Would you consider using Dave on a future Recoil album?
I don’t think so, it wouldn’t feel right. I like Dave very much but I want to work with different people. Anyway, have you ever thought that he might not be interested in collaborating with Recoil?
In most interviews, Dave says he possibly was the closest to you. Do you agree?
Yes, that’s true. Dave’s a very friendly and open person, and easy to get along with.
Can you explain to us why Vince Clarke left the band? Did the other members ever explain to you the real reasons for his departure?
It really isn’t my place to speak for Vince – I’m sure he had his reasons at the time but you’ll have to ask him what they really were.
I happened to see the Erasure video for ‘Respect’ the other day and at one point Vince Clarke spray paints all over a symbol that looks remarkably like the loudspeaker logo from ‘MFTM’. Was this slight the result of an open feud at the time and was the pettiness reciprocated by DM?
I think it was just a bit of fun from Vince, nothing more than that.
Were you aware that Dave told KROQ (in a recent phone interview) that he missed touring with you and hopes you will come see the band in London? It was a very nice and very sincere statement.
Yes – several people were kind enough to e-mail me about this. It was a really nice comment to make – I miss Dave too.
During the promotion for ‘Ultra’, I think Martin actually referred to you as a ‘misanthropist’ which according to my dictionary means ‘anti-social, people hating and generally miserable’ – a definition that seems far from accurate considering the amount of time you spend communicating with your fans!
Well there’s probably an element of truth in this but ‘misanthropist’ is perhaps a little harsh. I don’t have a huge army of so-called ‘friends’ because I don’t suffer fools gladly and I’m also not so insecure that I need an entourage of sycophants singing my praises all the time. I’m very selective about the people I socialise with. I suspect Martin meant that I was cynical and sarcastic which is pretty much right.
I know that Martin supports Arsenal and Fletch supports Sheffield. Did you have any fights with them about football? Was Dave interested in that sport?
Fletch actually supports Chelsea and Dave’s not really that interested in football. We never had any fights, just a bit of banter.
Do you know what the other members of DM think about Recoil?
To be honest, none of them have ever really commented on Recoil.
Do you know if Martin, Dave or Fletch have visited your website and if not, do you think they will?
As far as I know they don’t have much interest in the internet.
In the beginning of ‘A Question Of Lust’ video, Martin wants to appear naked in front of the camera. Was it for real or just a fun idea for the video?
It was real. We were in a club somewhere and, as usual, Martin managed to take all his clothes off. The director Clive Richardson decided to bring his camera along and that’s what he got.
Although it maybe let you express yourself more, did it ever bother you that Martin didn’t really care about the production?
Sometimes, but it gave me more space to do what I enjoy.
You’ve mentioned frequently that you still receive royalties from any Mode projects that you’ve been involved with. Do you have any idea if Vince still gets the odd royalty cheque for ‘Speak & Spell’ and ‘The Singles ’81-’85’ / ‘Catching Up’?
Exactly the same principle applies to him.
Can you think of any examples where Martin’s version of a song was preferred to yours?
It was never as clear cut as that.
Have you got any idea why Dave prefers to live in the U.S.?
Some girls I work with a few years ago saw Martin outside Peter Stringfellows – a bit worse for wear – and he asked them to go to a party. They too were a bit ‘tipsy’, recognised him and started singing ‘Master And Servant’, to which he apparently got in a ‘bit of a huff’ and stormed off… Why get in a huff over such a great song?
Why do you think? I’m sure he was very embarrassed. I’d probably do the same.
Is it true that Fletch has recorded solo material but never released it?
An album called ‘ Toast Hawaii’ (Fletch’s favourite dish from Hansa Studios cafe) which featured Fletch singing cover versions of his favourite tunes – accompanied by myself and/or Martin on piano – does exist somewhere. It was recorded in Berlin (on a cassette machine) in about 1983 and I took the photo for the album cover – a shot of Fletch. We did however, have problems convincing Dan Miller that it was worth releasing 😉
Is there any truth to the rumour in Dave Thompson’s book “Some Great Reward” that Martin recorded the song “Somebody” in the noddy?
Yes, it’s absolutely true.
‘Never Let Me Down Again’ is about drugs, right? It has got to be. I mean, “We’re flying high, we’re watching the world pass us by” etc. How do you feel about that? Did Martin use drugs when writing this song? I knew he had some alcohol problems but I never heard of him using drugs.
I can’t speak for Martin’s songs – I know as much about what they mean as you do. I also can’t speak for Martin’s lifestyle, you’ll have to ask him personally if you want the answer to that one.
Okay, Dave’s been in several fights (and been busted), Mart has stripped in public (and been busted), Fletch is Fletch (and skipped a tour) – what is Alan Wilder’s most embarrassing tour moment? Come on, you can tell US….
Oh, I’ve had my fair share but I’m not willing to divulge the sordid details….;-)
In the ‘101 video’, Dave is seen holding a child. Also, there is a young lady present. Is this his child? And was that his wife or girlfriend?
It must have been his son Jack and first wife, Jo.
Martin has continually denied that he has specifically written songs for Dave. Have you ever considered that he may have been directing some of his lyrics towards you and your relationship with him?
I have no idea what Martin has in his mind when writing lyrics.
If a film was to be made about the life and times of Depeche Mode, who would you like to see cast as yourself? Any casting suggestions for the other members and crew?
Me – Gary Oldman? Martin – Barbara Windsor, Dave – Daniel Day Lewis, Fletch – Howard Jones
What was your attitude and reactions towards David when you found out that he was using and how did it affect your work?
It was disappointing. Not for any moral reasons but because his drug use adversely affected his personality and more specifically his greatest asset, his sense of humour. There was also an increase in general apathy and a distance which I found sad considering what an enthusiastic and vital person he really is. By all accounts his unique wit has now fully returned 😉
Your opinion on Daves scrotom ring?
When you were in DM, apart from recording sessions and being on tour, would the four of you ever decide to meet and socialise together as mates?
As a complete group, never. You have to remember that we were working for most of the year together, so any period of ‘downtime’ would have invariably been used for holidays and private times with our families.
With regards to some DM lyrics, in the song ‘Question Of Time’, there is the line “You’re only fifteen and you look good” and then there is the song ‘Little 15′ along with several references to “my little girl” – ie. Enjoy The Silence’ and ‘Behind The Wheel’. Is this 15 year old and the little girl real people or the same person or are they just part of Martin’s imagination?
I can’t speak for Martin.
My boyfriend and I were watching ‘Devotional’ last night and though the performance is haunting indeed and quite powerful, it really made us cringe to see the way Dave carried on. I mean, stage diving?! What goes through your mind when you look back at him during that period of time?
Looking back with the aid of hindsight, there are good and bad elements of the any stage show and we were all responsible for them. I think Dave had a very demanding job to go out there every night and engage the audience so it would be unfair to criticise him for a particular move, no matter how much of a rock cliché it was.
In the latest issue of ‘Q’, they list the 100 richest people in rock from the U. K. Why are you not listed when Dave is supposedly worth 5 million pounds, Fletch 10 million, and Martin 15 million? Roughly how much would you say you are worth?
There are thousands of other people they could (and should) have mentioned in their article which, as with every survey I’ve ever seen on rock stars and their wealth, was WILDLY off the mark. Some of the figures mentioned are laughable. They are based on massive assumptions and almost pure conjecture. I used to quite like ‘Q’ as a magazine but it’s gone rapidly downhill over the last few years. As for my personal wealth – that’s a private matter which I don’t really wish to disclose.
When you first heard about Dave’s last overdose, what was your reaction?
Obviously I was saddened but not totally surprised by the news. It seems like it shocked him out of his stupor though, so at least some good came out of it.
Although the fans are interested in what the members of DM and you are doing in private, I felt very irritated about the openness of Dave in many interviews, where he told everything about his private life. I really thought that it was too much. What do you think about this? Don’t you agree that there is a point where a person has to decide what details to keep private?
Well, in general I have to agree that there is something rather undignified about airing your dirty laundry in public – it’s not my style – and I don’t really think a lot of people want to hear rich pop stars whining about how tough it is to survive their privileged lives. However, there are cases when it’s necessary to be absolutely honest about a situation and, to an extent, humble oneself in order to confront the damage that’s been done. If this kind of confession has been therapeutic for Dave, then it’s perhaps not such a bad thing.
Hep, as you met Alan during the ‘Devotional’ tour, how did you get on with the other 3 guys (especially David)?
Dave is very much like Alan – very funny and extremely charming. He used to tease me a lot and call me ‘Beelzebub'(?!). I’m very fond of him. Martin is also very nice but quite a Jekyl and Hyde character – he’s a total extrovert when bombed out of his brains and completely the opposite when sober.
I’d like to thank you personally for not bleaching your hair along with Dave and Fletch back in 1985-ish. Who suggested that?
Nobody. I suppose it was just the ‘in’ thing to do.
I must admit I’m a curious and, I suppose, a foolishly sentimental person. So……did you meet up with David while you were in New York [during promo. for ‘Liquid’] and is there anything you could share with us?
Yes, Hep and I did visit the Gahan household and it was great to meet his wife, Jennifer, daughter Stella Rose and of course, to see Dave. He is in fantastic shape and we had a good laugh about lots of things – old and new. He is obviously besotted with Stella Rose and seems very content all round. I took a copy of ‘Liquid’ for him.
You had mentioned that you had given a copy of ‘Liquid’ to Dave during your visit in New York. What was his feedback on the new album?
You’re joking, I didn’t let him get near his guitar 😉
We all know that YOU are a classically trained musician and have talent playing keyboards/synthesizers, piano and drums. What OTHER instruments can you play?
That’s about it. I did learn the flute but haven’t played it for years, I can fumble my way around a bass and I can bash out a few chords on guitar.
What about Martin (other than guitar & keyboards and that weird instrument that he plays in ‘Everything Counts’)?
I don’t think he plays anything else although he has been known to strum the banjo while impersonating George Formby.
And Dave (has he ever contributed instrumentally on any albums that you were a part of)?
Dave plays a unique form of guitar. He has his own ‘special’ style. We used some of his playing as sound effects in one of the crossfade sections of ‘Violator’.
And Fletch (other than clapping & waving and the occasional pre-programmed sound effect)?
He says he used to play bass guitar in the very early incarnation of DM but I’ve never actually heard it put to the test.
Is Dave Gahan just a complete butt-munch or something? For his birthday, a lot of people sent e-mail’s to the official DM site and it’s August and we haven’t heard a word about his responses!!! Is he always such a jack ass?
No, he just doesn’t get computers. Somehow, I doubt whether he has internet or e-mail access yet. It’s possible that he hasn’t even seen the DM website. Don’t be too hard on him – I’m sure he appreciates everybody’s wishes.
And if you see Dave anytime soon, tell him he’s an ungrateful turd, and will continue to be so until we get a thank-you!
I would like to know if Dave can play any musical instrument?
He plays the guitar (in his own, unique style).
Several years ago (91-92) the girls from Lush were on KROQ’s ‘Lovelines’, and during the course of the show they made references to some situation involving David, themselves and an apple core. These comments were followed by “He’s your boyfriend” – “God no, he’s yours” and so on. My question is whether or not your aware of what they were referring to.
I’ve no idea I’m afraid, and I didn’t know what ‘Lovelines’ was until one of the collaborators who is staying with us at the moment told me.
Is it true that Dave Gahan got married recently? Did you get invited to his wedding and if so, did you go? Who did he marry?
Yes, we did get an invitation but couldn’t make it because we had a vocalist over during the same weekend. He married his girlfriend of the last few years, Jennifer who I haven’t met but have heard is very nice.
I saw a picture of Martin playing guitar left handed, so is he ambidextrous or just an in-the-closet lefty? 😉
Have you considered that the photo may have been printed back to front?
Is it true you almost (accidentally :)) knocked Fletcher’s head off while filming ‘Stripped’?
No, but there was one particular video shoot prior to that where a fight between two band members did occur – not involving me, I might add (more of a lover’s tiff actually ;-). Not that I’m mentioning any names of course except to say that when Dave tried to attract my attention to witness this amusing spectacle, I was preoccupied with something else and missed it – shit….
Let’s say you see an old Depeche buddy like Fletch, Mart, or somebody from the crew etc. Would you approach that person or ignore them?
Of course I would speak to them.
What do you think of Martin´s ‘Counterfeit’ E.P.?
I quite liked his choice of songs (especially the Comsat Angels song) but I didn’t think he developed his versions beyond the demo stage.
Do you think Dave had an inferiority complex at any point because the band wasn’t a loud guitar band?
Inferiority complex? – don’t know about that but there were times when it was obvious that Dave would have liked the band to ‘rock out’ more. Even though I wouldn’t have necessarily advocated the use of more guitars, I could sometimes share his sense of frustration at the lack of dynamics – something I go on about a lot as well because I believe it is so important within music.
Did you see or speak to Dave in 1991 or 1992 before recording ‘SOFAD’? For example, do you have pictures of him when he was growing his hair long?
I only spoke to him a couple of times on the ‘phone during that year.
If Dave were to get married again and he invited you, would you go? And who do you think his best man would be?
I’d go if he asked me. Maybe J. Kessler would be best man but I have no idea really.
When voting for something in DM, whatever it could be, had Fletch and Martin always the same opinion about things?
On the last US MTV’s ‘120 Minutes’, Dave said he misses your input a lot in Depeche Mode. Any comment?
Dave’s always been willing to recognise the contribution of others – he has a very generous nature and I believe he is sincere in his comments. I was possibly the closest to him in the group and I would imagine (DM having been a very insular group for many years) that it’s been pretty strange working with all sorts of new people in the studio and on stage – perhaps this is part of what he means. In many ways it would be easier for him to avoid the subject and say nothing, so the fact that he has gone out of his way to say such nice things about me recently makes me feel good. Although I’m happy doing what I do now, I also miss having him around, and in some ways I’ve missed out on the ‘new’ Dave.
When you all got back together to record ‘SOFAD’, what was your first impression of Dave’s new image?
He looked like he’d been living in L.A. for a year.
Were you involved in Martin Gore’s solo project ‘Counterfeit’ in any way?
When Dave was really into all the drugs, did anyone from D.M. or the tour crew do anything to stop him, or at least to try to help him? If so, who, and what did they do? If not, why not?
Yes, of course everybody tried to help him in their own way but it’s not easy to just stop somebody who’s on a mission.
After his overdose, did you visit him in hospital or at home?
No, I was in England at the time.
Have you had any contact with him at all recently?
Yes. I received a very nice message from him a couple of weeks ago. I sent a nice message back.
Are you still friends with him?
Absolutely, we’ve always been friends although we haven’t seen much of each other since ’94.
I am disturbed by the latest issue of Q where they have a review of a DM live show. The closing paragraph explicitly states that Dave is a less interesting and charismatic person now that he is not a junkie. Do you find this attitude towards drugs somewhat worrying, especially in relation to an acquaintance
Is this a direct quote? The only reason I would find it worrying is because it’s such a cliché. It would not be the first time that it’s been said an artist is at their most interesting when under the influence. I can’t see how the journalist can say Dave is a more or less interesting person without meeting him both before and after his drug experience. If he has done this, then he is entitled to his opinion. If he means his performance isn’t as good, well, he’s also entitled to his opinion.
What was it like for all the members of DM when Dave was strung out on heroin? Were any others strung out?
It didn’t necessarily turn him into a monster or anything but, obviously, Dave was in his own world. Consequently this made normal communication more difficult, which was an added pressure in an already quite tense group relationship. It was just a bit sad from my point of view because he wasn’t really ‘there’ a lot of the time and I missed his sharp wit. Nobody else in DM has ever taken heroin as far as I know so I imagine Dave felt alien to the rest of us at this time.
Did Vince Clarke contact you when you left the group? Do you have any type of relationship with him?
No, I hardly know Vince at all.
You recently spoke to Dave Gahan and I wondered if his language has changed over the years he has been living in America?
Dave’s taken on a classic mid-Atlantic accent although as the old adage goes, you can take the boy out of Basildon but you can’t take Basildon out of the boy…