Alan, are you a feminist (that’s a tricky one, eh?)
Not too tricky. I believe men and women are equal but different. Generally speaking, men are good at some things, women at others but that doesn’t mean they can’t sometimes cross over. I love confident women with brains who also recognise their femininity. I think that makes me a feminist. Now, stick the kettle on, love;-)
What do you do to cheer your mood up?
Have a drink.
Phrase you use (too) often?
“Take that off and go and put something sensible on.”
“Don’t stick your finger in there”
“Oi, where’s my dinner?”
Having read about your recurring ‘plane crash dream, I was wondering if you’d want a ‘dream catcher’? It’s a Native American talisman that you hang by your bed and, through some sort of mystical process or (as I’m inclined to believe, simple power of suggestion) it ‘catches’ dreams and sort of buffers out the bad ones. They’re quite small and unobtrusive, so, do you want one?
I lived with someone who thought she was descended from the lost city of Atlantis and of alien origin. I’ve had to sleep with crystals, beads, pyramids and Peruvian nose-flutes. I’ve had my runes, palms, stars and tea cup leftovers read. I’ve been pinned, punctured and pressured, metamorphocised, kineticised, analysed and energized. I’ve been massaged, rolfed, shiatzu’d, feng shui’d and I cheing’d. I’ve seen Claire Voyant, Mystic Meg, Big Chief Sun Bear and Mother Meera…….. and I’ve even got the leftovers of an Indian reservation in my garden. At the end of it, I’m about as spiritually enlightened as a brick. Consequently, I’m just a little cynical.
Anyway, why would I want my dreams fucked with? I like their variety. Dreaming seems to be our psyche’s way of addressing problems / desires / fears etc. through the subconscious. A ‘bad’ dream’ may be offering up a very important message and is just as valid as cream cakes and fluffy clouds. Thanks anyway, Greg;-)
You’ve said elsewhere in Q+A that you don’t really care who listens to your music (which is fair enough) but not being musical myself I find that hard to understand. I mean, would it not somehow be tainted if you knew a murderer or rapist was a big fan?
Not really. If you think like that, you wouldn’t be able to do anything. Whatever you do or say, there’s always someone who’s going to either be offended or disturbed by it etc…
Do you make music for yourself or for others? Is something like Recoil more prone to this ‘because’ of it’s darker side?
As above, too much self censorship makes for boring output. It could well be that Recoil does disturb some people but if you don’t like it, don’t listen and if it makes you do weird things, that’s your problem, not mine.
Are you a secret philanthropist or do you support any special charities / causes?
I’m not all that that keen on my fellow man (as a species) although I care about those close to me. I believe giving to “charridy” is something that should remain a private thing – unfortunately, it becomes distasteful when associated with personal publicity.
You are told that you can choose a time and a place in the past to go back to for a really short time period (a football match, a lesson, a show, a party etc) and you can meet anyone – no limitations. Do you know what and when that would be?
I’d like to have been in the back of that black Mercedes to see what REALLY happened……
How do you manage to make your songs so dark and lonely? Are you affected by your surroundings?
It seems to come naturally to me. It’s difficult to explain but I do draw on bad situations – I haven’t had a troubled life myself but I’ve seen others dealing with their own.
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!
What’s your fascination with the words ‘blood’ and ‘line’?
No real fascination. I promise I won’t use them again, o.k.?
What random song title best describes your life?
Quark, Strangeness and Charm. (Hawkwind)
What would you title your autobiography?
They Think It’s All Over….It Is Now!
If you were a superhero, what would you call yourself and what would be your super powers?
I think I’d be ‘Vodka Man’ with the ability to turn mere water into neat Stoli…
What makes you really angry in life?
Sloppiness, rudeness, infantile behaviour, the National Lottery, people who let you down at the last minute, London cabbies….
Are you a very patient person or someone who loses his temper very quickly if something doesn’t work properly?
I’m fairly patient with people I work with (I’ve been told I’m good at teaching people things) but I don’t suffer fools and I get totally frustrated with technology when it doesn’t work.
Do you dream at night and if so, what kind of dreams do you most often have – nightmares, falling dreams…?
We all dream at night – it’s only a question of whether you remember them or not. According to a documentary I saw the other day on sleep depravation, even if you keep yourself awake, the body still insists on going into a dream state (R.E.M) on a periodical basis. With this in mind, there seems to be strong evidence to suggest that sleep-deprived hallucinations are probably a result of the brain entering a kind of awake dream state (if that makes sense). Like most people, when asleep, my mind throws up all kinds of bizarre images. I don’t have a particular recurring dream except aircraft crashes.
What were some of your better pick-up lines from your single days or was “Hi, I’m Alan from Depeche Mode” usually enough?
I don’t really have pick-up lines, I like to make the girls do the chasing 😉
Okay. White room, no windows or doors; an inexplicable wind is blowing. You are inside. Three words off the top of your head to describe how you feel.
Nervous, regret, vindaloo…
Your music often makes me feel very melancholic and sometimes sad and depressed. What do you think about the feeling of your music? Are you a gothic-bloke or something like that?
From my point of view it doesn’t make me feel melancholy or depressed – it makes me simultaneously unnerved and excited, which I suppose is its desired effect.
What kind of person are you: the one that if sees something he wants indeed, and despite all harmful consequences (if he really thinks that any damage wouldn’t matter after, for the pleasure he gets out of getting and doing what he wants will be worth all the consequences) will do or get it, or the one that will not do anything to get what he wants, but will persuade himself that the game isn’t worth playing? In other words, will you do what you really want if you know you will have to face consequences?
In other words, tell me what you want, what you really, really want? Of course I want a zig-a-zig ahh in the largest size possible…. Am I a hedonist? I suppose by some peoples standards I am – life is too short for regrets and I don’t suffer from any bizarre moral hang-ups but I think I’m pretty sensitive to the feelings of those around me.
Any secrets as to how you or the DM members style their hair? Mine is sadistically disagreeable. I’m using beeswax at the moment.
Speaking for myself, ‘Black and White’ wax although it’s a bastard to wash off your hands.
Are you aware of the fact that lots of young ladies consider you to be a Ladies man? Do you think you are an extremely charming pattern of manhood?
I’ve never heard it referred to that before….
Is that hair coloring/natural color/lighting?
Oooh yes. Hair by Derek. Hair today, gone tomorrow. Anything for the weekend, Sir?
How tall are you (in cm please)?
You work it out – I’m English! I’m 5’11 and a half….
How old do you feel?
Varies from day to day.
Back in 1989, a friend, who had the privilege of interviewing you, told me your greatest fear was losing your hands in an accident. Are you still afraid of this?
No but I’ve developed a fear of flying in more recent years; not to the point where I won’t get on an airplane but I’m very apprehensive each time I do.
I have read that outstanding mathematicians are also excellent musicians and vice versa. Have you ever shown outstanding mathematical abilities ? 😉
There may be some correlation between the two but it’s never been the case with me….I’m just lucky someone invented the calculator… 😉
Do you find it difficult to get down to a more quiet way of living after so many years in the highlights? Do you miss the high rocking arena years in DM?
No, I’m quite comfortable with my current lifestyle and, frankly, the thought of being back in a group about to go on tour makes me feel slightly ill….
What are you afraid of the most?
Do you like the fantasy of going for a walk on a full moon night with someone you love or feel very close to? Does the moon have a special meaning for you?
Romantic walks in the moonlight are ok but I’d really like to go to the moon before I die, or at least into space. To look down on the earth would probably be the must humbling of experiences.
Thank you very much for the recipe of your hair-style – I always thought that you were at war with your hairdresser and he’d won! Now your hair looks better is it because you changed hairdresser or because Hep lays her hands on your hair?
I’ve never (until now) had a regular hairdresser. In fact as a rule, I don’t like people messing about with me barnet – I only relent when it becomes unmanagable. Hep used to give me a number 4 with hair clippers but she doesn’t like it and refuses to do it anymore. However, she did cut my hair once after boasting about how good she was. Stupidly, I let her loose with the scissors an hour before going on stage at Wembley – I looked like I’d gone 10 rounds with a lawnmower. After the show my mother commented: “Been to see the nit nurse, have you?” I now am visited every couple of months by the lovely Zoe who regulates proper barnet control.
What was/is your favourite hair spray?
Elnette by Loreal – because I’m worth it.
Where do you buy your “Elnette by Loreal hairspray?” I wrote to the Loreal company and they told me in a letter that they don’t sell the product here in America. Is the hairspray only for guys or can women wear it too?
Elnette is considered a national institution by British punks or anyone who’s ever attempted to defy gravity where their barnet is concerned. It was just an ordinary hairspray – originally aimed at women but when it’s hair-raising properties were discovered in the late 70’s by all those spotty youths who’d been relying on sugar and water to keep their Mohicans in tip-top condition, the company obviously saw the dollar signs flashing because they began to bring out stronger and stronger versions aimed at anyone with a daft haircut. Basically, nowadays you could strip paint with the stuff and I wouldn’t trust it near my bonce.
What is your secret to maintaining your delicious, great looks?
A photographer who does as he’s told and only shoots my good side, Adobe Photoshop’s rubber stamp tool (for removing those embarrassing chins and touching up the wrinkles) and girls like you Stephanie who boost my ego and think that I still look like I did in the ‘101’ video 😉
What do you consider to be the sexiest thing about a woman?
I am still reeling from my anatomy class visit to the morgue today. Although the two cadavers – stripped down to muscle – were incredibly interesting and educational, I feel somewhat…well, out of step. And staying the hell away from lunch meat. Now, would you consider yourself squeamish or rather tough?
Somewhere in the middle probably. I’ve no real desire to study deceased bodies but if I were in that situation, I wouldn’t shy away – I would be genuinely intrigued.
If someone came to you with a proposal to go on a real, honest-to-goodness adventure, like going to Mars or deep sea exploration or even searching for buried treasure or a lost city, would you take them up on it?
I might think about going into space if it becomes an option.
If you were to choose which animal you could be reincarnated as, what would it be?
Something that eats flies and mice.
Suppose you could be reincarnated into someone’s body, who would it be?
Well I’ve always fancied getting inside Miranda Richardson.
I get lots of strange looks – being a 6’2 female is quite rare. Do you think tall women are sexier than short women?
Actually, I’ve always been attracted to shorter women – don’t know why, could be a mother complex or perhaps I just like to tower above them. They seem to fit more snugly when you put your arms around them. Of course, I can always make exceptions…..
Have you ever had an ingrown toenail?
Bizarre question of the week award…..well done. No I haven’t.
I like your sense of humour – are you always in such a good mood? What makes you mad?
It takes quite a lot to really get me rattled actually and I’ve consistently found that humour (or more specifically, sarcasm) is the best method of diffusing difficult or confrontational situations.
What are your guilty pleasures? I mean, what songs / TV programs / authors / magazines do you secretly enjoy but would not admit to liking in a televised interview?
At the moment, my greatest pleasure is killing mice (they will die) – the cocky bastards have moved in for the winter and have already eaten our doors, the cork from the top of an olive oil bottle, a packet of very expensive Italian pasta, part of the hoover(?!), the telephone lead and to cap it all (the proverbial biscuit-taking) nibbling the ‘smarties’ out of Paris’ advent calendar. The gloves are off……
Note from Hep: Since writing this answer, Alan’s already got two – by traditional ‘bash them on the head’ trap method – and I found the little bastard that had attacked the olive oil actually drowned at the bottom of the bottle… that’s called Karma or something, isn’t it?
One word answers please. What do you think about:
Sigue Sigue Sputnik:
Females with too much makeup:
Tarts. (doesn’t mean I don’t like them though ;-))
Fodder for oldies.
The people on the Shunt-mailing list:
Take ’em or leave ’em.
Don’t mind if I do.
Rock ‘n Roll:
Suppose you were 18 again – what would you be like? Trendy guy wearing trousers made out of tent material and a fleecy jacket; hippy wearing combats and silly hats; rebellious type wearing Marilyn Manson T shirts and sullen expression; dance enthusiast with optional headphones; None of the above?
Not sure what I would be like but I know what I wouldn’t be wearing. I wouldn’t be wearing my oversized trousers back to front while exposing my builder’s arse crack to the world. I wouldn’t be wearing dirty old plimsoles or walking around with two bricks stuck to the bottom of my shoes. I wouldn’t leave my hair in a state where several small rodents could happily set up camp inside and I’d work out which way round my baseball cap was designed to be worn.
On the same subject please can we see some photos of you as a goth?
Goth? Don’t be daft, I was a hippy. I think you’re confused about an answer Hep gave about dressing like a goth.
I saw your interview for the ‘Videos 86-98’, you looked great. Are those prescription lenses you had around your neck or sunglasses? What sunglasses do you wear?
Thanks for the compliment – I thought I looked rough and the lighting was horrible! Thankfully, my eyesight is fine so I don’t wear sight correcting glasses – the ones you saw are very nice ‘Oakley’ sunglasses presented to me for my last birthday by Hep. I have several different pairs but it’s difficult to beat classic raybans.
Do you usually dress as you do in your promo photos? 🙂
Yes, I always put on my best ‘whistle’ (whistle ‘n’ flute = suit) when I’m sitting in a freezing cold studio staring inanely at a monitor for 12 hours a day with the only other humans I’m likely to encounter, apart from Hep, being the postman and the bloke who comes to empty out the cess pit…..
Did you always use both of your names Alan and Charlie?
Daryl Bamonte actually started calling me Charlie many years ago and it stuck. I’ve got a few more names as well, for all my various personalities. There’s Ron Fellini and his brother Stan for example. Ron is around quite often but it is very rare to see Stan.
Note from Hep: I’ve only seen Stan a couple of times myself…..he can be quite vicious but I rather like him…. 😉
Was Charlie the one that persuaded Alan to leave DM?
It was Ron actually.
What’s Charlie’s opinion of Depeche Mode’s last album ‘Ultra’?
Well Charlie thinks ‘Ultra’ is quite…………… ahhhh, thought you had me there, didn’t you?
What are you afraid of and what was the best moment / day of your life and why?
Going down in an air crash and the birth of my daughter. Neither require explanation, wouldn’t you agree?
When you are at parties, what kind of music makes you jump out on the dance floor and dance your butt off? When I go to parties I always brings some 80´s compilations, because they make everyone dance all night.
I find that 70’s disco, glam rock and a good punk section usually gets the masses going. Then again, it depends on the age group. Apart from something like New Order’s ‘Blue Monday’, I tend to give the 80’s a wide berth. Strictly no Dexy’s Midnight Runners or A-Ha on my compilations.
I can’t believe the capacity of your memory. How do you remember all of these details of your career? Did you keep journals that you sometimes refer to or is it all “upstairs”?
You’re joking – my memory is terrible. Some things however are just indelibly etched into my brain. I don’t remember everything – there are some trainspotters out there who have to correct me quite often.
I understand you and I share a similar morbid fascination with the predominant hairstyle of inbred American truck drivers and Latin soccer players, the ‘mullet’. Now, as much as it pains me to admit it, I actually have in my possession photographs in which you, yes you, have a hair style teetering dangerously on the edge of mullethood. Granted these are probably 15 years old, but Alan, I have to know, have you ever uttered the immortal words: “Don’t touch the back.” ?
Teetering on the edge doesn’t count. The only mullet I like is blackened and sits on my plate with new potatoes and vegetables. Those that support the Michael Bolton variety do provide endless fascination however.
If you could change one thing about females, what would it be and why?
I think they need to evolve in the future with a special ‘anti-speaking-during-important-footy matches’ hormone that is secreted as soon as the commentary starts. To make it better still, it would in turn trigger another that made them want to make cups of tea, rounds of sandwiches then leave the room.
I am an American girl and I need some pointers on how to catch an Englishman’s heart. Any ideas? Feedback from you both would be much appreciated.
Don’t talk during the football and don’t fall into the trap of thinking that being aloof makes you cool. Humourless women who play silly sexual games (especially when they’re all talk and no trousers) and are more concerned about breaking a nail than breaking wind, won’t get anywhere with English blokes. It’s not that we don’t like strong and confident women who like to flirt but you’d better have something upstairs to back it up – when it all comes down to it, like every red-blooded man, we may fancy someone for a bit of ‘how’s yer father’ for 15 minutes but if you’re boring or rude you can forget anything more than that. We like women with a sense of humour.
Some Japanese music magazines said that “Alan is a quiet and cool-headed man”. Is it right?
Sometimes I suppose – it depends on what I’m doing. I’m far from quiet if I’m having a night out or watching an important match.
Do you also feel depressed / do you have a loss of energy now because of the lack of the sun in Europe etc? If so, what advice would you give me to feel better? I have already tried St. Johns Wort (which does not help at all), Vitamin pills, long walks in sunny afternoons and German TV programmes which are not very funny…….
Might as well go kill yourself and get it over with (only joking). Personally, I love the winter, especially cold, dry, crisp days. We burn open fires, drink warming beverages, roast our nuts and……..
It seems to me that you’re wild, passionate, inexorable and insatiable etc. Do your sexual fantasies and desires correspond with your last name?
Are you faithful person?
Like an old Labrador.
Are you hot-tempered and is it a terrible picture when you lose you temper?
I don’t lose my temper often. I’m fairly easy going but not very tolerant of idiots.
Are you bisexual or do you love only the girls?
I love only the girls.
I noticed that people who listen to your music have high sexual energy. I think the reason for this is you, Alan. You, to my mind, have it and it spreads among every one of us through your music. Is it pleasant for you to realise that you make people feel something new (that new you open in us only by one your work, not to mention your appearance)?
? Er, quite pleasant, yes.
Previously you mentioned that besides it being arrogant and rude, you’d never use the “do you know who I am” line while out and about around town, for fear that people would have no idea of who you are. I wonder if you find people who do indeed recognize you, fall all over themselves whilst trying to assist you – for instance, a waiter, sales person, etc.?
I suppose it happens sometimes but usually I’m so embarrassed that I don’t cotton on. It’s only when someone points out to me that the waitress is in fact a huge fan (which happened at a meal recently) that I eventually put two and two together and understand why she kept dropping the plates and staring at me like I had some hideous facial deformity.
You said you liked Greenaway (‘The Pillow Book’) visually but his work didn’t engage you emotionally. What does engage you emotionally?
Q.P.R. beating United 4-1.
In what situations do you think it’s ok to lie about your age – just when joining certain pop bands? 😉
Yes, and of course when trying to lure young girls into compromising positions. I never put myself over 36 – works a treat every time. Dad.
What are plus-fours?
Plus Fours are ‘just below the knee’ breeches that were worn traditionally (with socks) by golfers and country gents but have now, thankfully, been consigned for the most part (save a few sad, old farts and the American Ryder Cup team) to the bin where they belong. Unfortunately, their legacy lives on in women’s fashions where they make a comeback every now and then. For example, in the early 80’s we had ‘Pedal Pushers’ and more recently they reared their ugly head in the form of ‘Clam Diggers’. I don’t care what they’re called, they’re still the most unflattering things ever and no bird of mine is allowed to be seen dead in them……..”now go and put a nice little skirt on love, and stop being silly”…….
A 1990 Rolling Stone article pretty much begins with you lamenting on how you had been called a faggot ‘X’ amount of times that day. Have you ever beaten anybody up because they called you a fag?
Beaten anyone up? Oooooh nooooo, I wouldn’t like to do that – I might break a nail or something…..
If you were to join a cause or crusade of some kind, what would it be?
The freedom to shoot intruders with a large gun.
At night just before falling asleep, what is the last thing you think about?
“Oh bollocks, I left the outside light on again.”
In topless bars in the US, you are sure to hear ‘Stripped’, ‘World In My Eyes’ and ‘Strangelove’ on any given night – especially in Southern California. I just wanted to know if you considered this the proper venue for your music?
In the words of Barry Norman…….. “and why not”?
I’m sure you may have wandered into a club or two when you were a single, travelling bloke. Any favourites? Hate them all? Need to see the nudie girls?
What do you mean ‘wandered into’? As Swiss Tony would say: “I’m a privileged member, gold card holder”.
Hep, do you have an opinion on this one – self expression or pure slutery? 🙂
Topless bars and live sex joints? A jolly good night out all round as far as I’m concerned….
With the Blair Witch Project (ugh! and yuck) and all of this rehashing of “oooh the woods are evil and scary and the owls are not what they seem”, do you believe that a place, be it the woods or a town or a building, can be inherently evil or occupied by some sort of ever-present negativity?
I think it’s interesting that very often, what seems supernatural or unexplainable can eventually be proven scientifically as a natural phenomenon – that’s not to say I’m not open to the more controversial areas of science but I do tend to err of the side of logic. Then again, there are times when you go into a house or room and can’t help feeling uncomfortable, sensing that perhaps the building doesn’t want you to be there.
I recently saw a documentary exploring the new suggestion that paranormal disturbances could be explained by the presense of geological fault lines. The theory is basically that underground shifting is likely to be responsible for inanimate objects etc. supposedly moving on their own and the earth’s magnetic field which is stronger in geologically unstable areas, affects our surroundings much more than we realise, messing about with electrical connections in the brain and ultimately altering peoples perceptions, inducing hallucinations and perhaps even tapping into a 6th sense that makes them more psychically receptive.
They visited a village in England with a high proportion of ‘hauntings’ and polterguist activity and interestingly found that the affected buildings were all of quite varying ages from a 15th Century coaching inn to a recently built petrol station – also, many didn’t have any kind of grisly history. When they surveyed the geological aspects of the area, they found that all the places were indeed directly above or very, very close to a natural fault line.
It was interesting to watch how the fault snaked through the village and how a row of 6 or 7 houses for example, would all report some kind of supernatural activity and then suddenly the disturbances would jump to a building over the road as the line veered off in another direction. It’s also the case that a lot of paranormal phenomenon are the same the world over – i.e. glowing lights, strange smells and sounds. They found that the kinds of gases that are released from deep fissures in the earth – one in particular who’s name I forget – display all the properties that could be responsible for strange occurences such as green glowing mists, so often attributed to ghosts or spectres.
My car accident last month has left me with the realisation of how quickly one’s life can be altered. Although I was terrified of the possibility of paralysis, I was most terrified of possibly not being able to communicate with others. Is there a particular fear of that sort that you have? If you could only save one of your five senses, which would you choose? By the way, I am recovering very well. 🙂
Glad to hear you’re making a good recovery. I think I’d want to retain my sight. I can hear music in my head anyway and I’d be quite happy not to talk to anyone – and I’d still be able to watch the footy.
So I was visiting Richard Berry’s Recoil website and I saw these pictures of you from way back. It looks like you’ve got some kind of beard thing on your face. What’s up with that?
It was a wheeze I concocted with a specific purpose in mind. And I have to say, it worked a treat. My David Bellamy-inspired appearance was designed so that it would also be my last on British Saturday morning kids TV (which I detested). Neil Ferris, DM’s plugger at the time, would insist that I regularly pair up with one other band member to turf up at the BBC at the crack of dawn only to be surrounded by a gaggle of 8 year-olds while being patronised by Mike Read or some such twat. Many heated discussions occurred around this time about the wisdom of such prostitution (Smash Hits was another example) but I was always persuaded that, after watching the show, the girlies were bound to rush down to their local record shops in droves, dribbling for our latest single. When I spotted the false beard in the BBC make-up room, I seized my opportunity to get my own back on Neil and was never asked to make another appearance. Result.
The other day I saw on TV an interview you made in Spain. One of the things most surprising was… your new and original hairstyle. Could you tell me your inspiration? Maybe David Bowie or David Beckham?
Chris Waddle. A homage to the mullet !