Martin Lee Gore was born in London, 23 July 1961. While there are differing stories regarding his place of birth, he mentioned that he was born in London in two different articles. I do hope he knows for sure! ;-)
"I was born in London, but raised as a kid in Dagenham where Dad was a Ford's worker and Mum was a telephonist at the car factory.[1] Then we moved to Hornchurch in Essex. After a brief stay of one year we moved again, this time to the centre of the Universe - Basildon!"[2]

Martin's biological father is Afro-American, a fact that Martin learned shortly before the birth of his daughter Viva-Lee. However, his mother Pamela told him at the age of 13 that David, the father with whom he was growing up, was his stepfather.
Martin has two younger half sisters, Karen, born in 1967, and Jacqueline, born in 1968. (There are different articles with different age details. According to one of them Jacqueline is older than Karen and the birth dates were 1968 and 1969. Their actual birth dates have never been mentioned.)


(with friendly permission of © Derek van Oss)

"I led a normal childhood," Martin said about himself, "family life was stable, nothing too traumatic occurred. I remember I was a very good boy until the age of five when I went through a phase of beating up other children. One day my mother caught me putting a brick over another child's head. My father was furious. He told me never to hit anyone else again. I'm glad I got such a talking to, it made me very passive and harmless."[3]
He was a strange child and quite introverted according to his own words. "I always had none or only a few friends and I spent most of the time alone in my room reading fairy-tales. I lost myself in fairy-tale books and lived in another world. In school as well I had a big shortage of self-confidence. The teachers only seldom heard my voice."[4]

Martin and Fletch first met at primary school, but got to know each other at Nicholas Comprehensive School when Fletch made Martin come to the Boys' Brigade with him.
But in opposite to Fletch Martin's interest in music didn't start with church. "Interest in pop music stemmed from a couple of things.[5] When I was ten or 11, I discovered my mother's old rock 'n' roll singles in the cupboard, stuff like Elvis, Chuck Berry, Del Shannon, and I played those records over and over again, and I realised than that that was the only thing I was really interested in, and it went on from there.[6] I was heavily into the teen mag Disco 45. I had hundreds of them and used to read all the song words. I can still remember all those lyrics though I haven't got a good memory for anything else.[7] When I was about 12 my mum and dad bought me a guitar for my birthday and together with a few friends Norman and the Worms was born. This group continued in one form or another until 1979.[8] About that time, 13, I had a crush on Donna by 10cc. A friend taught me a few guitar chords and we started to write songs. Obviously, looking back they were awful, but I was proud of them then."[9]


Strange but true: Martin liked to go to school very much. He learned German at school and took part in a school exchange to Erfde in Schleswig-Holstein. "I found German a boring subject, but I enjoyed staying on a farm. Country life is alright in small doses. I liked milking the cows.[10]
I stayed on at school until I was 18 because I liked it so much.[11] I did suffer from a suburban outlook. I didn't go to a gig until I was 17! I'd hardly even been to London which was half an hour away from Basildon by train.[12] Basildon is not very far, but I only used to go to London for work. I never used to go out there as getting back took ages: 60 km when you don't drive and the trains stop running at midnight, it's like the other end of the world![13]
I got French and German A-Levels (failed maths) and then had to make a decision about the future, which shocked me greatly. I didn't have the necessary motivation to do much, like going to university. I didn't want to leave school, I felt secure there. If all this fell through I could see myself studying, I certainly wouldn't go back to bank work. Aah, the bank. My first job. I worked at the NatWest clearing house in the city for a year and a half on grade one.[14] Because I was so young, my colleagues treated me a little in a step-motherly fashion. [15] It was mind-crushingly dull, but my lack of imagination and confidence meant I couldn't see an alternative. Languages were what I wanted to work with, but translation jobs were hard to find."[16]

In opposite to Fletch Martin's relationship with his home town wasn't the best. He didn't feel well there. "I really hated Basildon. I wanted to get out as quickly as I could. I think being in a band was an escape. There was very little to do. It's one of those places where you go drinking because that's your only option. When I was about 17 or 18, me and my friend were walking back from a party in Laindon, which is close to Basildon and we heard this running behind us. We didn't think anything of it, but suddenly we were surrounded by six guys saying, 'Which one of you called my mate a f*** wanker?' One of those, you know? So then they started punching and kicking us ... they weren't fun times."[17]


(with friendly permission of © Dave Gould)

Today Martin is the father of three children: Viva-Lee, born in 1991, Ava-Lee, born in 1995, and Calo Leon, born in 2002. Martin has since divorced the mother of the children, Suzanne.
In addition to his work with DM, he released some solo works: a single song (a tribute to Leonard Cohen) Coming Back To You in 1995, the Counterfeit e.p. in 1989 and the album Counterfeit 2 in 2003. In 2011/12 he was the vocalist of the song Man Made Machine of the band Motor, and he released the EPs/singles Spock, Blip and Aftermath as well as the album Ssss together with Vince Clarke (project name: VCMG).

[1] Martin Gore: The Decadent Boy, No. 1, 11 May 1985
[2] A Broken Frame Tour Programme, 1982
[3] Martin Gore: The Decadent Boy, No. 1, 11 May 1985
[4] Depeche Mode prive (Part 3: Martin Gore), unknown author, media and date
[5] Martin Gore: The Decadent Boy, No. 1, 11 May 1985
[6] The Life and Loves of Depeche Mode, I-D, October 1993. Words: Michael Fuchs-Gambock
[7] Martin Gore: The Decadent Boy, No. 1, 11 May 1985
[8] A Broken Frame Tour Programme, 1982
[9] Martin Gore: The Decadent Boy, No. 1, 11 May 1985
[10] Martin Gore: The Decadent Boy, No. 1, 11 May 1985
[11] A Broken Frame Tour Programme, 1982
[12] Martin Gore: The Decadent Boy, No. 1, 11 May 1985
[13] 80's, Mode d'Emploi, Best, October 1987. Words: Gerard Bar-David
[14] Martin Gore: The Decadent Boy, No. 1, 11 May 1985
[15] Depeche Mode prive (Part 3: Martin Gore), unknown author, media and date
[16] Martin Gore: The Decadent Boy, No. 1, 11 May 1985
[17] Just Can't Get Enough, Uncut, May 2001. Words: Stephen Dalton
[18] Additional dates and information were taken from: Collect-a-Page: MARTIN, Look-In, 12 December 1981. Words: Uncredited; Hero's Welcome for Four Boys in the Band, Basildon Evening Echo, 12 November 1981. Words: Don Stewart

Biography: David Gahan

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