1997-04-27 Spin Session: Depeche Mode, Spin Magazine, Westwood One Entertainment
Depeche Mode were interviewed by Anton Corbijn for a collaboration by Spin Magazine and Westwood One Entertainment, called 'Spin Session'. It was broadcast by the syndicated Westwood One Radio Network on April 27th 1997, but judging by the fact that Anton states that they were going to record a music video the next day (most likely for It's No Good), it must have been recorded on February 23rd, probably in New York City. Interview snippets are interspersed between studio tracks, which have been faded in and out from the audio. This interview was made available on a promo CD, which is the source for the interview audio available on this page. The FM radio station Live 105 in California broadcast this audio also, but the broadcast date is not known.
- Duration: 19 minutes, 23 seconds
Radio greeting by Anton:
Transcript of radio greeting
[It's No Good plays]
Anton: Hi, this is Anton Corbijn. I'll be talking with Dave Gahan, Andy Fletcher, and Martin Gore of Depeche Mode, about the past, the present, and the future, apparently. You can catch us later this week in the Depeche Mode Spin Session, only on the Spin Radio Network.
[It's No Good fades out]
Transcript of interview
Announcer: Westwood One Entertainment and Spin Magazine present a Spin Session with Depeche Mode, hosted by world famous video director and photographer and longtime Depeche Mode collaborator, Anton Corbijn.
[Never Let Me Down Again (Split Mix) plays]
Dave: Can we call you, Ant?
Anton: This is Anton Corbijn, I'm trying to interview Depeche Mode here, with the new album out called Ultra, and we trying to shine some light on a couple of things that have been worrying me for the last ten years, or so. With us are Andy Fletcher, Dave Gahan -
Andy: This is Andy.
Dave: Hi, this is David.
Anton: And Martin Gore.
Martin: Hello, this is Martin.
Andy: You're supposed to mention the programme, aren't you?
Anton: And we're doing a Spin Session, apparently. A Spin Session.
Andy: Do you want us to interview you?
Anton: No, no.
Andy: You look a bit nervous.
[Never Let Me Down Again (Split Mix) plays]
Anton: The whole thing is that of course, I'm a visual man, so I feel like a bit of a fish on the dry here, but to start, maybe we should start with you describing what you're wearing so people get a bit of an idea what we all look like here.
Dave: How the hell are you, Anton?
Andy: What are you wearing first, then?
Anton: Well funny enough, and I didn't do it on purpose, but I'm wearing a T-shirt from Details magazine, with a black jacket and Levi's jeans. And Andy, what are you wearing?
Andy: I'm wearing a grey sort of wind-breaker jacket with a bluey-grey trousers with a nice pair of black boots and a silvery shirt, and glasses.
Anton: You're a shiny man. Okay, David...
Dave: I'm wearing whatever my personal statement is. That would be a black jacket and pinstripe trousers and very bright socks.
Anton: And a green shirt.
Dave: Yeah, kinda almost matches the socks...
Anton: Yeah, very chic. Martin...
Martin: Black jacket, black T-shirt, black jumper, and Black Watch Tartan Trousers.
Andy: And what about on your head?
Martin: I only wore those because it got the word 'black' on it.
Andy: What about on your head, though?
Martin: Oh yeah, and a black Capstone.
Andy: I think the reason he's wearing a hat, I might add, is because he's had a very dodgy haircut, our listeners can't see us.
Dave: It's not dodgier than normal!
Andy: Apparently this one is.
Dave: Yeah, really?
Dave: It's a bit of a loaf of bread, I noticed -
Anton: And we'll be doing a video tomorrow.
Martin: This hairdresser's by the concierge at the hotel and it's the worst haircut I've had since I was about 9.
[I Feel You comes on]
Anton: You once said that you're probably the songwriter who uses the word "knees" more than anybody else, but also the word "black" I guess a lot. What holds it for you, that color?
Martin: I don't know if I've used the word "black" as many times as people would imagine, but I suppose it has been used quite a lot. But I did actually notice once, I thought it was quite funny, that I've used the word "knees" in so many of the songs. I was always "down on my knees", and "down on my knees again".
Andy: I never noticed that.
Anton: Which I guess it's both a religious and a sexual thing, and that's a combination that you find attractive.
Martin: Exactly. It's always ambiguous whether I'm actually talking about religion, or sex, or love, or all three of them intertwined, it's always very vague.
Dave: He's a naughty, naughty boy.
[Shake The Disease comes on]
Anton: So we're still doing the Spin Session here, this is Anton Corbijn with Depeche Mode. And what I was also very interested in is the fact that Dave went through this really difficult period, and I know you don't write the lyrics, but I was amazed that Martin's lyrics were so fitting, or seem so fitting, for Dave's state of mind, I guess. And I was wondering, did you do that on purpose or was it just "in the air" or...
Martin: I get asked all the time in interviews whether I'm writing a soundtrack for Dave's life, but obviously I'm not doing that. I can never try and understand what's going on inside Dave's head and then try and make that into a song. It's an impossibility for me.
Dave: If you think and try to analyze too much you know that you'll find... It just is what it is, and for whatever reason, I think it's much bigger than ourselves.
[Barrel Of A Gun plays]
Announcer: Up next, the guys chat about the destiny of Depeche, and the evolution of the Mode. So stay tuned to this Spin Session with Depeche Mode.
Anton: We're back in a Spin Session with Depeche Mode. Hey, I'm Anton Corbijn, and you're not.
Anton: I've always wanted to say that.
[Master And Servant plays]
Anton: I always think there's like three phases in Depeche Mode: one I guess is the first phase with Vince, and then Vince left... it was for a very short period three, then Alan Wilder came in. And I wasn't sure what the third phase is. Is the third phase now, or is the third phase when the guitar became more dominant?
Andy: I think it's got to be now I think, it definitely seems like a new phase now. Whether it's the third or the fourth stage, you could argue there's... we've had four stages.
Dave: I think the longest phase of course was when there was the four of us, with Alan. It's very much a different band, I mean the band in the beginning, with Vince, who was writing all the songs, was a completely different thing. I mean, more so than a lot of other bands who survive as long as we have, like for 17 years, it's clearly two different bands, and probably three different bands now.
Martin: Having only three people in the band makes it a lot easier to actually make decisions. Just having that one extra person complicates matters so much more than the extra 25% of -
Anton: It was 50%, probably.
Martin: Well, all decisions went two-two for instance, and that was totally confusing, because we could never actually make a decision and stick to it. It would always be, "Well, we can't make a decision, so we'll come back to that one tomorrow."
Dave: We've freed ourselves somehow, over the last couple of years, from those... kind of like, rules. Because we had to. We were forced into a place of having to re-look at everything that we were doing, and how we were going to present what we do. And I think what we lost the plot of, over the years, possibly, was the strength of Depeche Mode, which is Mart's songs and my voice.
[Personal Jesus (Acoustic) plays]
Dave: I like to think that what's happened is pretty natural.
Anton: Yeah, it's a sort of evolution.
Dave: If Alan had decided not to leave, and we just all stayed together and gone into this project all together, I really don't think we would've - I honestly don't think we would have achieved what we have, with the making of Ultra, in that kind of atmosphere. The atmosphere really dictates, like where you're going to come fr-, being able to just be yourself and realize that strength and just do the best you can in your part.
Anton: And obviously being the three of you now, it puts different disciplines on each of you, and you have to -
Dave: We were forced to actually have to reach out and ask other people for help. Other musicians, a producer, Tim [Simenon] come along with a team. That was something we were forced into, and I think, pretty nerve-rackingly at the beginning, but what's come out of it is something that I think sounds a lot more creative.
[The Love Thieves plays]
Dave: I think too much is read into individual elements of what Depeche Mode or any band is all about. It is a combination of different, kind of like, if you like, artistic statements, that all come together and create an atmosphere.
Anton: It has something to do with the medium as well, I think if it is music or radio or whatever, it just becomes bigger than if you would just write it in a book.
Dave: I think we come from... Martin and myself as well, and Fletch actually too, there is a lot of spiritual stuff that you know - I'm not talking about directly kind of like, particular types of religion or anything like that - but that we've all experienced through families and losses and all that kind of stuff and the whole kind of, life being a form of destiny that is already set out for you and the challenges, the challenge being, trying to just actually go with it.
Announcer: In case you're wondering what's going on here, it's a Spin Session with Depeche Mode: phase four, the three-man band. And next up, we'll have some CD talk.
Andy: Dave's out of the room, he just gone to the toilet so we should talk about him really, shouldn't we? Anything unkind do you want to say about him, Anton?
Anton: No, I think Dave, in my eyes is a great pop star and rock star and I think I don't have many bad words to say about him at all. He usually gets up on time these days too.
Announcer: The man with nothing bad to say about Dave Gahan is Anton Corbijn, the man who is usually behind the camera for our favorite Depeche Mode videos, but this time, we put him behind a microphone to direct the Depeche Mode Spin Session.
[It's No Good plays]
Dave: I think if you get carried away with the whole technology side of things, which is very easy nowadays, you really lose sight of what it is you were trying to do in the first place. And I think that, you know, call me old or whatever, but I really remember getting... with your pocket money and going out and buying that album, like a Bowie album. I particularly remember "Diamond Dogs", the whole package, the whole sleeve, and then sitting and playing the album and really looking at [it]. I don't often now, like, take out a CD and then pull out the package and start looking at it. I don't know why that is.
Andy: Because you're blind, you can't read it.
Andy: It's very hard to see.
Martin: I know why you mean particularly "Diamond Dogs"; you were looking for his knob.
Dave: Yeah, where was his penis?
Anton: In the first version it barely [incomprehensible] ... had to make another one.
Andy: It's not a work of art anymore.
Dave: It's not so personal somehow.
Anton: It's nothing that special anymore.
Dave: Yeah, it's not so personal, maybe because I've been doing it as well, but I remember feeling like I was the only person in the world that knew anything about David Bowie.
[World In My Eyes plays]
Anton: I always think because I'm foreign and don't really listen to the lyrics initially, till I get a feel of the music or of the sound of a voice that we just talked about rather than actually what you sing about. So that of course can be hit or miss with my visuals of the song, but I think it's a safe way to go because you just enhance the feel of the song rather than the words.
Dave: Sometimes it's the best way to express yourself. Martin expresses himself best, I think, with the songs that he writes and the atmospheres that are created around those songs. I find it really difficult to ... people ask Martin a question like "what his songs are about", it's kind of... I don't think you can directly answer that question, it's a feeling, it's an emotion, and I think Mart wears that emotion or feeling on his sleeve.
Announcer: It's not over yet. There's more to come from Depeche Mode in this Spin Session. So get ready for Anton to ask the really tough questions about the Depeche name, and the Depeche crises of the last 17 years.
Announcer: Catching up with the Depeche Mode Spin Session in progress, we find the guys trying to figure out what nickname we've given them.
Andy: One thing I've always wondered, you know like when Dave said "the Pumpkins", The Smashing Pumpkins were always known as "the Pumpkins"...
Dave: Billy Pumpkin.
Andy: So what are we, are we Depeche, or the Mode?
Anton: Fletch Mode.
Andy: What are we known as, universally? DM?
Martin: There's two camps of thought.
Andy: Or three, DM, Dave, Depeche?
Dave: Mart Mode.
Andy: Marty Mode.
[Walking In My Shoes plays]
Anton: Depeche Mode of course is really a French name, and we have in Europe this programme called Euro-trash where there is a French presenter trying to speak very French/English it was quite funny actually, and I think Depeche Mode as a word is quite ahead of its time. Because I think in the late '70s, there was not much feeling for France, but how was it ever chosen? Was it just a word or were you aware of it? Did anybody speak French?
Dave: It was really just the word. I liked the way it looked and the way it sounded, and the band was at the time called Composition Of Sound...
Anton: It is an improvement.
Dave: I mean, hello.
Andy: Funny enough, I had a funny thing happened the other day, there's a guy I know and he's in this band and they're doing quite well, and I said to him, "What's the name of the band?" And he just went, "Pregnant". And then I thought about it at first, you can't call yourself "Pregnant", but when you actually start thinking about it, it starts to grow on you a bit...
Anton: That's funny, Fletch.
Dave: Get it, "grow on you"... "pregnant", you know? So ridiculous...
Andy: What I'm trying to say is, at the end of the day, when we chose, when Dave picked up on that word, we -
Martin: It's two words by the way, we keep talking about it as "a word".
[World In My Eyes (Mode To Joy) plays]
Anton: You know, it's funny, it has affected all three of you, this lifestyle: Fletch had a breakdown, you had your drug problems, Mart always thinks he could have a heart attack at any moment.
Andy: Yeah, here's a tip for anyone listening, going into the rock and roll business does have an effect on your brain.
Anton: It makes me feel healthy, being around you, actually.
Martin: It's hard, you know, we've been doing this for 17 years.
Andy: You know, people used to think of us just being a synth-pop band, but I think we're as rock and roll as they come.
Martin: We've been out on this promotional trip and it's the first time we've been away together for a while and it's been a very sober experience, generally. I mean it's not been like it was when we were on the last tour which lasted 14 months, this time we've all been drinking like 14 bottles of mineral water at dinner and things like that. We have had to step back a gear I think, turn down a gear.
Dave: It's interesting you know, because like, I think what our idea of sober is as well is very different to like Alan. There's being clean and sober, I guess the part of it which is not picking up drugs and alcohol, that is a good start. But it doesn't end there, it's like an ongoing thing, it's an ongoing process that you have to work at. Because I would sit and if Mart is drinking a beer or a glass of wine or something, and maybe two other people, they just wouldn't even notice it maybe, to me, it's like an obsession.
[Behind The Wheel / Route 66 (Mega-Single Mix) plays]
Andy: The last 17 years in the group has been uphill all the way, it's been absolutely...
Dave: No, that sounds bad.
Andy: Downhill! Downhill all the way!
Dave: Do you know what, it's been 17 years, but it moved so fast that what was nearly destroying us was what we had created, because there wasn't a chance there to kind of sit back and look at what it was, and appreciate it.
Anton: That happens very often.
Dave: I think that happens with a lot of people. You just kind of like, engulf yourself with all this stuff, and you gotta have time in the day to actually sit and appreciate it, so I think what we're doing now is really healthy for us as people.
Andy: And I think as well, is if you look back I think, at the moment, we seem to get a lot of accolades from various sources, and I think we have made our place in the history of rock and roll music, and I think that is a real achievement.
Announcer: I think we have to agree with Fletch on that one, and that sadly brings this Spin Session with Depeche Mode to an end.
Announcer: This special program was produced and directed by Karen Manning. Technical production by Jeff Park. Second unit assistant directors: Brett Abbott, Mike Kelly, and Mike Duly. Stage direction by Donna Moran. Best Boy: Ron Harris. Key grips: Sherry Fayer and Fred MacIntyre. Choreography by Marsha Richardson and Julie Duffy. Casting by Michael Pagnotta at Reach Media Relations.
Announcer: With very special thanks to our guest host extraordinaire, Anton Corbijn. And, of course, to Depeche Mode themselves.
Announcer: Spin Sessions are a presentation of Westwood One Entertainment and Spin Magazine. For more information about Spin Sessions and for exclusive original features, interviews, and music news, check out Spin Online on America Online, keyword "SPIN". Spin Online, the other reason to be on AOL.
Announcer: That's it for this Depeche Mode Spin Session from Westwood One Entertainment.
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