“And I just can’t get enough. And I just can’t get enough” – Depeche Mode
When I heard Depeche Mode’s Andy Fletcher passed away it reminded me that I went through a Depeche Mode phase in college. Granted, it was a short phase, but for a time in the early 90’s I had their popular “101” double live cd on constant rotation. I wasn’t dressing in all black or wearing eyeliner, or in a constant state of youthful brooding bemoaning “why doesn’t anyone understand me!” No, I was just enjoying the effervescent, melodic, synth-pop melodies of a foursome hailing from the UK.
For others, bands like Depeche Mode and The Cure resonated to their very core during the 80’s and into the early 90’s. I was never much of a Cure fan (I’ve since somewhat begrudgingly come around to their music). I always preferred the music of their dark, synth-pop danceable cousins an hour and half north of where The Cure formed. Unlike The Cure though (whose only constant through the years has been lead singer Robert Smith), three of the four original members of DM have remained together all of these years later – Dave Gahan, Martin Gore, and Andy Fletcher. Only original member Vince Clarke left the group about a year after their debut album, “Speak & Spell” was released in 1981.
If you didn’t enjoy synthesizers, repetitive sounds, dark and/or kinky repetitive lyrics, then you probably didn’t think much of Depeche Mode. Like I mentioned, I was just a casual fan going through a “101” phase. In fact, if you had asked me to name any member of the group, I wouldn’t have been able to give you a correct answer then or even as recent as a few days ago. So when I heard founding member Andy Fletcher passed away at the age of 60 from natural causes, I had to Google: “Which member of Depeche Mode was Andy Fletcher?” When Google returned a picture of the red head during the height of his fame in the 80’s, I said to myself “oh, that one.”
Fletcher (or “Fletch” as he was referred to) was the only member of Depeche Mode that did not sing, but was viewed as the backbone and businessman of the group. He also apparently acted as mediator between the moody Gahan and the more flamboyant Gore. Fletcher even clarified the band’s roles in the two-hour “Depeche Mode 101” film by D.A. Pennebaker that you can watch on Youtube: “Martin’s the songwriter. Alan’s the good musician (Alan left the band in 1995). Dave’s the vocalist, and I bum around.”
Released in March of 1989, the album and film’s title “101” references the band’s 101st and final tour date in 1988 at The Rose Bowl in Pasadena from their “Music For the Masses” tour. The film features a lot of live performance from Depeche Mode combined with video of a group of kids that won a contest to be in a film following the band from city to city on their own bus.
Perhaps “Rolling Stone” writer Rob Sheffield captured Andrew Fletcher the best saying “As Depeche Mode kept getting kinkier and gothier, Fletch kept giving the vibe of an affable accountant who wandered into the industrial sex club by mistake. He always seemed to have the same haircut, the same glasses, the same dry smirk. The closest he came to the others’ theatrical decadence was lip-synching the screams in the “Master and Servant” video.“
“Just like a rainbow
You know you set me free
And I just can’t get enough
And I just can’t get enough”
I’m not posting the “Master and Servant” video, but instead the band’s first single released in the U.S. in 1981. The single peaked at #8 in the UK and made the top 30 dance track hits in the U.S.
The video has to be the most uncomfortable look Fletch every put forth in a music video, because the “affable accountant” looks totally out of place in his leather vest and biker hat. He looks much more in his element wearing a suit and tie later on this video and maybe that’s what made him so right for Depeche Mode.
Here is the video for “Just Can’t Get Enough”…
Thanks for bumming around and R.I.P. Andy Fletcher.