|Andrew John Fletcher|
1961 - 2022
Andrew Fletcher, photograph by Anton Corbijn
|Birth name||Andrew John Fletcher|
|Origin||, Essex, England|
|Born||8 July 1961|
|Died||26 May 2022 (aged 60)|
, East Sussex, England
|Occupations||Musician • Manager • DJ|
|Labels||• • • • • • Toast Hawaii|
|Formerly of||Depeche Mode|
Composition Of Sound
No Romance In China
Fletcher was born Andrew John Fletcher in Nottingham on 8 July 1961 to parents John, an engineer, and housewife Joy on 8 July 1961. Fletcher’s sisters Karen and Susan were born in 1964 and 1966, followed by his brother Simon in 1976.
At age two, Fletcher and his family were among the first to move to Basildon, where he played football in the local Boys’ Brigade at his father’s suggestion until age eighteen. Enrolled at co-educational secondary school, Fletcher shared the same form class as and fellow Depeche Mode founder Martin Gore. Completing his A-Levels in politics, Fletcher began job training as an insurance clerk at insurance company in 1979, where he continued to work even as Depeche Mode’s chart success began in 1981 with the release of singles "Dreaming Of Me" and "New Life".
By sixteen, Fletcher joined Clarke in forming the band No Romance In China, with Fletcher on bass guitar. “We were into their  Inspired by the musical output of electronic music band (OMD), Fletcher shared Clarke’s interest in becoming an electronic act, working odd jobs to buy .LP,” Fletcher recalled, “Vince used to attempt to sing like .”
While rehearsing at local punk haunt Composition Of Sound at the , with Fletcher and Gore on synthesizers and Clarke serving as chief songwriter and lead vocalist. Early band performances were often held in Gore or Fletcher's families' front rooms for audiences comprised of school friends and siblings' teddy bears, with Fletcher on bass guitar, Clarke on guitar, and Gore on a Yamaha CS5. In a 2001 documentary produced by Gary Crowley and Tony Wood of BBC London, Daniel Miller recalled of this time:, the two musicians crossed paths with classmate and fellow musician Martin Gore. In 1980, the three musicians formed
Because Fletch and Martin were still working, Vince, me and Dave were there. Vince learned really fast about technology and I knew a bit more about it when we started cause I’d been doing it a bit longer. He picked it up really fast and he started to lay down the tracks and I was helping him with the sounds, and then Fletch and Mart would come in with a take-away from their city jobs. Martin would go down and play the machine saying "Oh no, do I have to go in the studio? Oh, alright then." Martin was obviously very musical. You could get him in the studio for five minutes and he would play something that would bring a track alive, even if it wasn’t the lead line. I remember, he had a Chinese take-away in one hand and he was playing the synth with the other hand, just wanting to eat his meal really and not wanting to do anything.
This line-up continued until singer Dave Gahan was recruited into the band as lead vocalist, after which the group adopted the name Depeche Mode at Gahan’s suggestion. The success of "New Life" convinced Fletcher and Gore to prioritize Depeche Mode as their full time occupation, and they promptly resigned from their jobs in the city.
Depeche Mode’s 1982 sophomore album A Broken Frame was recorded as a trio with Gore taking Clarke’s role as chief songwriter. Responding to the band’s advertisement in British weekly music magazine , musician Alan Wilder was recruited initially as a tour keyboardist in January 1982, becoming a full member and primary musical director of the band later that year until his departure in June 1995.
After Wilder’s arrival in 1982, Fletcher’s role in Depeche Mode began to evolve as the band members gravitated to the functions that most naturally suited them and benefitted the band as a collective. Fletcher famously clarified these roles in a scene in 101: “Martin’s the songwriter, Alan’s the good musician, Dave’s the vocalist, and I bum around.” For the duration of his time on tour with Depeche Mode, Fletcher’s musical contributions consisted primarily of supporting synthesized or sounds that were limited in complexity to accommodate his musical ability. Though Fletcher did not contribute audible vocals during live performances post-1981, Fletcher’s vocal stylings can be heard on studio recordings such as 1982’s "The Sun & The Rainfall" and in form on “Interlude #2 (Crucified)”, the musical interlude that bridges the gap between album tracks "Enjoy The Silence" and "Policy Of Truth" on 1990’s Violator.1989 documentary film
As the band's popularity began to soar on the heels of the 1986 album Black Celebration, and as a result to the band having not employed a full-time manager, Fletcher's function as a member of Depeche Mode began to transition away from musical contributions as he took on more business and administrative responsibilities within the group until his death in May 2022.
Fletcher’s other non-musical responsibilities included an unofficial “spokesman” role, with Fletcher often taking the lead in album and tour announcements, online promotions and videos. Fletcher was the only member of Depeche Mode to not receive a songwriting credit.
Despite the generally upbeat atmosphere present during the 1989 recording of Violator, Fletcher was described by Alan Wilder as exhibiting symptoms of depression during the early recording sessions in Milan: "He sort of developed this depression, which the rest of us became aware of gradually during some of that recording period, so we sent him home to get better, to get some help and advice. That kind of helped things in a way, because it meant we didn’t have this distraction of somebody that was somewhere else, having a problem." Fletcher would later return home to manage symptoms of depression during the recording of Songs Of Faith And Devotion in 1992.
Against the advice of Fletcher and Daniel Miller, the second leg of the Devotional tour was undertaken by Depeche Mode in 1994. Promoted as the 1994 Exotic Tour/Summer Tour ‘94 and later described by Q magazine as “The Most Debauched Rock’n’Roll Tour Ever," the tour took a personal toll on Fletcher. Citing mental instability, Fletcher declined to participate in live performances for the remaining thirty-nine scheduled concerts on the tour. "Fletch was finding it very difficult, he was having personal problems," Miller recalled in a 2001 BBC London documentary. "I was extremely worried. When it came to a decision about doing a second American tour I tried to put my foot down and said ‘I don’t think you should do this, you should absolutely not do the second half of this tour.’” In total, Fletcher participated in twenty-one of the sixty concerts performed on the tour's second leg, and was replaced by Daryl Bamonte for the remaining thirty-nine concerts, who had worked with the band in a variety of roles since their founding in 1980.
Following Wilder’s departure in 1995, Depeche Mode continued as a trio, with Gore as primary songwriter, backing and occasional lead vocalist; Gahan serving as lead vocalist and later a secondary songwriter; and Fletcher in a limited keyboardist role.
Among Fletcher’s most notable management achievements was the crafting of a compromise between Gahan and Gore in the wake of a serious songwriting dispute following the 2001 Exciter tour. This agreement saw Gahan and Gore agree to including three Gahan-penned songs on Depeche Mode’s 2005 album Playing the Angel, including Grammy-nominated single "Suffer Well". Gahan would continue to see success as Depeche Mode's secondary songwriter, penning singles such as 2009’s "Hole To Feed", 2013’s "Should Be Higher", and 2017’s "Cover Me".
Prior to Fletcher’s death in 2022, Depeche Mode enjoyed success with fifty-four songs in the, seventeen Top 10 albums in the UK chart, and more than one hundred million records sold worldwide.
Toast Hawaii refers to both an unreleased Fletcher solo album recorded in 1983, and Fletcher's record label started in 2002.
Toast Hawaii is an unreleased solo album recorded by Andrew Fletcher singing cover versions of his favorite songs, accompanied by either Alan Wilder and/or Martin Gore on piano. The album was recorded on a cassette in around 1983, however the band members encountered trouble convincing Daniel Miller to release the album. As of 2022, it is not known whether the original master cassette has been located. From Recoil's website's Shunt Q&A section:
From: Robert Sokolowski
E-mail: [email protected]
Question: Is it true that Fletch has recorded solo material but never released it?
Answer: An album called ' Toast Hawaii' (Fletch'sfrom Hansa Studios cafe) which featured Fletch singing cover versions of his favourite tunes - accompanied by myself [Alan Wilder] and/or Martin on piano - does exist somewhere. It was recorded in Berlin (on a cassette machine) in about 1983 and I took the photo for the album cover - a shot of Fletch. We did however, have problems convincing Dan Miller that it was worth releasing ;-)
While continuing his work within Depeche Mode, Fletcher launched his own record label in 2002. Named after Toast Hawaii was an imprint of parent label which signed English electronic music group . Fletcher coordinated the recording and promotion of their eponymous 2003 as well as 2004’s follow-up while also overseeing the production of extended remixes for their singles “Price of Love”, “Rock and Roll Machine”, “Here and Now”, “In It for the Money”, “Radio”, and “Pornography”.,
No further Toast Hawaii activity was announced following CLIEИT’s departure from the label in 2006.
Initially to support CLIEИT’s live performances, Fletcher promoted a series of festival and club shows as a touringbeginning in 2003, which he would continue over the years in periods of downtime.
Fletcher continued to tour as a DJ as late as October 2015, when he embarked on a limited tour spanning Italy, Poland, Germany, and Ukraine.
Andrew Fletcher enjoyed a private life with his wife Gráinne for nearly thirty years. He is survived by his two children. Fletcher was a fan ofand an avid player.
Andrew Fletcher passed away while at home in the on 26 May 2022, aged 60. In a message posted to the official Depeche Mode website and social media on 27 June 2022, bandmates Dave Gahan and Martin Gore confirmed Fletcher passed away naturally and without prolonged suffering as a result of an .
Fletcher's funeral was held in London on 20 June 2022.
In the days following his passing, bandmates Gahan, Gore, and former Depeche Mode member Alan Wilder expressed their shock and sadness through a variety of social media channels, describing Fletcher as “a dear friend, family member, and bandmate” who “had a true heart of gold and was always there when you needed support, a lively conversation, a good laugh, or a cold pint.” Wilder stated in a Facebook post: “A real bolt from the blue to hear about former Depeche Mode colleague Andy Fletcher yesterday. My thoughts and condolences are with his wife [Gráinne] and all the family at this distressing time. RIP 'Fletch'.”
On 27 June 2022,:
A TRIBUTE TO ANDY
We wanted to take a moment and acknowledge the outpouring of love for Andy that we've seen from all of you over the last few weeks. It's incredible to see all of your photos, to read your words, and to see how much Andy meant to all of you. As you can imagine, it's been a strange, sad, disorienting few weeks for us here, to say the least. But we've seen and felt all of your love and support, and we know that Andy's family has too.
A couple weeks ago we received the result from the medical examiners, which Andy's family asked us to share with you now. Andy suffered an aortic dissection while at home on May 26. So, even though it was far, far too soon, he passed naturally and without prolonged suffering.
We had a celebration of Andy's life in London last week, which was a beautiful ceremony and gathering with a few tears, but filled with the great memories of who Andy was, stories of all of our times together, and some good laughs. Andy was celebrated in a room full of many of his friends and family, our immediate DM family, and so many people who have touched Andy's and our lives throughout the years. All being together was a very special way to remember Andy and see him off.
So thank you for all of the love you've shown Andy and his family and friends over the last few weeks. It honestly means the world to all of us. Andy, you'll be missed, but certainly not forgotten.
Love, Martin & Dave
On founding Depeche Mode
- I was actually at school with Martin and Vince was quite involved in the church, this was from the age of about eleven or twelve. We used to regularly go to church and there was a whole group of young people sort of praising the Lord basically. So I knew Vince from that and Martin from school but we all lived about 300 or 400 yards from each other. We started off as a conventional band. I was playing bass, Vince was playing guitar but Martin did have a synth, which even to this day, I think is a bit weird because he’s actually a really good guitarist and he still isn’t a good keyboard player but then he made me get a synth as well. At the time, punk had sort of ended and new wave had come and gone and there was this new scene, with early Human League, Kraftwerk, Visage and Steve Strange and this new romantic thing and people were really getting into synthesisers. But I think the main reason why it suddenly became popular at that time was because previous to that, to buy a synthesiser it was very, very expensive – the Rick Wakeman style synthesiser. But what happened in about 1980/81 you could buy a monophonic synthesiser for about £150. You didn’t even need an amplifier, cause all you did was stick it into a PA system, so it was really easy. We used to carry them around in suitcases to gigs.
- We started off as a conventional band. I was playing bass, Vince was playing guitar but Martin did have a synth. Vince then got a synth and then he made me get a synth as well.Punk had sort of ended, and there was this new scene, with early Human League, Kraftwerk, Visage and this new romantic thing. But previous to that, to buy a synthesizer it was very, very expensive – the Rick Wakeman style synthesizer. But what happened in about 1980 you could buy a monophonic synthesizer for about £150. So I think that was the main reason for the explosion of electronic music at the time. Basically, affordability.
- 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 seven people and ten teddybears. (laughter) And we dressed up in eh [...] 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.
On Depeche Mode
- I don't think we ever considered really that we was gonna last 20 years, 2 years, 3 years. I don't know... When we first started, we were just having fun. It was a gradual thing: we was on Top Of The Pops, a famous pop programme in Britain, and I was still at work at the time, which was a bit bizarre. That's what being on an independent label is about: so I did Top Of The Pops to about half of the population in that country, and I went into my work the next day.
- America had missed punk. Not in New York and LA, but generally, American radio and American youth had missed punk, and didn’t really have the new wave or anything like that. So basically, in the early '80s, they were still listening to Chicago, REO Speedwagon, that sort of progressive yuk. What happened is the kids started desperately looking around for something. They started to buy UK imports, of which [Depeche Mode] were one of the bands. Then these college radio stations went on to start playing alternative music, because we were different to what they had been forced to listen to up until then. So all this started in 1985 and we were one of the main groups caught up in it. Now, bands like Limp Bizkit cite us as their influences. Although we don’t sound anything like them, when they were growing up we were one of the only alternative bands around.
- We mixed [Construction Time Again] in Berlin and this was the start of Depeche Mode branching out of Britain. We’d grown up in Essex, hardly an of us had ever been out of Essex or London for a long time, so going to all these new places was so interesting for us, especially Berlin in those days. The studio overlooked the wall, guards with binoculars watching us, we were playing the music on this big patio and it was a really good feeling... you were on the edge. All these weird people. People talked about Martin’s clothes and how we were dressed in those days, living and recording in Berlin did have a big impression because there were so many weird and interesting people there.
- This was the first time during this period where sampling machines had come right down in price, again. Before that, you only had the Synclavier, very expensive. But then, all of a sudden, you had Emulators and things that were very affordable. So, for us, it opened up a whole new avenue for sounds. And we used to literally go down Brick Lane, and just hit everything in sight, and just make all these great sounds. We did "Pipeline" in a railway arch. If you listen to that track now, you can hear all the trains going past, and things like that, it's really good.
- We had Some Great Reward out before and it was quite a commercial album and it did quite commercially well. With us, you’d expect us to follow it... but we followed it with a darker album. When people ask how have you kept your fans – ’cause constantly over the years we’ve completely surprised them, the reason they rush and buy a record is because they’re always thinking "What are they going to do next?" Which is a good thing. So, it is particularly one of my favourite albums, I think it has got one of the best collections of songs that Martin has ever written on there. The diversity of all the different styles, I think it is a really good album.
- We had these great songs, but the single we wanted to release was "Personal Jesus". What we always try and do is think, "What is the best track?" We were thinking, "Why are we releasing this track?" and "It’s going to be a disaster. We’re going to get in lots of trouble." We put it out six months before the album, and it was still in the American charts when we released the next single. It’s the biggest selling 12-inch in Warner Brothers history. That’s more than Madonna or anyone like that. It’s a phenomenal thing. Then we’ve got "Enjoy The Silence", as well. That's one of the most magical moments I’ve ever had in Depeche Mode. When we were in Denmark and we had this ballad called “Enjoy The Silence”, and we just decided to speed it up, and then Martin put this riff in and within an hour, we knew we had a massive hit record. We asked Martin to give us demos in their most basic form, and “Enjoy The Silence” was very basic, and it occurred to me that it could work brilliantly as an uptempo dance track. The others were a bit dubious, but after a little persuasion they said "Why don’t you and Flood put something together that you think will be appropriate for this track, and we’ll go away and then come back and play it to us when you’re ready." That’s what we did with several tracks on that album.
- During [the recording of] Violator, [Dave Gahan] was absolutely fine, he had his short hair. Then we didn’t see him after the [World Violation] tour for about a year or so. When he came to Spain at the beginning of recording Songs Of Faith And Devotion, he had long hair, saying we should become a grunge band, and disappearing into his bedroom for about four days at a time. So it was a real change.
On Alan Wilder
- We put an advert in Melody Maker: "Electronic group needs new keyboard player." [Daniel Miller] sort of vetted them, and the funniest thing: they had to be under 21 [...] Well, Daniel met the people first, then we had an audition at Blackwing. It was down to about five people, heaven knows the ones Daniel booted out. The funny thing is, [Alan Wilder] lied about his age. He was over 21, but he was easily the best. There were some real Depeche Mode fans there but Alan is a really great classically-trained musician, and we went, "What you have to do, you play this little one... ‘de de de,’ but the hardest thing, you have to sing this as well." We were going "What, that’s amazing! In two seconds he’s done that!" It was really funny. We put him on about £50 a week, plus expenses. He came to New York – I remember, it was so funny. He had a little jacket on and a woolly scarf and I think New York was minus forty degrees.
- We just had a meeting – Martin, me and Alan, and [Alan] just announced [that he was leaving]. I personally think he felt that there wasn’t going to be another Depeche Mode album, and he thought he’d get his bit in first, and of course considering the state [Dave Gahan] was in at the time, at any point we could have got a phone call saying he was dead.
On Vince Clarke
- I’ve known Vince since the age of 5. He’s been one of my best friends and again it was like "I’m leaving the band" – OK then, fair enough. It wasn’t a big thing. Then Vince said "I’m going to leave, but I’m going to do the tour." It was very amenable. "I’m going to continue to write songs for you." It was all very nice. We should have been really worried. But we weren’t.
- [Vince Clarke] didn't like what the band was becoming, he thought the band was becoming a kind of poppy teen band, and they don't care about what the music was or what the music was like, they just wanted to touch you and kiss you, and get your tie or mess with your hair or something. After a concert, they wouldn't come up and say, "Oh the concert, the music, was excellent, you really played well." We could have played a concert and have just made a noise and could have done that was well and they would have said we sounded perfectly [...] We knew he was gonna leave before he said he was gonna leave. We hadn't had any songs planned, so when we left, we wasn't too bothered.
- We played in Germany. We had this synth called the PPG. It was notoriously designed not to go on the road but we used to take it on the road. We had this most disastrous gig in probably of our career when all the synths just went, completely. Unfortunately, it was the gig that - we found out afterwards - Kraftwerk had been there, watching us. Do you know how embarrassing? The godfathers seeing us. They must have thought, 'We got no competition here'.
- Berlin was particularly interesting as we played the Waldbuhne Stadium, which is an open air venue built by Adolf Hitler before the second world war. It was where he held his propaganda rallies. The feeling backstage was weird, we felt we could actually feel the vibes from forty years ago.
- When we saw the posters [in Germany], on all the German posters, there was a thing saying "New Romantics on tour", and it was very annoying, because in England we spent a year and a half trying to tell everyone that we weren't anything like New Romantic, there's no such thing like New Romantic or anything. We spent a year and a half trying to tell everyone, and then suddenly you come over to Germany and there's these big posters going around, "New Romantics on tour". And it's really embarrassing, because English bands, English people, will come over and they will see that on the the posters, and the posters will go on for a long time, and it will reflect back on us. It's really bad, no one ever told us or anything. It was also on tickets in Hamburg, it had "Kings of the New Romantic" on them.
- [Israel and Lebanon have] got different agendas. They like music, but missiles are just more important.
- (Regarding a concert cancellation due to the events of the 2006 Lebanon War) We, the band, didn't want to cancel. But Hezbollah was firing all those rockets and we were to play in front of 50,000 people. So we thought, is this a sensible thing to do? In the end, it was our crew who voted against it. And we couldn't force seventy people to do something they considered dangerous.
- Ah, The East Side Club, 1982. What I remember was that it was the first time Alan toured with us and he has really bright red hair. The club was in the middle of a really old black area and he was walking through and everyone was going "God! It's David Bowie!" Then after the gig, my synth decided to play on its own so we didn't have to do an encore! In Philadelphia, we went off after the set and [the audience] were all shouting for more, and suddenly the [Moog] Source started up on its own going "Eep, urp, oop, oop," and making noises. The crowd thought it was the encore.
- I always tell a similar story [regarding seeing a stage design for the first time of] one of our earlier tours, when we were doing our production rehearsals in Pensacola. When we walked in, all of the lights were on, and our stage set looked like Stonehenge in Spinal Tap. So there's always that fear when we walk in next week into the venue in Stockholm that we'll get the same shock.
- The atmosphere backstage [at the 29 March 1986 concert] was slightly tense, but when we arrived onstage the reception we received easily calmed any nerves we had. The gig went well with only a few hitches, the main one being when I tripped over on stage during the encore, injuring myself and nearly putting the whole tour in jeopardy. People still remind me of this incident much to my embarrassment.
- Compared to the performances in Western Europe, the construction of [the 9 March 1988 show] has to be halved in Eastern Europe, because of the costs. Almost all the lights and sound amps are missing right now. We are using a Hungarian amplifier, which is good enough, but it doesn't have a brilliant sound like ours. The light show here is about one-fifth of the normal show. Our lightshow girl [Jane Spiers] organised it and she did a really good job. But it's actually a big shame, because the audience is also deprived of this. From this point of view, only the organisers are benefiting here. Apparently there were twelve to thirteen thousand people [at the 1988-03-09 concert], or rather 25,000 people in two days, who are bringing in the money, and everyone thinks this money is going to flow to us, right? But this money won't be in our pockets. [The audience last night] was pretty good. One of the reasons we came back was not money, because we are not earning anything here. Last time we were here, the reception felt very good. We wanted to go here again, but we are currently imprisoned at the hotel, and that is not a pleasant feeling. Yesterday, for example, we went outside during the daytime to buy some stuff and we almost got mobbed on the street. Crazy fans ran up to us and this is not great, so it's not all fun.
On music promotion
- Spain is not one of our favourite countries. Last time we went there, we had this horrendous press conference. Spain was one of the countries where our first album, Speak & Spell, was popular, basically because it was a disco album and they love disco, so ever since we've gone downhill. And the first question of this press conference was, "What's it like to be playing music that is so unfashionable?" and after that the whole thing was like trying to stop a fight!
On life in general
- [My father's death] was a huge shock to me; it's really bizarre to perform when you know your father just died. Throughout the show, flashbacks from my father's life were running by. I did not think about canceling the show, especially after we had canceled the show in 2006, but it certainly was strange to go onstage. I could have shattered to pieces. Fortunately, my wife and my mother arranged everything. Paradoxically, [the delay of the tour after Dave Gahan got diagnosed with cancer two days later gave me the opportunity to attend my father's funeral, which was nice. The whole spectacle was all very surreal.
- Dalton, Andrew (26 May 2022). . AP News. Los Angeles. Associated Press.
- "Just Can't Get Enough", Uncut, May 2001. Stephen Dalton
- Parker, Lyndsey (26 May 2022). . yahoo!entertainment
- "Andy Fletcher: The Brigade Boy", No. 1, 18 May 1985
- Andrew Fletcher, Dave Gahan interview - BBC Radio Stroke - 18 February 1982
- "Hanging in the Balance", NME, 26 March 1983. Words: Matt Snow
- A Broken Frame Tour Programme, 1982
- - 1 October 2011, Simon Spence
- "Let Me Take You On A Trip", BBC London, 2001-05-07 BBC London, London, UK
- "Let Me Take You On A Trip", BBC London, 2001-05-07 BBC London, London, UK - Despite this, and Fletch suffering a second bout of depression and being forced to return to England, the album does get completed, and gives them their first UK number 1.
- Source: Q&A ARCHIVES : DEPECHE MODE : DEPECHE MODE MEMBERS - past / present
- depechemode.com - - 27 June 2022
- Andrew Fletcher radio interview, 2002-10-xx Pulse Of Radio, New York, NY, USA
- Andrew Fletcher interview 1982-03-26, M.A.C. issue #1, May 1982
- Depeche Mode Information Service - September 1986 newsletter
- , The Guardian, 19 March 2009, Peter Robinson
- - Haaretz - 21 January 2009
- "Seriously Cool Scrapbook", Star Hits, 1986
- Andrew Fletcher interview, One Two Testing, November 1982 issue
- - 3 May 2017 - wfpk.org - Kyle Meredith
- Depeche Mode Information Service Newsletter - September 1986
- Andrew Fletcher interview - Képes 7 magazine - 1988-04-09
- Andrew Fletcher interview, Yedioth Ahronoth 2013