1982-02-18 BBC Radio Stoke, UK
Trevor "Bruno" Brookes from BBC Radio Stoke interviewed Andy Fletcher and Dave Gahan on the 18th of February at 4PM, before their soundcheck for their concert at Victoria Hall in Hanley that night. The source and lineage of this file is unknown. The file seems to miss the beginning as it starts mid-interview, and has been transcribed for your convenience.
- Total time: 09:34
Trevor: That saves the noise for everybody else concerned in the house?
Fletch: Yes, there was no place to practice, we didn't have any transport either, so it was quite handy.
Trevor: What were your ambitions like at this time? I mean, you were obviously finding it difficult to practice the way you wanted to.
Fletch: We didn't have any ambitions, really.
Trevor: You formed the band though, didn't you Andy?
Fletch: No, well, me and Vince did, yeah.
Trevor: And it was originally two guitars and one synth, I think, or you had a guitar involved.
Fletch: That's right, yeah.
Trevor: And Dave, you went to school which is Barnstable Comprehensive School. You originally wanted to be a window dresser, I believe?
Dave: Yeah. While I was at college, yeah, doing window dressing and fashion. And I was still at college when I met the band, I was sort of messing about with another band when we were rehearsing in the same school, and Vince phoned me up and asked me if I would sing for the band.
Trevor: So what was your reaction to that, straight away?
Dave: Well, I don't know, I just sort of said "Yeah, I'll come along to some rehearsals", we'd done some rehearsals and it just went from there, really. We got some gigs, and...
Trevor: You had no ambitions at all, as singer, you wanted to get on in the world of fasion, and such?
Dave: Well, I don't know. I wasn't that happy with what I was doing at college, because I didn't go that much, and college makes you very lazy, and the band really came along at the right time.
Trevor: Now you all joined together as a four piece at that time, didn't you?
Trevor: And with a great name, it seems, but really bad music, would you agree it was bad music at that time?
Dave: I don't know, we thought it was great. (laughs)
Fletch: When we listen back to old tapes, obviously we...
Dave: - Oh we would listen to that and laugh now.
Trevor: So you still have the tapes of some of the original material then?
Fletch: Yes. When we first started, we did concerts around people's houses in Basildon, that's before Dave joined, and it was quite good. One of the gigs we'd played, we played in front of 7 people and 10 teddybears. (laughter) And we dressed up in eh...
Dave: - pyjamas (giggles)
Fletch: pyjamas. It was just a good laugh. We still got the tape of that concert. We've done a lot of gigs around people's houses.
Trevor: When doing your first gig, I believe one of your first gigs was in an under 12 disco, was that the one you were on about now?
Fletch: No, that was our first proper concert, that was quite funny as well.
Trevor: When you say "proper", the fact that you're getting paid for it, is that what you mean?
Fletch: No, we wasn't getting paid, it was a favour, because at that time we was rehearsing in this youth club, we played just for a favour. The funny thing was that kids had never seen a sythesizer before, and were just fiddling about with our knobs...
Trevor: And they thought it was all flash or something?
Fletch: Well yeah. It was a very small synthesizer as well. It was quite funny, though.
Trevor: So what influences you to use synthesizers, then, rather than the straight bass-lead-and-drums and so on? Was it just the fact that it was a new sound for you?
Dave: Martin influenced you, didn't he?
Fletch: We was all very jealous of Martin.
Dave: Martin had one and they didn't, so they thought "well we wanna get one as well".
Trevor: Just because he had one?
Dave: Yeah. (laughs)
Trevor: So why did you ditch the guitars, though? There must be a reason for that, I mean, most bands have a guitar.
Fletch: We didn't have good guitars, really, we didn't have good amps. We didn't have any transport to take us places. So it seemed a natural thing to do, really.
Trevor: So you're thinking of practical reasons, then?
Fletch: It's also we wanted to, as well. It just the stuff we were sort of listening to at the time, we were really into Kraftwerk and things then, so it seemed natural.
Trevor: How long ago was this, in fact?
Dave: 19 months, something like that.
Trevor: That's not too long ago, was it really?
Fletch: No. We've been very lucky to be in the right place at the right time.
Trevor: Is it true that you used to join in with the gospel choir at the church, just to store your equipment there?
Fletch: Well we rehearsed there for a while as well, because we got connections through Martin's girlfriend's dad is a steward at his church and we practiced there in the hall, which was quite funny really.
Trevor: But were you generally interested in choir singing and such? Was the vicar under false impressions or something?
Dave: Not really. Nothing to do with me. (laughs)
Fletch: No, not really, nothing to do with choir, it wasn't a church choir.
Trevor: Who is responsible for giving you direction for the band when you were rehearsing about 18 months ago?
Fletch: Vince was the main man. He was always the one with the push in him because he was unemployed, and he was working on time and everything, he was the one who really pushed the band.
Dave: He wanted to be successful. Really, we thought it was just a laugh at the beginning and just, the way it happened was that we were seen by Daniel and he picked us up, we released a single and it went from there.
Trevor: So when did it all become serious for you, how long did it take, about 6 months later?
Fletch: No. We'd left work when 'New Life' was in the charts...
Dave: At about number 20 or something.
Fletch: Yeah, that's when we left work. We were doing Top of the Pops and going back to work the next day.
Trevor: What sort of work were you doing then at that time?
Fletch: I was an insurance clerk in London.
Trevor: Oh, and you don't want to look back on that, do you?
Fletch: It was alright. (laughter) I don't think I'd wanna do it again, though. I can't see myself going back to work, really.
Dave: Not a normal job.
Fletch: No, not a normal "put in our weight" job.
Trevor: What about the first demo? We'll talk about 'New Life' and some of your singles in a moment, but what about the first demo tape, who persuaded you to get that together? Was it Vince again?
Fletch: Well we all did, we all chipped in some money. And we thought it was brilliant, we took it around the companies and that...
Dave: And they all hated it!
Trevor: So you have had your problems with record companies as well then, haven't you?
Dave and Fletch: Yeah.
Fletch: We thought it was brilliant at the time, but now when we listen back we think, we can understand...
Dave: It's very weak.
Fletch: ... We can understand why they didn't...
Dave: take us on. (laughs)
Trevor: In fact, there's so many bands in this area that they get so dispondant when being turned down, and sometimes completely ignored, what sort of advice would you give to these bands? Just to keep on working?
Dave: Try it, just keep trying.
Fletch: I think we was in a better position because we was near London and we was playing concerts in London. I think you got a much better chance if you're in London.
Dave: You could see the scouts from record companies out all the time, they just go to the general club circuit around London and that's their job to go there every night and look at bands. So I don't think you probably get that many scouts up here.
Trevor: As our listeners already know you come from Basildon, was it much of a tough decision for you to move to London fulltime?
Dave: We don't, we still live in Basildon.
Trevor: So you commute, as such?
Dave/Fletch: Yeah, we commute.
Trevor: Do you find that difficult in any way?
Fletch: No, I commute for two years, that doesn't really bother me that much, Martin did as well.
Dave: I did, really, to college as well. I went to Southend, it was about the same sort of journey but it was the opposite way.
Trevor: what about gigs in London? Did you use the 'futurist' trend at the time to get you those gigs, was that the only reason why you were getting the gigs in London?
Dave: No, well, as far as that goes, I was dressed in the clothes that I was wearing then a couple of years before I met the band anyway, and that was just the way our friends and the people that we were going out with, dressed.
Trevor: Dave, tell us how 'New Life' came into being and how you recording contract that you wanted.
Dave: Ehm, well, Daniel Miller from Mute Records met us at the Bridge House, a gig in London, supporting one of his other bands, and he asked us to do 'Dreaming of Me', and we recorded 'Dreaming of Me' and that sort of went to about number 50, and then we recorded another one with Daniel and Mute, which was 'New Life', and that went to about number 11, I think. Number 11?
Trevor: Of course there was 'Photograph'- 'Photographic'?
Dave: 'Photographic', yeah, that was on the 'Some Bizarre Album', a compilation album.
Trevor: But Mute Records is actually an independent label, isn't it?
Dave: Yeah, yeah.
Trevor: So when you were down there in London, of course 'Dreaming of Me' was doing quite well and of course 'New Life' was doing quite well, you were still into getting waving, dotted lines in front of you for contracts, but you stayed with Daniel Miller and Mute Records. At that time, did you think that Daniel Miller could give you the success that a bigger record company could give you?
Dave: Well, eh...
Fletch: He said he could (laughs).
Dave: He said he could and we trusted him, he said he could do as well as a major label could do and we trusted him and stuck with him and he's proved that he can.
Trevor: Is there anything that he hasn't done for you, you think?
Dave: No, I don't think so, I think he has done as much as he can. The records went as high as they would, and 'New Life' nearly went silver and 'Just Can't Get Enough' is silver.
Trevor: Yeah that was more of a commercial single for me.
Dave: Yeah, yeah.
Trevor: Was it meant as a number one single as such?
Dave: What, 'Just Can't Get Enough'?
Dave: Not really, no. I think it was more instant like, we're very, well I'm bored by it now. It's that sort of single that, you sort of like it when you first do it and then you get very bored with that sort of record. Whereas I think our new single is more, it grows on you, and you have to hear it a few times.
Trevor: Yeah, you mentioned that you got bored of 'Just Can't Get Enough' and yet I think it's very, very catchy. Does this give you the impression that you'll be changing the material a lot in the near future?
Dave: I don't think so, no. I don't think we'll be changing that drastically. Obviously, you only look to improve, you don't go back, so, just hope, you know...
Trevor: You are a part of the 'futurist' trend, would you say that? Or would you not be a part of the 'futurist' trend?
Dave: I wouldn't say we was that big of a part of it now, because when we first began the audience were [wearing] sort of awfully shirts whereas now we get a lot of different people. Which is good, really.
Trevor: Because your band don't wear make-up, do you?
Dave: No (laughs).
Trevor: How do you feel about make-up, c'mon honestly now?
Dave: How do we feel about it? It's alright...
Fletch: We used to wear it.
Dave: We used to, when it was like, trendy to wear it, but we -
Trevor: So you're saying now it's not trendy to wear make-up, is that what you're saying?
Dave: Ehm, well it's a bit old hat, people, blokes have been wearing make-up and going out for years, and it's just, it's been done now.
Trevor: Yeah. Right, well I know you gotta go off to a soundcheck very shortly, and you're playing at the Victoria Hall tonight. We only hope that you have a great time and the two girls are pleased who are coming in today. And then of course there's Mandy over here who wanted to come and see how the interview was done and so, I hope it was okay for you, wasn't it? Good. And you are going to the concert as well. Have a nice time. Thanks for coming into the studio and thanks for being so patient.