They joked about his redundancy, but Andy Fletcher was the mortar that held Depeche Mode together.

Alongside Martin Gore, who had already set high standards in the ’80s and Dave Gahan, who played with fire, was the quiet Andrew Fletcher, who never gave up his calm British life, who held the incompatible artistic spirits of Depeche Mode on Earth.

Sometimes I feel like I’m suddenly waking up from this dream, doing my old job, and going to a small place in Canning Town with a synthesizer in my suitcase. So it’s like it’s really a dream that goes away very, very soon

He said Andy Fletcher, the founding member of Depeche Mode, who passed away on Thursday in 2001, when the band had been on the track for twenty years, was all a success and a hell of a lot – and this is a good illustration of the sincere, never-before-seen surprise Fletch’s success. he contemplated. In fact, it is understandable: they came from very, very far away.

“Basildon is a place where one goes to a pub because there is no other entertainment,” he said in an interview Martin Gore, the songwriter of Depeche Mode, about a town about 30 miles from London that is now one of the key venues in the history of pop music. He met each other here Vince Clarke – who is still there Vince Martin called – and Andrew John Fletcher, who had in common that their parents had moved to the small town in hopes of cheap housing and also shared their passion for football. This really tied Fletcher to his later bandmate, Vince Clarke, and shared faith. They attended the local Methodist church and not only warmed up: as children, they were truly believers, attending Christian rock concerts from adolescence, even preaching, and learning to sing and play musical instruments in the church. At the age of sixteen, Vince and Andy formed their first band, No Romance in China, which was heavily haired on Cure and existed until the end of a single concert, Clarke sang and played guitar, Andrew Fletcher played bass, and they even had a guitarist and a drummer.

Michael Putland/Getty Images Andrew Fletcher, Dave Gahan, Martin Gore and Vince Clarke, i.e. Depeche Mode on the TV show Top The Pops in 1981.

“He was very persistent and enthusiastic – willing to listen and learn. In fact, this is how Depeche Mode began: just me and Fletch, ”Vince Clarke said of Fletcher and the beginnings, anticipating Andy’s antipopship, which remained later, and even intensified with the arrival of Gore and Gahan. After the only concert, No Romance in China became a Composition of Sound, reduced to a duo, complete with a drum machine and a little later a Martin Gore synthesizer, who was included in the band largely because of the instrument. At the time, all three members of the band were leaning in moderately paid average jobs – Andrew Fletcher, for example, ran South London as an insurance agent, losing his short-lived university ambitions. They only gave their third concert – by the way, in front of a bunch of nine-year-olds at a youth club in Basildon – when the band’s fate took a new direction: for the first time, they jammed together for the first time. Dave Gahannelaki David Bowie Heroeshe sang, and Vince Clarke liked it so much that Gahan was included in the band. Depeche Mode was born.

How quickly the band broke into how high it is unnecessary to analyze here – the story is known, and we recently wrote about it on Dave Gahan’s sixtieth birthday.

Fin Costello / Redferns / Getty Images Martin Gore, Dave Gahan and Andrew Fletcher Basildonban.

Depeche Mode broke up, fast and high, and Andy Fletcher, though not particularly ambitious, soon found himself in the role of a pop star. Fletch and Gore clung to their civic work in London for a while, they had to, because financially they weren’t far enough secure, they joined the recordings of the first album in the evenings, when their working hours expired, Fletcher’s job was to play the bass themes on a synthesizer. The froclises depicting Fletcher’s modest musical abilities had already appeared and survived throughout the band’s existence – of which he himself took part:

Martin is the songwriter, Alan is the good musician, Dave is the singer and I just shoot around

He said of the band 101 in the documentary classic. At the same time, Fletch’s importance was never really questioned. Not musically either – there was always something to do if, somewhat deliberately, it was never very close to the nose of the fans what it was – not even humanly. Especially since it was slowly becoming clear who he was the one who was most likely to negotiate with the band, who was most inclined to deal with the band as a machine. By the time Depeche Mode reached stadium-filling world star status, Andrew Fletcher was slowly but surely starting to play his part in managing the band. On one occasion, Dave Gahan summed up Fletch’s role as follows: “Maybe we should set him up for a fax machine on stage.” Probably a factor in this, it was the case that Depeche Mode survived, not just Vince Clarke.

And one more thing: Andrew Fletcher was the connecting link and the stop surface between the charismatic members of Depeche Mode. Between the abstract, artistic songwriter Martin Gore and the phallocratic, exhibitionist frontman Gahan, he was “the quiet,” the calm, two-footed man on the ground who wasn’t really intoxicated by the magnitude of stardom or the various intoxicants. In the most difficult years of the band – a Devotional at the time of the tour, when the band had conquered all the peaks, they were in a terrible state of humor at the same time, they didn’t even talk to each other outside the stage – Fletch was not infrequently a kind of interpreter between Martin and the others.

Paul Natkin / WireImage / Getty Images Andrew Fletcher, Dave Gahan, Martin Gore is Alan Wilder 1987-ben.

Of course, the svung of world fame did not leave him untouched. Every two to three days, he couldn’t stand the pace of performing in a different city, in a different country, or on a different continent, and that his complexes were getting stronger because of his musical abilities. When Dave Gahan was just tapping his neck in his heroin addiction, and Martin was fighting the loss of alcohol, Fletcher wasn’t mentally well, his depression was so overwhelmed that he had a nervous breakdown, and he had to miss a few gigs, moreover, Martin Gore get Fletcher to retreat. What actually happened: he didn’t officially leave the band, but it took a long time. Devotional/Exotic did not participate in the American leg of the tour.

Fletcher’s absence, as is well known, survived the band, and Alan Wilder However, in the re-emerging band after Dave Gahan’s departure in 1995, followed by a drug overdose, hairy death, and rehabilitation, all three members appeared as a kind of improved version of themselves. Fletch, too: making peace with his demons, he undertook to be a kind, clever Depeche Mode member who diplomatically answers journalists ’questions alongside the two mysterious image rock stars. And although the dreamy English town life is fashionable to scold, Fletcher was so very disturbed, as he had already lived a retired, quiet country life with his teenage love in his homeland as a world-famous pop star, while two other members of Depeche Mode found it across America after some world travel. home.

In Andy Fletcher’s soul, since the band’s renaissance, a sense of inferiority that has slowly but surely replaced his life has been replaced by elegant, fair self-confidence. This is best illustrated by a 2013 interview in which, when asked who he is, he answers:

The tall guy in the background without whom an international company called Depeche Mode would never work. There’s this big misconception that real men play real instruments from night to night in guitar bands, while in a synth band like Depeche Mode, no one works because they go from every machine. But this is stupid. Aside from the singer, the audience doesn’t really know which musician has a role within the band. Bands like Kratftwerk or Depeche Mode actually work as a work community. The contribution of each member shall remain invisible. And since I’m not pushing myself into the foreground, a lot of people think I’m only on the fifth wheel. Sometimes it’s frustrating that they don’t take it seriously. After all, we could also say that my work is the most important, without me there would be no band.

With his early death, the band’s fans are now experiencing double the pain: the grief over losing Fletch, and the fear that his death could mean the end of Depeche Mode.

Sylvain Lefevre / Getty Images Andrew Fletcher at the Depeche Mode concert in Arras, France in 2018.