I was frustrated and went for a short walk tonight. I had to get out of the house, felt like I had to move because I’ve been eating too many protein bars and felt dull. Something that I’ve known for awhile made itself known again tonight, with force. I love Depeche Mode, I have since I was in high school and Dave’s voice, touched by God, has seared itself into me. Jerry wasn’t a big DM fan, the only song he knew was Just Can’t Get Enough, an early Vince Clarke pop number. I didn’t know this until after we were married and I won’t say it would have changed things but I’m not saying it wouldn’t but it’s a little late for that. I listened to my DM playlist while I walked, hit shuffle and shuffled myself.
First song up was Halo, the Goldfrapp version from the Sounds of the Universe tour. Something perfect happened; the combination of the music, the red leaves on the trees, the cool almost cold air and my fragile mood all blended. I was alone out there and let myself cry.
When our worlds they fall apart
When the walls come tumbling in
Though we may deserve it
It will be worth it
DM, rather Dave Gahan has an extraordinary effect on me. I understand the power of music to create or even force a mood, to provoke memories, to annoy and to give strength and comfort. That’s what Dave and his voice do for me. I listen to Dave sing and I become strong, I feel good, I feel acceptance, empathy, comfort. I feel energy and strength being poured into me. I feel like I am capable of doing anything, of achieving something worthwhile and being a person of consequence and power. Dave makes me feel like I’m a badass.
It doesn’t matter what era. I love Puppy Dave from the early 80’s, whose voice was still immature but beautiful, a hint of what was to come. Dave from the late 80’s, when DM hit it big and he was at his most gorgeous, after his unfortunate blond period. His voice still had softness at the edge, still open and innocent. Then the dark days, the 90’s and Dave during his heroin period, when he was skinny, sick and had long hair. He looked good with long hair. Ironically he was at his peak and his voice was like beautiful polished stones. Despite his body falling apart he sounded great and even sick and addicted he was still Dave. Dave was still in there, the addiction was terrible and strong but he was stronger. He was Dave Fuckin’ Gahan and no one could deny he lived through those words. After Dave got clean he was older, he was a grown-up but he still had the power and intensity inside, it came out rolling in waves of melody and a deeper sound. His voice was deeper, the puppy softness had long gone and there was some strain in his voice. What looked effortless now took some work. Twenty first century Dave, in his 40’s and now 50’s is amazing. He’s still performing, still can hold the notes and work an audience like nobody else 30 years later. He’s officially middle-aged, he wears suits and looks more like a movie star than a rock star. But he is still Dave and he never lets you forget it. He’s no nostalgia act even though he’s still singing songs Martin wrote over 20 years ago but they still sound fresh. It’s almost like a conversation, memories shared between friends, bittersweet and triumphant, over what was, what happened, what didn’t, and that we managed to live through it, to somehow survive only Lord knows how. Or why. It’s resilience and regret, pulled into a beautiful, delicate and sharp edged ornament.
Dave’s voice sunk into my heart, my ears and emotions a long time ago. I liked DM, like Martin, liked Vince and liked Alan, different as they were they were pure DM. I even like Fletch, I remember when he seemed to be important to the band, I like Christian and Peter, who are still technically hired hands but to most younger fans they are members of DM too. I can see them that way but DM is still Dave, Martin and Fletch far as I’m concerned. The band changed over 30 years, that’s putting it lightly. Dave changed, I changed and from a vantage point I can see that we both survived some hard painful times, our own tragedies, dealt with being parents and along the way we somehow became adults, real functioning adults. That Dave is a rock star and I’m obviously not, that we’re total strangers doesn’t make a difference. Dave understands, empathizes and he doesn’t judge. And I’m healed, at least for awhile. Behold the phases of Dave.
adorable puppy Dave, Vince Clarke era
Rock Star, late 80’s, perfection
Heroin addict, mid 90’s, listen to that voice
Rock God or Oh My Lord, early 2000’s
Soulsavers Dave, this week. Still in awe
Jerry’s favorite DM song as it was back in the day