Dave Gahan (Depeche Mode)
Best known as the baritone lead singer of the electronic band Depeche Mode, theEnglish singer-songwriter Dave Gahan was born 9 May 1962. He attended Barnstable School in Basildon, where he started bunking off school, and got into trouble with the police, was suspended from school and ended up in juvenile court three times for offences ranging from joyriding and graffiti to criminal damage and theft. He enjoyed the thrill of stealing cars, driving them around, and setting them alight. In his final year at school, he applied for a job as an apprentice fitter with North Thames Gas. He was told by his probation officer to be honest with the interviewer, and as a result, he admitted his criminal record but claimed he was a “reformed character.” As a result, he did not get the job which, he claimed, led to him trashing his probation officer’s office. His punishment was weekend custody at a sub-Borstal attendance centre in Romford for one year.
Within six months of leaving Barstable School in July 1978, Gahan found and lost something on the order of twenty jobs, from selling soft drinks, working in a greengrocers in Basildon Bus Station, working as a cashier in Sainsbury’s petrol station in Savacentre, to working on a construction site. Eventually, he earned a place at Southend Technical College, which he enjoyed immensely. After two years, he gained the British Display Society Award, which allowed him to get jobs doing displays in shop windows and shopping centres.
In March 1980, Martin Gore, Andy Fletcher and Vince Clarke formed the band Composition of Sound, with Clarke on vocals and guitar, Gore on keyboards and Fletcher on bass. Clarke and Fletcher soon switched to synthesizers. The same year, Gahan joined the band after Clarke heard him perform David Bowie’s “Heroes.” The band was soon renamed Depeche Mode, a name suggested by Gahan after he had come across a fashion magazine called Dépêche-mode.
Three of Gahan’s songs appeared on 2005’s Playing the Angel: “Suffer Well” (nominated for a Grammy award), “I Want It All” and “Nothing’s Impossible.” “Suffer Well” was released as a single in 2006, reaching No. 12 in the UK. Three more Gahan-penned songs, co-written with Christian Eigner and Andrew Phillpott, appeared on the band’s twelfth album, Sounds of the Universe, released on 20 April 2009. The songs are “Hole to Feed”, “Come Back” and “Miles Away / The Truth Is”. Gahan also wrote the lyrics to the B-side “Oh Well” although the music was done by Martin Gore. It is their first writing collaboration. “Hole to Feed” was released along with Gore’s “Fragile Tension” as a double A-side single in late 2001. In 2013, with the release of Depeche Mode’s thirteenth album Delta Machine, Gahan is credited with writing the songs “Broken”, “Secret to the End”, the single “Should Be Higher” and two B-sides, “Happens All the Time” and “All That’s Mine”; the co-writer for these is Kurt Uenala. Gahan also wrote a song with Martin Gore, called “Long Time Lie”.
He is also an accomplished solo artist, releasing albums in 2003 (Paper Monsters) and 2007 (Hourglass). In 1997, Gahan contributed to the tribute album Dream Home Heartaches: Remaking/Remodeling Roxy Music with the song “A Song For Europe”. In 2003, he released his first solo album, Paper Monsters (which he co-wrote with guitarist and friend Knox Chandler), followed by the Paper Monsters Tour (including a performance at 2003’s Glastonbury Festival), singing both his new solo tracks and Depeche Mode fan favourites. His touring band included Knox Chandler on guitar, Martyn LeNoble (Porno for Pyros, Jane’s Addiction, The Cult) on bass, Vincent Jones (Sarah McLachlan, The Grapes of Wrath) on keyboards, and Victor Indrizzo (Beck, Macy Gray) on drums.
The album was a moderate success. The first single “Dirty Sticky Floors” and was followed by a world tour and a live DVD titled Live Monsters. In 2005 he appeared as model and spokesperson of the Swedish mid-range fashion retailer J. Lindeberg and its S/S 2006 menswear line. He did a collaboration in 2003 with Junkie XL and handled the vocals for a song called “Reload” for this Dutch DJ’s album Radio JXL: A Broadcast from the Computer Hell Cabin. Dave Gahan released a new album titled Hourglass, accompanied working by Andrew Phillpott and Christian Eigner featuring the songs “Kingdom”and the double A side “Saw Something/Deeper and deeper” Gahan also contributed vocals to a track called “Visitors”, after walking in while producer and ex-Clor guitarist Luke Smith was working on the song in his New York studio. The song was released under the artist name of frYars.Gahan is the lead singer and lyricist on Soulsavers’ fourth studio album The Light the Dead See. Gahan also sings and plays harmonica on “Low Guns”, the first single from the 2014 album The Morning After by English band SixToes. The single was released on 18 November 2013. The SixToes remix of “Jezebel” was released on the special edition of Sounds of the Universe in 2009. Members of SixToes also collaborated with Soulsavers, on the album The Light the Dead See.Gahan is also the lead singer and lyricist on Soulsavers’ fifth studio album Angels & Ghosts
Though his bandmate Martin Gore continues to be the main Depeche Mode songwriter, Gahan has also contributed a number of songs to the band’s most recent albums; Playing the Angel (2005), Sounds of the Universe (2009), Delta Machine (2013), and Spirit (2017). In 2012 and 2015, he also contributed lyrics and sang lead vocals on the Soulsavers albums The Light the Dead See and Angels & Ghosts. Q magazine ranked Gahan no. 73 on the list of the “100 Greatest Singers”and no. 27 on “The 100 Greatest Frontmen”. Throughout there 30 year career Depeche Mode have explored new musical directions and their sound has remained diverse since their inception. They have released 14 studio albums, 4 greatest hits compilations and 2 remix albums. The band has achieved global sales in excess of 100 million.