1985

At the beginning of 1985 DM took a break, which they obviously used to record Shake the Disease and Flexible because this single was released shortly after the end of the third leg of the Some Great Reward-Tour.
From 14 March to 12 April DM played 12 gigs in the US and Japan.
On 29 April the live-video The World We Live In and Live In Hamburg was released. The concert had been recorded in the "Alsterdorfer Sporthalle" in Hamburg on 9 December 1984. The number of songs on the video depended on the region. Some had 11, some had 17. There were also laser disc releases in Japan and the U.S. In Europe there were only releases on VHS.
On the same day, 29 April, Shake the Disease / Flexible was released. Beside the 7" mix, there were three different versions of Shake the Disease available, a fading version, the Remixed Extended Version (engineered by Flood) and the Edit the Shake version. The single's B-side Flexible was also available as Remixed Extended Version (engineered by Flood) and as Pre-Deportation Mix (remixed by Bert Bevins). Some releases included a live version of Master and Servant (recorded in Basel, Switzerland, on 30 November 1984) and the Metal Mix of Something to Do (remixed by Gareth Jones).
Dave: "Shake the Disease is a good song which is something that's been lacking in the charts lately - they've been in a real state. There's a lot of American music there and nothing to really grab hold of, no new thing. Some of the things that have been successful recently have just been rhythm tracks, basically what we did on the new B-Side as a bit of fun in the studio."
Martin: "Flexible is a kind of a joke. Cos I'm sure for instance if my mum looked at me now, she'd think 'what has it done to you?'[1] A lot of the tracks were written when I was very young. So I think that from Construction Time Again there is some kind of link between the songs. Sometimes it's very obvious, there are things like references 'cos I really like references to other songs. In Shake the Disease there's a reference to another song. You know it says, Now I've got things to do and I've said it before I know you have too. And in another song it said, Now I've got things to do and you have too."[2]

For those who don't get it at once: the other song is Stories of Old (Some Great Reward). I'd been asked by a reader once if there is a further connection between these two songs than just these two lines. Many lyrics of Martin's have a connection because he has a penchant for certain special topics. Stories of Old is about liking the girl, he feels great when he's with her (I'm really in heaven whenever we kiss) and enjoys being with her sometimes, but he wouldn't sacrifice anything at all to love. He doesn't like compromising, being tied to someone. Both of them should be able to live a life of their own.
The same topic appears in Shake the Disease, when he says that some people have to be permanently together. He also asks here for independence, but while he sounds quite self-confident in Stories of Old (You won't change me!), in Shake the Disease it has become much more difficult to explain why this is so important to him. This is mainly because of this disease that takes hold of his tongue in situations like these.
You could understand Shake the Disease as some kind of continuation of Stories of Old but the relationship in question has changed meanwhile. It seems as if the girl doesn't accept his need for independence any longer, and is trying to draw the reins tighter, trying to tighten the relationship.

Alan: "Shake the Disease is still one of my favourite Martin songs but I don't think we really got the best out of it. I suspect everybody was trying too hard to make it sound extra special, not least Daniel who thought it would be worthwhile to spend days and days recording every sound he could get from his Synclavier onto 24 individual tracks, and then bounce them down to just 2. And the result? Something that sounded like a sine wave."
The video for Shake the Disease was shot by Peter Care who used an "upside down machine".
Alan: "The promo uses 'free fall' sequences that make for a fairly simple optical illusion. The subject is strapped to a motorized pole that runs through the back of his jacket. As the pole rotates taking you with it, the camera follows at the same angle giving the impression that the subject is remaining still and everything in the background is actually moving. Peter also used another similar trick where the camera is attached to you on a kind of stiff harness (no cameraman). As you move around with the camera, you again appear still while the background moves around."[3]
They had two months off, before they played the last leg of the Some Great Reward-Tour from 6 to 30 July, comprising 8 concerts, mainly festivals.



Depeche Mode

(with friendly permission of Mute/EMI)



Since there weren't many musical activities the journalists could ask them about, you will find a lot of "reviews", and people trying to find out more about the personalities of the band members in the media in this year. Martin had changed his outfit and lifestyle drastically, so he stepped out of line a bit. Many journalists tried now to "understand him" (by way of Shake the Disease maybe), and learn more about him. But it wasn't that easy. Sometimes it was because Martin wasn't ready to open up, sometimes it was because he was being too witty, and sometimes it was because the journalists simply didn't understand his humour.
However, one of the two main topics of this year was Martin, because of his style of clothing, his striptease tendencies and his "theories". A couple of these "theories":
"I've got a theory that if you don't over-expose yourself you stick around longer. When we started we got a lot of flak because we had such a terrible image, very sickly. Even I thought we were wimps. Gradually we've changed that around. It's been a challenge."
"After a few nice little pop singles you're allowed a bit of perversion. In fact the working title of Some Great Reward was Perversions but we didn't think that mums would buy it for their daughters."
"I am quite a pessimist and happy to be one. Sometimes I paint things too black but even when we're doing well I tend to notice bad things."
"Conventional humour bores me. Still, I wish a few people could see some of the humour in what we do."[4]

"I see life as quite boring. So I kind of see our stuff as ... Love and Sex and Drink against the Boredom of Life. When I write love songs people think they're really soppy, but I see love as ... a consolation for the boredom of life. And drink and sex ... Personally speaking I think we're quite decadent. When we're on tour, which is generally very boring, we, or some of us, tend to go out every night, have a lot to drink and generally have a good time. Consolation, see? I know it's all expected of rock bands, but going out is enjoyable, drinking is enjoyable and collapsing is enjoyable."
Martin dashed down another Whiskey whereupon the reporter dared to ask whether he never had the urge to do something really wild.
Martin: "I want to represent life's boredom ..."
Sorry I asked.
Martin: "... and if you take things to absurd extremes you're not really reflecting life. Real life is not extreme, so we're not, and nor is our music. But if I make boring records and people identify with them, then I've achieved my aim."[5]

Well, maybe not "boring records", but music that many people - with very different musical backgrounds and from different cultures - can identify with in a very individual way. This is the bottom line of what fans answered in the survey of depechemodebiographie.de when they were asked what is so special for them about DM's music.
"How can Mart know what goes on in my head?" is probably the sentence that hits the mark. So people don't identify with the "boring records" but with their own personality that they "find through the music". The music of DM is "somehow different and individual" but nevertheless "absolutely normal", because everyone "feels exactly the same in a situation like this" and is able to "tell a story to every song, every album" because it is connected to one's personal life.
Martin is absolutely right there, that real life usually isn't extreme. So his songs reflect the life most people know or wish to lead.
Alan: "Martin is most definitely an underrated songwriter. His songs have managed to touch people in a way that very few songwriters have been able to do. And it's quite clear that his songwriting capabilities have been the major part of Depeche Mode's longevity."[6]


trennlinie


And there were many articles about the gear ...
Martin: "I hardly have to buy any clothes these days. When the fans realise what sort of style you're after, they throw things onstage - I've got tons of necklaces. My mother accepts it now, I'm quite surprised really. When I went home this time I was wearing stockings and things. I went to me mum and said, 'what do you do with stockings mum, do you just put them in the washing machine?' And she went 'just put them in with the blacks, dear'."
The whole band had a preference for black leather at that time which caused some speculations that the entire band might be gay.
Alan: "We get more stick for that in England than anywhere else. You get some businessmen in America shouting 'faggots', but very few compared to the carloads you get here shouting 'pooftah'."[7]

In 1989 Martin said, "Looking back I'm not very happy about some of the clothes I've worn. Every interview we do the skirt is mentioned. I actually think it's quite funny, though I didn't look at it deeply. I regret that so much attention was paid to it and that even now there are still people who think I go round dressed like a tranny."[8]
And Dave in 1990, "If it had been T. Rex or Gary Glitter in the Seventies, it would have been considered the norm to be like that. It was cool to be like that then. Everyone got away with it. When Martin comes along in the mid-Eighties and does it in a straight-faced way, he gets all this flak. It was Martin's problem. He thought it was funny. Away from the cameras, he would be having a good old laugh about it. We'd all have a good laugh. Then we realized that it was doing none of us any good. So we kept saying to him, 'Look, you can't go out dressed like that!' Sure we did. Martin, of course, carried on doing it. These ludicrous f***ing dresses! Now he looks back and says, 'What the hell was I doing?' The funny thing was that we just about got away with it. See, pop music isn't something which should be taken too seriously. We're very serious about our music. At the same time, we have to laugh at ourselves and laugh at the whole music business. It gets so nauseating when you get these bands going on and on about charity records. They're all great causes, sure, but we've always avoided that sort of thing. If we want to do something for charity, then we'll do it in private, as quietly as possible. We don't ever want to be seen to be using any kind of charity to help boost our career. No matter what the intentions of these bands are, that's how it comes across to me. It's become very trendy. We'll always avoid things like that like the bloody plague. I think the reason Martin wore dresses was just for fun. Nothing deeper than that. People read other things into it, like he was some sort of transvestite or something.[9] Martin said to me once, 'I like to look into the mirror before I go out, and laugh and think, Look what I'm getting away with tonight'. He'd wear leather trousers and then wear a skirt over the top. And then he sort of extended to just wearing a skirt. We used to sit backstage saying, 'Martin, you can't f*** wear that, man! You've got to take that off!'."
Martin: "I just thought it was quite funny. I didn't think it was going to cause such a fuss."[10]

Alan: "I never was comfortable with Martin dressing up in girls' clothing and the rest of the group would often comment and try to dissuade him but I think the more we might do that the more belligerent he would become about it.[11] Ironically, he now gets irritated when people bring up the 'dress' period - what did he expect? Unfortunately, people will always base their opinions of people on how they look and much of the style of the early 80's was quite effeminate. Martin wearing a skirt didn't help. But you must also say that from the very early days, the band attracted a very large gay following (long before Martin ever considered wearing a dress) which has been very supportive. The interesting point however, is that Martin is not gay and it annoys him when people make the assumption that he is. Strangely, he seems oblivious to the fact that many people still associate transvestism with homosexuality."[12]
Alan is wrong here - I couldn't find any quotation of Martin being annoyed about the assumption he might be gay. He just reacted irritated when this question was put forward too often. If he was annoyed, it wasn't taken to public.


trennlinie


They didn't care about the "gear-thing" and its consequences in 1985.
Martin: "I bought my first leather jacket when I was 18. I've developed a love for black leather which is hypocritical because, like Alan, I'm a vegetarian - for moral and health reasons. Black leather is striking and simple. People imagine I've got kinky habits but my worst vice is video games. Well, I have got a few others but you'd be far too interested in them ... An average day for me might start by getting up at midday and composing on my guitar, sampling sounds until eight. I'm not a great musician. None of us is except Alan. My interest is in melody lines and lyrics ... Sexual barriers are silly. My girlfriend and I swap clothes, make-up, anything. So what? It's a shock though to read in a magazine like Bravo that I walk around dressed as a woman.[13] I don't really like it when it's played on because I don't see it as such a big thing. It's just something that I enjoy doing. I never bring the subject up myself. I think I like it because it is different and because I find male dress in general very boring. Men are very restricted in what they wear, in what is acceptable. Obviously I wouldn't go shopping in a dress but if I go out to a club I usually wear one. One thing I've noticed is that everybody considers you gay if you dress effeminately, but the thing most people seem to miss is that most girls these days - well, most girls I know - seem to prefer effeminate boys. Occasionally when I buy a new article of clothing and present it for the first time I get a few laughs, sort of 'you can't wear that' sort of thing."[14]
His way to dress wasn't really special. It was the general view among - especially - British artists at that time. When you take a look at the pop-culture of the mid 1980s in the UK you will find a lot of male artists dressed up in a female way and a lot of female artists dressed up in a male way - a well-known example is Annie Lennox (Eurythmics).

Dave: "He has totally changed. But he's just being the way he wanted to be anyway. Mart missed out on his teens, just generally going out, seeing different girls every night and getting drunk all the time, y'know, not caring. He's living all that now. It's not a bad thing. Everybody should go through that phase. Personally, I think he's just doing all the things I did when I was 16. All that stuff about boredom is exactly the attitude that I went through. I went to clubs with people much older than myself. I wore tons of makeup, and dresses too. But now if I go to a club I just want to have a good time, not to shock."[15]
In 1990 he claimed, "You won't catch me in a f*** dress. No sodding way! I'm the yob next door. Never worn a dress in me life. Never f*** will!"[16]
But there is a picture from December 1980 in which he obviously wore a dress.



The dress

(Copyrightowner unknown)



And it went on and on with the clothes ...
Alan: "Martin does enjoy it when we go through Customs and they ask him if he wants to go into the men's or women's cubicles to be searched."
Dave: "I look at a lot of things Martin does now, and I just laugh ..."[17]
Alan: "A lot of the blokes in the audience won't even think about the fact that Martin's wearing a skirt or whatever. In a different situation, they'd kick the s*** out of him, but when it's onstage they love it."[18]
All this lead to the suspicion they might be very decadent.
Martin: "Well, I'm not into ... pain, or any of that kind of thing. Decadence covers a lot of areas! Some of us go out drinking when we're on tour, and I know that's sort of expected of us because we're a band, but unfortunately it's a way of enjoying yourself ..."
Dave: "You do actually like decadence though, don't you?"
Martin: "Mmmm ... well, yes, I do ... Sometimes ... when you're doing something, even just walking down the street with your girlfriend, you get this feeling of being too normal. It's not a very nice feeling ..."
Dave: "I can assure you you're not normal, Martin!"[19]
The attentive reader will have noticed that already at that time, only a few years after claiming all the partying wouldn't be attractive to them, the scenery had changed completely. Partying, going out, drinking, and going to clubs had become an inherent part of their lifestyle, and would increase over the coming years.


trennlinie


It was really difficult to find considerable topics this year.
So Dave pondered over the side-effects of touring: "By the end of this tour I reckon I'll have lost a stone and a half. It's a very unhealthy way to live. I get ill anyway so now I travel with a full medicine bag - antibiotics, blood cell restorers, glycerine, vitamins, the works. Thing is, the hours are so dodgy. The concerts are great but the rest of the time is essentially wasted. You're getting no exercise and not eating properly. After the shows you're so wired up you stay awake until all hours. When it's over and I go home I'm totally disorientated. I find myself rushing around the house feeling really speedy. It takes weeks to adjust to a normal routine like doing the washing, paying bills, buying stuff for the place. When I moved into a new house in Basildon I got some weights. They didn't help for long ..."
And about the concerts: "It's a very sexual feeling, a sense of immense power. The more people in the crowd the better. Our live shows are so different to the records, far more aggressive, and I take responsibility on my shoulders. Telling 9,000 people what to do is like being on another planet."[20]

The big Live Aid festival took place without DM.
Alan: "It's a contradictory thing. We sit there and we think 'Oh no ... we've only got to No. 18 with Shake the Disease, and yet at the same time we know that if we want to make higher positions in the charts we've got to do things that we don't want to do, so at the same time we know exactly why. Trouble is, when you are very honest, when you tell the truth all the time, you can come across as just sounding a bit wimpy ... a bit boring."[21]
Fletch: "Because we are on an independent label we just don't have the contacts, so we weren't asked to appear. I don't think Geldof was aware of how many records we actually sell internationally. At the time we were bitter, but the whole thing has just become so tacky - all those ageing rock bands appearing solely to boost their own career - that in a way we are quite glad we weren't involved. Of course the money raised can't be criticized ... but it would have been a lot more if they had added the money that went on their cocaine bill ..."[22]
Alan: "I doubt very much that we would have accepted the invitation, had we been asked. My personal view is that giving to 'chariddy' should be a totally private gesture, out of which no personal gain should be made. Inevitably, nearly all the artists who took part in Live Aid achieved a considerable rise in record sales and being the cynic I am, I wonder just how much of the profit gained from those sales actually ended up going to Ethiopia."[23]
I wouldn't be so sure they would have said 'no' if they had been asked. The sentence "I don't think Geldof was aware of how many records we actually sell internationally" says all you need to know about how offended they had been at first. It's possible that they changed their minds afterwards. But it's a bit hypocritical nevertheless, because while on the one hand, they were very proud of their independence and happy about not being mixed up with the general music business, on the other hand, they were striving for ultimate success. Maybe they simply came to the conclusion that it was better to reach this success in a different way.


trennlinie


On 4 August Dave and Jo got married and moved to a house of their own, in Essex. This was the second "big topic" of the year.
Dave: "I've met a lot of girls in my time and have been with a lot of girls and, sure, I've been in love before, but Jo's the only girl I've ever met that I could live with. I just get on with her. We have lots of arguments just like anybody else but somehow ... we cross over, there's something about it that's special. We've been going out for six years and I just got up one morning and asked her and she just sort of said 'yeah, alright'. It was that casual."[24]
One year later he added, "Obviously, we could have played on it. It doesn't bother me to be in the daily papers but so what? Who cares? Thousands of people get married every day. It's very clichéd to say that you don't feel different, but I don't. We just get on so well. Jo does a lot for me and she's always there when I need her. I miss her more and more."
Nevertheless, she stopped accompanying him on tour.
Dave: "Well, she can come, but it doesn't work. It's very difficult. I'm a totally different person on tour. I can be really horrible 'cos I'm so locked into what I do. When Jo's there, I like it, but if she's there every day and if I'm feeling in a bad mood, I just take it out on her. We've had screaming fights like that."
Doesn't sound like the big love for life. He admitted that the main reason for the marriage had been that they wanted to have children: "Having to bring up a child totally puts aside all the things that were important to you before. Things like being in the band would become secondary."[25]

While Dave was getting married, Fletch was moving into a new flat - "a cardboard box with lots of plants" - in London, something which the other members of the band give him loads of stick about.
Alan: "He's lost his roots." He was rather mean here, but Fletch had said in many previous interviews again and again he would never, never move from Basildon. "He's started investing in things like wine racks, you get the drift? He's even got a couple of books on caring for plants."[26]
Or another story ...
In a hotel lobby a presenter sat between the Depeche boys. He addressed a bored-looking Alan. "We'll start with you, Vince Clarke ..."[27]
Unfortunately, Alan's response is not on record.
How is life as a pop-star?
Dave: "It's like I'm happy - I'm depressed. There isn't really anything in between. You never just feel alright, you're either extremely happy or you're extremely depressed. There's no-one that can really understand unless they're in a successful band."[28]
Sounds as if you turn to a manic-depressive person when you decide to become a pop-star, and maybe this is the reason why so many of them become alcoholics and junkies.
And what can you do in Berlin?
Alan: "There's plenty to do in Berlin. When you finish working at 4.00 a.m. you never feel like going to bed and so you end up in a bar or a club. DNC is a favourite, there's a couple of good gay clubs, Corelles is alright, the Jungle ..."[29]
Such a statement was controversial in 1985.
Much later he added, "I'm not gay but I've no problem with going to gay bars or clubs. We went there because they had the best vibe and music."[30]
From today's point of view it's very difficult to understand why the speculation that the band (or one of the band members) might be gay was so controversial. Although I grew up in the 1980s myself I often forget what a long way the gay community has come today. There are still many countries in which being gay is seen as a problem, but some countries try to be tolerant nowadays. This was completely different in the 1980s. Reading through old music magazines I couldn't help but notice that they were slightly intolerant when it came to women, gay people and anyone else who was "different". Musicians had to live up to a certain image. The idea that is depicted nowadays that the media were especially tolerant with regard to artists is definitely wrong. Rock musicians especially had to be male, straight and tough. Someone with Martin's fondness for cross-dressing didn't suit the general view of that time.


trennlinie


Shortly after Dave's marriage they started to record It's Called a Heart at the Genetic Studios. The single was released on 16 September. Beside the 7" mix,there were two different versions available, an extended version and the Slow Mix (remixed by Gareth Jones). Moreover, the U.S. version included the Emotion Remix and the Emotion Dub, both remixed by Joseph Watt. The single's B-side Fly on the Windscreen was available in three different versions, as the 7" mix, as an extended version and as the Death Mix (remixed by Gareth Jones).
While the band members had agreed about Shake the Disease, It's Called a Heart caused some discord.
Alan: "It's Called a Heart has to be my least favourite, dare I say most hated DM single ever, and I was anti even recording it, let alone releasing it. In fact I fought tooth-and-nail on behalf of the B-side Fly on the Windscreen which was far superior. To me, the whole thing was a serious backward step. I felt we'd worked diligently to build up recognition for a harder sound, with more depth and maturity, and here was this ultra poppy number that did nothing for our reputation. Sadly, I was out-voted by the others although they recognised that Fly on the Windscreen was wasted as an additional track and agreed it should be promoted to the next album, Black Celebration."
Let's hope that he was still able to cope with the picture he had about himself: "I would obviously say what I thought the potential of each song was but I would hope that I was always diplomatic and never insensitive with my comments."
Likewise he hated the video for It's Called a Heart, answered a question about what he would change in his life if he could turn back time and do it all over again, "I don't think I'd change much, apart from some of the hair styles and those daft boots I wore in 101. Oh, and I'd also make sure that I missed my wake-up call on the day we made the video for It's Called a Heart."
Asked about the intention of the video he said, "You'll have to ask Peter Care (the director) - he came up with that 'concept'. Quite how he equated 'calling something a heart' with twirling cameras around on the end of a string in a field of corn in Reading dressed in a skirt, I'll never be able to tell you."[31]
He hated that song so much that he answered the question "In your opinion, what makes up a true DM fan?" with "Anyone who still gives us the time of day after having heard It's Called a Heart".[32]

Strange enough, there aren't many quotations about It's Called a Heart by any of the other band members, at least not in 1985. Dave simply said, "I do find it very hard to enjoy singles until a good while after they've been out",[33] and Martin explained, "The song is about the importance of the heart in a mythical sense, as the part of the body where good and evil are supposed to start. I'm not sure whether I believe in it but it's a nice idea."[34]
Years later Fletch answered a question of a fan what their worst song was, It's Called a Heart.[35] And Martin sayid in 1998, "It's Called a Heart is one of the worst things we've ever released."[36]
However, they must have liked it at the time otherwise there wouldn't have been such a fuss about it within the band in 1985.



It's Called A Heart

(with friendly permission of © Bart Ceuppens)



On 15 October the compilation The Singles 1981-1985 was released, mainly for the US-market because DM got more and more fans there. The U.S. version got the title Catching Up With Depeche Mode but has the same track listing.
With a break for a gig at Peter's Popshow on 9 November in the "Westfalenhalle" in Dortmund, the band began to record Black Celebration at the end of 1985, firstly in Westside Studios in London, and later in Hansa Studios in Berlin. The idea of a "permanent session over some months to create a claustrophobic feeling"[37] got too real all too soon.
In fact, the studio atmosphere got worse with time. While Martin was confident enough to offer his demos to those who were more focused on realising the musical aspects of his songs, it is said that the production relationship between Daniel Miller, Gareth Jones and Alan got worse. This finally led to the decision of Miller to stay outside the production in the future.
Alan: "Dan and I had grown as friends and musical associates as well as developing a mutual understanding of the territory we felt Depeche Mode should be exploring. For example, our affiliation had been enhanced by spending long hours finishing off the previous LP, Some Great Reward, when everyone else had cleared off on their holidays. With Black Celebration, we also ran well over our deadline but it was perhaps when too many additional voices were brought into the equation that problems seemed to arise."[38]
Martin: "There were quite a lot of arguments going on around that time. We'd overdone the working relationship between Daniel and Gareth Jones. That was the third album we'd done together and I think everybody'd become very lazy, relying on formulas."[39]

When I had the opportunity to talk to Gareth Jones I also asked him about the main reason for the tensions during recording Black Celebration: "It was the third record we made together and obviously it was challenging and we all wanted to do something special. Daniel Miller had the idea that we should follow Werner Herzog." [A German film director whose films have often been the subject of controversy in regard to their themes and messages, especially the circumstances surrounding their creation. Herzog is known for "living" his films excessively.] "He had the idea we should live the album. What we did was ... we didn't have any time off. At that time we all were a lot younger and we worked every day very long hours. From when we started recording the album to when we finished mixing it we went to work every single day. So that meant that we had ... in a way it brought a special pressure into the process. It was quite a high pressure process, but it was a thing we were willing to do. We all thought it was a good idea. We all felt it would be a good thing to do for this record. That wasn't something we were forced into. We discussed it and we all said, 'That's a great idea, let's do it! Let's enter the studio and don't stop working and won't have a day off until we finished.' And that meant that we got some kind of a claustrophobia, a claustrophobic attitude in the recording which really seemed to suit the songs and the album that we were trying to make. So, yes, it was a big tense sometimes. And when it came to the mixing Daniel and I were also tired. I remember very well the first track we were trying to mix. I think it was the title track, Black Celebration. We were sure we had quite a good mix and then everyone would make their comments and we decided it wasn't good enough and we tried again and again and this ... well, it drove the band nuts. Everyone was getting tired and just wanted to finish the record. I remember the band had a meeting and Alan said, 'Look, guys, we really need to sort ourselves out, we really have to get the record mixed! We must move forward.' I really remember it as a claustrophobic atmosphere and as sometimes dark, but it was a wonderful creative experience as well. So in a way the claustrophobia and the tensed atmosphere was really positive for the work I think."[40]

Martin obviously found the recording sessions so unbearable that he disappeared for a week, which aroused wild speculations, primarily in teen-magazines. "Yeah, yeah, I freaked right out. This business did my head right in and I had to go away for a few days. We've had quite a lot of work on recently, there's a lot of stress and I've been moving house as well." (He moved back to London.)
Dave: "I think it does you good to freak out every now and then I almost did at one point when we were recording the last album. I was moving house and then I had a bad car accident and at that point I thought 'that's it, it's over'." Later he told the accident had happened when he drove from a parking lot and another car rushed into his. He got hurt, particularly his knees.
Alan: "I've never actually done a runner, but I'm in a permanent state of being freaked out, I don't know who I am a lot of the time."[41]

So the year ended with some smaller and bigger disagreements.
Dave: "If ever we were going to split up the band it was at the end of 1985. We were really in a state of turmoil. Constant arguing. Very intense. We weren't really sure where to go after Some Great Reward so we decided to slow things down. But it left us with too much time on our hands. So we spent most of our time arguing. Sometimes, it seems incredible that we came out of that period with the band and our sanity intact."[42]
Fletch: "Since Black Celebration, I've felt our set-up could fall apart at any time."[43]
After studying all these interviews, I would also say that the point from which things started to go wrong was 1985. Of course, they still had fun and they were very successful, but it seems to me that from this time problems started to "develop", maybe even without coming to the surface. I can imagine there was a lack of communication. Sometimes I had the feeling that they talked a lot to each other, but didn't say anything about what they really thought and felt. Meanwhile they had strict roles in the team, (see more about it in the next chapter), but didn't really talk about possible problems.
However, Alan didn't see this time as a real starting point. "Over the course of any 13-year period with a band, there are going to be times of high tension. I would say that by the end of recording of Black Celebration things were a bit difficult - but it wasn't the beginning of the end as such."[44]

It seems as if these problems were really based more on the human aspect and not so much on the musical aspect, because they were all quite satisfied with the development they had achieved. Black Celebration "represents in many ways the end of a musical era and the conclusion of a tried and tested production liason." Since 1983 Alan had tried to steer the music away from its early poppy roots "to embrace a darker more tenebrous world". So Black Celebration was the last DM record "to fully salute this 'sample anything and everything' approach although the use of everyday objects as instruments would not be lost on future releases."[45]
Martin: "This is where the albums really started improving. I certainly felt very free. I wrote it in Berlin and we all started wearing black. When we're there now we're still followed by the fans; what we call The Black Swarm. If you get up in the morning to go to the gym, they'll be waiting in the lobby to follow you."[46]
(By the way - I was asked once by a very young reader why DM-fans mainly wear black. Well, this is the answer! The band wore black and released Black Celebration and "The Black Swarm" was born. Even today fans still kid each other with this when blind dates are planned, especially at DM-parties and concerts. "How will I recognize you?" - "I'm going to wear a black dress.")
Alan: "I think by the time we reached Black Celebration, a proper depth to the group's songs started to appear. It was partly because of the songs and partly because Martin was becoming more worldly as a songwriter along with my influence into making more of a dark sound."[47]






References:
[1] The Last of the Futurists, Record Mirror, 25 May 1985. Words: Betty Page
[2] Boys on Film, Melody Maker, 15 April 1989. Words: Francesco Adinolfi
[3] Recoil.co.uk
[4] Boys Keep Swinging, No. 1, 19 January 1985. Words: Max Bell
[5] Fake the Disease, NME, 5 October 1985. Words: Danny Kelly
[6] Depeche Mode: A Short Film, EPKMUTEL5, included with The Singles 86>98 promotional box set, PBXMUTEL5. Director: Sven Harding
[7] The Last of the Futurists, Record Mirror, 25 May 1985. Words: Betty Page
[8] The Unlikely Lads, Q, April 1989. Words: Mat Snow
[9] Depeche Mode Hip it up and Start Again, Melody Maker, 10 March 1990. Words: Jon Wilde
[10] Violator, Alligator, NME, 7 July 1990. Words: Jeff Giles
[11] The Story Of Depeche Mode, BBC Radio London Live94.9, 7 May 2001, Producer: Tony Wood
[12] Recoil.co.uk
[13] Martin Gore: The Decadent Boy, No. 1, 11 May 1985
[14] Are Depeche Mode Cracking up?, Smash Hits, 9-22 October 1985. Words: Chris Heath
[15] Fake the Disease, NME, 5 October 1985. Words: Danny Kelly
[16] Depeche Mode Hip it up and Start Again, Melody Maker, 10 March 1990. Words: Jon Wilde
[17] Fake the Disease, NME, 5 October 1985. Words: Danny Kelly
[18] Coming up Smiling, The Face, February 1985. Words: Sheryl Garratt
[19] The Normal Invasion, The Hit, 28 September 1985. Words: Marc Issue
[20] Boys Keep Swinging, No. 1, 19 January 1985. Words: Max Bell
[21] Aces High, Zig Zag, August 1985. Words: William Shaw
[22] Basildon Bond, Blitz, April 1986. Words: Bruce Dessau
[23] Recoil.co.uk
[24] Are Depeche Mode Cracking up?, Smash Hits, 9-22 October 1985. Words: Chris Heath
[25] "I Love the Idea of Wearing Leather and I Love the Idea of Being Tied up, Because I Love the Feeling of Helplessness ...", Record Mirror, 8 February 1986. Words: Nancy Culp
[26] Are Depeche Mode Cracking up?, Smash Hits, 9-22 October 1985. Words: Chris Heath
[27] Coming up Smiling, The Face, February 1985. Words: Sheryl Garratt
[28] Are Depeche Mode Cracking up?, Smash Hits, 9-22 October 1985. Words: Chris Heath
[29] Alan Wilder: The Band Boy, No.1, 25 May 1985
[30] Recoil.co.uk
[31] Recoil.co.uk
[32] Ask Alan, Bong 16, April 1992
[33] Everything Counts (in Large Amounts), Number One, 19 October 1985. Words: Paul Bursche
[34] Are Depeche Mode Cracking up?, Smash Hits, 9-22 October 1985. Words: Chris Heath
[35] Ask Andy, Bong 17, July 1992
[36] The Singles 86-98 by Martin Gore, Bong 37, September 1998. Compiled by Michaela Olexova
[37] Recoil.co.uk
[38] Recoil.co.uk
[39] Just Can't Get Enough, Uncut, May 2001. Words: Stephen Dalton
[40] Depechemodebiographie.de
[41] Are Depeche Mode Cracking up?, Smash Hits, 9-22 October 1985. Words: Chris Heath
[42] Depeche Mode, Published by HMV / Melody Maker, 22 September 1990. Words: Uncredited
[43] They Just Couldn't get Enough, Q, March 1997. Words: Phil Sutcliffe
[44] Depechemodebiographie.de
[45] Recoil.co.uk
[46] User's Guide: Depeche Mode, Kingsize, May 2001. Words: Uncredited
[47] Songs of Praise and Emotion, Blue Divide, Volume 2, Issue 1, 2000. Words: Uncredited



Biography: 1986

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