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TOURING - life on the road / different venues and cities


From: Electric Cafe
E-mail: ele.gio@inrete.it

When DM toured, I got the chance to go backstage a few times but most of the time only Fletch and Mart were there. So where were you and Dave?

I was often around after the show although I liked to spend a bit of time having a shower and relaxing with a greyhound (not in the biblical sense of course) before going into the hospitality area. Dave tended to stay in his dressing room but sometimes he'd be around.

From: Greg Madison
E-mail: gakmadison@worldnet.att.net

About how long is the time span, typically, from when the last lights come up at the last encore of the last gig on a tour, until your head hits your own pillow at Rancho Wilder?

Off stage at about 11.30, couple of vodkas, a chicken leg, a shower and unwind until 1a.m., hospitality until 2.30, back to hotel 3am, go to a club or end-of- tour party 'till 5 or 6, carry on at the hotel till 7,8,9, 10 am or longer. Fall asleep on the sofa, wake up fully clothed, crawl into bed. Get up later that afternoon feeling like death and realise I haven't even started packing and I've got 20 minutes before I have to leave for the airport. Carry on sleeping on the plane until a hostess tells me I'm on British soil. Hang about shivering while waiting an eternity for my luggage. Talk rubbish to an English cab driver until he drops me at my front door. Find a pile of letters, a broken boiler, half a pint of rancid milk in the fridge and a note telling me to go to the shops. Go to bed.

From: Alexandra Chlup
E-mail: ug1z@rz.uni-karlsruhe.de

When you went on tour and you took a support band with you, were these bands from Mute too, or where did you find them?

Daniel always tried to encourage Mute bands for obvious reasons but we would consider anyone who seemed to vaguely fit the bill. As always, everybody had different opinions as to who was most suitable. I must admit, it wasn't something that I felt very strongly about so Martin or Dave usually had final say.

From: Stéphane Devillers
E-mail: tonino.giuntia@cfwb.be

When DM was planning to go on tour, where did you have your rehearsal sessions? Does Mute have a rehearsal place in London? And how were these sessions?

We rehearsed at Nomis studios in Shepherds Bush, London. Mute doesn't have it's own rehearsal space. Much like any other band, we would convene for about 2-3 weeks before going off for maybe a week of full production rehearsals in a proper venue.

During the 'Some Great Reward' tour, you had a hitting pad which had the word 'Pus' written on it. What's the message behind this?

Ha! No idea. I do remember it though. Probably something to do with Daryl Bamonte.

From: Alex
E-mail: snowboardgirl@odn.de

What is it like being on tour? Is it interesting or does it get boring after a while? And do "stars" really get treated so special on tour? I mean that they really have nothing else to worry about except their music for instance?

Well, at whatever level you tour - from a new band starting out to a big act like Depeche Mode - there are pressures. It's exciting to be able to visit so many different places and meet new people but constant travelling and hotel life can get you down. Obviously the social side of things is great - clubs and restaurants want you to frequent their establishments and will lay everything on for you. The downside of this kind of treatment is that it's very easy to get carried away and lose track of reality...... and it's very true that life on the road is like living in a bubble. As far as the shows go, it can get boring playing the same things night after night which is why variation in the stage show can be so important and as for having nothing to worry about, just because you're 8000 miles from home, doesn't mean that you don't have to pay your bills etc. and keep a check on family life.

From: Niels Kolling
E-mail: nk@tdk.dk

I was wondering which UK Arena was your favourite place to play?

Reactions outside of London were usually best. Birmingham or Manchester. From my point of view, standing crowds were better.

From: Phil Sharp
E-mail: PilafDM@aol.com

Any tips on getting backstage at a DM concert?

Dress up as a female for a start. As a bloke, you've got no chance.

From: Benny Jørgensen
E-mail: benny.joergensen@sander-hansen.com

Having read the first articles about the new tour, it seems that it's more hysterical than ever - fans "attacking" airports and hotels etc. Are you surprised about this success or is it only because it's a great singles tour?

I don't think it's down to the kind of tour, it's simply that Depeche Mode have always had a particularly devoted fanbase and are playing for the first time in places like Russia and Eastern Europe where they're very popular. These places don't get to see their favourite bands too often, so the reaction to DM is not surprising.

From: Victoria Samuel
E-mail: vsamuel@mail.ozemail.com.au

DM toured Australia twice but why did you never go to New Zealand when you have so many fans there?

The reason for not playing in certain places was usually because of production problems regarding venues etc. This is probably the case for New Zealand.

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

What do you think of Las Vegas? You played there on my birthday in 1994. Was it a good show?

It's one of the cheesiest places I've been. We stayed at the Luxor hotel in '94 - tacky or what. I don't remember the gig really although I've got a feeling it wasn't very good for some reason. I seem to remember the venue had a theatrical feel to it. After the show, the whole DM entourage stayed in the casino and gambled except Hep and I who went out to a club called the Shark Bar or something.

What do you think of DM's new promotion - if you buy the CD then you can buy the seats?

Seems like a good idea in principle. It doesn't seem to have gone all that smoothly though.

What was your reaction when you saw more then 70,000 people at the Rosebowl in '88 or when there were 20,000 at the Wherehouse signing?

Both these occasions were obviously high-points in my career and both somewhat unexpected in their turnout. The Rosebowl performance wasn't actually one of our best, due to monitoring problems, but it certainly gave us a lot of credibility back in Europe where nobody could quite believe our popularity in the States.

Do you recall Dave fainting sometime during the summer tour '94? What are your thoughts and what really did happen?

I don't think anything like this ever happened.

What hotel did or do you normally stay in when you're in Los Angeles?

Most of the time with the Mode we used to stay at the 'Sunset Marquis'. The last time I was in L.A., I stayed at the Nikko in Beverley Hills.

I was not able to go to the 'Violation' show at Dodgers Stadium but many people said that it was not good because of the sound (the stadium, not DM) and it was hard to see. What are your thoughts on this venue?

It was alright from my point of view.

What was your favourite place to play when in Los Angeles?

The Forum

What happened to you in South Africa in '94?

I've answered this, it's in the archives. You'll have to go and find it yourself because it's too painful a story to recount... ;-)

From: Daryl Bamonte
E-mail: daryl@thecure.com

How did it feel to have a laser inserted into your member? Did the South African nurse have a nice uniform?

Well, as you know Mr. Bamonte, I was asleep during the operation although if you've ever thought about how it would feel to urinate pins and needles, then you can imagine what the after-effects felt like. One's member requires a couple of weeks recovery time before being fully functional again so the attire of the South African nurse was largely irrelevant.

From: Kristina Moodie
E-mail: kristina.moodie@stir.ac.uk
I've been a music fan most of my life but living in Scotland is a complete nightmare as very few bands notice us up here. Why didn't Depeche ever play dates here?

We did play in Scotland for many years. Then suddenly there didn't seem to be a decent venue that would take the production etc.. I realise that's no excuse.

From: Conor Toal
E-mail: toal-cp@ulst.ac.uk

When a big band like DM goes on tour, do the actual band members receive a weekly brown envelope containing their wages or did the four of you have to wait until the tour was over before you divided up the loot?

With a touring business as large as ours, it can take anything up to two years to tie up all the accounts, pay taxes and make a proper financial distribution of profits to the directors. Just like any other business in fact.

Who's idea was it to advertise the Crystal Palace show in 1993 as "The only UK show" and then hit us punters on the way out with flyers advertising *four* additional UK shows in December? If I'd have known you were playing Dublin later that year I wouldn't have bothered. Mind you, the Dublin show was pretty pale in comparison to Crystal Palace - Dave seemed a bit worn out.

Sorry to have wasted your time Conor. I don't know who's idea it was.

Do you have any specific memories of the Crystal Palace show?

I remember the aftershow party very well ;-)

From: Javier Pecyner
E-mail: JFP@ciudad.com.ar

Did you enjoy your time in Argentina during the 1994 'Devotional' tour?

I had a good time.

From: Scott Coolidge
E-mail: Scott.Coolidge@ey.com

I find it interesting that bands like U2 and the Stones seem to mount more and more aggressive and lengthy tours with each album release. Any thoughts on how they have been able to keep it together?

Touring is big business. Merchandising alone can earn a small fortune so the financial benefits of a long tour are very enticing - the longer you keep a production on the road, the easier it becomes to create a healthy profit margin. But of course, we've all seen how lengthy touring can take it's toll on individuals.

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

Was there any tension during the recording of 'Violator' and/or the 'World Violation' tour which carried over into the 'SOFAD' recording/tour?

Tension is a normal state at certain times for any band and we were no exception to that.

How did Jonathan Kessler go from accountant to spiritual adviser?

He became more and more involved in the coordination of the tours and his skills go way beyond pure financial organization. As his tour negotiations invariably involved talking to record companies and promoters, it was for him, a natural progression towards management. He is the kind of manager who does not get involved in the musical or artistic aspects of the band but rather excels at public relations and people management.

For the 'Devotional' tour, DM had an 'on-the-road' psychiatrist. Was this person used often and did you ever use him/her?

I think everybody went to see him at one stage apart from Dave.

I know you might not be in a position to answer this question but this 'Singles' tour seems more like Depeche Mode's 'Farewell' tour. What's your opinion on this?

Who knows? - I certainly don't.

From: Stéphane Devillers
E-mail: tonino.giuntia@cfwb.be

Is it true that someone was inside your piano in Indianapolis (last gig of the Devotional tour)? Any funny memories about that special gig?

Jez Webb - the guitar tech. - emerged, to my surprise, from the shell of the piano during 'Somebody' I think. This is a typical last-date-of-the-tour prank as has become tradition amongst the rock 'n' roll touring fraternity. We also experienced tour managers-turned-backing vocalists in drag (Andy Franks etc.). Other favourites include talcum powder on the drum skins, Mrs. Mop coming on with a broom to sweep the stage during Dave's finest moment and exposed arses at the side of the stage...ooh, how we laughed.

You said the best DM support bands were Nitzer ebb, Primal Scream, The The and Blancmange. When did Blancmange open for DM and what about Front 242 - didn't you like their music and what do you think about their come back?

Blancmange toured with Depeche in the very early years, between '80 and '82. We also had Matt Fretton as a support act around that time. Front 242 were ok. As for their comeback, I didn't know they'd gone away.

Back in 1993, a Mute band called Parallax opened for DM in Lieven. I was told that one member of that group was the son of your ex-wife. Is it true? Have they released any complete album and are they still releasing material?

The singer of Parallax, Jason, is my ex-stepson. Parallax released some singles on Mute before changing their name to 'Hoodwink' who also released one or two more. They never got around to completing there debut album and are no longer on the label.

Why did DM tour twice in the U.S.A. and only once in Europe during the last tour?

The second leg took in outdoor venues (sheds) which attract a summer crowd and are very different to the indoor arena shows.

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

I'm a little embittered that DM never again visited my sad city of Nashville, TN after the 'MFTM' tour! Did the whole lame country music vibe here scare you guys that badly?

The one and only Nashville concert we ever played, was well received but had the lowest turnout of any show on the whole tour. I suppose this was the reason why it wasn't high on our agenda to return. It's not the local DM fans' fault, it's just that Nashville seems to have such a one-dimensional music scene.

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

Okay, Dave's been in several fights (and been busted), Mart has stripped in public (and been busted), Fletch is Fletch (and skipped a tour) - what is Alan Wilder's most embarrassing tour moment? Come on, you can tell US....

Oh, I've had my fair share but I'm not willing to divulge the sordid details....;-)

From: Alexandra Chlup
E-mail: ug1z@rz.uni-karlsruhe.de

On 1/7/98 you answered to Giuntia Tonino about your funny memories from the 'Devotional' Tour. What did you mean by 'Dave's finest moment'?

I was actually asked about funny memories from the last show of the tour and my reference to Dave's finest moment was used hypothetically. I simply meant that at an important or perhaps dramatic point in the show, someone dressed as a cleaner came on stage and started sweeping the floor.

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

Did you and the others (in Depeche) take care with your appearance before going on stage? Was this your own choice if it was the case?

Yes, the stage outfits were down to individual choice and in my case, Paula Bradley and later Karen Dusenbury, designed and made them. Each band member had a travelling wardrobe and a wardrobe person was responsible for making sure everybody's stage gear was washed and ready to wear etc.

From: Alexander M. Reed
E-mail: alexreed@erols.com

How did you travel with DM? Did you all go in the same plane? Weren't there times when you met up separately?

On the more recent tours we hired a private plane to take us around both Europe and the U.S. There were odd occasions where someone may have chosen to drive instead of fly (myself for example) although distances and time restrictions didn't usually allow for this.

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