Depeche Mode could never replace late keyboard player Andy ‘Fletch’ Fletcher.
Dave Gahan and Martin Gore have just announced their new album ‘Memento Mori’ and a 2023 tour, their first without Fletch, who died aged 60 in May, and the pair have insisted their beloved bandmate is irreplaceable.
Dave, 60, said: “We’re not going to replace Fletch; there’s no reason to replace Fletch.
“That would be impossible. There was only one Fletch, that’s for sure.”
Their upcoming LP, which is due out early next year, was already “ready to go” before Andy’s death, and he was excited about it.
The title is Latin for “remember that you [have to] die”, but they want to take it as a reminder to live every day like it’s your last.
Martin, 61, said: “Obviously, everybody will think that all of the songs were quickly written after Andy died.
“But everything was planned and ready to go. Unfortunately, Andy passed away when he was really looking forward to getting started with us. So I like the idea of ‘memento mori’ in a more positive way, in a ‘Live each day and make the most of your time here.’”
Fletch was on Dave’s mind “a lot” when he was singing the songs.
He said: “This is the first time we’re doing something like this without Fletch.
“All the songs were already written before Fletch passed, but when something happens, an event like this in your life, songs change: They take on different forms and have different meanings when you sing them. I think when I was singing some of the vocals, I was reflecting on all kinds of things, but certainly Fletch came up in my mind quite a lot.”
The ‘Enjoy the Silence’ hitmakers are “much closer” following Andy’s death, says Martin, who admits he and Dave always prepared being in the background while Fletch was the voice of the electronic group for years.
Martin told Rolling Stone: “It’s obviously really hard to lose your closest friend.
“Andy was there with me from way before the band and I feel like he was the one in the trenches with me the whole way. So it’s very tough.”
He said: “We’ve come to realise more after his death that he did play a huge role in the band.
“Dave and I are not super-social people, whereas Andy was. If we ever had to do anything, [Fletch] would go in and start just chatting to everyone, and me and Dave could hide out in the corner somewhere. Even though we’ve been together for 40 years, me and Dave have been brought much closer together by Andy passing, because we had to. Whereas before, Andy was, like I say, the glue. He did bring us together; he was the interlinking part.”