Depeche Mode’s Dave Gahan: ‘Bowie’s music transformed something for me and gave me the ability to believe’ – Music News


Depeche Mode perform three songs for BBC Radio 2’s Piano Room, accompanied by the BBC Concert Orchestra at the BBC’s Maida Vale studios.

Gary: Good morning to you. So good to chat to you again because I think the last time you and I spoke was about forty years ago when we were both babies.

Dave: Well, you look terrific. You haven’t aged.

Gary: Oh, I can’t believe this, but this is the first time you’ve ever performed at Maida Vale.

Dave: Yeah, I mean it was sort of shocking to us, too. To be honest, when I first heard about the idea of doing it, I was all over it. I thought it was a great idea and something we’d never done before. And Martin was a bit more sceptical. He was a little worried, but Peter and Christian and the other two members of the band were into it as well. And when we got to London and showed up, it was just, it was mind-blowing to be honest, how the songs (the three songs that we chose) transformed. And how unique that felt to actually be in a room with all these fantastic musicians and just it all coming together, really, really was quite special. We both walked away from it like Martin told me later on. He was just like, ‘I think that’s one of the best things we’ve ever done.’

Gary: What are your memories of recording it [Walking In My Shoes] back in the day?

Dave: I don’t have many. That’s not a good thing, but I really don’t remember recording that song and it was a particular time when we were all having too much fun outside of work and I guess it caught up with us, but it’s one of those songs that never gets old when you perform it. It always evolves. And over the years, songs do that if they’re good songs. They take on different meanings, depending on what’s going on in your life at that time and in the world around us and it’s one of those really. It’s why we keep it in the set.

Gary: Do you know a few weeks ago we had Bono and The Edge from U2 in the Radio 2 Piano Room and Bono has that song on his ‘sixty songs that saved my life’ playlist. Did you know that?

Dave: I didn’t know that. No, but I do know he is a fan of the song and over the years we crossed paths, many times… Yeah. There’s a connection. We were in a rehearsal room in New York a few years back and playing the song. And we came out the rehearsal room and Bono was standing in the hallway and he was eavesdropping on the song and we had a little chat after about it. He told me that it was one of those songs that he wished he’d written.’

Gary: I must talk to you about The Last Of Us, the TV Show which recently featured Never Let Me Down Again. Were you aware that that song was going into the series?

Dave: All I know, it was years ago, actually, when it was first in development, we were approached by the producer or whatever to be able to use the original version – and we pick and choose quite carefully – and we did. And I think maybe it was just in production a long time. Maybe then the pandemic hit. Or maybe it wasn’t a great time for that to come out, but it was kind of perfect timing and when it happened, I was actually watching the show. I was in bed with my wife. I was falling asleep and the show came on and I was watching it a bit. And then I fell asleep. And then suddenly in my dream, I could hear the beginning of Never Let Me Down and I sat up and like a boxer, hearing the bell, like going to go in and fight or something. And I heard it. And so I watched that scene and I liked it as well because the song represents that particular time in music. It represents trouble, it means trouble was coming. That was the code and I thought, ‘This is perfect for that.’ But, yeah. I mean, we got such a reaction from that song. We kind of went back in the charts or whatever the charts are nowadays. All different countries all over the world.’

Gary: We asked our listeners if they had any questions to ask you.

Who is your idol?

Dave: Yeah, I mean straight away, even when you’re saying that sentence, it’s always been and always will be Bowie. I got to know him a little bit as well in the last few years of his life and our daughters’ went to the same school in New York. So I would see him sometimes you know. We’d have a little nod to each other, as dads at school with daughters. But his music transformed something for me and gave me the ability to believe that I could imagine something else and create something else and find some kind of way to navigate my way through life and through music and his music always does that for me.

Stormzy: Hello. It’s Stormzy here and this is my question for you. Who is on your fantasy festival line-up?

Dave: I know. That’s easy. Bowie. So supporting acts: Kraftwerk. The late, great, Mark Lanegan.

Watch Depeche Mode’s Radio 2 Piano Room performance on BBC iPlayer or listen on BBC Sounds.

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