How many times do I get asked that? Last Thursday, for example, my firm hosted a quiz for clients. I was the quizmaster and wrote all the questions. One of the answers was Just Can't Get Enough (not one for the DM purists I know) and I mentioned the band both during the quiz and in the e-mail I sent the next day thanking everyone for coming, said e-mail referencing the fact that Depeche had been mentioned more times than was probably reasonable during what was an event promoting my firm.
One thing that surprised me that night was that many people said "Are they still going?" This was a bunch of people who, it must be said, had performed very well during my Synthpop Intros Round, all professing a knowledge of early 80's synthpop, including Just Can't Get Enough, yet none of the knew that Depeche were still going. Once I explained that they were, and I did so in the briefest way I could, every single one of them said, "Why Depeche Mode?" with a couple saying "Surely they were finished by the time you discovered music?"
Ok, that's a compliment as I'm 42 years old, but that aside, those reactions were odd.
So why Depeche Mode? What makes them stand out among all other bands? What continues to draw me to them after all these years? I adore many, many bands - R.E.M., The Pixies, The Smiths, Kraftwerk, New Order, Joy Division, Nine Inch Nails to name a few older ones, The Insomniac Project, Priest, HQFU, Machines In Heaven, Everything Everything, Nailbiter, Beliefs, to name a few newer, many of whom I've found thanks to this blog.
But, above them all, there will always be Depeche Mode. Yes, the most recent years haven't matched the highs of, say, 1986 to 1993 in terms of experimentalism as pop music, but my love for them has never wavered. Sounds Of The Universe tested it certainly, but I took that as an album being a vehicle for a tour and saw numerous shows and met numerous wonderful people, a feat repeated in 2013/14 with the wonderful Delta Machine and the even bigger number of shows I saw, catching up with old friends and making even more new ones.
I'm not, or at least I don't think I am, one of those fans who obsess over every Depeche detail there is. You might chuckle at that, given the nonsense I've written over 4 years of this blog, but I do like to see myself as one of the more rational Depeche Mode fans. Ok, there's a huge record collection that mocks that claim, but, among the DM tribe, I'm fairly normal. My 3 shows in 5 days on the Delta Machine tour is seen my non Mode pals as the actions of a man on the brink of a breakdown. To my Depeche friends, it's seen as a less than impressive attempt at keeping up with them.
I just paused to ask myself why I'm even writing this at 00:45 am on Sunday 9 October. Well, the reason is this: I've just come home from a night out with friends where I told them about unconfirmed Depeche Mode tour dates on what may, or may not, be the 2017 tour. (I won't mention what appears to be the name of the tour here as it's not confirmed). I also, with unnecessary excitement, told me wife about it in the taxi on the way to meet our friends. I then came home, did the usual last Facebook check of the night (you ALL do that) and saw what bears to be a new official picture of the band.
And with that, all thought of sleep passed and I started hunting out information. Information that I know will be speculation until Tuesday's press conference, but information I need to have all the same. I've already set aside an hour when I should be actually working for Tuesday's press conference. A press conference by a band? A press conference where they'll no doubt announce an 18 month campaign that we could already predict about 80% of the details. But, and here's the thing, it's a Depeche Mode press conference, where new Depeche Mode information will come to light.
So why Depeche Mode?
Because no other band inspires this sort of nonsense in a man that should know better given his age
Because Enjoy The Silence genuinely changed my life
Because of Stripped
Because of The Sun And The Rainfall
Because of the last minute of Strangelove on 101 where Martin sings "Strangelove" repeatedly
Because of that harsh but glorious metal bashing sound halfway through It's No Good
Because of The Things You Said
Because of the World In My Eyes video, teasing us with World Violation footage
Because of Precious
Because of the dark perfection of Ultra
Because Violator is the single most inspirational album of all time
Because Martin brought But Not Tonight back to such heartbreaking perfection in 2013
Because of so many other things, too numerous to name here
But ultimately because they are Depeche Mode.
And that is why Depeche Mode.