CNN: A sobering interview with Depeche Mode

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With the longer, sunnier days, I have been more in the mood of reading that writing. Here is yet another interesting thing I read off the Internet in the last couple of days.

LOS ANGELES, California (CNN) — (…) Thirteen years ago, singer Dave Gahan famously died from a drug overdose and was brought back to life by paramedics at the Sunset Marquis hotel down the road. Since then, he’s given up drugs and taken up yoga and songwriting, the latter being what used to be the exclusive domain of guitarist Martin Gore (who has since sobered up himself).

It’s changed the dynamics of the trio, known for such hits as “Personal Jesus,” but in a good way, says Depeche Mode keyboardist Andy Fletcher.

CNN spoke to the group’s members about Depeche Mode’s new album, “Sounds of the Universe,” their three decades in the business and the effects of heavy drinking. The following is an edited version of the interview.

CNN: Have you looked outside the window to see the street closures out there, and 10,000 people gathering?

Andy Fletcher: (All three members laugh) It can’t be happening. It’s not anything to do with us. U2 are probably in town.

CNN: Closing down the street for a free concert is a big deal in Hollywood.

Dave Gahan: When we were first approached to do it, we were kind of in some trepidation about what it was really going to be, and if people were going to show up.

CNN: Were you afraid that only two people were going to show up?

Gahan: Well, we’re always like that — until we actually go on stage and see the people.

CNN: I can’t believe it’s been almost 30 years since Depeche Mode first formed.

Gahan: I think next year is our 30th year.

Fletcher: To be honest, I think at first when we found out it was going to be 30 years, I think it was, “Oh my God, how embarrassing. We’re really old!” But I think now we’ve really got our heads around it, and I think it’s something to be actually proud of.

CNN: On your last album, “Playing the Angel,” there was a little tension because Martin, for the most part, had written all of the songs — and Dave wanted to contribute to the writing process. But on the new CD, “Sounds of the Universe,” it seems as though everybody was more comfortable sharing songwriting duties.

Gahan: When I kind of approached the band with a whole bunch of demos and said, “I want half the songs on the record,” of course that didn’t go down well (on the last album). I was a little bit overconfident, as well. But to me, it was just the excitement about this new thing, which was writing. There’s no way I could go back to not being involved in the writing.

Martin Gore: To be honest, I think it’s one of the big factors in Depeche Mode being much stronger now, and being better. I think Dave is a great frontman …

Gahan: Thanks, man!

Gore: … and singing someone else’s lyrics, he’s great. But I think now he really believes he contributes so much more to the band. So I think it’s made the band — the atmosphere between us — much better, actually. So it’s been a good thing.

CNN: Martin, you’ve given up drinking.

Gore: Yeah. It’s been about three years now. It makes a big difference.

Gahan: He is a changed man. There’s a different side of Martin that has always been there, but sometimes it gets clouded when the drinking and stuff becomes more important than anything else. I think it got to that phase on the last tour, and Martin was the one that stood up and said, “You know what? I’ve got to stop this.” It’s sort of one of those cliches, one of those myths, that you have to be really messed up to do something cool artistically.

CNN: Did you believe that?

Gahan: Yeah, I did for awhile. Yeah. When it’s not actually producing anything creative at all, you’re in trouble.

CNN: So Andy, in the meantime, you’ve got two sober bandmates over here.

Gahan: It’s good for me, as well. (Gahan and Gore laugh heartily).

Gore: He’s cut down to 50 units a week now!

Fletcher: I’ve cut down but —

Gahan: He’s under pressure.

Fletcher: These things are happening to make the atmosphere better. So it’s got to be good.

Read the rest of the interview here.

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