Andy Fletcher obituary & More Trending News

 

Bands couldn’t operate with out a member designated the quiet customary bearer, and in Depeche Mode that was Andy Fletcher, who has died all of a sudden aged 60. Constitutionally modest, he was fortunate inasmuch because the group had two members – singer Dave Gahan and guitarist Martin Gore – who have been comfy with being Depeche Mode’s public face. That allowed Fletcher, universally referred to as Fletch, to get on with being their spine.

He was essential to their make-up, pushing the band to attain, chivvying them to get into the studio or on the highway. Without his tenacity, exercised over 42 years, Depeche Mode would have splintered lengthy earlier than they have been inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2020.

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Fletcher was a keyboardist and passionate proponent of electronics, glorying within the synthesiser’s position in overturning the conference of music being made with guitars and drums. “Obviously, it’s sad to see the demise of the traditional rock group,” he stated drily in 1993. “But there’s always going to be a place for it in cabaret.” But his musicianly pursuits have been rivalled by a head for enterprise. He loved holding tabs on receipts and merchandising, and for Depeche Mode, who grew to become one of many world’s largest touring teams within the Nineties, that was win-win: Fletcher was onstage behind his keyboard each night time, however offstage carried out dusty managerial duties. He estimated that he spent 17 years as player-manager; even after the band acquired heavyweight administration he stored his hand in.

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Andy Fletcher performing during Depeche Mode’s Global Spirit Tour in Washington, DC in 2017.
Andy Fletcher performing throughout Depeche Mode’s Global Spirit Tour in Washington, DC in 2017. Photograph: Owen Sweeney/Invision/AP

His data of the trade was famend. When his loss of life was introduced, the Pet Shop Boys, previous confreres from the hit-making 80s, tweeted: “Fletch was a warm, friendly and funny person who loved electronic music and could also give sensible advice about the music business.” During the Hall of Fame induction, Gahan characterised the early Depeche Mode as “outsider, eyeliner-wearing weirdos from Essex”, however Fletcher was by no means as unconventional as Gahan and Gore. Rather, he considered himself as “the tall guy in the background, without whom this international corporation called Depeche Mode would never work”.

He was the eldest of two sons and two daughters born in Nottingham to Joy and John Fletcher. In the early 60s, his father, an engineer, was provided a job at a cigarette manufacturing facility in Basildon, and so they grew to become one of many first households to settle within the Essex new city. Andy joined the Christian organisation the Boys’ Brigade and remained a member till he was 18, throughout which he grew to become actively non secular. He attended church seven days per week, and with fellow member Vince Clarke, preached within the Brigade espresso bar. That interval, he stated, “shaped my moral beliefs and attitudes”. His church actions additionally sparked an curiosity in music, and it was there that he picked up his first instrument, a guitar. He retained his religion after he left the Brigade; within the 80s, as Depeche Mode charted with taut electropop singles that will affect rap, EDM and steel, he felt responsible about not going to church.

Martin Gore, Dave Gahan and Andy Fletcher attend the Q Awards in 2002.
Martin Gore, Dave Gahan and Andy Fletcher attend the Q Awards in 2002. Photograph: Yui Mok/PA

He took politics at A-level and deliberate to go to college, however as a substitute, he and Clarke fashioned a band with a classmate from Nicholas complete faculty in Laindon, Gore. Joined by Gahan, a good friend from Southend, the brand new group had a ready-made viewers on Southend’s busy social circuit. The band’s musical route was formed by Gore, who had purchased a then-revolutionary synthesiser, whereas their picture, in line with Fletcher, was “post-Blitz kids with frilly shirts”. He obtained a job as a clerk at SolarLife Insurance, and caught with it till he was pretty positive he might make a dwelling from music. By that time, Depeche Mode’s second single, New Life, had reached No 11 within the charts and so they had been on Top of the Pops.

They maintained a substantial chart presence all through the Eighties and 90s, with the music evolving in an ornate and gothic route from the late 80s. Substance abuse, notably on Gahan’s half, marred their gargantuan 90s reveals – the 14-month Devotional tour was described as “the most debauched rock’n’roll tour ever” by Q journal. Fletcher, who had as soon as considered touring as “so much fun”, was now depressed. Moreover, he was used as a mediator by the brooding Gahan and the flamboyant Gore throughout their common inventive disputes.

‘We had one thing’: how Depeche Mode’s Andrew Fletcher noticed the music, the followers and the band – video

Gahan grew to become sober within the late 90s and the group resumed recording and taking part in dwell. Gore and Gahan launched solo careers, however Fletcher, who as soon as stated he had no nice curiosity in writing songs, began his personal document firm, Toast Hawaii. He signed the band Client, which launched a number of albums, however the label was at all times secondary to his Depeche Mode commitments and little was heard of it after Client departed in 2006. His involvement with the group did instil an curiosity in DJing – he discovered the methods at their gigs, and thereafter performed occasional solo units at golf equipment and festivals.

From the mid-90s, Fletcher and his spouse, Gráinne Mullan, ran a restaurant in St John’s Wood, north London. He offered it after a decade, blaming “all the little things that went wrong”. He was recreation sufficient to re-enter the hospitality commerce in 2021, investing within the relaunch of a Hampstead pub, the Duke of Hamilton.

Gráinne, whom he married in 1993, survives him, as do their youngsters, Megan and Joe.

Andrew John Leonard Fletcher, musician, born 8 July 1961; died 26 May 2022

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