|Birth name||David Callcott|
|Born||9 May 1962|
Epping, Essex, England
|Member of||Depeche Mode|
Dave Gahan (//; born David Callcott; 9 May 1962) is an English singer-songwriter, best known as the lead singer of the electronic band Depeche Mode since their debut in 1980. Q magazine ranked Gahan No. 73 on its list of the "100 Greatest Singers" and No. 27 on its list of "The 100 Greatest Frontmen". Gahan is known for his "commanding presence on stage" and his "huge, deep baritone voice". In 2020, Gahan was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame as a member of Depeche Mode.
Although his bandmate Martin Gore continues to be the main songwriter for Depeche Mode, Gahan has contributed a number of songs to the albums Playing the Angel (2005), Sounds of the Universe (2009), Delta Machine (2013), and Spirit (2017). Four of these songs were released as singles, including "Suffer Well" in 2005, "Hole to Feed" in 2009, "Should Be Higher" in 2013, and "Cover Me" in 2017.
Gahan's albums as a solo artist are Paper Monsters (released 2003) and Hourglass (2007). He also contributed lyrics and sang lead vocals on the Soulsavers albums The Light the Dead See (2012), Angels & Ghosts (2015), and Imposter (2021).
Childhood and early years
Gahan was born as David Callcott into a working-class family, to parents Len Callcott (a bus driver of Malaysian British ancestry) and his wife Sylvia (a conductress or "clippy" on London buses), Dave was only six months old when his father left the family. Sylvia and Len divorced two years later and his mother moved Dave and sister Sue (born 1960) to Basildon, Essex, after Sylvia met and married her second husband Jack Gahan (an administrator with Shell Oil). The Gahan family continued to grow with the birth of two more half-brothers Peter (born 1966) and Phil (born 1968). Dave and Sue were raised under the impression that their mother's second husband, Jack, was their natural father.
When Gahan was 9 years old, his stepfather died. His father showed up again when he was 10. "I'll never forget that day. When I came home from school, there was this stranger in my mum's house. My mother introduced him to me as my real dad. I remember I said, that was impossible because my father was dead. How was I supposed to know who that man was? From that day on, Len often visited the house, until one year later he disappeared again, forever this time."
While attending Barstable School on Timberlog Close in Basildon, Gahan started playing truant, got into trouble with the police, was suspended from school and ended up in juvenile court three times for offences ranging from joyriding and graffiti to criminal damage and theft. He enjoyed the thrill of stealing cars, driving them around, and setting them alight. Gahan tells of the time: "I was pretty wild. I loved the excitement of nicking a motor, screeching off and being chased by the police. Hiding behind the wall with your heart beating gives you a real kick – 'will they get you?'". In his final year at school, he applied for a job as an apprentice fitter with North Thames Gas. He was told by his probation officer to be honest with the interviewer, and as a result, he admitted his criminal record but claimed he was a "reformed character." As a result, he did not get the job which, he claimed, led to him trashing his probation officer's office. His punishment was spending Saturdays for a number of weeks at an attendance centre in Romford for one year. Gahan recalls: "You had to work. I remember doing boxing, stuff like that. You had to have your hair cut. It was every weekend, so you were deprived of your weekend and it seemed like forever. I was told very clearly that my next thing was detention centre. To be honest, music saved me."
Career in Depeche Mode (1980–present)
In March 1980, Martin Gore, Andy Fletcher and Vince Clarke formed the band Composition of Sound, with Clarke on vocals and guitar, Gore on keyboards and Fletcher on bass. Clarke and Fletcher soon switched to synthesizers. The same year, Gahan joined the band after Clarke heard him perform David Bowie's "Heroes." The band was soon renamed Depeche Mode, a name suggested by Gahan after he had come across a fashion magazine called Dépêche-mode. A new wave/synthpop pioneer of the early 1980s, Depeche Mode have released 14 studio albums, four greatest hits compilations and two remix albums. The band has achieved global sales in excess of 100 million records. Four of the band's singles have reached number one on Billboard's Alternative Songs chart: "Enjoy the Silence" (1990), "Policy of Truth" (1990), "I Feel You" (1993), and "Walking in My Shoes" (1993).
In a 2003 interview, Gahan shared that "During the making of Exciter, sometimes I felt a bit frustrated that there was a lack of experimentation." This led him, in 2004, to tell his bandmates that he wanted to write half of the songs on their next album, and there was "no way" he could be involved in the band without contributing as a songwriter. Eventually, there was a compromise, and three of Gahan's songs appeared on 2005's Playing the Angel: "Suffer Well" (nominated for a Grammy award), "I Want It All" and "Nothing's Impossible." "Suffer Well" was released as a single in 2006, reaching No. 12 in the UK. Gahan also wrote the lyrics to the B-side "Oh Well", although the music was written by Martin Gore. It was their first writing collaboration.
Solo albums and collaborations (2003–present)
In 2003, Gahan released his first solo album, Paper Monsters (which he co-wrote with guitarist and friend Knox Chandler), followed by the Paper Monsters Tour (including a performance at 2003's Glastonbury Festival), singing both his new solo tracks and Depeche Mode fan favourites. The album was a moderate success. The first single "Dirty Sticky Floors" hit the Top 20 in the UK Singles Chart. The album became a Top 10 hit on the European album chart and a Top 40 hit in the UK Albums Chart.
In 2007, Gahan announced he was working on a new album via a video greeting for Depeche Mode's official website recorded at the 2007 MusiCares Charity event on 11 May. The album, entitled Hourglass, was accompanied working by Andrew Phillpott and Christian Eigner. The material was recorded at Gahan's 11th Floor Studios in New York City. According to Gahan, Hourglass is more electronic-sounding than Paper Monsters. The album made the UK Top 50, the French Top 20 and narrowly missed going to No. 1 in Germany. The first single to be pulled from Hourglass was "Kingdom".
In July 2007, Side-Line magazine revealed that Gahan had been working with Thomas Anselmi on a project called Mirror, which was produced by Vincent Jones. Along with Jones, who played with Gahan's touring band and mixed the live DVD Live Monsters, Mirror featured another Gahan collaborator, Knox Chandler (Siouxsie & the Banshees, the Psychedelic Furs), as well as piano by Bowie favourite Mike Garson, and a monologue by Warhol superstar Joe Dallesandro. Gahan sang vocals on the track "Nostalgia". The song was released in October 2008, and the album released via download at the start of 2009. He also appeared in the accompanying video for the song.
Gahan also contributed vocals to a track called "Visitors", after walking in while producer and ex-Clor guitarist Luke Smith was working on the song in his New York studio. The song was released under the artist name of frYars.
Gahan sings and plays harmonica on "Low Guns", the first single from the 2014 album The Morning After by English band SixToes. The single was released on 18 November 2013. The SixToes remix of "Jezebel" was released on the special edition of Sounds of the Universe in 2009. Members of SixToes also collaborated with Soulsavers, on the album The Light the Dead See.
In 2018, a remix of the Goldfrapp single "Ocean" featuring guest vocals from Gahan was released as a digital download on 21 May 2018. Regarding the collaboration, the Goldfrapp issued a statement: "Working with Dave Gahan on the new version of 'Ocean' had been a real honor for us as a band."
In 2021, Gahan contributed a cover of the Metallica song "Nothing Else Matters" to the charity tribute album The Metallica Blacklist and did guest vocals on a single from Jenny Lee Lindberg. On November 12, 2021, Gahan released an album of covers called Imposter with Soulsavers.
Gahan has lived in New York City since 1997. He lives with his third wife, Jennifer Sklias Gahan, their daughter, and Jennifer’s son from a previous relationship, whom Gahan officially adopted in 2010. Gahan also has a biological son named Jack from his first marriage to Joanne Fox. Gahan's marriage to his second wife, Teresa Conroy, a former Depeche Mode publicist, lasted four years.
Gahan is a convert to the Greek Orthodox Church. In a 2008 interview, he had explained his religious faith in the following words: "When it comes to religion, it’s very confusing and always has been for thousands of years and probably will be for thousands of years more. I don’t know what it is I believe in, but I know that I feel a sense of some kind of higher power, for lack of better words."
Gahan is a recovering heroin addict. He has survived four brushes with death, living up to the nickname "The Cat", which paramedics gave him during his roughest years in Los Angeles. In October 1993, Gahan suffered a minor drug-induced heart attack during a performance in New Orleans, leaving his bandmates to improvise an encore without him. In August 1995, he attempted suicide by slashing his wrists; Gahan later said it was a "cry for help", and had "made sure there were people who might find me".
On 28 May 1996, Gahan overdosed on a speedball at the Sunset Marquis Hotel in Los Angeles, which resulted in his heart stopping for two minutes until he was revived by paramedics. He said he had an out-of-body experience: "All I saw and all I felt at first was complete darkness. I've never been in a space that was blacker, and I remember feeling that whatever it was I was doing, it was really wrong. Then the next thing I remember was seeing myself on the floor, on the steps outside my hotel bathroom, and there was a lot of activity going on around me ... In some ways it was very liberating. Then I came to and a cop was handcuffing me. It certainly wasn't a place I'd like to visit again." Several months later, after facing drug charges, Gahan sought help at a rehabilitation center.
On 12 May 2009, shortly before Depeche Mode were due onstage in Athens, Greece, for a concert for their Tour of the Universe, Gahan fell ill in his dressing room. He was rushed to hospital where it was suspected he was suffering from a bout of gastroenteritis. An ultrasound revealed a malignant tumor in his bladder, which was removed. Several shows were postponed and Gahan underwent cancer treatments during the remaining three months of the tour.
Gahan suffered a torn calf muscle while performing in Bilbao, Spain, on 9 July 2009, resulting in two further cancellations. After a two-week break, he and Depeche Mode returned to the tour for their North American leg. While performing in Seattle on 10 August 2009, Gahan strained his vocal cords. Doctors ordered Gahan complete vocal rest, resulting in two more cancelled shows.
with Depeche Mode
- Speak & Spell (1981)
- A Broken Frame (1982)
- Construction Time Again (1983)
- Some Great Reward (1984)
- Black Celebration (1986)
- Music for the Masses (1987)
- Violator (1990)
- Songs of Faith and Devotion (1993)
- Ultra (1997)
- Exciter (2001)
- Playing the Angel (2005)
- Sounds of the Universe (2009)
- Delta Machine (2013)
- Spirit (2017)
- Memento Mori (2023)
- Rolling Stone Encyclopedia of Rock & Roll. Touchstone. 2001. p. 254. ISBN 9780743201209.
- "Rocklist.net...Q Magazine Lists". Rocklistmusic.co.uk. Retrieved 14 May 2012.
- "Q286 Exclusive preview". Q. Archived from the original on 5 May 2012. Retrieved 14 May 2012.
- "Depeche Mode delights the masses during its first of four record-setting evenings at the Hollywood Bowl". Dailynews.com. 13 October 2017. Retrieved 3 April 2019.
- "Depeche Mode's Dave Gahan: why I don't understand my own band". New Statesman. June 2017. Retrieved 3 April 2019.
- "Watch Depeche Mode's Wholesome Rock & Roll Hall of Fame Acceptance Speech".
- "Depeche Mode's Dave Gahan: why I don't understand my own band". New Statesman. June 2017. Archived from the original on 2 July 2021. Retrieved 3 April 2019.
- "Depeche Mode Biography David Gahan". Retrieved 18 November 2016.
- "The Big Uncertainty Of Depeche Mode's Dave Gahan" (1987) Archived 13 February 2005 at the Wayback Machine, tuug.utu.fi. Retrieved 21 June 2010.
- Fansite Archived 14 September 2016 at the Wayback Machine. Retrieved 22 March 2015.
- "Dave Gahan: Madness à la mode". The Independent. 30 May 2003. Retrieved 23 October 2020.
- Spence, Simon (2011). Just Can't Get Enough: The Making of Depeche Mode. Jawbone Press. p. 89. ISBN 978-1-906002-56-5.
- Miller, Jonathan (2004). Stripped: The True Story of Depeche Mode. Omnibus Press. p. 31. ISBN 1-84449-415-2.
- Dalton, Stephen. "Just Can't Get Enough". Uncut (May 2001): 45.
- Shaw, William (April 1993), "In The Mode", Details magazine: 90–95, 168
- Stokes, Paul. "Cash For Questions: Dave Gahan". Q (June 2003). Archived from the original on 24 July 2011. Retrieved 30 October 2011.
- ""New Depeche Mode album number one in 20 countries" Archived 6 June 2011 at the Wayback Machine, EmiMusic.com, 1 May 2009.
- "Depeche Mode Strut Revolutionary 'Spirit' on New Album: Listen". Billboard.
- "Depeche Mode Chart History". Billboard.
- Zonkel, Phillip. "Gahan no longer in such a hurry", Daily News (Los Angeles), 24 August 2003.
- Quan, Denise. "A Sobering Interview with Depeche Mode". CNN. 13 May 2009.
- Playing the Angel - Depeche Mode | Songs, Reviews, Credits | AllMusic, retrieved 10 February 2021
- "Depeche Mode | full Official Chart History | Official Charts Company". www.officialcharts.com. Retrieved 10 February 2021.
- depe.depmode.com, © depe | 15 08 2008 www depmode com | personal site. "Depeche Mode "Suffer Well" 2006". www.depmode.com. Retrieved 10 February 2021.
- "Depeche Mode present birth first song in 4 video postings" Side-Line.com. 24 November 2008.
- "Details of the Universe". Archived from the original on 27 December 2008.
- "'The Damned: Don't You Wish We Were Dead'". KUTV. 28 May 2016. Retrieved 29 July 2019.
- "Dave Gahan featured in a new 'The Damned' documentary". depeche-mode.com. Retrieved 29 July 2019.
- "Dave Gahan of Depeche Mode: 'Regret is a weird word. I don't look back on my life like that'". TheGuardian.com. 21 October 2021.
- Roberts, David (2006). British Hit Singles & Albums (19th ed.). London, UK: Guinness World Records Limited. p. 220. ISBN 1-904994-10-5.
- "David Gahan of Depeche Mode Working on New Solo Album Archived 26 May 2007 at the Wayback Machine" ArtisanNews.com. 24 May 2007.
- "Dave Gahan Set to Release 'Hourglass,' His Second Solo Album in Late October Archived 27 June 2007 at the Wayback Machine" DaveGahan.com. 26 June 2007.
- "Dave Gahan to release second solo album 'Hourglass'" Side-Line.com. 28 June 2007.
- "Depeche Mode frontman announces first new solo single" Side-Line.com. 7 August 2007.
- "More info on upcoming Dave Gahan (Depeche Mode) single" Side-line.com. 16 August 2007.
- "Dave Gahan Live Monsters". Exclaim!, By Prasad Bidaye, 1 May 2004
- "Depeche Mode's Dave Gahan contributes vocals to new Mirror project", Side-Line.com, 17 July 2007.
- ""Depeche Mode's Dave Gahan contribution to Mirror album 'Mirror' out now", Side-Line.com, 3 October 2008.
- "Thomas Anselmi: Mirror". SuicideGirls.com. 9 March 2009. Retrieved 10 March 2009.
- "Depeche Mode singer Dave Gahan invites himself as singer on 'Visitors' from fryars debut 'Dark Young Hearts'", Side-Line.com, 10 November 2008.
- Spokony, Sam (1 March 2012). "Dave Gahan Discusses Soulsavers & New DM". The Quietus. Retrieved 2 March 2012.
- Stovin, Jack (3 October 2013). "SixToes collaborate with Dave Gahan of Depeche Mode". AltSounds. Archived from the original on 4 October 2013. Retrieved 4 October 2013.
- "Null + Void: Where I Wait feat. Dave Gahan". 13 October 2017. Archived from the original on 11 December 2021 – via YouTube.
- "Null + Void to release debut album 'Cryosleep'". dubiks.com. 20 July 2017.
- Yoo, Noah (21 May 2018). "Goldfrapp Share New Song With Depeche Mode's Dave Gahan: Listen". Pitchfork. Archived from the original on 27 May 2018. Retrieved 15 June 2018.
- He, Richard S. (10 September 2021). "Every Metallica Blacklist cover ranked from worst to best". loudersound. Retrieved 24 October 2021.
- "Listen to Warpaint's Jennylee's new Depeche Mode-featuring single, 'Stop Speaking'". NME. 17 December 2021. Retrieved 20 December 2021.
- Barker, Andrew (12 November 2021). "Depeche Mode's Dave Gahan Talks About His First Covers Album, the Aptly-Named 'Imposter'". Variety. Retrieved 13 November 2021.
- Aquilante, Dan: "Q&A: DAVE GAHAN" NYPost.com. 19 April 2009. Retrieved 21 June 2010.
- Old News – The Archives, Depechemodedotcom, 27 March 2010. Retrieved 4 December 2013.
- Sanidopoulos, John. "Dave Gahan of Depeche Mode A Convert to Orthodoxy". Johnsanidopoulos.com. Retrieved 3 April 2019.
- William John Lyons, Emma England. (2015) Reception History and Biblical Studies: Theory and Practice Bloomsbury Publishing, pg. 223
- "Dave Gahan Interview". prefixmag.com/. Retrieved 10 June 2019.
- Cameron, Keith (18 January 1997). "Dead man talking". NME. Archived from the original on 24 July 2011. Retrieved 30 October 2011.
- Dalton, Stephen. "Just Can't Get Enough". Uncut (May 2001). Archived from the original on 24 July 2011. Retrieved 30 October 2011.
- "Depeche Mode's Lead Singer Back Home After Suicide Try : Pop music: Concerned fans are sending cards and letters to Dave Gahan, who is recuperating in West Hollywood". Los Angeles Times. 23 August 1995. Retrieved 8 September 2022.
- "Dave Gahan: Madness à la mode". The Independent. 30 May 2003. Retrieved 3 April 2019.
- "depeche mode dot com". Depechemode.com. Archived from the original on 26 March 2011. Retrieved 19 August 2010.
- "Depeche Mode frontman Dave Gahan opens up about his battle with cancer – NME". NME. 1 May 2013. Retrieved 25 February 2017.
- "Depeche Mode Singer Has Cancer Scare". E! News. Retrieved 25 February 2017.
- Jurgensen, John. "Depeche Mode's Dave Gahan on Rock, Ringtones, and Remission". The Wall Street Journal. Retrieved 25 February 2017.
- "Dave Gahan injured – Depeche Mode Cancel Final 2 Shows in Europe" Side-Line.com. 13 July 2009.
- "Depeche Mode Cancel Gig Due to Another Dave Gahan Illness", Spinner.com, 12 August 2009.
- Yet "Another Depeche Mode Concert Canceled", Side-Line.com, 17 August 2009.
- "Depeche Mode singer honored at L.A. sobriety event". Reuters. 7 May 2011. Retrieved 3 April 2019.
- Wilson, MacKenzie. "MusiCares Salutes Depeche Mode's Dave Gahan for Staying Sober". BBC America. Retrieved 3 April 2019.