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After Andy Fletcher's death, Depeche Mode fear 'painful' ghosts on new tour

By Deborah Cole/AFP Published Oct 06, 2022 9:38 am

Depeche Mode founder and principal songwriter Martin Gore said Wednesday (Oct. 5) the group expects to be haunted by memories on its upcoming world tour, after the sudden death of bandmate Andrew Fletcher.

Gore told AFP the British New Wave trailblazers, who this week announced their first new album and concert dates in more than five years, were still grieving Fletcher's passing in May after four decades of making music together.

"Andy loved the hotel bar. It was a realization when I walked into the hotel (in Berlin) and saw the hotel bar where I'd seen him standing so many times that that was going to keep happening over and over again as we travel on the next tour," said Gore, 61.

"As we move around the world I'll be seeing him sitting in hotel bars with a pint in front of him. It's like I can't get away from that.

"I realised that it was going to be more painful than I imagined."

The new record Memento Mori, due out in March, is dedicated to Fletcher, who died from a tear in a key artery leading to his heart.

"He was due to start in the studio with us recording seven weeks after he died. His passing kind of cemented the album title for us," meaning "remember that you have to die," Gore said.

"We thought it was a good album title anyway on so many levels, but after he died, it just felt really right."

'Cutting edge'

One of Britain's most successful and long-running acts, Depeche Mode has sold more than 100 million albums since 1980.

Credited with bringing electronic music into the mainstream, the band last released a studio album, Spirit, in 2017. Memento Mori will be its 15th studio record.

After a limited series of North American dates starting in March, the group will head to Europe, hitting venues including the Stade de France in Paris, Berlin's Olympic Stadium and Twickenham in London.

Gore said his "milestone" 60th birthday in 2020 and a creeping sense of his own mortality had inspired many of the songs on the new record.

But he said he was pleased to see new generations embrace the band's music, both evergreens like Personal Jesus and Just Can't Get Enough as well as new material.

"If you've got parents who are really into a band and they're playing the music all the time and it's half decent, the kids get to hear it all the time," Gore said.

"That's one of my best theories on why we have so many young kids at the shows and even hanging outside the hotels. I mean, it really does surprise us."

Gore said Depeche Mode also still saw themselves as pioneers in electronic music, keeping the band from getting mired in nostalgia.

"We've always tried to keep up with (technology) and it's always been important for us to get up-and-coming people to do our remixes and kind of stay on the cutting edge there," he said. 

"So I think that helps us keep a younger generation interested." (AFP)