Kev & Vince
- Vince Clarke – vocals, guitar, violin
- Kevin Walker – vocals, drums, guitar
'Kev & Vince' or 'Nathan' as some other people called it, was a band active from 1976 till 1979. This was the first band that Vince Clarke joined, not long after finishing high school. Clarke was attending the Youth Fellowship meetings in Basildon which were led by Kevin Walker. Walker, three years older than Clarke, was the leader of the Youth Fellowship, and used to play gospel songs with the kids there. Prior to forming Kev & Vince, Walker had also formed a Christian band with friend Chris Briggs, who named themselves 'Insight'. Briggs then became the manager for Kev & Vince, and another friend named Billy Slatter helped them with booking gigs.
Kevin and Vince agreed to form a "Simon & Garfunkel kind of duo", and would rehearse at Vince's flat. Kevin would initially write all the songs, combining it with a few covers, but then Vince started to write songs as well. Vince said that the songs were "happy-clappy, kind of like nursery rhymes simplistic stuff, but always melodic." Kevin described one song as being "like an Irish jig with a lot of rhythm guitar", and in which Vince laughingly played the violin. While the songs weren't necessarily Christian, "they had a message". Kevin wrote a song called 'Nathan', "about a loner drifting from place to place who didn't have any aim in life." Chris Briggs suggested them to call themselves 'Nathan', and also refers to them as such in an interview for a 2011 Depeche Mode biography by Simon Spence, but Kevin replies that he "didn't ever feel comfortable with [that name]."
Even though Kevin and Vince had jobs and college to worry about, they played 40-minute sets quite a few times at local colleges, church venues, community halls such as the Basildon Arts Centre and the Brentwood Centre, open-air festivals, as well as at venues in Staffordshire and Birmingham. They also played live on Radio Basildon, where Briggs was a deputy station manager at the Religious Programmes Team. It is said that some reel-to-reel tapes are still in existence.
At one point in 1979, Vince Clarke told Kevin Walker that he was thinking of starting an electronic band, and invited Walker to join the band that would become either Composition Of Sound and/or The Plan, but this was not Walker's favourite kind of musical style so he declined. The two parted on good terms.
Kevin Walker went on to become a preacher and then a carpenter, still living in Basildon. After having written two albums in 1982 and 1984, he released another album in 2013 called 'Biding My Time', with its profit going to the McMillan nurses and Cancer Research UK after losing his wife to this disease.
Once Vince Clarke formed Yazoo together with Alison Moyet in 1982, their first single, named Only You, became their most successful single in their career as a band. Depeche Mode have stated several times since then that Vince Clarke had presented a demo version of this song to them right after he had departed Depeche Mode, and offered them this song as a way to help them out, but they rejected it because they didn't like it. For example, Dave Gahan said in 2005: "The first song that [Yazoo] had out, 'Only You', was a song he tried to give us. And I was like, "I don't think so." And, of course, then it was a huge hit." And Andy Fletcher said in 2008: "Just after [Vince] had left, he came along. We saw him at the Mute offices, and he said, "I've got this song." And he sort of went... sang it, "Do do // do do..." Me and Martin went, "Sounds like something else. I don't really like that. And anyway, it turned out to be 'Only You'." In 1987, Vince Clarke echoed the same statement: "It took over a year for the bad feeling to die down and there was a rivalry between them and Yazoo. I'd offered them 'Only You' and when Yazoo had a hit with it, that didn't help much." But by 2018, Vince Clarke denied this: "No. No that's not true [that I have presented 'Only You' to Depeche Mode]. There was another song that I had written which was never released which I feel I may have played to them, but it wasn't 'Only You'." Regardless of whether or not he presented 'Only You' to Depeche Mode after he had left the band, the fact that Depeche Mode's latest single See You didn't do so well as 'Only You' did not help relieve the awkward tension that existed between the two bands in 1982.
Kevin Walker told Simon Spence for his 2011 Depeche Mode biography, "Just Can't Get Enough", that Vince Clarke might have borrowed this song from Kevin, if not more:
"It was quite apparent to me that when Vince formed Yazoo, some of the tunes we'd written together came out in different forms. They were recognisable to me because I'd written them, especially the song 'Only You'. When he was just starting Yazoo, he invited me round to his new flat in Pitsea – he'd just bought a new computer, a Fairlight, and we were doing a few songs together. I was hoping we would have been able to take up what we used to have but it didn't happen. Anyway, he gave me a first pressing of 'Only You', and when I heard it I said: that sounds like one of my old songs. He just sort of laughed and said: no, it's not. But I recognised it straight away."
Kevin, in turn, used some of Kev & Vince's songs for his solo album There's Hope published on cassette in 1982. He recorded the song 'Only You' under the moniker 'You and Me', claiming that it has "exactly the same kind of chord structure". He also wrote a song on that same album about parting ways with Vince, naming it 'A Song For A Friend'.
- Source: Just Can't Get Enough by Simon Spence, 2011.
- Source: Stripped by Jonathan Miller, 2001.
- 2005-11-03 - Rolling Stone #986 (US) - Q&A: David Gahan
- 2008-05-26 - Mute - Yazoo's In Your Room remaster documentary
- 1987-05-23 - No1 Magazine (UK) - Strange Lives: The Story Of Depeche Mode
- 2018-05-02 - SVT (Sweden) - Hitlåtens historia