MTV NEWS: In rock news, meanwhile, it's been almost four years since the long-running English synth-pop band Depeche Mode released a new album, and part of the reason for that delay has been singer Dave Gahan's much-publicised struggle with drug addiction. Gahan says he's straight now, though. John Norris flew to London, where the band's finally making a new record, to get the story.
MTV: When last we saw Depeche Mode's Dave Gahan...
GAHAN: It's taken everything away from me that I loved, so I have to rebuild my life, you know...
GAHAN: I think I had this, the dark side of myself, what was tempting fate. I was trying to choose my own destiny. I was trying to, like, pick the time when it was time to leave. And, but there was something there for me, God or whatever, wanting to, that wasn't supposed to happen, you know. I mean the paramedics who would come and pick me up, who did on a couple of, few occasions, started calling me "The Cat." "David, you're running out,
I remember one of them saying to me."
NORRIS: And this is where those paramedics found themselves on May 28th of last year, the Sunset Marquis hotel in West Hollywood, where Gahan had injected a cocaine and heroin "speedball" that left him literally flat-lining at nearby Cedars-Sinai Hospital for two minutes. The incident was the culmination of a downward spiral the singer had apparently been on for several years, ever since moving to L.A., and becoming hell-bent on reinventing himself.
GAHAN: Not consciously, but I was creating a monster, you know I was creating something that I wasn't. I'd got carried away with the idea of being this "rock star."
ANDY FLETCHER: Dave got into a scene, you know. When he went to live in America, it was the start of the whole grunge, it was a big scene. At the beginning of "Songs of Faith and Devotion," when he came over to Europe, I mean he was talking in an American accent, You know he'd gone from liking David Bowie to you
know liking all these, Soundgarden and Alice in Chains, I mean he was really into it in a big way. And we all know what went along with that image.
NORRIS: Gahan's drug use moved into high gear on the band's '93-'94 "Devotional" tour, on which, by his own admission, some nights he could barely stand up. Once the tour wound up, he returned to L.A., where he says he attempted suicide several times, and fell into a familiar junkie pattern, of halfhearted, unsuccessful stints in rehab, and of finding ways to justify his habit. As far as the band was concerned, were you given sort of an ultimatum, as far as staying with them or not?
GAHAN: They'd had enough for sure, and uh, Martin, I think for him it was like there was no point in going on anymore if it was gonna a continue like this you know.
MARTIN GORE: It's not a question of being a dictator, it's just a question of like facing the facts that the band's not going anywhere with Dave in his current condition.
NORRIS: Gahan's overdose led to an intensive stay in court-ordered rehab, he says he's now been clean for eight months and through working with a vocal coach, his once-shot voice is sounding stronger than ever on the band's upcoming album, 'Ultra.' He's even facing his old demons in the first video from the record, the Anton Corbijn, directed "Barrel of A Gun."
GAHAN: I need to change a lot of things about me and it's not gonna happen overnight. But if I do just take it one day at a time, I hate to use all the cliches and stuff in the program, but they work, you know -- that's why they're there. And, you know I'd rather be throwing out cliches than be the dead cliche. (laughs)
MTV NEWS: Depeche Mode's "Barrel Of A Gun" single will be released on Tuesday, followed, on April 15th by the album "Ultra."