And in Los Angeles last weekend, the veteran synth-pop group Depeche Mode mounted a U.S. tour in support of its new album, "Ultra" ["It's No Good" from L.A. concert, 1 MB QuickTime]. The tour consisted of one mini-performance at a party for radio-contest winners. With singer Dave Gahan still wobbling back from drug addiction, the band says it decided not to subject him to the backstage temptations of a full-scale tour. So the party gig was perfect -- it afforded barely enough time for a beer.
MTV: It was the second of only two Depeche shows so far this year, and the only one in the U.S. The group picked L.A. because of fan loyalty. In years past, this band has even sold out the Rose Bowl.
DAVE GAHAN: We're here tonight to celebrate the fact that we've put out an album that we're very proud of, and we're here to have a good time, and enjoy the party, and play a few songs for our fans that have shown up.
MTV: The band turned
in a short set of mostly new tunes that took up just half an hour.
MARTIN GORE: We weren't going to rehearse for like two months for two shows. Half an hour is long enough.
MTV: It was during Depeche Mode's last tour, in 1993, that singer Gahan disappeared down the drug tunnel. The group was leery of repeating that experience.
GAHAN: We made a decision quite a long time ago as a band, during the making of this record, that we didn't want to repeat the same saga as we did with the "Songs Of Faith And Devotion" tour. We thought it was a good time to take a break from touring. All three of us felt a little bit uncomfortable about going out on the road again.
ANDREW FLETCHER: The last tour nearly destroyed the band. At least this way around, hopefully, we will release more records. I think in the end, that's what fans want. And I'm sure in the future we'll tour as well.
FAN 1: I'd rather have a new CD from the band than have them come on the road again.
Instead of seeing them one time, when you have the CD, you have the rest of your life to listen to it.
FLETCHER: I think the fans know what we've been through. I think they understand that we're not physically as able, as, perhaps, before, to tour at this time.
FAN 2: It just takes too much out of him [Gahan] and he's not ready to do it, which is fine. But this [concert] is awesome.
MTV: Any more extensive tour schedule, band members say, wouldn't be worth anyone's while.
GAHAN: I don't think we would enjoy it ourselves. And if we're not enjoying it, then it's not fair on our fans, either. We've spent nearly two years now working on the "Ultra" project. It's not the right time.
With no tour to support it, Depeche Mode's "Ultra" album, which had debuted on the "Billboard" chart at number 5 a month ago, dropped to 28 this week. The band says it may tour next year in support of its second greatest hits album.