this day, Depeche Mode. I keep bumping into lovely Dave Gahan every few years in the most unexpected places.”

Meanwhile most of the original Blitz Kids — who had animated the Bowie credo that behind a mask you can be anyone you wish — wouldn’t be seen dead at The People’s Palace. In the wake of chart success by Spandau Ballet and Visage, they were competing in a calculated dash towards fame and fortune in clubland, glossy mags and the music biz, whose singles charts by the summer of 1981 welcomed Landscape, Depeche Mode, Soft Cell, The Human League, OMD, Level42, Duran Duran, Heaven 17, Altered Images and Imagination.

Like Midge, we can argue ad finitum whether these acts all technically counted as the New Romantics bandwagon, but they did play dance music, not rock — which defines the reformation that fundamentally vanquished rock to change the sound of the 80s charts — and all benefited from the momentum, as ABC’s Martin Fry later acknowledged. Most of them would, however, set about shaking off the hollow Romantics label in favour of their own musical tastes as soon it had served its purpose. For the moment, like the Titanic heading unwittingly towards its iceberg, the preening Lord Foppingtons and Lady Buxoms at the Rainbow were unaware that theirs was the last real gasp of The Cult That Had Gone Too Far. By Valentine’s Day 1982, there were so many new fashion factions that they would never have turned up for the same ball.

People’s Palace, Valentine Ball, New Romantics, Astoria Finsbury Park

Frills, tassels and hats: Arrivals at the New Romantics ball, 1981. Photographed © by Caroline Greville-Morris

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