Stephanie's Design and Technical Musings

On Depeche Mode and Andy Fletcher

I can still remember that drive home like it was yesterday. I was a sophomore in high school, in the early 2000s, and my English teacher had DJ'd the 80s themed dance over the weekend. I'd not really listened to 80s music and I was in that awkward stage of moving on from the girl and boy bands I deemed childish at the time, searching for something more meaningful, more mature.

The 80s music had stuck with me and I asked if he could recommend some music. "Yeah, I'll bring you some stuff to start with." And he brought me some Depeche Mode cassette tapes.

On the drive home one night, I popped Music for the Masses in to my car's cassette player and that was it. It was the end and the beginning.

I was hooked. I bought every album I could. I'd even go on to buy vinyl despite not owning a record player. I just wanted everything Depeche Mode.

When they released a new album and toured in 2005/2006, my dad picked me up from school early, drove us across the state to Seattle for the concert, then drove us back home so I could be in class the next morning.

Then my brother started listening to them and we saw them in 2009 in Seattle.

I missed them tour for Delta Machine. I can't remember why but I was bummed. Then they toured in 2017. My parents had never been to the UK or Europe, except for my dad who was born in Europe, and having finally gone in 2015 and fallen in love, I made a decision to surprise them and my brother with tickets in London. We hadn't taken a family vacation in years.

My brother and I stood down on the floor of the stadium and he held an umbrella over my head while it rained. The walk to the Underground station took 45 minutes and when we finally got to the platform, the Central Line train wasn't coming. I got a call from my ex's mom asking if I was okay and I was confused. This was the night of terrorist attack on London Bridge. That's why the train wasn't running.

We got on a different Underground line, carriage packed to the brim and got off near Trafalgar Square around 2:00 AM. We were the last ones out of the station.

It was a memorable evening to say the least. A surreal dream: absolute joy at seeing my favorite band in another country, oddly scarred by the events that unfolded just a little bit further away in central London. So surreal.

The point I'm trying to get to is, Depeche Mode influenced me deeply. From my graphic design (I had mocked up Depeche Mode artwork for album covers for my initial portfolio to get into a design program), my style, even my music taste. Many of the electronic artists I now listen to, I've stumbled across Depeche Mode remixes they've done. It all felt very full circle.

I am who I am today because of their influence. Without a question, they have always been my favorite band. Ever since that moment in high school. Their musical influence spans multiple areas of my life, some private, some public.

I was telling my dad this past weekend, "I need Depeche Mode to tour again!" Hungry to see them again but wildly unsure when I would because of COVID.

I always sort of wondered what this moment would be like, rather morbidly, telling myself, "They are old, and there will come a time when there won't be another Depeche Mode concert to go to."

While absolutely thankful I got to see the 3 of them live three times...more than my high school self could have ever imagined...I'm gutted. The band was a way to bond with my dad and my brother. Their influence runs deep in my life. They're in my blood. And now it can't help but feel like the Depeche Mode that was...that era has ended.

RIP Fletch.

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