Depeche Mode announce first album, tour in 5 years

Depeche Mode will return next year with a new album, Memento Mori, and an accompanying tour of North America and Europe. The announcement comes just months after the death of the group’s co-founder and keyboardist Andy Fletcher in May at the age of 60.

The album is Depeche Mode’s 15th studio release (their first as a duo) and first since 2017’s Spirit.

The British new wave band’s surviving members Martin Gore and Dave Gahan announced their revival at a press conference in Berlin on Tuesday, with Gore saying of the album: “We started work on this project early in the pandemic, and his themes were directly inspired by that period.”

Gore addressed how Fletcher’s death influenced the decision to release new music.

“After Fletch’s death, we made the decision to move on because we’re sure that’s what he would have wanted, and that really gave the project extra meaning,” he said.

“I’m sure his absence from the studio will change what we’ve been doing in some way, and that’s going to happen when we perform on stage, too,” Gahan told the Associated Press. “We have no intention of replacing Fletch on stage. He did his own thing there.”

When asked what Fletcher thought of the album, Gahan jokingly added, “I’m sure he would have had a lot to say. The first thing he would probably have said was, ‘Why are there so many songs about death?’”

Depeche Mode announced Fletch’s death via a tweet, which read in part, “We are shocked and filled with overwhelming sadness at the untimely death of our dear friend, family member and bandmate Andy ‘Fletch’ Fletcher. Fletch had a true heart of gold and was always there when you needed support, a lively conversation, a good laugh or a cold beer.”

According to the 2020 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee’s Instagram post on June 27, Fletcher died of an aortic dissection, a tear in the wall of the body’s main artery that allows blood to flow through it.

“We wanted to take a moment and acknowledge the outpouring of love for Andy that we have seen from all of you over the past few weeks,” the band wrote. “It’s incredible to see all of your photos, to read your words and to see how much Andy meant to you all. As you can imagine, it’s been a weird, sad and confusing few weeks for us here, to say the least. But we have seen and felt all of your love and support and we know Andy’s family has that too.”

Depeche Mode, founded in 1980 by Fletcher, singer Gahan and keyboardists Gore and Vince Clarke in Basildon, England, rose to become one of the most successful rock acts of its time. (Alan Wilder replaced Clarke in 1981.) Of his role in the group, Fletcher said humbly, “Martin is the songwriter, Alan is the good musician, Dave is the singer, and I fuck around.”

Times editors Randall Roberts and Kenan Draughorne contributed to this report. Depeche Mode announce first album, tour in 5 years

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