Q&A: Dave Gahan
From synth-pop to tattoos and long hair – was the Depeche Mode/Soulsavers man always a rock star in pop clothing?
Dave Gahan was once the very picture of cherubic innocence. Back in the early 80s, Depeche Mode were purveyors of bubbly synth-pop, but as the Essex boys’ music got heavier and more industrial, Gahan’s image got rockier and his lifestyle darker.
By the mid-90s he had attempted suicide and overdosed on a speedball at LA’s Sunset Marquis hotel, his heart stopping for two minutes.
Today, living in New York and newly healthy after having a tumour removed from his bladder in 2009, Gahan is both a true survivor and an unlikely influence on a generation of rock bands. The 53-year-old singer has now teamed up with British duo Soulsavers for a brooding new album, Angels & Ghosts, which he discusses in an accent that’s equal parts Basildon and Brooklyn.
How far are you reaching back for inspiration on Angels & Ghosts? The lyrics suggest a degree of residual torment from your black period.
Now you put it like that, it does sound a bit grim! There’s definitely a lot of reflection when I start writing. I’ve been on this mortal coil for 50-plus years, and you start to have quite a lot to draw on.