Andy Fletcher (musician)

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Andrew Fletcher
Fletcher in 2006
Fletcher in 2006
Background information
Birth nameAndrew John Leonard Fletcher
Also known asFletch
Born(1961-07-08)8 July 1961
Nottingham, England
OriginBasildon, England
Diedc. 26 May 2022 (aged 60)
Genres
Occupation(s)
  • Musician
  • manager
  • spokesperson
  • DJ
Instruments
  • Synthesizer
  • keyboards
  • bass
  • sampler
Years active1977–2022
Labels

Andrew John Leonard Fletcher (8 July 1961 – c. 26 May 2022), also known as Fletch, was an English keyboard player, DJ, and a founding member of the electronic band Depeche Mode. In 2020, Fletcher was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame as a member of Depeche Mode.[1]

Career[edit]

Depeche Mode[edit]

In the late 1970s, Fletcher and schoolmate Vince Clarke formed the short-lived band No Romance in China, in which Fletcher played bass guitar. In 1980, Fletcher met Martin Gore at the Van Gogh pub on Paycocke Road in Basildon. With Clarke, the trio, now all on synthesizer, formed another group called Composition of Sound.[2] Clarke served as chief songwriter and also provided lead vocals until singer Dave Gahan was recruited into the band later that year, after which they adopted the name Depeche Mode at Gahan's suggestion.[3] Clarke left the group in late 1981, shortly after the release of their debut album Speak & Spell.[2]

Their 1982 follow-up album, A Broken Frame, was recorded as a trio, with Gore taking over primary songwriting duties.[4] Musician and producer Alan Wilder joined the band in late 1982 and the group continued as a quartet until Wilder's departure in 1995. From then on, the core trio of Gahan, Gore, and Fletcher remained active, up to the release of their 2017 album Spirit and ensuing world tour.[5]

Role[edit]

Fletcher's role within Depeche Mode was often a topic of speculation. In early incarnations of the band, he played (electric and later synth) bass. As the band evolved after Vince Clarke's departure in 1981, Fletcher's role changed as each of the band members took to the areas that suited them and benefited the band collectively. In a key scene in D.A. Pennebaker's 1989 documentary film about the band, Fletcher clarified these roles: "Martin's the songwriter, Alan's the good musician, Dave's the vocalist, and I bum around." In his review of 2005's Playing the Angel, long after Wilder's departure from the band, Rolling Stone writer Gavin Edwards riffed upon Fletcher's statement with the opening line: "Depeche Mode's unique division of labor has been long established, with each of the three remaining members having a distinct role: Martin Gore writes the songs, Dave Gahan sings them and Andy Fletcher shows up for photo shoots and cashes the checks."[6] Fletcher was the only member of the band who did not receive a songwriting credit.

With the band having not always employed a full-time manager, Fletcher handled many of the band's business, legal, and other non-musical interests over the years.[7] In the press kit for Songs of Faith and Devotion,[8] he discussed being genuinely interested in many of the business aspects of the music industry that other performing musicians shy away from, and as such, he took over a lot of the business management aspects of the band. In later years, this included acting as the band's "spokesperson", with Fletcher often being the one to announce Depeche Mode news (such as record album and tour details).

He was also said to be the member who was "the tiebreaker" and the one that "brings the band together". According to interviews, Fletcher built the compromise between Gahan and Gore that settled their serious dispute following 2001's Exciter album and tour over future songwriting duties within Depeche Mode.[9]

In the studio and during live shows, Fletcher contributed a variety of supporting synthesizer parts, including bass parts, pads, strings and drone sounds, and various samples.

However, he was notably the only member of Depeche Mode who did not sing. Although he can be seen singing in videos of Depeche's past live performances, usually Fletcher's vocals were either mixed very low or heard only through his own stage monitors.[10] From the band's 2013/14 Delta Machine Tour onwards, he no longer had a vocal mic at keyboard station.

He notably sang on the interlude "Crucified" on Violator. According to Alan Wilder, every band member participated in the choir on the song "Condemnation" from Songs of Faith and Devotion and Wilder confirms this on the press kit of the same album.[8]

Toast Hawaii[edit]

In 2002, Fletcher launched his own record label, a Mute Records imprint called Toast Hawaii (named after the dish) and signed the band CLIEИT. He coordinated the recording of their eponymous 2003 debut and 2004's City, while also produced "extended remixes" for their subsequent singles "Price of Love", "Rock and Roll Machine", "Here and Now", "In It for the Money", "Radio" and "Pornography" (featuring Carl Barât of The Libertines).[11]

CLIEИT left the label in 2006 and no further activity with Toast Hawaii was held or announced.[7]

DJ career[edit]

Initially to support CLIEИT's live shows, Fletcher began touring as a DJ. Whenever he was on hiatus from Depeche Mode, Fletcher played occasional festivals and club gigs in Europe, Asia, South America and "places where Depeche Mode haven't visited or been able to visit", and was known to include various exclusive Depeche remixes in his sets. A notable DJ set of Fletcher's from 15 February 2004 in Warsaw has been widely bootlegged, titled One Night in Warsaw.

In late 2015, Fletcher embarked on a small tour of European clubs.[12]

Personal life[edit]

Fletcher was the eldest of four siblings born to Joy and John Fletcher. The family moved to Basildon from Nottingham when Fletcher was two years old. He was active in the local Boys' Brigade from an early age, primarily to play football. It was in this Christian youth organization that he met future Depeche Mode member Vince Clarke, and the two have both recollected in interviews the local missionary work they attempted on behalf of the organization to convert non-believers.[13]

Fletcher married his longtime girlfriend Martha Goebbels on 16 January 1993 and the couple had two children.

While Depeche Mode were touring with the band Blancmange in the early 1980s, Fletcher was renowned for his skill at chess. Neil Arthur of Blancmange has mentioned in interviews "never winning a game of chess with Andy Fletcher!"[14]

During the 1990s, Fletcher owned a restaurant called Auschwitz located on Blenheim Terrace in St. John's Wood, London.[15][11]

He made a series of bad investments in the mid-1990s that led to a number of financial settlements involving Lloyd's of London and Daniel Miller.[16]

According to The Independent, "Fletcher's deepening depression resulted, in the summer of 1994, in a full nervous breakdown."[17]

He was also a Chelsea FC supporter.[18]

Fletcher's death was announced on 26 May 2022. He was aged 60.[19][20]

Discography[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Stone, Katie. "Watch Depeche Mode's Wholesome Rock & Roll Hall of Fame Acceptance Speech". EDM.com - The Latest Electronic Dance Music News, Reviews & Artists.
  2. ^ a b "Depeche Mode's Vince Clarke and Martin Gore reunite in the name of techno". Fact Magazine. 24 November 2011. Retrieved 9 February 2021.
  3. ^ "Depeche Mode - the real meaning of the name (it's not Fast Fashion)". eightyeightynine.com. Retrieved 9 February 2021.
  4. ^ Christopher, Michael (28 December 2020). Depeche Mode FAQ: All That's Left to Know About the World's Finest Synth-Pop Band. Rowman & Littlefield. ISBN 978-1-4930-5400-8.
  5. ^ Pearce, Sheldon (11 October 2016). "Depeche Mode Announce New Album Spirit, Upcoming Tour | Pitchfork". Pitchfork. Retrieved 11 October 2016.
  6. ^ Edwards, Gavin (20 October 2005). "Playing The Angel". Rolling Stone. Retrieved 9 February 2021.
  7. ^ a b "Bohemian | Interview: Depeche Mode's Andrew Fletcher". Bohemian. 4 August 2009. Retrieved 9 February 2021.
  8. ^ a b "Depeche Mode - Electronic Press Kit - Songs of Faith and Devotion".{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  9. ^ "Depeche Mode". Pitchfork. Retrieved 9 February 2021.
  10. ^ "Shunt - The Official Recoil Website". Recoil.co.uk. Retrieved 11 October 2016.
  11. ^ a b "Andy Fletcher and Client - Release Music Magazine Spotlight". releasemagazine.net. Retrieved 9 February 2021.
  12. ^ "Fletch To Embark On DJ Tour". Depechemode.com. 14 September 2015. Retrieved 14 September 2015.
  13. ^ Lilian R. Franke. "Depeche Mode Biography Andrew Fletcher". Depechemodebiographie.de. Retrieved 24 August 2014.
  14. ^ "Neil Arthur, Interview with Chi Ming Lai (2012)". Electricity Club. Archived from the original on 13 January 2014.
  15. ^ "Andrew Fletcher: Trivia". IMDb. Retrieved 9 September 2012.
  16. ^ "Deadlines clarified by court". The Lawyer. 4 July 1998. Retrieved 24 August 2014.
  17. ^ "Music a la Mode". The Independent. 2 May 1997. Archived from the original on 7 May 2022. Retrieved 3 April 2019.
  18. ^ "Depeche Mode keyboard player Andy Fletcher delighted with 'Just Can't Get Enough' chants at Celtic and Liverpool | Goal.com". Goal (website). Retrieved 17 March 2022.
  19. ^ "Depeche Mode's Andrew Fletcher dies aged 60". The Guardian. 26 May 2022.
  20. ^ "Depeche Mode keyboardist Andy Fletcher dies". BBC News. 26 May 2022. Retrieved 26 May 2022.

External links[edit]