July 10, 2024

Andy Fletcher (Depeche Mode) dead, aged 60

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Photo by Depeche Mode

We have had our fair share of bad news in the past few years, also this year started with bad news, but this news will cause a shockwave in the electro pop music scene as Andy Fletcher, founding member of Depeche Mode, died this Thursday, May 26, at the age of 60. Fletcher leaves a wife and two children behind. No further details regarding the cause of death were given.

The news was confirmed on the band’s official profile on social media as you can see below. Our sincere condolences to the family.

Andy Fletcher, full name Andrew John Leonard Fletcher, was born on the 8th of July 1961. Often referred to as as Fletch, he and schoolmate Vince Clarke formed the short-lived band No Romance in China, in which Fletcher played bass guitar. In 1980, Fletcher met Martin Gore at the Van Gogh pub on Paycocke Road in Basildon and with Clarke, the trio, now all on synthesizer, formed another group called Composition of Sound. Clarke served as chief songwriter and also provided lead vocals until singer Dave Gahan was recruited into the band later that year, after which they adopted the name Depeche Mode at Gahan’s suggestion.

Clarke left the group in late 1981, shortly after the release of their debut album “Speak & Spell”.

Their 1982 follow-up album, “A Broken Frame”, was recorded as a trio, with Gore taking over primary songwriting duties. Musician and producer Alan Wilder joined the band in late 1982 and the group continued as a quartet until Wilder’s departure in 1995. From then on, the core trio of Gahan, Gore, and Fletcher remained active, up to the release of their 2017 album “Spirit” and ensuing world tour.

The role of Fletcher in Depeche Mode

Fletcher’s role within Depeche Mode was often a topic of speculation. In early incarnations of the band, he played (electric and later synth) bass but as the band evolved after Vince Clarke’s departure in 1981, Fletcher’s role changed as each of the band members took to the areas that suited them and benefited the band collectively. He was the only member of the band who did not receive a songwriting credit.

Fletcher handled many of the band’s business, legal, and other non-musical interests over the years. In later years, this included acting as the band’s “spokesperson”, with Fletcher often being the one to announce Depeche Mode news (such as record album and tour details).It apparently was also Fletcher who helped settling the dispute between Gahan and Gore following 2001’s “Exciter” album and tour over future songwriting duties within Depeche Mode.

His own label, Toast Hawaii

In 2002, Fletcher launched his own record label, a Mute Records imprint called Toast Hawaii (named after the dish) and signed the band CLIEИT. He coordinated the recording of their eponymous 2003 debut and 2004’s “City”, while also producing “extended remixes” for their subsequent singles “Price of Love”, “Rock and Roll Machine”, “Here and Now”, “In It for the Money”, “Radio” and “Pornography”. CLIEИT left the label in 2006 and no further activity with Toast Hawaii was held or announced.

Initially to support CLIEИT’s live shows, Fletcher began touring as a DJ. Whenever he was on hiatus from Depeche Mode, Fletcher played occasional festivals and club gigs in Europe, Asia, South America and so on. The sets included various exclusive Depeche remixes. In late 2015, Fletcher embarked on a small tour of European clubs.

author avatar
Bernard - Side-Line Staff Chief editor
Bernard Van Isacker is the Chief Editor of Side-Line Magazine. With a career spanning more than two decades, Van Isacker has established himself as a respected figure in the darkwave scene.

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