1990

On 5 February the single Enjoy the Silence / Memphisto / Sibeling was released. There were some different versions of Enjoy the Silence available - the Hands and Feet Mix, the Ecstatic Dub Edit, the Bass Line version, the Harmonium version which is close to the original demo, the Ricki Tik Tik Mix Promo Version and The Quad: Final Mix.
Sibeling, which is referring to the Finnish classical composer Jean Sibelius, and Memphisto, which is, according to Martin, the name of an imaginary film about Elvis as a devil that he created in his mind, are both instrumental tracks and weren't recorded in any different versions. For the video for Enjoy the Silence the rare UK Promo Mix was used.
Enjoy the Silence became the band's best known song and most successful single to date, reaching No. 6 in the UK, No. 8 in the U.S. and earning the band a second gold single. It was in the Top Ten of many West European countries and earned gold in Germany. It won "Best British single" at the 1991 Brit Awards.
Enjoy the Silence had actually been a ballad, before Alan had the idea to make it more upbeat. "When I listened to the demo of Enjoy the Silence the first time it occurred to me that Neil Tennant could sing it. Something at the line all I ever wanted sounded like hamster ... er ... Pet shop to me. Martin's demos always had a complete set of lyrics but musically they varied from sometimes being quite detailed to often very simplistic. I felt that to have taken the simple ballad approach for this song would have been to criminally pass on its massive commercial potential. It was a great tune crying out for the kind of treatment it eventually got. Flood and I worked on the backing track before calling Martin in to play the guitar riff."[1]
At first Martin wasn't keen on this version. "I thought the very nature of the song was, you know, enjoy the silence, so it ought to have a very serene atmosphere. It took me a while to get used to the idea, but as we took it further that way with the guitar riff, it really pulled together."[2]
Dave: "I remember him sitting there and playing it, and he came up with this riff, and then I sang the song and everyone was surprised that I sang it so well - including myself." (laughs)
Fletch: "It's the first time ever in our whole career that we've actually thought we've got a hit single. We just knew straight away."[3]

The same can be said about the video, although DM didn't like Corbijns concept at first. Especially Dave was very sceptical, and the band even asked Corbijn to come up with another idea, but later not only Dave changed his mind: "Enjoy the Silence was Anton [Corbijn] at his best."
Fletch: "We went into a studio and Anton said 'This'll only take a while.' And then he said after an hour, 'Well you can go home now,' and we thought 'Oh, great!'. And poor old Dave, he had six days of filming in freezing conditions."
Dave: "We spent about a week filming that. It was quite hard work, but it was a lot of fun. And I got to dress up as king, with the crown and everything. We done it in Portugal, we went to Scotland, at Balmoral, we went up in the French Alps ... it was basically myself and Anton, and the producer Richard Bell travelling all over Europe. There's shots in that video that actually weren't me. Towards the end of filming there's this one shot and I'd really had it, I just wanted to go back to the hotel. We'd taken this helicopter which we had on standby at the top of this mountain, and Anton wanted me to do this shot where I was like way way away, and there was this beautiful scene, it was just all snow ... And so I thought, 'You know what, Richard?' I took the crown off, I put it on his head, I took the robe off, I put it on him, I said, 'You f*** do it.' And I got in the helicopter, went down and had a cup of hot chocolate in the hotel."[4]
Well-known is also the promotional video for Enjoy the Silence featuring the band lip-syncing the song while standing atop the World Trade Center. This clip was filmed by a French TV station.



Enjoy The Silence

(Enjoy the Silence - with friendly permission of © Ingo B.)



In these days the band had to face something they hadn't known before, at least not in such a massive dimension: being hip.
Dave and Alan gave an interview for a radio station in Madrid on 1 March. When they came back to the car they were received by about 500 fans. The driver wanted to take a shortcut quickly, but was held back by a lorry which blocked the street so that the fans could catch up with the car and surrounded it. They almost knocked it over.

On 19 March Violator was released. It would become the most successful album in DM's history. In 2010, Violator had sold more than 15 million copies, and remains the band's best-selling album worldwide.
The original title of Waiting tor the Night had been Waiting for the Night To Fall but the last two words where left out when the labels were printed.
With Nils Tuxen the first time a guest musician was involved. He played the pedal steel guitar on Clean (on which Alan played the bass guitar and the drums.)
One day after the release date, DM appeared at Wherehouse (a big record shop) in L.A., to sign Violator. According to reports, about 5,000 fans had already been camping outside the shop for four days. Then, about 20,000 people came to the autograph session. The traffic snarled up, and the police tried to get the situation under control, but they gave up after 90 minutes, and escorted DM back to their hotel to prevent anything worse happening. Nevertheless, there had been quite a number of incidents and even some injuries.
Dave: "It actually got quite scary. The whole thing got a little bit out of control. There was no way we could have known that there was going to be so many people turn up. They have these huge glass windows and fans were pushing up against the window. You could feel the atmosphere in the place building up. We just all kind of looked at each other and said, 'We gotta get out of here!'"
Martin: "Eventually it got so out of hand that the police told us to leave. So we went back to the hotel, switched on the TV and there we were all over the nationwide news."[5]
Dave: "All sat down together and we flicked through all the news channels and it was like, 'English rock band Dee-Pesh Mode tonight stopped the traffic!'" (laughs) "It was really funny watching it all."[6]
Ironically this incident was the reason DM became really big in the U.S. from this day onwards. A lot of the media became aware of them, which in turn created a general interest.
By the way - did you know that Violator is not only the most successful album, but it is also at the top of the favourite albums in almost all polls of several message-boards and fan-websites? Taking eight different polls together, Violator is alone at the top, above SOFAD, Music for the Masses, Black Celebration and Ultra. These are the Top 5. A Broken Frame is in the last place. (Note that some of these polls were done before the release of SOTU, but they all included Playing the Angel.)


trennlinie


I often receive e-mails from readers asking me about the interpretation of song lyrics. Sometimes Martin's lyrics are quite obvious, but mostly they are ambivalent and difficult to interpret. (It's not true - by the way - that you can interpret them in any way you want to, as I have often read in message-boards. Interpretation means to prove a possible meaning with every line of a song. E.g. you can't say lyrics are about drugs when half of the lines don't suit this theory.) Some main topics always appear in his lyrics, so when trying to interpret the songs you can base your interpretation on these issues and try to find your angle. Nevertheless it's difficult, because it's not easy to understand what kind of person Martin really is, and because he doesn't like to talk about his songs.
Martin: "I just write about things that affect me. I find it very unappealing to write songs that are safe, that go nowhere, that do nothing. I know that Clean has a lot of holy imagery, and that intertwines with the sex theme, which are two ideas I find interesting to mix together. But I don't try to analyze things."[7]
It's interesting that some people tend to think that Clean is about drugs. Looking at the lyrics, you will discover three of Martin's favourite topics - religion (I don't claim to know where my holiness goes), losing/searching for innocence when you become older (as the years go by all the feelings inside they twist and they turn as they ride with the tide) and sex (I just know what I like that is starting to show sometimes). So "clean" is meant in the way of inner clarity, peace or holiness.
"I was never a Christian but I did go to church regularly for about two years and it's certainly rubbed off on me. I'm almost obsessed with the idea of good and evil. I suppose my songs do seem to advocate immorality but if you listen there's always a sense of guilt. On Halo I'm saying 'let's give in to this' but there's also a real feeling of wrongfulness. Then there's Blue Dress - that's the pervy song! - the idea of watching a girl dress and realizing that this is what makes the world turn. On the opening track World In My Eyes you seem to be saying 'just for this moment pleasure and gratification are all that matters.' It's a very positive song. And I don't mind you bringing up existentialism because I am influenced by that. I'm probably as influenced by Camus, Kafka and Brecht as I am by pop songs."[8]
Being asked about World In My Eyes very often - it's not only a positive song, it's the ambivalent way to describe a positive sex experience.

Martin: "Perhaps we should have described ourselves as a rock group. Maybe if we'd done that people might have taken us a bit more seriously. But we aren't. We are a pop group and proud of it. The only songs I can write are pop songs, no matter how dark and pervy some people might find them. We called [the album] Violator as a joke. We wanted to come up with the most extreme, ridiculously Heavy Metal title that we could. I'll be surprised if people will get the joke. However, when we called an album Music for the Masses, we were accused of being patronising and arrogant. In fact it was a joke on the uncommerciality of it. It was anything but music for the masses!"
By the way - the "connection" between DM and Metal is quite funny indeed. While Martin had his bit of fun naming three DM-albums (Violator, Ultra and Exciter) in a "metal" way (there are lots of bands in the Metal scene who use these names as a band name or an album title), but you can find lots of DM titles used by Metal bands. Just to give one example of many: In 1991 the metal band Massacra released an album with the title Enjoy the Violence. There is also a metal tribute album to DM with some amazing versions. When you talk to "metalheads" you'll find many who like DM because "they have substance".

Alan: "There's much more humour than we're given credit for. Perhaps it's just that ours, or particularly Martin's is a little specialized. It's no bad thing to be dark once in a while. Radio 1 doesn't particularly want to play us but they're forced to because of our following. It's good that there are a few bands like us to counteract all that 'jolly-jolly-party-Kylie'."[9]
Dave: "People nevertheless like us. It's just down to the songs, and the care we take with them. We've never jumped on any bandwagons or tried to go along with the trendies. Even though we're into our second decade, it still seems very fresh. We never wanted to be big for five minutes and that's it. Plus, we've changed, and all the changes have been natural. No one has ever pushed us in any direction - we do exactly what we want, the way we want. There's still that naivety of learning, of trying to better ourselves, and it's all done with an intense energy, a power and urgency that's lacking in so many other bands around. We're off in our own little world, really.[10] Nowadays, I think pop and rock is a lot more normal and controlled. That's sad. I think the music business itself is partly to blame for that because of the way bands are manipulated. The way management sells bands. Yeah, it's sad that the rebellion has gone out of pop. That's what interested me in the first place in bands like Sham 69, The Clash, The Damned and The Banshees. That's what made me want to be in a band, y'know. For me, that was the most exciting period of my life. At the time, nothing else mattered. I did the classic thing - dropped out of school, not bothering with exams. Now I look back and wish I'd done it. I wish I'd got a better education. Learned some languages. When I got to France, Italy or Germany, I realized how thick I am. Just another stupid Englishman who hasn't learned another language. An ignorant bastard basically."[11]

At this time the band's state of mind was much more serious than in previous years, indeed. But still there were some funny moments from time to time. Sometimes the band members were to blame for it themselves.
So Alan entered a hotel bar in Florida, in which they had an appointment for an interview and immediately said, "I've been called a faggot about twenty times today. Mostly from guys leaning out of trucks. This is a sort of backward place, isn't it?"
Dave: "It's the haircut. In America, people think you're homosexual just because you've got short hair. Except for the marines. We'll just have to hang out with the marines."[12]
Later Dave sent his bodyguard for an orange juice. A fan used his change to approach him: "Martin, can I have your autograph? Have you got a pen?"
"Sure", Dave replied smiling, "but my name is Dave."
The scene recurred with another fan a little later: "Martin, can I have your autograph?"
Dave rolled his eyes, irritated obviously: "To begin with, my name's Dave, and I don't have a pen."[13]



Dave

(with friendly permission of © Adrianna
- the picture was painted by her and signed by Dave)



On 7 May the single Policy of Truth / Kaleid was released. There were some different versions of Policy of Truth available, the Beat Box Mix, the Capitol Mix and the Pavlov's Dub (all three remixed by François Kevorkian) as well as the Trancentral Mix (remixed by The KLF). The single's B-side Kaleid, an instrumental track, was released as a 7" mix, as the When Worlds Mix (remixed by Daniel Miller and George Holt) and as Remix (remixed by Bruce Smith and Sean Oliver).
Compared to the Masses-Tour the Worldviolation-Tour was much shorter but nevertheless, about 1.2 Mio. tickets were sold. It consisted of three legs. To capitalize the success in the U.S., they began with the U.S.-leg. It kicked off on 28 May, comprised 42 concerts, and ended on 5 August.
Even today, many fans wish there would have been a DVD about the Worldviolation-Tour. On the reasons why a DVD hadn't been released after the tour, Alan explained, "After 101, to have released another live record or even live B-sides would have been milking it too much. The Worldbiolation-Tour was too soon after the Music for the Masses. The 101 LP + film seemed to sum up DM live very well and we felt it was time to give the live tracks a rest. I'm sure there are some recordings from Worldviolation but I don't know if they will ever be released."[14]

According to insiders, Worldviolation was a very wild and debauched tour, during which all band members took Ecstasy. Although it's obvious, and one biography quoted Martin talking about taking Ecstasy, it's nevertheless something to be treated with caution. While the same biography quoted Fletch as saying he'd never taken Ecstasy, an inside source alleged that he had.
They themselves - except Dave - were always a bit vague when it came to this topic.
Alan: "The more Martin drinks the more affectionate he becomes. He collects complete strangers around him and tells them his life-story, but different to Dave he has never left an expanse of rubble. Perhaps Dave must make trouble to humble himself. Martin remains cool and many things never come to the light. To be honest, the alcohol was worse than any other things, but drugs played a large role during the Violator-time: Ecstasy, cocaine - everything apart from heroin - then Dave began with heroin during Worldviolation. I think it must be up to his personality. He simply needs the ultimate extreme."[15]
Martin: "To be honest, I don't like talking about drugs too much. It's something that doesn't sit comfortably with me in interviews. We did go to raves in those days. I discovered them in '88, just before I started writing Violator ..."
Fletch: "I think the answer is yes, maybe!"[16]
Martin (in a different interview): "Everybody has a honeymoon period with drugs where everything's fine and you can bounce back the next day. But that didn't last very long for me. I was always depressed for weeks afterwards."[17]
So I think the answer is yes, maybe ;)

Besides that, there are inside sources who say that the band members had a lot of groupies on both tours - Worldviolation and later Devotional as well - but here the same applies: only Dave admitted he had some. The other three are much more diplomatic here, talking about "having their fun", and there was one interview in which a "girl" appeared too early for a "date" with Martin.
According to interviews with other musicians, it was extremely easy to have as many groupies as they wanted in the 1980s and early 1990s. One musician remarked in an interview with depechemodebiographie.de: "In the 1980s and 1990s it was much easier to have sex with groupies. Nowadays this is more difficult. It's not because of the girls, but everything is more distanced. And you are observed much more. If you take a groupie with you to your hotel room, the next day someone will post it on some f*** message-board."
That there aren't any girls who sold their stories to the media isn't surprising to the fans who took part in the survey of depechemodebiographie.de. 41% think that DM "aren't mainstream enough to create a general interest" so that "the tabloid press wouldn't have been interested in stories like these."


trennlinie


However, their lifestyle became more and more debauched, and Dave was no longer that relaxed. At parties he increasingly lost control, and often overdid it.
Fletch: "I think he just felt that performing was the only thing he could do right. He was very emotional with all of us. I personally tended to steer clear of him."[18]
In 1990 Dave still tried to express himself very carefully and didn't define things clearly: "Our lifestyle does have its ups and downs, and it's sometimes a struggle to keep things together because I'm away so much. That's a massive pressure, trying to maintain a family and do year-long tours at the same time. I definitely want to have more children but at the moment it's really difficult. When Jack was born two years ago, I was with him for his first three weeks and then I was off on tour for the whole of the next year. It's a schizo life and it can cause arguments, but I love both parts of my life so much that I carry on. It'd be a lie to say we haven't done those things, whether in the past or the present. I think we've experienced pretty much everything. You can get tempted by things, certainly, like drugs or girls, but they can't help but affect your relationships, marriage, whatever. I've been through this myself, and it's only when I saw how I could lose the things that were really special to me that I realized how superficial those on-the-road attractions really were. I'm talking from personal experience here, but I don't really want to go into it. [19] You go through these extremities - playing the field, excesses of alcohol and stuff - and you come out of it a lot wiser. I'm a family man now. I like to go back home and be with my wife and little boy."[20]

At that time he was still trying to save his marriage. But when there wasn't anything to save anymore, things sounded quite different. "I cheated my wife. Often. You make yourself blind and you go out there. It's great to meet lots of different girls and have fun, but then you realise what a s*** you are and how you're destroying other people's lives - or life - with it. And it had been building up for years. I think ... Well, I know, well ... I think pretty much I know ... that my wife, my previous wife, was completely faithful to me. And I'd go back to her and ... not lie, because Joanne wouldn't even ask me things. I'm sure she suspected it. She wasn't stupid.[21] I felt trapped by everything that was around me. The last go round was great, we had a lot of success and Violator was huge round the world - and I should have been on top of the world, and I wasn't. I had everything I could possibly want, but I was really lost. I didn't feel like I even knew myself any more. And I felt like s***, cos I constantly cheated on my wife, and went back home and lied.[22] I was really bored and really safe. I felt really safe in my life in England in lots of ways, and I didn't like it. There I was with a loving, caring wife, a new baby, a big house in the country, a couple of cars in the drive, and it just didn't feel right."[23]
Besides, he thought he had fallen in love with Theresa.
"It was like being smashed on the head with a hammer. You look at yourself in the mirror one morning and suddenly everything's very, very different and the whole perspective has suddenly changed. Teresa brought out some emotions in me that I hadn't discovered, like love. I think I was just denying my true feelings a lot of the time, having to lie my way through a lot of my life with people I was supposed to respect and love and care for."[24]
Also in 1990, Dave's biological father died - another heavy blow for him, and it pulled the rug right up from under him.



Waiting For The Night

(Waiting for the Night - with friendly permission of © Pablo Maza Castillo)



From 31 August to 12 September the "world-leg" with 8 concerts in Australia and Japan took place.
On 17 September the single World in My Eyes / Sea of Sin / Happiest Girl was released, before the European leg started on 28 September. It comprised 38 concerts and ended on 27 November in Birmingham.
Beside the 7" mix, there were some different versions of World in My Eyes available, the Oil Tank Mix and Dub in My Eyes (both remixed by François Kevorkian), Mode to Joy and Mayhem Mode (both remixed by Jon Marsh).
There were never any "official" versions of the two B-sides. Happiest Girl was originally released as Jack Mix (remixed by François Kevorkian). In addition, there were the Kiss-A-Mix (remixed by François Kevorkian) and The Pulsating Orbital Mix (remixed by Dr. Alex Paterson and Thrash) available. Sea of Sin was originally released as Tonal Mix. In addition, there was a version called Sensoria. Both versions were remixed by François Kevorkian.
On 6 November the video-compilation Strange Too was released, another collection of Corbijn-videos. Anton Corbijn directed all promotion videos for Violator. Strange Too contained the videos for all singles (two slightly different versions of the video for World in My Eyes) as well as videos for Halo and Clean.

The band had a break after the end of Worldviolation, a break that wouldn't do them any good.
Fletch: "I think we need to [have a break]. If we're to stay this good, or hopefully even improve, we need to conserve energy for a while. That's necessary in order to get inspiration, new ideas. So there may be a couple of years before a new Depeche Mode record comes out."[25]
As if with hindsight to this and to the future Dave said, "We'd wonder if we'd still be around in another five years. It comes down to whether we'll carry on being friends and how long we'll want to record together. Depeche Mode is a group of four people, those four people make the sound of Depeche Mode. If one of those people left the group, it wouldn't be Depeche Mode anymore. If we split up, that would be it."[26]
Of course, fans know that he would change his mind later. But it has to be noted that at that time Alan was already losing interest increasingly in touring.
I think it's one of the reasons why he finally left the band. Most people tend to focus on only one thing; maybe they are confused, because Alan has given many reasons over the course of time. One of them was losing interest in touring, and thinking about if he wanted to do this (and also working in a pop format, in a band) for the rest of his life.
"I don't really miss [touring]," Alan said in 1992. "Often, when you're actually involved in a very long tour you start to wonder if you'll ever want to do it again."[27]
He was interested in exploring new paths - personal and musical - and 1990/91 was a point at which he started to develop in a different direction than that of the rest of the band.






References:
[1] www.recoil.co.uk
[2] Faith, Hope and Depravity, Select, December 1990. Words: Andrew Harrison
[3] Depeche Mode: A Short Film, EPKMUTEL5, included with The Singles 86>98 promotional box set, PBXMUTEL5. Director: Sven Harding
[4] Interview with Depeche Mode, The Videos 86>98, Mute MF033 and Videos 86>98+, Mute MF042. Director: Sven Harding
[5] User's Guide: Depeche Mode, Kingsize, May 2001. Words: Uncredited
[6] K-ROQ FM, L.A., February 1997, DJs: Kevin and Bean
[7] Faith, Hope and Depravity, Select, December 1990. Words: Andrew Harrison
[8] Sin Machine, NME, 17 February 1990. Words: Stuart Maconie
[9] Sin Machine, NME, 17 February 1990. Words: Stuart Maconie
[10] Real Gahan Kid, Sky, March 1990. Words: Paul Lester
[11] Depeche Mode Hip it up and Start Again, Melody Maker, 10 March 1990. Words: Jon Wilde
[12] Violator, Alligator, NME, 7 July 1990. Words: Jeff Giles
[13] Violator, Alligator, NME, 7 July 1990. Words: Jeff Giles
[14] www.recoil.co.uk
[15] www.recoil.co.uk
[16] Mode Ahead, Muzik, July 2001. Words: Ralph Moore
[17] Just Can't Get Enough, Uncut, May 2001. Words: Stephen Dalton
[18] In the Mode, Details, April 1993. Words: William Shaw
[19] Real Gahan Kid, Sky, March 1990. Words: Paul Lester
[20] Depeche Mode Hip it up and Start Again, Melody Maker, 10 March 1990. Words: Jon Wilde
[21] In the Mode, Details, April 1993. Words: William Shaw
[22] "I Never Wanted to Destroy Depeche Mode", Melody Maker, 3 April 1993. Words: Jennifer Nine
[23] The Basildon Bond, The Times Magazine, 14 April 2001. Words: Paul Connolly
[24] In the Mode, Details, April 1993. Words: William Shaw
[25] Depeche Mode - Interview with the band, ULTRA Magazine, May 1990. Words: Jan Gradvall.
[26] Depeche Mode Hip it up and Start Again, Melody Maker, 10 March 1990. Words: Jon Wilde.
[27] KROQ, 17 April 1992. Interviewer: Richard Blade



Biography: 1991

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