Difference between revisions of "1995-06-01 Alan Wilder departure from Depeche Mode"

From DM Live - the Depeche Mode live encyclopedia for the masses
Jump to navigationJump to search
 
(11 intermediate revisions by the same user not shown)
Line 5: Line 5:
 
== Background ==
 
== Background ==
  
During the recording of ''[[Songs Of Faith And Devotion]]'', Wilder began to grow dissatisfied with the internal relations, working conditions, and overall life as a member of Depeche Mode. He would later state that he came to the final decision to leave Depeche Mode over the course of the [[:Category:1993 Devotional Tour|Devotional]] and [[:Category:1994 Exotic Tour|Exotic]] tours.<ref name="RecoilSite">Source: recoil.co.uk</ref> In the months following the conclusion of the Exotic tour, Wilder mentioned his intentions to leave to several close associates, including longtime Depeche Mode and Recoil engineer [[Steve Lyon]].<ref name="SteveL">Source: depechemodebiographie.de [https://depechemodebiographie.de/einterviewslyon.php Interview with Steve Lyon]</ref> Wilder placed a call to request an in-person band meeting in London to inform the other members of the group and management several months after the conclusion of the Exotic tour. [[Dave Gahan]] was not present at this meeting, and did not respond to Wilder's telephone call or fax (Gahan would later express regret that he had not done more to convince Wilder to remain in the group)<ref name="RecoilSite"></ref><ref name="DGWish">Source: "Cash for Questions: Dave Gahan" - ''Q'' - June 2003.</ref>. Upon being informed, [[Mute Records]] founder [[Daniel Miller]] alerted all Mute label managers of Wilder's departure, informing them that there were no plans to replace him and that [[Martin L. Gore|Martin Gore]] had begun writing new material. Wilder would issue a formal press statement on 1 June 1995. Fan magazine ''BONG'' informed subscribers of Wilder's departure in a newsletter.
+
During the recording of Depeche Mode's 1993 album ''[[Songs Of Faith And Devotion]]'', Wilder began to grow dissatisfied with the internal relations, working conditions, and overall life as a member of the group. He would later state that he came to the final decision to leave Depeche Mode over the course of the [[:Category:1993 Devotional Tour|Devotional]] and [[:Category:1994 Exotic Tour|Exotic]] tours.<ref name="RecoilSite">Source: recoil.co.uk</ref> In the months following the conclusion of the Exotic tour, Wilder mentioned his intentions to leave to several close associates, including longtime Depeche Mode and Recoil engineer [[Steve Lyon]].<ref name="SteveL">Source: depechemodebiographie.de [https://depechemodebiographie.de/einterviewslyon.php Interview with Steve Lyon]</ref> Wilder placed a call to request an in-person band meeting in London to inform the other members of the group and management several months after the conclusion of the Exotic tour. [[Dave Gahan]] was not present at this meeting, and did not respond to Wilder's telephone call or fax (Gahan would later express regret that he had not done more to convince Wilder to remain in the group)<ref name="RecoilSite"></ref><ref name="DGWish">Source: "Cash for Questions: Dave Gahan" - ''Q'' - June 2003.</ref>. Upon being informed, [[Mute Records]] founder [[Daniel Miller]] alerted all Mute label managers of Wilder's departure, informing them that there were no plans to replace him and that [[Martin L. Gore|Martin Gore]] had begun writing new material, assuring the group would continue as a trio.  
 +
 
 +
Wilder would issue a formal [[1995-06-01_Alan_Wilder_departure_from_Depeche_Mode#Press_statement|press statement]] on 1 June 1995. Fan magazine ''[[:Category:BONG magazine scans|BONG]]'' informed subscribers of Wilder's departure in a newsletter.
  
 
== Press statement ==
 
== Press statement ==
Line 28: Line 30:
  
 
<blockquote>
 
<blockquote>
During [[:Category:1993 Devotional Tour|Devotional]] I decided to leave [Depeche Mode]. However, I had already thought about it during the work on the album. The relationships within the band had got very bad. Generally I never wanted to be in a band my whole musical life, and I thought this would be a good time to do this step forward.<ref name="RecoilSite"></ref>
+
During [the [[:Category:1993 Devotional Tour|Devotional]] tour] I decided to leave. However, I had already thought about it during the work on the album. The relationships within the band had got very bad. Generally I never wanted to be in a band my whole musical life, and I thought this would be a good time to do this step forward.<ref name="RecoilSite"></ref>
 
— Alan Wilder - recoil.co.uk</blockquote>
 
— Alan Wilder - recoil.co.uk</blockquote>
  
Line 113: Line 115:
  
 
<blockquote>
 
<blockquote>
I can't say I was surprised, because there had been times during ''Songs Of Faith And Devotion'' [where] he obviously wasn't happy, and on the tour he wasn't really happy. One of his main problems was that he didn't really get on with Andy -- I'm sure that wasn't the only reason, but that was one of the factors. That was difficult for him, because we've always been honest about the fact that Andy's not really musical. When we play live we give him parts to play, but [they're] not exactly taxing.<ref name="MillerStripped"></ref>
+
I can't say I was surprised, because there had been times during [the recording of] ''Songs Of Faith And Devotion'' [where] he obviously wasn't happy, and on the tour he wasn't really happy. One of his main problems was that he didn't really get on with Andy -- I'm sure that wasn't the only reason, but that was one of the factors. That was difficult for him, because we've always been honest about the fact that Andy's not really musical. When we play live we give him parts to play, but [they're] not exactly taxing.<ref name="MillerStripped"></ref>
 
— Martin Gore - ''Stripped: Depeche Mode'' - Jonathan Miller, 2003</blockquote>
 
— Martin Gore - ''Stripped: Depeche Mode'' - Jonathan Miller, 2003</blockquote>
  
Line 122: Line 124:
 
Wilder allegedly confirmed the title of [[Recoil]] song '[[Control Freak]]' from 1997's ''[[Unsound Methods]]'' was chosen in jest as a response to [[Martin L. Gore|Martin Gore's]] pointed comments that Wilder is a "control freak" in an interview following Wilder's departure:
 
Wilder allegedly confirmed the title of [[Recoil]] song '[[Control Freak]]' from 1997's ''[[Unsound Methods]]'' was chosen in jest as a response to [[Martin L. Gore|Martin Gore's]] pointed comments that Wilder is a "control freak" in an interview following Wilder's departure:
 
<blockquote>
 
<blockquote>
Yes, but it doesn't refer to the lyrics, it's just the name of the song. I found it funny somehow. However, it doesn't have a deeper meaning [...] It's true that I am a bit of a control freak. I think that anyone who is deeply passionate about what they do will have that element about them.<ref>depechemodebiographie.de attributes these quotes to Alan Wilder but does not cite a source. Anyone who knows the source of these quotes, please send an e-mail to admin [at] depechemode-live [dot] com.</ref>
+
[...] It doesn't refer to the lyrics, it's just the name of the song. I found it funny somehow. However, it doesn't have a deeper meaning [...] It's true that I am a bit of a control freak. I think that anyone who is deeply passionate about what they do will have that element about them.<ref>depechemodebiographie.de attributes these quotes to Alan Wilder but does not cite a source. Anyone who knows the source of these quotes, please send an e-mail to admin [at] depechemode-live [dot] com.</ref>
 
— Alan Wilder</blockquote>
 
— Alan Wilder</blockquote>
  
 
<blockquote>
 
<blockquote>
Alan never did like us as people. Well, he doesn't like anyone as people, really - he hasn't got friends and things like that.<ref>Source: "Long and Winding Mode" - ''Details'' - May 1997.</ref> I wasn't sure whether I could work in a band without him anyway. I felt he didn't have too much respect for the other members of the band. In the end, it made the decision-making process a lot easier. When there are three people, there has to be a decision.<ref>Source: "It's a Mode Mode Mode Mode World" - ''Hits'' - 28 April 1997.</ref>
+
Alan never did like us as people. Well, he doesn't like anyone as people, really - he hasn't got friends and things like that.<ref>Source: "Long and Winding Mode" - ''Details'' - May 1997.</ref> I wasn't sure whether I could work in a band without [''sic''] him anyway. I felt he didn't have too much respect for the other members of the band. In the end, it made the decision-making process a lot easier. When there are three people, there has to be a decision.<ref>Source: "It's a Mode Mode Mode Mode World" - ''Hits'' - 28 April 1997.</ref>
 
— Andrew Fletcher - ''Details'' - May 1997 / ''Hits'' - 28 April 1997</blockquote>
 
— Andrew Fletcher - ''Details'' - May 1997 / ''Hits'' - 28 April 1997</blockquote>
  
Line 188: Line 190:
  
 
<blockquote>
 
<blockquote>
Dave is very generous and I think he is honest [with] his comments. I think it seemed strange to him to work with so many new people. He said such nice things about me which gives me a good feeling. Although I'm happy with what I do now I also miss it not having him around.<ref name="RecoilSite"></ref>
+
Dave is very generous and I think he is honest [with] his comments. I think it seemed strange to him to work with so many new people. He said such nice things about me which gives me a good feeling.<ref name="RecoilSite"></ref>
 
— Alan Wilder - recoil.co.uk</blockquote>
 
— Alan Wilder - recoil.co.uk</blockquote>
  
Line 202: Line 204:
  
 
<blockquote>
 
<blockquote>
I don't know really why Alan decided to leave the band. I knew before it became a common knowledge. I don't know if he told anyone else but I knew that he was going to leave. I really think it's really unfortunate because the working relationships and the success that they had were good. When we were working together it was incredible. It's a real shame that he left. Sometimes things have to break and then go together again. So let's wait and see. They had been together in the band for a long time. And he took a very, very lead role in the band and it's a shame that they are not working together again.<ref name="SteveL"></ref>
+
I don't know really why Alan decided to leave the band. I knew before it became a [''sic''] common knowledge. I don't know if he told anyone else but I knew that he was going to leave. I really think it's really unfortunate because the working relationships and the success that they had were good. When we were working together it was incredible. It's a real shame that he left. Sometimes things have to break and then go together again. So let's wait and see. They had been together in the band for a long time. And he took a very, very lead role in the band and it's a shame that they are not working together again.<ref name="SteveL"></ref>
 
— [[Steve Lyon]] - depechemodebiographie.de - June 2013</blockquote>
 
— [[Steve Lyon]] - depechemodebiographie.de - June 2013</blockquote>
  
Line 214: Line 216:
 
[...] When Alan Wilder left Depeche Mode, it was basically Martin and me. Martin and I had to become something together, and we’re still becoming that. That’s still a work in progress. Yes, we’re making music together and then we perform that music. And we’re very much aware of how much the music has touched people. We see it in the concerts and we feel it onstage. But I think Martin and I still have this thing between us. It’s still two people coming together with music, but at the same time we’ve also always been very separate—even musically. But that’s also what makes Depeche Mode so interesting, musically. It’s that struggle between us, I believe.<ref>Source: [https://web.archive.org/web/20181227211852/http://www.electronicbeats.net/dave-gahan-interview-2015 "An Intimate Conversation with Depeche Mode’s Dave Gahan"] - ''Electronic Beats'' - 19 October 2015</ref>
 
[...] When Alan Wilder left Depeche Mode, it was basically Martin and me. Martin and I had to become something together, and we’re still becoming that. That’s still a work in progress. Yes, we’re making music together and then we perform that music. And we’re very much aware of how much the music has touched people. We see it in the concerts and we feel it onstage. But I think Martin and I still have this thing between us. It’s still two people coming together with music, but at the same time we’ve also always been very separate—even musically. But that’s also what makes Depeche Mode so interesting, musically. It’s that struggle between us, I believe.<ref>Source: [https://web.archive.org/web/20181227211852/http://www.electronicbeats.net/dave-gahan-interview-2015 "An Intimate Conversation with Depeche Mode’s Dave Gahan"] - ''Electronic Beats'' - 19 October 2015</ref>
 
— Dave Gahan - ''Electronic Beats'' - 19 October 2015</blockquote>
 
— Dave Gahan - ''Electronic Beats'' - 19 October 2015</blockquote>
 +
 +
<blockquote>
 +
[Dave Gahan] could have felt a bit isolated with Alan leaving, because it used to be two and two-Dave and Alan, and Martin and me. [...] It was both difficult and not difficult. Obviously, Dave's problems were still there; we were working without Alan for the first time in a long time. We had to find our feet — it was ''[[A Broken Frame]]'' again.<ref name="MillerStripped"></ref>
 +
— Andrew Fletcher - ''Stripped: Depeche Mode'' - Jonathan Miller, 2003</blockquote>
  
 
Gahan commented on Wilder's February 2010 return to the stage with Depeche Mode for a performance of '[[Somebody]]' at [[2010-02-17 Royal Albert Hall, London, England, UK]]:
 
Gahan commented on Wilder's February 2010 return to the stage with Depeche Mode for a performance of '[[Somebody]]' at [[2010-02-17 Royal Albert Hall, London, England, UK]]:
Line 227: Line 233:
 
'''Dave Gahan''': Well, as they say, 'Don't leave before the miracle.' [Laughs.]<ref>Source: [http://web.archive.org/web/20190617103017/https://consequenceofsound.net/2012/10/interview-dave-gahan-of-depeche-mode-soulsavers/ "Interview: Dave Gahan (of Depeche Mode, Soulsavers)]" - ''Consequence Of Sound'' - 12 October 2012</ref>
 
'''Dave Gahan''': Well, as they say, 'Don't leave before the miracle.' [Laughs.]<ref>Source: [http://web.archive.org/web/20190617103017/https://consequenceofsound.net/2012/10/interview-dave-gahan-of-depeche-mode-soulsavers/ "Interview: Dave Gahan (of Depeche Mode, Soulsavers)]" - ''Consequence Of Sound'' - 12 October 2012</ref>
 
</blockquote>
 
</blockquote>
 
=== Band relations post-departure ===
 
 
<blockquote>
 
[Dave Gahan] could have felt a bit isolated with Alan leaving, because it used to be two and two-Dave and Alan, and Martin and me. [...] It was both difficult and not difficult. Obviously, Dave's problems were still there; we were working without Alan for the first time in a long time. We had to find our feet — it was ''[[A Broken Frame]]'' again.<ref name="MillerStripped"></ref>
 
— Andrew Fletcher - ''Stripped: Depeche Mode'' - Jonathan Miller, 2003</blockquote>
 
  
 
=== Band relations with Wilder post-departure ===
 
=== Band relations with Wilder post-departure ===

Latest revision as of 20:02, 25 March 2020

On 1 June 1995, Alan Wilder announced he was departing Depeche Mode after thirteen years as a key member. During his tenure from 1982 to June 1995, Wilder's musical vision and attention to detail were integral to the development and ultimate success of the group. He would go on to expand the Recoil music project he began in 1986, through which he has produced three EPs, three LPs, and a compilation album supported by an international tour spanning forty-four dates.

Background

During the recording of Depeche Mode's 1993 album Songs Of Faith And Devotion, Wilder began to grow dissatisfied with the internal relations, working conditions, and overall life as a member of the group. He would later state that he came to the final decision to leave Depeche Mode over the course of the Devotional and Exotic tours.[1] In the months following the conclusion of the Exotic tour, Wilder mentioned his intentions to leave to several close associates, including longtime Depeche Mode and Recoil engineer Steve Lyon.[2] Wilder placed a call to request an in-person band meeting in London to inform the other members of the group and management several months after the conclusion of the Exotic tour. Dave Gahan was not present at this meeting, and did not respond to Wilder's telephone call or fax (Gahan would later express regret that he had not done more to convince Wilder to remain in the group)[1][3]. Upon being informed, Mute Records founder Daniel Miller alerted all Mute label managers of Wilder's departure, informing them that there were no plans to replace him and that Martin Gore had begun writing new material, assuring the group would continue as a trio.

Wilder would issue a formal press statement on 1 June 1995. Fan magazine BONG informed subscribers of Wilder's departure in a newsletter.

Press statement

Due to increasing dissatisfaction with the internal relations and working practices of the group, it is with some sadness that I have decided to part company from Depeche Mode. My decision to leave the group was not an easy one particularly as our last few albums were an indication of the full potential that Depeche Mode was realising.

Since joining in 1982, I have continually striven to give total energy, enthusiasm and commitment to the furthering of the group's success and in spite of a consistent imbalance in the distribution of the workload, willingly offered this. Unfortunately, within the group, this level of input never received the respect and acknowledgement that it warrants.

Whilst I believe that the calibre of our musical output has improved, the quality of our association has deteriorated to the point where I no longer feel that the end justifies the means. I have no wish to cast aspersions on any individual; suffice to say that relations have become seriously strained, increasingly frustrating and, ultimately, in certain situations, intolerable.

Given these circumstances, I have no option but to leave the group. It seems preferable therefore, to leave on a relative high, and as I still retain a great enthusiasm and passion for music, I am excited by the prospect of pursuing new projects. The remaining band members have my support and best wishes for anything they may pursue in the future, be it collectively or individually.

— Alan Charles Wilder

Quotes

Wilder on leaving Depeche Mode in 1995

The Madrid Songs Of Faith And Devotion sessions brought home to me that I wasn't enjoying life in the group enough to warrant sticking with it, especially given that I didn't feel there was anything more I could achieve within its boundaries. I simply needed change and wanted to do something different.[4]

— Alan Wilder - Stripped: Depeche Mode - Jonathan Miller, 2003

During [the Devotional tour] I decided to leave. However, I had already thought about it during the work on the album. The relationships within the band had got very bad. Generally I never wanted to be in a band my whole musical life, and I thought this would be a good time to do this step forward.[1]

— Alan Wilder - recoil.co.uk

I never expected to remain in a band all my life. There's something quite sad about being in a 'pop' group when you hit middle age. [One] of the reasons I eventually left was so that I'd be able to spend more time at home with my family."[1] I wanted change and wanted to do something different. It was at a time in my life when I needed to clear out a lot of baggage and I just felt it was time to move on."[5]

— Alan Wilder - recoil.co.uk / Future Music - November 1997

I enjoyed touring with the Mode – I found it easy. But I did a lot of it, and I wanted a life change when I left. I wanted to start a family and work in the studio.[6]

— Alan Wilder - Pasadena Star News - 21 October 2010

The reason I made a statement when I left the group was to try to summarize succinctly in my own words some of the reasons for my departure, rather than have the press speculate and inevitably draw the wrong conclusions.[1]

— Alan Wilder - recoil.co.uk

It sounds arrogant, but if I could do everything myself I would. I like to work alone - though this doesn't mean that I don't ever want other people's input. I enjoy collaborating, but not on a permanent basis. With Depeche Mode, what I learned over the years from working with other people has been invaluable. It's left me in a position where I know what I want in terms of production. Nowadays, I find that working with other people slows that process down, and sometimes turns it into a battle. At this stage in my life, I feel I don't want that anymore. ... I think I'm quite diplomatic in the studio. I'm able to put people at ease, and encourage them to bring the best out of themselves. Dave loved being driven hard, even to the point where he would become frustrated; but then the next day he would say, 'I'm so glad you did that, because I'm really pleased with how my vocal sounds'.[7] I wouldn't say I left DM because of the mass of the work. I enjoyed doing this, the production and the programming, I didn't have any feelings of resentment against it. I only had the feeling that it was taken as a given thing.[1]

— Alan Wilder - Sound On Sound - January 1998 / recoil.co.uk

Yes, there were some difficulties and communication inadequacies. Dave's state of mind obviously compounded everything to a degree, but I wouldn't say it was a major factor in my decision. Any tension between myself and Fletch — and it's true to say that there was some — was largely immaterial, since it made no impact on the important issues, like how the records were made or how they were performed.[4]

— Alan Wilder - Stripped: Depeche Mode - Jonathan Miller, 2003

I don't think the credits on [Depeche] Mode [records] really reflected the truth about who produced them, but, to be honest, at the time I just couldn't be bothered about getting into big discussions on the whole subject. I was happy to do the work because it was enjoyable and something I was good at. [4]

— Alan Wilder - Stripped: Depeche Mode - Jonathan Miller, 2003

Wilder's relationships within Depeche Mode pre-departure

Gahan and Fletcher comment on how well Wilder had integrated as a member of Depeche Mode in a 1985-11-xx television interview for Sky:

Sky: So a new addition to the family, though, [in 1982], wasn't there?

Andrew Fletcher: Slick.

Sky: "Slick", is that what you call him? Slick Wilder?

Dave Gahan: Yeah, Slick Wilder. He got that name actually because he used to slick all his hair back when we was on tour.

Andrew Fletcher: He was always a bit more sophisticated than us.

Dave Gahan: Yeah!

Sky: Difficult now to think of him as not being part of your band?

Andrew Fletcher: He has fit in very well.

Sky: Unbelievably well, I would say!

Andrew Fletcher: I mean, for a year, we didn't pay him anything, I think. [laughter] He always grumbles about that.

Dave Gahan: Yeah, he does that, yeah.[8]

Aftermath of Wilder's departure

Alan just told us that he didn't particularly get on with us anymore. He felt that our relationships had all gone down the drain and, because of that, it was time to leave. But there were a lot of things he didn't tell us at that meeting that came out later. He made a very big press statement saying that he felt the workload had been unfairly distributed over the course of the last album or two, and that he wasn't getting enough appreciation and gratitude from the rest of the band. What he failed to say in that press statement is that he is a control freak who decided it should be that way. We were all quite happy going home at midnight or one in the morning when we were in the studio. But Alan is one of those studioheads who loves being there until four in the morning. He focuses on every minute detail. Or over-focuses. And also, for the last tour, he took it on himself to prepare all the backing tapes. He said he wanted to do it. Since the rest of us don't particularly enjoy that task, we said, 'Fine, if you want to do it, go ahead.' Maybe we didn't thank him enough at the end.[9]

Martin Gore - Guitar World - May 1997

Alan, around [the time of recording Songs Of Faith And Devotion], felt he was so involved in production and arrangement. I think he felt it was wrong that he was making the same money as Andy, who basically doesn't do anything in the studio. I think that became a stumbling block — he never said this to me, by the way. He never came out and told me that, but I can imagine that might have been one of the reasons that he didn't like Andy — apart from the fact that their personalities clash.[4]

— Martin Gore - Stripped: Depeche Mode - Jonathan Miller, 2003

My decision to leave wasn't as a direct result of tensions anyway.[1]

— Alan Wilder - recoil.co.uk

I think he felt the band would split up, what with the state Dave was in. I think he wanted to be the first one to jump ship.[10]

Andrew Fletcher - Q - June 2001

Andrew Fletcher: "We were never in contact with him anyway when he was in the band. It's almost like he never existed."
Martin Gore: "I don't think we should ever get into a slanging match with Alan, because he was an integral part of the band who had a lot of input and a lot to say in what the band was doing.[11] I think Alan was very set in his ways. I'm sure if we ever suggested something to Alan, and he didn't particularly like what we were suggesting, he would make sure it didn't work."[9]

— Martin Gore, Andrew Fletcher - Guitar World - May 1997


[None] of them were aware that it was coming and even if they were, I don't think they thought I'd actually go through with it.[1] Martin shook my hand and looked a bit embarrassed and Fletch got quite defensive and seemed to take it rather personally.[1]

— Alan Wilder - recoil.co.uk

I can't say I was surprised, because there had been times during [the recording of] Songs Of Faith And Devotion [where] he obviously wasn't happy, and on the tour he wasn't really happy. One of his main problems was that he didn't really get on with Andy -- I'm sure that wasn't the only reason, but that was one of the factors. That was difficult for him, because we've always been honest about the fact that Andy's not really musical. When we play live we give him parts to play, but [they're] not exactly taxing.[4]

— Martin Gore - Stripped: Depeche Mode - Jonathan Miller, 2003

It wasn't totally unexpected. Alan's always been very private and secretive, so it's very hard to know exactly how he's thinking at any given point. But it became very apparent to us that he wasn't happy. It wasn't a shock at all when he left. I think he took too much upon himself. I think even he would readily admit he's a control freak.[12]

— Martin Gore - Guitar World - May 1997

Wilder allegedly confirmed the title of Recoil song 'Control Freak' from 1997's Unsound Methods was chosen in jest as a response to Martin Gore's pointed comments that Wilder is a "control freak" in an interview following Wilder's departure:

[...] It doesn't refer to the lyrics, it's just the name of the song. I found it funny somehow. However, it doesn't have a deeper meaning [...] It's true that I am a bit of a control freak. I think that anyone who is deeply passionate about what they do will have that element about them.[13]

— Alan Wilder

Alan never did like us as people. Well, he doesn't like anyone as people, really - he hasn't got friends and things like that.[14] I wasn't sure whether I could work in a band without [sic] him anyway. I felt he didn't have too much respect for the other members of the band. In the end, it made the decision-making process a lot easier. When there are three people, there has to be a decision.[15]

— Andrew Fletcher - Details - May 1997 / Hits - 28 April 1997

There's probably an element of truth in this but 'misanthropist' is perhaps a little harsh. I don't have a huge army of so-called 'friends' because I don't suffer fools gladly and I'm also not so insecure that I need an entourage of sycophants singing my praises all the time. I'm very selective about the people I socialise with. I suspect Martin meant that I was cynical and sarcastic which is pretty much right! It takes quite a lot to really get me rattled actually and I've consistently found that humour (or more specifically, sarcasm) is the best method of diffusing difficult or confrontational situations.[1]

— Alan Wilder - recoil.co.uk

I recognise how easy it is to go with the flow in an interview and say things you perhaps don't really mean. I also understand how journalists can either misunderstand or deliberately twist people's words, so I don't take too much notice of everything that was said.[4]

— Alan Wilder - Stripped: Depeche Mode - Jonathan Miller, 2003

Some of the comments that were made during the promotion for [Depeche Mode's] last album were disappointing although not unsurprising and I can understand a bit of why they might have been said. The simple fact is that most people just do not understand or appreciate that 'producing' a record properly requires an enormous amount of energy and concentration. Anyone can go into a studio for a couple of hours a day, take loads of drugs, twiddle a few knobs, whack it all on a CD and call it a finished album but invariably the end result sounds like what it is - lazy and ill-judged. I can't just roll into the studio at 5 o'clock in the afternoon with a raging hangover and expect to be able to work effectively. This doesn't mean that I never take a break during a session but as a rule, I like to keep work time and play time separate so I can give my absolute best to whatever project I'm involved in. If this makes me boring then fine ... I'd rather be boring but have a really good record.[1]

— Alan Wilder - recoil.co.uk

We haven't had one conversation with him since our meeting, which was now two years ago. There are a few little things where he's been a bit weird over instruments and guitars through our tour manager. Alan was never an original member of Depeche Mode. He became, through the grace of us, a full-time member of Depeche Mode after he was employed by us as a musician, and he chose to leave. If it had been Martin or myself or Dave leaving, it might have been more serious, because we are the original spirit in the band.[4]

— Andrew Fletcher - Stripped: Depeche Mode - Jonathan Miller, 2003

The relationship that never really flourished was between myself and Martin. I felt that it was mainly he who didn't really value the effort I put in, and that disappointed me, because generally we got on OK and I respected his talent as a songwriter. I guess the introverted side of Martin's nature made it difficult for him to show appreciation or hand out praise.[16]

— Alan Wilder - Uncut - May 2001

Maybe it's false intimacy when it's all based on partying, but I think Alan would have to admit that he had fun with us at times.[10]

— Martin Gore - Q - June 2001


I just remember everyone was working very hard [on 1986 album Black Celebration]. At that stage Martin wrote all the songs, and Alan was a huge part of the studio-team. He was there every minute. Martin, Dave and Fletch might come in a bit later sometimes, on some days. Alan was there with me, Daniel Miller and the assistant every minute of the whole thing. We were all working in a very loving way, I think, with a lot of love and respect for the songs. We all felt we were working on the songs, even Martin had written them. Once he had written them they became a life of their own. And the responsibility of the production-team as a group of musicians was to make the songs as good as we could. To me it seems that Alan and Martin had a great relationship. Alan was working incredibly hard and focused to make the best out of the songs.[17]

I don't know if there was particularly a problem between Martin and Alan. Clearly there was a problem in the group somehow. Y'know, it's like in a family, isn't it? In a family, if one member starts behaving badly then you have a family problem. You can't just blame one person, the whole family is something that needs to be looked at. And I guess it's a bit like in a band, it's a complex relationship. And when it goes wrong it goes badly wrong sometimes.[18]

Gareth Jones - True Trash - February 2012

The way Depeche Mode have always worked is very unconventional in terms of who does what. The way it generally works is Mart writes the songs, and he'll be involved in the studio as well, but he doesn't really like being in the studio very much. Alan would do a lot of the legwork in the studio, and Fletch, who doesn't really play an instrument, would be the one to shake it up from time to time by asking difficult questions or making a comment, which would make them think — not quite a catalyst, [more] a referee or a man in the street kind of attitude; very pragmatic, a pragmatist: 'You're spending much too long on this track; come on, get a move on.' And that worked, really, one way or another.

While that was all part of the chemistry of Depeche Mode, Alan was becoming increasingly frustrated with things like that and felt that maybe his role was not being appreciated enough by everybody. [4]

— Daniel Miller - Stripped: Depeche Mode - Jonathan Miller, 2003


I think it was happening around when we were making [Songs Of Faith And Devotion]. Alan put in a lot of work, and the thing is, if you're going to put in all that work, fine, do it. But afterwards, don't kind of turn around and say, 'Hey, I did all this and what do I get back for it?' There's a lot of ego stuff goes on, as we know, in these bands. It just got to the stage where it was like, 'I do all this, and I don't think I'm respected.' And that's really sad, but I think Alan had to do what he had to do. You know, I love Alan. I mean he was in the band with us for like, fifteen years or something. I mean, it's a family. It is a brotherly thing. Sometimes you hate your brother, and it's like, 'Get out of my face', but there's something there that's really special.[19]

— Dave Gahan - KROQ-FM, Kevin and Bean - February 1997

This might be presumptuous of me, [but] I think that what happened was that Alan, during the making of Songs Of Faith And Devotion, had already made his decision. I think there was a lot of bad feeling, and Alan was very uncomfortable with the way things were for a long time.[4]

— Dave Gahan - Stripped: Depeche Mode - Jonathan Miller, 2003

I felt a big part of what we were doing [on Ultra] was missing - a leader, musically, and for me Alan was that. The others would say he was too controlling, but he just worked his arse off because he really believed in it and the idea of pushing himself musically, which you can hear on his own records. I find that really inspiring. I miss him.[20]

— Dave Gahan - Time Out - 4 April 2001

I didn't hear back directly from Dave but he did send Hep and me a huge bunch of flowers when Paris was born and we saw him on a couple of occasions quite soon after. I'm sure he understands exactly why I left and he has been nothing but a perfect gentleman regarding the whole situation. [...] I was never angry with the [remaining] members of [Depeche Mode]. I still have a good friendship with Dave and I still have business relations with [Depeche Mode].[1]

— Alan Wilder - recoil.co.uk

Dave is very generous and I think he is honest [with] his comments. I think it seemed strange to him to work with so many new people. He said such nice things about me which gives me a good feeling.[1]

— Alan Wilder - recoil.co.uk

Dave's always been willing to recognise the contribution of others -- he has a very generous nature, and I believe he is sincere in his comments. I was possibly the closest to him in the group and I would imagine, [Depeche Mode] having always been a very insular group, that it's been pretty strange working with all sorts of new people -- perhaps this is part of what he means. In many ways, it would be easier for him to avoid the subject and say nothing, so the fact that he has gone out of his way to say such nice things about me makes me feel good. Although I'm very happy doing what I do now, I also miss having him around.[4]

— Alan Wilder - Stripped: Depeche Mode - Jonathan Miller, 2003

I really miss Alan's input on everything we do musically, but I miss him as a friend. He was probably the person in the band I felt supported by the most and I wish I'd fought harder for him to stay. What Alan really wanted was for Martin to turn round and say, 'You've really contributed something great', but Martin's not someone who hands out compliments very often.[3]

— Dave Gahan - Q - June 2003


I don't know really why Alan decided to leave the band. I knew before it became a [sic] common knowledge. I don't know if he told anyone else but I knew that he was going to leave. I really think it's really unfortunate because the working relationships and the success that they had were good. When we were working together it was incredible. It's a real shame that he left. Sometimes things have to break and then go together again. So let's wait and see. They had been together in the band for a long time. And he took a very, very lead role in the band and it's a shame that they are not working together again.[2]

Steve Lyon - depechemodebiographie.de - June 2013

Internal changes following Wilder's departure

Since Alan left, we are working so much more as a complete unit. We ... we do describe ourselves as a family these days.[21] Alan left at a very strange time. It was when we were actually doing nothing. He didn't leave us at the end of the last tour, and he didn't leave when we got together and decided to actually start working again. I think, after that last tour, he probably felt that he'd had enough and wanted to leave the band, but he wanted to give himself time to reconsider. [...] Alan was a very important part of the band, especially the last two albums [Violator and Songs Of Faith And Devotion]. He was the one who would spend the most time at the computer, sometimes until 4 in the morning. And he took on a lot of the production side of things.[9]

— Martin Gore - Detour - May 1997 / Guitar World - May 1997

[...] When Alan Wilder left Depeche Mode, it was basically Martin and me. Martin and I had to become something together, and we’re still becoming that. That’s still a work in progress. Yes, we’re making music together and then we perform that music. And we’re very much aware of how much the music has touched people. We see it in the concerts and we feel it onstage. But I think Martin and I still have this thing between us. It’s still two people coming together with music, but at the same time we’ve also always been very separate—even musically. But that’s also what makes Depeche Mode so interesting, musically. It’s that struggle between us, I believe.[22]

— Dave Gahan - Electronic Beats - 19 October 2015

[Dave Gahan] could have felt a bit isolated with Alan leaving, because it used to be two and two-Dave and Alan, and Martin and me. [...] It was both difficult and not difficult. Obviously, Dave's problems were still there; we were working without Alan for the first time in a long time. We had to find our feet — it was A Broken Frame again.[4]

— Andrew Fletcher - Stripped: Depeche Mode - Jonathan Miller, 2003

Gahan commented on Wilder's February 2010 return to the stage with Depeche Mode for a performance of 'Somebody' at 2010-02-17 Royal Albert Hall, London, England, UK:

Dave Gahan: I wish [Alan] all the best. It was great [having] him hanging out with us for a couple of days and playing with us at the [Royal] Albert Hall. It was really a lot of fun and sort of a magical night. It was great. We raised a lot of money as well for a teenage cancer trust that Roger Daltrey puts together every year. That was really great, and to have Alan up there onstage and watching him... He was a real part of the puzzle and still remains on all that stuff that he worked on with us. Alan was really very, very instrumental in leading us in different directions.

Consequence Of Sound writer Len Comaratta continued, citing Depeche Mode's collective surprise at their unexpected success in America following the release of 1984 album Some Great Reward:

Consequence Of Sound: I saw this comment made by Martin, regarding how in the early years of your band you were pretty much viewing America as a lost cause and that you weren't going to be successful here. Then a year later [1984], Some Great Reward blew up, and a few years after that you pretty much took over the world. It's amazing what a difference a year can make.

Dave Gahan: Well, as they say, 'Don't leave before the miracle.' [Laughs.][23]

Band relations with Wilder post-departure

Andrew Fletcher comments on the relationship between the group and Wilder in a 2009 interview for Pitchfork:

Pitchfork: And you're still in touch with Alan [Wilder] and Vince [Clarke]?

Andrew Fletcher: Not really, no. Alan and Vince always were pretty much loners. Vince now lives in Maine, in the middle of nowhere. I bumped into Vince a couple of times in New York the last couple of years, had a drink with him once. But Alan, he lives in a big rock star mansion in the countryside. No one's seen him since he's left the band. On the other hand, they were always quite loners, anyway.

Pitchfork: So you never even saw them when you put together the documentaries on the reissue of your catalog?

Andrew Fletcher: We didn't see them, no. It was done separately. We did all our interviews together, but we didn't see them. That's just the way it is. We don't slag each other off. Alan doesn't say bad things about us, and Vince doesn't. We still follow what they're doing.[24]

Fan demand for Wilder's return

I was very touched by [the positive reception to the 2010 Royal Albert Hall appearance], of course. I don't mean it to sound arrogant, but I kind of expected it because people have written to me for years and years and said, 'We miss you,' and all this. I knew that I would get a lot of reaction to that thing and there would be all this speculation. It wasn't totally a surprise, but it's still very touching and very nice that people care that much.[25]

— Alan Wilder - LA Weekly - 25 October 2015

Wilder returning to Depeche Mode

It’s not something we've (the other members of Depeche Mode) got planned, but you never rule anything out. If Martin said he wanted to work on something – he probably wouldn’t – I wouldn’t rule it out. But it’s not likely to happen.[6]

— Alan Wilder - Pasadena Star News - 21 October 2010

We never think about [asking Alan to return] to be honest; I know that will upset a lot of fans. I think it’s a bit like kids who come from a completely dysfunctional divorced family who have this crazy notion that their parents should get back together. We’ve met Alan over the years and we get on with Alan. He decided to leave in 1995, and he’s never reached out to us and said he wanted to rejoin; we get on quite well without him so it’s never come up.[26]

— Martin Gore - Drowned In Sound - 10 May 2017

Trivia

  • Alan Wilder's departure was announced on 1 June 1995, his 36th birthday.
  • His tenure as a member of Depeche Mode lasted approximately 4,900 days, or thirteen years and five months (January 1982 - June 1995).

References

  1. 1.00 1.01 1.02 1.03 1.04 1.05 1.06 1.07 1.08 1.09 1.10 1.11 1.12 Source: recoil.co.uk
  2. 2.0 2.1 Source: depechemodebiographie.de Interview with Steve Lyon
  3. 3.0 3.1 Source: "Cash for Questions: Dave Gahan" - Q - June 2003.
  4. 4.00 4.01 4.02 4.03 4.04 4.05 4.06 4.07 4.08 4.09 4.10 Source: Stripped: Depeche Mode - Jonathan Miller, 2003
  5. Source: Alan Wilder Interview - Future Music, Issue 62 - November 1997.
  6. 6.0 6.1 Source: "Making music in an eclectic mode" - Pasadena Star News - 21 October 2010
  7. Source: "Unsound Recordings" - Sound On Sound - January 1998.
  8. Source: 1985-11-xx Trax, Sky television interview
  9. 9.0 9.1 9.2 Source: "Ultra Sounds" - Guitar World - May 1997.
  10. 10.0 10.1 Source: "Many Smack-Free Returns!" - Q - June 2001.
  11. Source: "Synth and Sensibilities" - NME - 25 January 1997.
  12. Source: Pavement, 16 April 1997.
  13. depechemodebiographie.de attributes these quotes to Alan Wilder but does not cite a source. Anyone who knows the source of these quotes, please send an e-mail to admin [at] depechemode-live [dot] com.
  14. Source: "Long and Winding Mode" - Details - May 1997.
  15. Source: "It's a Mode Mode Mode Mode World" - Hits - 28 April 1997.
  16. Source: "Just Can't Get Enough" - Uncut - May 2001.
  17. Source: True Trash - Gareth Jones: Die menschliche Seite der Plattenproduktion - February 2012 (German) / depechemodebiographie.de - Interview with Gareth Jones - February 2012 (English)
  18. Source: depechemodebiographie.de Interview with Gareth Jones
  19. Source: K-ROQ FM, Los Angeles - Kevin and Bean - February 1997
  20. Source: "In the Mode for Love" - Time Out - 4 April 2001.
  21. Source: "Modus Operandi" - Detour - May 1997.
  22. Source: "An Intimate Conversation with Depeche Mode’s Dave Gahan" - Electronic Beats - 19 October 2015
  23. Source: "Interview: Dave Gahan (of Depeche Mode, Soulsavers)" - Consequence Of Sound - 12 October 2012
  24. Source: "DEPECHE MODE" - Pitchfork - 13 April 2009
  25. Source: "RECOIL LIVE AT EL REY THEATRE: ALAN WILDER ON TOURING FOR THE FIRST TIME SINCE LEAVING DEPECHE MODE" - LA Weekly - 25 October 2010
  26. Source: ""We've lost our spiritual way": DiS Meets Depeche Mode" - Drowned In Sound - 10 May 2017