Q&A: DAVE GAHAN
DEPECHE MODE FRONTMAN DITCHES HEROIN
FOR DARK CHOCOLATE AS HE PREPARES A NEW ALBUM AND TOUR
By DAN AQUILANTE
Posted: 2:53 am
April 19, 2009
|CASUAL CHIC CASUALTY: Gahan
says he still has "fun" with the dark side of his personality.
JUST a few years ago,
Depeche Mode singer Dave Gahan was a rock 'n' roll casualty. A heroin addict, he attempted
suicide by slitting his wrists in '95 and a year later succeeded in briefly killing
himself during a drug binge. Clinically dead, the voice of one of rock's most influential
electronic bands was eventually revived by medics.
These days clean-and-sober Gahan lives in downtown NYC with his wife Jennifer and their
two children. Depeche Mode, meanwhile, releases its latest album, "Sounds of the
Universe," Tuesday and is currently in LA, listening to 29 years worth of its back
catalog. Gahan, 46, says the group -- which also includes Martin Gore and Andrew Fletcher
-- is sifting through their dozen studio albums, cherry-picking the best of the best for a
hotly anticipated world tour that lands in Madison Square Garden on Aug. 3 and 4.
You can live anywhere in the world. why New York?
I've lived in the city for the last 12 years, and it's the first place where I ever felt
like I was at home. Like every New Yorker, I have a love/hate relationship with the city.
There are times it's overbearing, but when I'm away even for a little while, I can't wait
to get home. I am a New Yorker.
But the city is filled with temptation. is that tough for you?
When I'm with the wife and we're having a romantic night, I occasionally think about a
glass of red wine, but I'll order a sparkling water. I'd like the wine, but it wouldn't
end with one glass, so I don't even go there.
There's a new song, "Corrupt," that makes you sound really evil. Do you
still feel the dark side?
Unfortunately that comes naturally. That evil comes from a part deep inside of me, and a
song like "Corrupt" gets it to the surface. These days I have fun with that dark
part of me, but I don't live there any more.
So what's fun now?
Joy comes from places you least expect it. It's usually the simple things, like watching
my son play basketball or going through Central Park when the blossoms are blooming.
The band has scored 45 hit singles. How do you make the set list?
There is a lot to choose from. As it stands now, the show is three hours long, so we're
still cutting it down. We want lots of material from the new album, and we've been having
a blast getting some of the old stuff in like "Strangelove," "Master and
Servant," "Personal Jesus" and "Enjoy the Silence."
How does it feel to reprise songs as old as those?
We haven't done "Strangelove" and "Master and Servant" live for years,
and it feels odd going back because we're different people now. I listened to the record,
and I'm startled to hear myself. I sound so damn young.
Does the universe really have sounds like your new album title says?
Martin has been researching this, and he's found that there's a school of thought that
says the sound is either an A or A-flat note. I'm personally fascinated that when certain
tones in music come together, we as humans are instinctively drawn to them.
What's it like playing at madison square garden?
It's almost a state of mind -- knowing you're standing where so many of the truly greats
stood is an indescribable feeling. Good concerts have good visuals and music. But you have
to get the audience involved. When you're at a Depeche Mode show, you're not allowed to
just sit there and watch.
PICKING HIS BRAIN
"I used to do heroin -- not anymore. But I do have a thing with dark chocolate."
"I have a very addictive personality, so I'm even careful about wanting more of
anything than I need -- even chocolate. I like dark chocolates from a place called the
Chocolate Box in the East Village, and also Lilac chocolate. The fans know about me and
chocolate, so I always get some tossed at the stage."
"I loved the film 'The Wrestler' so much that I actually got upset when Mickey Rourke
didn't win the Oscar for his performance. I wholeheartedly identified with his character's
comeback and redemption."
"I'm not really a reader. I have a hard time getting through a book, I always have,
but recently I read and then reread Sebastian Horsley's 'Dandy in the Underworld.' "
"New York pizza is the best. I like Joe's at Sixth Avenue and Carmine."
"I have a tattoo of the Buddhist chant word 'Om' on my body."
"I watch a lot of TV, probably too much. I love 'Family Guy' -- in fact, the whole
band loves that show. And I watch 'Curb Your Enthusiasm' with my wife."