Depeche Mode's Dave Gahan has been singing Martin Gore's lyrics for half of his life. Now, he's ready to show Gore that he's not the only one who can put words in
"There's that danger of Martin becoming a crutch," Gahan said of the lyricist/composer of the band. "Martin has a particular style he sings in, and for me it was important to get away
from that on this [solo] album."
Gahan, who turns 40 this week, said he will enter a studio in July to begin work on the 15 songs he has demoed for his as-yet-untitled debut solo album, tentatively scheduled for release in March 2003.
The singer will be working with producer/percussionist Ken Thomas (Sigur Rós) and cellist/guitarist Knox Chandler (Siouxsie and the Banshees, Psychedelic Furs)
on the album. He also plans to tour in support of the effort, including some
possible surprise club dates around the end of the year.
The brooding vocalist said his sobriety he battled a debilitating, nearly
fatal heroin addiction in the mid-late '90s has colored many of his songs.
"I'm just really full of energy, and getting healthy is a theme that has crept
into my lyrics and vocal melodies," he said. "They're about wanting to find a
place of peace and belonging, but at the same time experiencing that and
seeing it through other people. I always played around with writing songs,
but when you're spending a lot of time in bars you have a lot of big ideas,
but you don't do much with them."
As examples, he cited the track "Hold On," which describes the birth of his
daughter. "You have to hold on and wait for these little surprises to come,"
he explained. "Just when you think things are in their darkest, blackest
place, these little things happen."
And though Gahan said some of the songs will likely have the signature Depeche Mode
keyboard sound, a demo of "A Little Piece" mixes gospel emotion and eerie music that wouldn't be out of place on a song by expat American cult singer
Scott Walker. Gahan admitted that the demo initially scared his record
company because it was such a departure from his DM work, but that he doesn't
mind bucking expectations.
In the meantime, fans will have plenty of the good old DM sounds to tide them
over until Gahan's album, the release of which should coincide with the second collection of
covers by Gore under his alter ego, Counterfeit.
On May 28, the band will release a double-DVD entitled "One Night in Paris -
The Exciter Tour." The live document of their two-night stand at the scenic
Palais Omnisports de Paris Bercy was filmed by longtime collaborator Anton
Corbijn during the band's 2001 tour.
"I watched it in my house alone a few weeks ago and halfway through I got
very nostalgic and thought, 'This is good,' " Gahan said. "It's very weird
watching yourself ... and sometimes painful. Anton told me that after
watching a few performances he wanted to get across how I become a different
person for each song and how I throw myself into that song and drift away
somewhere. It's very easy to do that when singing Depeche Mode songs. For
me, it's a very visual experience and it takes me to a place, sometimes very
sad, sometimes very jubilant."
The first CD features the nearly two-hour performance, while the second disc
contains bonus footage with behind-the-scenes clips, the backdrop films
Corbijn filmed to accompany the songs, and interviews with the members of the band,
which also includes keyboardist Andrew Fletcher.
Don't plan on enjoying the silence for too long, though: Once all this solo
action is out of the way, Gahan said he expects Depeche Mode will get back in the
studio to record their next album.