Throwback Friday with Depeche Mode

In honor of Throwback Friday April 6 (I know, I know), I have a few things on my mind. I had happened earlier that week to see a recent picture of Depeche Mode’s Martin Gore. You know precious little Martin Gore with his puffball of blond hair, adorable bad British teeth and slightly B&D-ish outfits? (Hey, I’m not condemning a man who can rock a chain mail skirt and feather boa onstage.)

Anyway, it’s bad enough that Martin Gore is old, like myself (I might be able to FORGET that if people I remember from high school as young and adorable didn’t keep showing up looking like creepy old weirdos), but he got his teeth fixed! He has a mouthful of blinding white veneers that make me want to cry! (Do you think crying something like, oh Martin, I loved you back when your teeth were gross, please sing me “Shake the Disease” would do it?)

Anyway. Lo, I am sad. I remember when my friend Ali B Mecom introduced me to Depeche Mode when we were in high school. I think I first heard “People Are People” at her house. It blew my mind. She was way into “Blasphemous Rumours” and insisted on explaining all the lyrics to me.

So, all this led me to watching some Depeche videos on YouTube, then a whole Depeche documentary that was quite good, then some more videos. I hadn’t been into their videos back in the day because I didn’t think the band members were cute. Now, I have realized that those boys made some fucked-up videos. There is imagery in some of them … well, clearly my 14-year-old self blocked it all out.  Our parents definitely blocked it all out, or else there would have been some conversations in my house about the lyrics of “Master and Servant.”

Anyway, somewhere down the YouTube rabbit hole of ‘80s videos, I came across another rock-doc, this one about Genesis from 1967 to 1977. Now, those of you who thought Peter Gabriel sprang fully formed out of some lesser god’s forehead in 1986 and wrote “Sledgehammer” need to get educated.  Peter Gabriel had an illustrious solo career from the late ‘70s until—well, basically, now. But before he went solo, PG was the lead singer of a little band you might have heard of called Genesis.

Watch the docu to learn more. There is some really, really interesting stuff in it about the transition from PG to Phil Collins as Genesis’s lead singer. But it still didn’t answer satisfactorily the question of why PG left. I never have read why.

Oh, back to Peter’s 1986 album (called So, by the way): Did you all know that Phil Collins plays drums on a number of tracks on that album—most memorably on the song “Red Rain,” which also features the inimitable Stewart Copeland on hi-hat and an extraordinary lead vocal by Pete—and actually has done so on albums both before and since? Pete and Phil have remained friends—maybe not big buddies, but they share a lot of musical history and talent.

Thus endeth my little musical trip down memory lane. Eighties music still can bring back a lot of fun memories. After all, I was still in college when 1990 rolled around, and many—if not most—people I knew then would have happily sat down and listened with me and Alice to Depeche Mode. I think most of us would still happily do that right now, today.