Questions for Depeche Mode’s Dave Gahan?Posted by Mike Schumacher
Dave Gahan, frontman of Depeche Mode, continues our new series in which Guardian readers ask stars of cinema and music questions. His newest album with the duet Soulsavers is released next month.
Depeche Mode has carved out its own darkly lighted corner of British music for over 40 years, managing to be campy, gothic, joyful, and downbeat all in the span of one song.
Gahan, Martin Gore, Vince Clarke, and Andy Fletcher formed Speak and Spell in Basildon in 1980, and their debut album Speak and Spell remains a landmark in electro-pop, featuring hit singles Just Can’t Get Enough and New Life, both of which featured Gahan’s declarative voice cutting through the rigid, highly melodic programmed backings. Depeche Mode survived the early volatility and settled into a gradually darker rhythm during the 1980s, with the drums hitting harder and harder and industrial guitars sneaking into the mix.
The group had five more UK Top 10 albums until 1990’s Violator, which included glam-rock hymn Personal Jesus and the wonderfully melancholy Enjoy the Silence, with Gahan alternatively cooing gentle entreaties and delivering harsh pronouncements in his deep baritone range. But as the band’s worldwide popularity grew – their second album, the darker Songs of Faith and Devotion, reached No 1 in the UK – so did internal strife and Gahan’s drug use: he got hooked to heroin and almost died of an overdose in 1996 before being resuscitated.
Rehab rescued him, and the band resumed recording with Ultra, another chart-topper and the first of six more albums until Spirit in 2017; they remain an energizing, crowd-pleasing live act, with a 2017 Guardian review praising: “Gahan contorts his wiry frame, twirls balletically, strikes Christ poses, and touches himself in post-watershed places… [he] continues to be one of those great frontmen with the air of someone who’s done all the bad stuff in life so you don’t have to.”
During this time, Gahan also recorded two solo albums and subsequently collaborated with Soulsavers on two more. On November 12th, their third album, Imposter, will be published, including cover versions of songs by Bob Dylan, PJ Harvey, Cat Power, Neil Young, and others.
Gahan will take your questions on anything in his turbulent but brilliantly inventive career ahead of the album’s release. Before 6 p.m. on Monday, October 18th, post them in the comments section below.
His responses will appear in the print version of our Film & Music section on October 22nd, as well as online.
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