It’s always tragic when people suffer or die. However, it hurts a lot when those artists we grew up with and who are, therefore, deep in our hearts leave us forever. It’s also the case today when it became known that the founding member of the British band Depeche Mode passed away, Andy Fletcher.
HIS LIFE & ROLE
Andrew John Leonard Fletcher, better known as Andy Fletcher or just Fletch, always loved music and fun. As a teenager, he played bass, which was trendy at the time, in a punk bank he founded with his school friend Vince Clark. His fate was sealed in 1980 when he met Martin Gore and Dave Gahan. Together they founded Depeche Mode.
What followed is a story for a Hollywood film. Depeche Mode became one of the most influential bands of the 80s and early 90s. With hits like Stripped, A Question of Time, Enjoy the Silence, or Never Let Me Down Again, they conquered the charts and hearts of the fans.
Andy Fletcher’s role was often not so clear. It was evident that he didn’t have the musical skills of his bandmates. In D.A. Pennebaker’s movie 101, a film documentary about Depeche Mode, Andy Fletcher gave the following statement:
Martin’s the songwriter, Alan’s the good musician, Dave’s the vocalist, and I bum around.
It wasn’t quite like that. In fact, everyone at Depeche Mode had a role that further benefitted the band’s development. So, Andy Fletcher used the knowledge he had acquired during an apprenticeship at an insurance company at a young age to take care of the organizational and administrative matters. It often included public relations too.
So, Andy Fletcher used the knowledge he had acquired during an apprenticeship at an insurance company at a young age to take care of the organizational and administrative matters. It often included public relations too.
In addition, a human component played an even greater role. Because especially in the difficult times, Fletch gave the band cohesion. It was particularly important in the mid-90s. At that time, Depeche Mode was on the verge of an end. Gahan struggled with drug problems, and Alan Wilder left the band. Without Andy Fletcher, there probably wouldn’t have been a comeback.
Therefore, fans worldwide can thank Andy Fletcher that Depeche Mode rose like the famous phoenix from the ashes after the down of the 90s. From the end of the 90s, the guys from Basildon filled the largest stadiums in the world on their tours.
These tours were always something special. On the one hand, Depeche Mode combined different arts on stage. From the early 90s, they showed videos from the artist Anton Corbijn on huge background screens.
Furthermore, Depeche Mode proved that they were and still are not just a synth band but a real rock band. What started in 1980 with reviews like One Hit Wonder shaped the international music scene for over 40 years. Therefore, Andy Fletcher and Depeche Mode were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2020.
Many fans now fear that the Depeche Mode Global Spirit Tour could be the last in the band’s history.
How it goes on, time will tell. Dave Gahan recently performed solo on stage. But the fans certainly hope that he and Martin Gore, perhaps also in memory of Andy Fletcher, will present themselves to their fans again.
DEPECHE MODE ON TWITTER TODAY
They were for 40 years friends and onstage. We feel for them, and, of course, for Andy’s family, all relatives and friends. Besides, we, too, have lost a friend who helped us to be able to drive ourselves on the dance floor, get excited at concerts, or relax on the sofa at home for more than 4 decades. Thanks, Andy Fletcher; thanks, Fletch. Rest in Peace. We will miss you.
Text & Photos: Marco Kokkot