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LIFE IN DEPECHE MODE - group decisions / attitudes / roles

From: Jason Seals
E-mail: Spirit2575@aol.com

If DM voted on something and the vote was split , who was responsible for shifting the vote to a 3-2 decision?

Our only option in those cases was independent arbitration from those we respect the most, such as Dan Miller, Flood, Jonathan Kessler etc.

From: Robert Talbot
E-mail: ygu77@dial.pipex.com

Did you enjoy your time throughout your DM years? From the answers I've seen, you give the impression you didn't.

For the most part, I did. There were obviously boring moments like waiting about in airports etc., which reminds me: When Charlie Watts was asked how it felt to be a member of the Rolling Stones for such a long time (25 years) his reply was "I've only actually spent 5 years in the Rolling Stones, and 20 years hanging about..." - that just about sums it up.

From: GIUNTIA Tonino
E-mail: tonino.giuntia@cfwb.be

In 1989, someone asked you what you thought you'd be doing in ten years time and you said "hopefully making music without compromise and enjoying a relaxed, happy and comfortable existence". Did you know already that you wouldn't be in DM for10 more years?

Well I didn't plan to leave DM in 1989 if that's what you mean but by the same token, I never expected to remain in a band all my life. There's something quite sad about being in a 'pop' group when you hit middle age.

From: Jean
E-mail: jean101@usa.net

During your involvement in DM - did the royalties from album sales get divided in exactly four ways, percentage wise, among the four members? Or did some get more than others?

Royalties are split equally between the four members.

From: Brian Hodge
E-mail: brian.hodge@blockbuster.com

I know that you said that DM was never pressured by Mute to be commercial but was the fact the Mute exists (financially) because of DM (and Erasure) ever on the band's mind?

I think there's always an underlying pressure felt by DM to come up with hits but, luckily, Martin's a natural pop songwriter so you couldn't say it was forced. I do think for balance, Mute could use a few more commercially successful acts on their roster.

From: Aaron Henderson

Unlike many electronic acts, DM and Recoil have never really gone along with the current "in thing" in electronic music. Is this a conscious effort to remain different or something that you haven't really thought about?

The interesting thing is that over the years, we just carried on producing music in our usual way and the band has moved in and out of fashion, depending on what's trendy at the time. It's always preferable to remain true to your ideals and maintain uour integrity, rather than jump on the latest bandwagon.

From: Jam
E-mail: Jam007DM@aol.com

Was it ever the case where Dave almost left and DM were looking for a new lead singer?

No, I don't think so.

Is it slik or slick or silk? I have seen it so many different ways!

It's whatever you want, but I don't like it and nobody has used it for years.

From: James
E-mail: JAME567892@aol.com

When you were in DM, apart from recording sessions and being on tour, would the four of you ever decide to meet and socialise together as mates?

As a complete group, never. You have to remember that we were working for most of the year together, so any period of 'downtime' would have invariably been used for holidays and private times with our families.

From: Sergio Bayarri Gausi
E-mail: euimail@aiind.upv.es

Could you please go to Zambak's Depeche Mode page and enlighten us as to the scratchings on Mode vinyl that we don't understand? Some of them were explained by Martin but some are still a mystery to us.

I visited this page recently and saw the etchings he has listed. I really don't want to try to explain their meanings. Etchings are invariably 'in-jokes' and should probably remain so.

From: Konstantin Pintchouk
E-mail: nad@ipc.ru

In a recent interview, Martin said that he always felt, and still feels that Depeche Mode was not a commercial project but you evaluated Depeche Mode (in a couple of Q + A answers) as such. Was the commercial status of Depeche ever a controversial issue for you especially considering Martin's attitude?

I'm not saying in any way that 'commercial' is a dirty word but Depeche Mode has always obviously been a commercial venture amongst other things. Having hit records was, certainly when I was a member, important to the group. Martin's songs clearly work within the confines of a 'pop' format - verse / bridge / chorus / middle 8 etc.

From: Mario Vella
E-mail: mmjgvella@hotmail.com

We all now know that you like to take into account what your fans say and suggest etc. but did DM actually this into account or were all decisions and activities a result of the four of you doing what you all felt was the right thing, regardless of what your fans wanted?

We would always try to consider the fan's although when making the actual music it is dangerous to try to gear it towards a particular market or listener. When considering things like stage shows, ticket prices, t-shirts etc., we would definitely try to predict what fans would want.

I work in marketing so I'd love to know your opinion on pop groups/artistes who endorse products and were DM ever approached to endorse anything? Would you do it now?

DM were always very hesitant about directly endorsing any product. It's tacky and tends to cheapen your image somehow. That doesn't mean that advertising never took place but it was usually second hand (promoters, local venues etc.) Would I do it now? Depends on the cash ;-)

From: Ingo Wziontek
E-mail: floegel@dammtorsatz.de

The years from 1988 - 1990 looked very 'American' to me and we (the fans in Europe) were very disappointed during this time. Was this a decision of the record companies to promote DM in the states or was it yours? And if so, why?

The band had toured constantly in America and battled against a radio-play brick wall for many years until suddenly things started to happen. We hadn't forgotten about Europe (we played many concerts there), it's just that it was an important and exciting time for us in the U.S. and we wanted to concentrate on this territory.

From: Carsten Vogt
E-mail: cvogt@theorie.physik.uni-wuppertal.de

How much influence did you really have on the ever increasing ticket prices for DM's concerts?

Our policy was to make ticket prices come in line with average prices at the time.

From: Ace130
E-mail: ace130@netcom.ca

At concerts (DM or otherwise), T-shirts and other merchandise is sold. Does the band commission a company to make it and if I wanted to sell my product to them what process would I have to go through? Do I have to contact Warner or Mute or Depeche Mode?

In the past we used a professional merchandising company called Bravado who would pay an advance for the exclusive right to provide products (on our approval) for either retail and / or tour. They would receive a commission. I've no idea what DM's current deal is.

From: =?koi8-r?B?68/S1iDg0snKIOTNydTSycXXyd4=?=
E-mail: korzh_yura@mtu-net.ru

Few days ago i find in a news group tirrible message: "Martin die in a car crash last night on M25 Kent, UK" Then I find that it's not true. How often do you see messages about DM like this in news , radio, tv during DM days and now? I think it's silly and foolish make the rumours like this, however, they help in next tour make more money, isn't it?

I think the golden rule is not to believe anything you read on the internet, in the press or hear on the television unless it comes from an official source or directly from the artist themselves.

From: WonderSun
E-mail: WonderSun@aol.com

Did DM ever have any secret former rivalries with certain other bands (like Duran Duran or U2)?

We used to bump into Spandau and Duran all the time in the early 80's. I think there probably was some rivalry. The friendliest lot were actually the lads from Frankie Goes To Hollywood, who we managed to drink under the table in a competition in Dortmund. They were a good laugh. Their drummer, Ped, now designs websites.

From: Craig Small
E-mail: Delayfade@aol.com

I was just noticing that (unless my memory has failed me) there isn't a single obscenity in the entire Depeche catalogue. I understand that you can't speak for Martin but was there a group decision to avoid obscenities? Was the subject ever even brought up? I'm not complaining, mind you. I think lesser songwriting talents often fall back on swearing when unable to express frustration or anger through more traditional channels. Any thoughts? Just fuckin' wondering...

It's not big and it's not clever but Martin did say "bugger" once...oohhh ;-)

From: Heiko Brune
E-mail: Heiko.Brune@uni-vechta.de

Do you remember the "Black Monument Association" (first official DM fan club for Germany, Austria and Switzerland)? How did you get along with Sebastian Koch and Co.?

Yes, I remember Sebastian well, he used to turn up all over the place.

From: Mark Reed
E-mail: mar@markgenius1.demon.co.uk>

The drummer from the Pixies said his dream job was drumming in Depeche Mode. With this in mind, was he ever considered for the job?

No. We never considered taking on a drummer at any point while I was in the group.

From: David Varga
E-mail: dv@Illusionfusion.com

Ten years from now would you do a Depeche Mode reunion if there was call for such a happening?

Don't start.....

From: CancerChan
E-mail: cancerchan@home.com

Also, how come you guys always had such a low "Hi, I'm God but my voice is shaky cause I've just recovered from a bout of the flu because I didn't wear my wellies" tone of voice when you performed?

English eccentrics. We like our wellies, not least to protect our tootsies from the inclement weather but also for somewhere convenient to stick the hind legs of a............. no, I can't go on, my mother reads this site ;-)

From: Sergio Bayarri Gausi
E-mail: euimail@aiind.upv.es

Someone I met on IRC is always saying that you let down Depeche Mode, not only by leaving the band but on many occasions when you still were part of it. One of his "proofs" is an article published in a Spanish music magazine - a "rough" translation would be:

"... another long and tiring tour........with continuous confrontations, desertions which raised a lot of bad feeling within the band (Alan allowed himself not to turn up to more than one concert)...."

I keep on telling this person that it couldn't be possible for you not to turn up to a concert because without the main keyboardist and drummer, it is hard to do a live performance - without you the concert would have had to be cancelled. I also don't remember any of the 'Devotional' Tour's concerts being cancelled because of you (apart from the one in Steve Malin's book, when you suffered from a kidney stone). So I told him I would ask you directly to find out who is right. :)

Tell your friend that the real truth is that I was never in Depeche Mode, in fact I don't even exist. The band just used a holographic image for 14 years of some bloke they met down the pub.

From: Tay
E-mail: daddytaylor@webtv.net

I've read in the archives that you have this room with DM records and memorabilia of all types and formats. What are you planning on doing with it all? Also, since you have this stash of stuff, is there anything I can do to receive '1+2' (non 'Hydrology' version) on vinyl? I can't seem to find it anywhere. I would be very grateful for anything you could do.

I plan to just keep these things for the record and pass them onto Paris when I pop me clogs. I'm afraid I only have one copy of '1+2' on vinyl so I can't help you but I can tell you that the Mute mail order shop is about to be radically updated with fresh supplies of stock becoming available. It's all part of their new Internet emphasis including a re-designed Mute website. Not sure yet when it will be on-line.

From: " M.L.G "
E-mail: schizo_86@hotmail.com

I've heard a rumour that you released a notebook containing notes for some/all of the songs you wrote during your time as a member of DM. Is this true? If this book really exists, where could I possibly find it?

It's not true.

From: Samuli Knuuti
E-mail: sknu@wsoy.fi

What do you think of the new Depeche Mode book by Steve Malins? Were you allowed to read the book before it was published? Is there anything you would like to correct?

No, I didn't read it before publication. It's no literary masterpiece but I think it's a pretty entertaining (and amusing) read all-round. On the whole it's accurate (barr one or two glaring mistakes like the spelling of Daryl BALMONTE). However, there are a couple of things that I can only describe as utter bollocks.... such as the claim that I got the band together after the end of the 'Devotional' tour and said that for the next DM album noone was allowed to be in the studio except me and that I wanted total control. There was no such meeting about a new LP and I've certainly never said this - the only meeting we had after the end of the tour was a year later when I told the others about my intentions to leave. There was also a suggestion that I tried to split the band by leaving. I certainly didn't do it to break up DM, nor did I think this would happen. I have also never once regretted my decision to quit. It was the best move I could have made for many reasons.

Whilst Steve Malin's book probably offers the most comprehensive insight so far into the much-hyped subject of 'roles', it is still essentially a third-party take on what was (and remains) a very private environment and shouldn't be interpreted as the definitive record of what went on in DM.

From: Ken Gerleve
E-mail: C2249C@lmpsil02.comm.mot.com

I read in the new biog. about Hawaiian Toast. Would there ever be a possibility of its release and also what was it like?

For those of you who are confused, what Ken is referring to is 'Toast Hawaii' - a dish from Hansa Studio's cafeteria that a particular DM band member was rather partial to. It was also the name of a joke album made during an early recording session where said band member sang his favourite songs such as 'When The Saints Go Marching In'. I probably have a cassette of this epic somewhere but I doubt whether it will ever see the light of day. I know I still have the photo from the front cover - think 'Plug' from 'The Bash Street Kids' ;-)

From: Folkert Boelen
E-mail: devlon2@enschede.com

If you had known what you know now, would you ever have become a musician, and would you ever have joined Depeche Mode?

If I had to 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'.

view part 2

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