By LA Weekly
By Henry Rollins
By Weekly Photographers
By Shea Serrano
By Nate "Igor" Smith
By Dan Weiss
By Erica E. Phillips
By Kai Flanders
"If I want to sing, if I want to perform, if I want to be part of something I enjoy an awful lot, I've got to take very good care of myself. For a long time people told me, 'You're dying,' and it didn't mean anything to me other than start me off and saying, 'Fuck off, get out, I don't need you,' and the more times you do that, after a while there isn't anybody there, and it's a pretty lonely place to be. It feels like it's a long time ago, but at the same time it's very close. Probably because we're about to have another tour and a lot of stuff gets kicked up."
A recent New York engagement featured an energized, prancing, charismatic Gahan ruling the stage just as adroitly as the fucked-up Gahan ever did, so for now he'll keep the kibosh on that fellow. "There I was, 110 pounds, hanging off anybody who would stand next to me. Recently I saw a picture in an issue of Q magazine of me around the time of Devotion's tour, and I was really horrified. I turned to my girlfriend and said, 'Omigod, look at this,' and she looked at it and said, 'Who's that?' Completely different person. But I know that sometimes that person's still inside."
Gahan's about reconstruction, and so is Depeche Mode. Each member has augmented his place within the ranks since Wilder skedaddled. ("We get paid more now," jokes Fletcher.) "It's kind of opened us up," contends Gahan. "By the time we finished recording SOFAD, it got too much like 'These are the roles.' We weren't going to be able to make another record working that way." The Singles' touring incarnation includes an additional keyboard player and live drummer, allowing for not only a fuller sound but a newfound ability to improvise. And the current Anton Corbijndesigned stage is a comparatively restrained affair: Instruments surround a three-screened pagoda, exhibiting video delights such as Gore's face morphing into a naked woman's chest, and the Modes campily strutting along a catwalk, attired as their idols during "Walking in My Shoes."
"I've realized that I can't write songs, nor am I a good singer, but I'm happy in the role I got," proudly exclaims Fletcher, who relishes the band's continued evolution. "I see myself as a backup to these two, and try to hold things together a bit. I think they value my opinion a lot higher now, too!"
Again Gore glares tartly. "You didn't know that a rhyming dictionary existed until the other day, so things could change."
Depeche Mode appears at the Great Western Forum on Friday and Saturday, December 18 and 19, and at the Arrowhead Pond of Anaheim on Sunday and Tuesday, December 20 and 22.