Even though you might tend not to read prefaces, in this case you should consider doing so, because I'm going to tell you some things you really ought to know, before you read this biography.
It is based on my personal view and interest. I'm not a journalist who woke up one day and decided: 'Why don't I write a biography about Depeche Mode, and make some money with it?' Actually, I used to be a fan in the 1980s, and lost interest in them when Alan left the band in 1995. I "came back" to them when they released the song Lilian on their album Playing the Angel in 2005. Not that I liked the song that much, (the opposite is the case), but I had got curious about what had happened to this band I used to like, who had now released a song with my name as the title.
I discovered the now no longer functional website sacredDM.net that offered a large collection of articles about the band through the years. I started to read them and tried to find answers to questions like, "Why did Alan really leave the band?", "Why is this band popular with a large group of people, but is nevertheless misinterpreted, misunderstood or even ignored by large sections of the general music business?", and "How and why did the band change from a certain point onwards, without being bothered by the fact that some of their more critical fans don't like everything they are doing and releasing today?"
What I had noted down for my own interest soon developed into a very long, detailed biography. I decided to publish it on a website, so that other fans could read it too. It started with a small publication on the website of a friend in 2007, moved on to a ready-made homepage done with a website creator, and in 2009, I finally created depechemodebiographie.de, having learnt html from scratch.
People sent in a lot of feedback right from the start. I received (and still receive)
many e-mails with questions, ideas, criticisms, requests - concerning the biography itself
and regarding the layout of the website.
So this biography is based on a fans' view, and is influenced by the suggestions, opinions and questions of fans and readers.
I tried to react to feedback, and looked into some topics that people were concerned about. However, if there were topics I'm not personally interested in at all, or I thought that an idea was unsuitable, (e.g. personal matters of the band members), I didn't go into it.
It was a fans' desire to have an international version in English, parallel to the original German version. This was completed in 2009. For a long time it remained just a (rather bad) translation, because I was too lazy to find all the sources again. In 2011 I finally re-did the English version, replaced all the translated quotations by the originals. I had to note that some of the sources were gone. The latest chapters were affected especially, so some parts had to be re-written, which in turn had its effect on the German version. Furthermore, all quotations were given footnotes, so now it is easier to see from which sources the quotations come, and how the statements were put together.
I also collected fans' opinions from national and international message-boards and
other commentaries in the Internet, and tried to combine them, to portray different
groups and opinions on special topics.
In 2010, I asked some fans about their own backgrounds, and their opinions on some of the special events in the band's career. Some of the studies from this survey found their way into the biography.
I also tried to answer questions which people sent me. Some answers are based on facts, some are interpretations (e.g. when I was asked about the meaning of lyrics), some are based on my personal opinion.
All interpretations, opinions and theories that appear in this biography are what they are: interpretations and opinions! It's up to you whether you accept them as possible explanations, or come to different conclusions. On no account should you take them as facts, unless they are declared as such, or proved by a quotation.
It was also suggested I should bring in quotations from people surrounding the band
as well. I decided against it - for the following reasons:
Not being a journalist as such, I'm not able to travel around the world and interview a lot of people surrounding the band, or the band members themselves. So I could only work with existing stuff. And that's a lot of stuff! It took several years to get through it, and at some point you have to decide what you want. My interest was in the band members and not so much in the people surrounding them. So I collected quotations from the (former) band members, in an attempt to let them tell their story in their own words.
This meant leaving out interviews with (co-)producers, managers, photographers etc.,
unless I was able to talk to someone myself.
In 2011 I interviewed some musicians about general topics, to be able to give some theories a background and to show up some parallels. (These interviews were anonymous.)
In 2012 I had the opportunity to talk to Gareth Jones. It was an interview in general about his work as a producer for the webzine truetrash.de, but he was nice enough to answer some questions about Depeche Mode as well.
And in 2013 - right in the middle of preparing the service print edition - I had the opportunity to talk to Steve Lyon.
Another reason for leaving out all the people working with the band was that most of the other existing biographies are based on interviews with those people. I didn't want to write yet another biography based on the views of managers, producers etc. on the band, but of course it was interesting to chat with Gareth Jones and Steve Lyon.
So this biography is mainly based on statements from the (former) band members, in
a variety of interviews with different magazines and other media, from 1981 to 2017.
Over the course of time I read, watched or listened to thousands of sources. They can't be all counted. The attentive reader will have noticed that there are often remarks like, "other sources say that ..." Maybe these sources weren't worth quoting but they were necessary to put together a story that is as accurate as possible. These sources won't all be listed here, simply because there are too many. We are talking about 2,000 websites, radio/video interviews, books, films and articles in different magazines and newspapers.
Full interviews are not quoted, but small quotations have been taken from some. The individual quotations are seldom represented in the original context. The quotations have been edited, and then reassembled in a new, independent context. I have taken care, however, not to distort any statements, and to ensure there are no false interpretations, or anything that makes fun of the band members.
For the quotations based on newspaper articles and other media, it's important to note that the original quotations themselves may not be correct! The band members did not write the articles themselves, (except quotations taken from Alan's website or from interviews I made myself, or transcriptions of radio/video-interviews), and they had to rely solely on the journalists to reproduce everything accurately.
There may be assertions in articles that were not actually comments of any of the band
members, and therefore appear as "rumour". Some rumours may now have been dispelled,
thanks to Alan, who kindly granted me a short interview in 2008.
I showed the biography to Alan and to Mute because I wanted the (former) band members to know what I'm doing, so they would be able to make criticisms, or object to anything they didn't like. I have never received any answer from anyone from the band or from their management - only Alan was kind enough to answer.
(This doesn't mean he authorized anything! This biography is as unauthorized as any that is on the market.)
Who is this biography meant to reach in general? It may be of special interest to those who have only just discovered Depeche Mode recently. It's also for people who may not wish to read, listen to, or watch separately about 2,000 interviews or more, which I had read, listened to, or watched.
This biography doesn't offer anything new to the fan who has already read at least one biography. Or as Martin would say: I'm not trying to tell you anything you didn't know when you woke up today. (From Nothing, Music for the Masses.)
Nevertheless, I tried to move away from the "dark" picture full of pain and suffering
a lot of articles and biographies used to show. This band has a lot more to offer
than just debauchery and suffering. So I also collected anecdotes, nonsense, the
professional side - but mostly left out the technical details. This may disappoint
some people, but this, for example, is a topic I'm not interested in personally.
And - as I've mentioned before - I tried to find answers (or at least theories) to the questions above.
In 2010 I went Facebook.
This website doesn't pursue any commercial aims. All contents are free. But if you'd like to support my work, you are welcome to "buy me a coffee" (via PayPal). This website will stay free of commercial advertising. Nevertheless, it causes some costs (server, domain), and it takes a lot of time.
(with friendly permission of © Dave Gould
When the project started in 2007 I used lots of pictures I found
somewhere in the Internet. I soon got aware of that it might cause problems.
As I wasn't able to find the photographers and asked them permission to show
their pictures on the website I started to "collect" fan-art. I got in touch
with several "devoted" photographers and artists all over the world -
Europe, USA, South America, Japan ... It's amazing to see where and how many
people got influenced by this band. Sometimes the photographers had never
heard anything about DM or just know a few songs like Enjoy the Silence,
but it was enough to play a song to them and they would see that the picture
I asked for suits the song perfectly.
At the end of 2010, I finally had a large and great collection of wonderful pictures.
So the pictures are from various photographers and artists who
have kindly granted me permission to use their works. Under each
picture, you will find a direct link to the website of the
artist / photographer if available. Each photo remains the
copyrighted property of the original artist / photographer.
You are not allowed to copy and use them without permission!
But all photographers would appreciate some feedback to their pictures. :)
List of photographers:
- Cynthia Lorenzon - Logo
- Dave Gould - German/English-Startpage, Biography: Foreword, Martin Lee Gore
- Paige K. Parsons - Biography: Vince Clarke
- Jérôme Pouille - Biography: Andrew Fletcher, 2006, 2010/11, Fansurvey
- Derek van Oss - Biography: Martin Lee Gore
- Anja (Composition of Sound) - Biography: David Gahan, 1981, 1983, 1988, 1992, 1995
- Ulrike Müller - Biography: David Gahan
- Paola Gravina Red - Biography: Alan Wilder, 2010/11
- Leah - Biography: Foundation
- Sandra Lara - Biography: Foundation
- Julieanne Savage - Biography: 1981
- Juan Luis V.C. - Biography: 1981
- Gergely Dervarics (Greg76) - Biography: 1982
- Annette Pehrsson - Biography: 1982
- Tuxedofeline - Biography: 1982
- Tupid - Biography: 1983
- "Mr Panda" - Biography: 1984
- Esther Perez - Biography: 1984
- Bart Ceuppens - Biography: 1985
- Steve Mishos - Biography: 1986
- Alessandro Pagni - Biography: 1986
- Camilo Rueda López - Biography: 1986
- J. Miguel Caldera - Biography: 1987
- Marina Muolo - Biography: 1987
- Karen (°°k°°) - Biography: 1988, 2001/02
- Xiker Hidalgo - Biography: 1989, 2003
- Ariel Zuhal & Candy Durant - Biography: 1989
- Stella - Biography: 1989
- Ingo B. - Biography: 1990, 2013, 2015
- Adrianna - Biography: 1990, 2007
- Pablo Maza Castillo - Biography: 1990
- Milla Valta - Biography: 1992
- Danny Hammontree - Biography: 1992
- Marcin Ostrowski - Biography: 1993
- Heather Bee - Biography: 1993
- Wojciech Welc - Biography: 1994, 1998/99
- Alatryste - Biography: 1994
- Laura Bâlc - Biography: 1994, 1996
- Ana María Villanueva O., Punta Arenas, Chile - Biography: 1995
- Paolo Gobbo - Biography: 1996, 2005
- Maerten Prins - Biography: 1997
- Andrew Van Wart - Biography: 1997
- Fury Harbinger - Biography: 1997, 2000
- Keyou Arian - Biography: 2001/02
- Sabine Perigault - Biographie: 2003
- Emilie Lashmar - Biography: 2003
- Matteo Prezioso - Biography: 2004
- Justin Lim - Biography: 2005
- Jan Kruml - Biography: 2007
- Depeche Gurl - Biography: 2008
- Maria Gay - Biography: 2009
- Lynn (M)factr - Biography: 2009
- Simone Flash Benedetti - Discography
There are pictures taken and posted on this website that also appeared on Alan's website. All that appear on this website were given by Alan with his express permission. For some pictures Mute / EMI gave permission.
NOTE: The photographers and artists do not influence the content of the pages on which their work appears!
Additional remarks: Andrew Fletcher will be generally
referred to as "Fletch" to avoid confusion between him and "Alan"
because of the same first letters (unless he's been referred to
TOTP stands for "Top of the Pops"
DM of course as the common acronym for "Depeche Mode"
SOFAD for "Songs of Faith and Devotion" and
SOTU for "Sounds of the Universe".
The personal biographies of the (former) band members showcase how each member came to the band. These remain separate from the writings of the years where all was brought together which seemed to be interesting.
While I never got any answer according to the question if I might stream excerpts of Depeche-Mode-songs on this website, Alan kindly granted me to do so with Recoil-songs.
Thanks to: the webmaster of SacredDM.net, Angelinda and everyone at dmtvarchives, Alan Wilder and the Shunt staff, Gareth Jones, Steve Lyon, Benjamin, Pete Fisher, Carole, Sean, Sky, Ingo, Holger, Mary, Silke and all my "homies", Daniel, Felix and Aesculap as well as everyone who helped with the website, Anja and all photographers who allowed me to show their pictures on the website, all critics, supporters, followers and readers.
Although the text was edited a few times please note that I'm not a native
speaker. Be gentle with me and understand me. ;)
Note that some pages of this website haven't been edited yet.