This year, Martin as well as Dave released solo records. It was the start of a partly quite amusing "bitch alarm". You had to fear there would never be another DM album ...
Martin began and released the single Stardust / Life Is Strange on 14 April, followed by the album Counterfeit 2 on 28 April, and the single Loverman on 17 November. From 24 April to 7 May he went on a little solo tour, which comprised 7 concerts.
Contrary to the years before, Martin was much more diplomatic but nevertheless, he made some statements which would lead to some trouble with Dave later. Like his answer to the question whether he had listened to Dave's solo album.
"I was just this minute speaking to our manager about it. I've tried to pick up a package Dave has sent me three times but it seems to have got lost in the post. I don't really know what Dave's expectations are. I've no big commercial ideas about Counterfeit2. I'd be surprised if it's a huge success."[1]
Some journalists seemed determined to dredge up old news, such as how his family had reacted to his clothing style in the 1980s, and whether or not he was gay (okay, this was asked by a gay magazine ...)
"I think my father probably disowned me more than my mother. But it was the 80s: Everybody had a strange look pretty much - there was something funny in the air. I still think to this day that everybody assumes I'm gay, well, not everybody, but a lot of people assume that. It doesn't bother me. I never questioned my sexuality. I always felt totally heterosexual, very comfortable with my sexuality, very comfortable dressing like that - it wasn't a big deal for me. It seemed to be a big deal for everybody else."[2]

At the time, Martin had been living in Santa Barbara, California, for a while - with his wife Suzanne (the marriage broke down shortly after), their two daughters Viva-Lee and Ava-Lee as well as their son Calo Leon, who was born in 2002.
"Well, I think I lead two totally separate lives. There are times when I have to slip into rock star mode and the majority of the time I'm at home with my family and nobody particularly knows who I am. I play football - soccer, they call it in America - three times a week, and for the first six months nobody in my team even knew who I was. And that's quite nice."[3]
Asked for his motives doing a record with cover-songs he explained, "When I was a kid I used to really love the Bryan Ferry cover records, so I quite liked the idea of doing this series of counterfeit records, just because I think it gives people an insight into my influences. It's not like when I do a cover version I expect it to live up to the original, they're just songs I like and that have in some way touched me on an emotional level.[4] I've been thinking about it for a long time but we had a lot of commitments with the band and I started to value my free time with my family. It's hard enough to combine having a family and being in a band at the best of times, so I put it on a back burner. Last year, I found out Dave was doing a solo album and so I thought it would be ideal."[5]
He went to see one of Dave's concerts when he was touring Paper Monsters. While Martin said that it had been a strange experience for him because Dave had played a lot of DM-songs, Dave said, "He came to one of the LA shows, I hadn't seen him for a while, and afterwards - he'll probably hate me for this - he said, 'I really feel like I'm following you around now,' which shocked me because I'd been following him for so long."[6]
Obviously, it encouraged him to do what he did ...

I Cast A Lonesome Shadow

(I Cast a Lonesome Shadow - with friendly permission of © Sabine Perigault)

Dave released the single Dirty Sticky Floors / Stand Up / Maybe on 26 May, followed by the album Paper Monsters on 2 June.
According to rumours Dave had asked Alan to play the piano on some songs or even to produce the album. There's one source saying, Alan refused because of having no time, while in this one the impression is given that Alan had never heard about it: "I'm not aware actually that Dave was after any of my so-called production skills. As you know, I try not to comment too specifically on the newer works of DM but I'm pleased for David. I'm sure it feels mighty fulfilling to have got some of his own writing off his chest and it's indicative of his state of mind that he got it done and is out on the road, which he clearly loves."[7]
Of course, Dave talked much more than Martin. "I just got the feeling, during the last band album, that it was something I had to do, and that it wouldn't be possible within Depeche.[8] This album has helped me get rid of my insecurity."[9]
About Black and Blue Again: "My wife and I had a huge fight, and I walked out of our apartment. I was on my way to the studio when it suddenly dawned on me that I was the one in the wrong. That song is basically me admitting that I'm not always a very nice person. I realized that relationships weren't easy, and I had to change."[10]
About Dirty Sticky Floors: "I had these huge Wizard Of Oz statues in my Santa Monica apartment - the Tin Man and the Cowardly Lion. They pretty much became my companions. On any given night they'd begin talking to me. I ended up actually shooting the Tin Man ... he was the worst. It was complete paranoia. I'd be on my own, walking around my apartment with a loaded .38 down the back of my pants. Scared of my own shadow. I mean, I'm laughing now, but it really was heavy at the time. Anyway, this song - I wanted to reflect the stupidity of addiction. To say, look, this is where it ends up - hanging out with the toilet bowl, with your head down it most of the time. Crawling around some dirty sticky floor, usually your own, on your own."[11]

From 5 June to 30 November - with a break in September, Dave went on a solo tour.
In the meantime, on 18 August, the single I Need You / Closer / Breathe was released.
In June 2003 Dave met Gavin Martin again who had described the shattering conditions behind the scenes of DM ten years before.
"Did I get aggressive with you?" Dave asked. "I remember reading what you wrote and it p***ed me off. But I was glad you did it. There were people like you who said 'Forget the music, this guy is sick and needs help.' But at the time I was beyond receiving help."[12]

Hidden Houses

(Hidden Houses - with friendly permission of © Emilie Lashmar)

At the beginning of the promotion tour, he was in a good mood.
Question of a fan: "Do you get a free subscription to Depeche Mode, the French mag you stole the name from?"
Dave: "I don't, but they once wanted to do a photo session with us. Years before that there was a period of time where there were lawsuits flying around because we'd copied the name. Once we became more successful they let it go because we probably helped them to sell more copies. I always see it in the shop where I buy my magazines in New York and it's funny because it's similar to House and Garden."
Question of another fan: "Is it true that a few years ago a bloke approached you for an autograph in the toilets while you were having a piss and you turned round and pissed all over him?"
Dave: "Yeah, that is true. I can't remember where it was though. I don't mind signing autographs but when you're at the urinal and someone's standing next to you shaking with a pen it's a bit strange. I actually gave the guy an autograph, but I was still pissing so it splashed all over his feet and he didn't notice because he was just so hell-bent on getting me to sign his bit of paper. I think now I'd just say, 'Piss off'."[13]
(Sorry for the unrefined expressions, but I like the pun ;-))

Bitter Apple

(Bitter Apple (Alone in the city) - with friendly permission of © Xiker Hidalgo)

But over the course of time Dave had to realise that it wasn't so easy to release a solo record without any DM-connection. Whether this was the reason or not - he started some kind of slug fest against Martin.
"Has Martin heard Paper Monsters? He called me and said, 'I've just got back from holiday and I've got a message that there's an album at the post office which I'll pick up, but what I'm ringing about is have you got a number for a chiropractor?'[14] I know that I'm writing new songs, working with new musicians. I'm open to that, and if there's to be another DM record, Martin would have to be open to it as well. If he's not prepared to work as a team, I can't see that there's any point.[15] I don't know at the moment whether I could work for DM under the same conditions as before. I don't think so. One should let me have my say, listen to me and give me the feeling that my ideas are as important as Martin's. I sent Martin a copy of my album, for his I had to ask. And Mart said: 'I asked my manager to send you one.' I: 'You asked your manager for? Move your a***, take a CD, put it into an envelope and send it to me, you arrogant a***!'"[16]

And it got even worse. In the course of time Dave reacted increasingly irritated and thin-skinned. "I'm not here to be judged by Martin Gore. I'm not his marionette. If Martin can give me what I have given him with his songs within all the years, then we can work together. I have a solo album now ..."
But when he was asked about the perfect mode of operation with Martin and Fletch: "Well, listen: There aren't any plans, okay? Is that enough now? And Andy doesn't do anything in the studio, even the fans know this. He hasn't contributed musically to DM perhaps since A Broken Frame. It was Alan, Martin and me. Alan left the band and now it's Martin and me. I'm not going to carry on with DM just because it's such a big name. A new album must fill me with enthusiasm. It must come from our hearts. But at the moment I find it rather outrageous to ask me all these questions. I'm working with a cool band ..."
And when one dared to ask him about Alan ...
"Alan left DM ten years ago. You should get over it. - I recently saw Alan, he is well, he lives with his wife and the children in the countryside and makes music under the name Recoil. He saw my concert in London. Before that I hadn't spoken to him for two years. I do something else now and enjoy it!"[17]

Sometimes the media reaction was almost as bitchy as his, calling him an "insulted diva", comparing his lyrics with Martin's and sneering at "cliché afflicted cross rhymes". On the other hand, it was often his own fault. So there was an interview on an Austrian TV-show which was first shortened from twenty minutes down to ten minutes, and was finally broken off because Dave was in a very bad mood.
While Martin kept quiet at first (good decision), Fletch shot back: "Dave's talking nonsense. He has just released his first solo album and he's very proud of it with good reason. Therefore, he's on cloud nine at the present. But basically he knows, of course, that Martin is the songwriter. Martin's songs and Dave's voice - that is DM."[18]
But Dave insisted on his opinion. "It's just not fun in the studio if you've got an idea for something and the person you're working with can't even be bothered to pick a guitar up. It seems to me like a waste of time. Unless he's open to both me and him coming into the studio with a bunch of songs and supporting each other, I don't see that there's any point in going on and making another Depeche Mode record. You know what? At this point, I don't really care."[19]

[1] 60 Second Interview: Martin Gore, Metro, 28 April 2003. Words: James Ellis
[2] The Return of Martin Gore, Boyz, 12 April 2003. Words: Uncredited
[3] Martin Gore: Counterfeit 2 Interview, Mute ICDSTUMM214
[4] The Return of Martin Gore, Boyz, 12 April 2003. Words: Uncredited
[5] 60 Second Interview: Martin Gore, Metro, 28 April 2003. Words: James Ellis
[6] Interview with Dave Gahan, Mojo, 22 March 2013. Words: Martin Aston.
[7] Recoil aka Alan Wilder - On hold for the time being, Sideline.com, 21 March 2004. Words: Bernard van Isacker.
[8] The Uncut Questionnaire: Dave Gahan, Uncut, July 2003. Words: Chris Roberts
[9] Facing my Monsters, Daily Mirror, 27 June 2003. Words: Gavin Martin
[10] Depeche Frontman in New Mode, Daily Mail, 2 May 2003. Words: Adrian Thrills
[11] The Uncut Questionnaire: Dave Gahan, Uncut, July 2003. Words: Chris Roberts
[12] Facing my Monsters, Daily Mirror, 27 June 2003. Words: Gavin Martin
[13] Cash for Questions: Dave Gahan, Q, June 2003. Words: Paul Stokes
[14] Cash for Questions: Dave Gahan, Q, June 2003. Words: Paul Stokes
[15] Q & A Dave Gahan, Metro, 27 October 2003. Words: Rob Haynes
[16] Depeche Mode Am Ende?, Musikexpress, Juni 2004, Words: Albert Koch
[17] Ich bin nicht Martin Gores Marionette, Laut.de, 6 November 2003, Words: Michael Schuh
[18] Dave Gahan schwebt auf einer Wolke, Laut.de, October 30th 2003, Words: Michael Schuh
[19] Gahan Ditching Depeche Mode?, Rolling Stone (US), 20 August 2003. Words: Corey Levitan.

Biography: 2004

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