Depeche Mode’s Dave Gahan: “Bowie’s music transformed something for me and gave me the ability to believe”

Depeche Mode appeared on BBC Radio 2’s Piano Room, where they performed three songs accompanied by the BBC Concert Orchestra, and spoke to presenter Gary Davies.

Performing at BBC’s Maida Vale studios for the first time, the duo – Dave Gahan and Martin Gore – shared versions of ‘Walking In My Shoes’, ‘Ghosts Again’ and a reworking of Gordon Lightfoot’s ‘Sundown’.

During the show, Davies played some listener questions, one of which was: “I’m really interested to know if you have your own idol, musically or otherwise?”


Gahan replied: “Yeah, I mean straight away, even when you’re saying that sentence, it’s always been and always will be Bowie. I got to know him a little bit as well in the last few years of his life just because our daughters’ went to the same school in New York. So I would see him sometimes and we’d have a little nod to each other, as dads at school with daughters.

“But his music transformed something for me and gave me the ability to believe that I could imagine something else and create something else and find some kind of way to navigate my way through life and through music and his music always does that for me.”

In 2017, Gahan opened up about the influence of David Bowie – revealing that he ‘broke down in tears’ when he first heard news of his death.

In an interview with Rolling Stone, Gahan spoke of how he “grew up adoring and living vicariously through” Bowie, before getting to know him when their daughters attended the same school. When he heard of Bowie’s death, he felt like he lost a “personal connection” – describing it as “a huge loss.”

Later that same year, the duo shared a studio recorded cover of Bowie‘s classic ‘Heroes’ to mark the song’s 40th anniversary.


“’Heroes’ is the most special song to me at the moment,” Gahan told NME. “Bowie is the one artist who I’ve stuck with since I was in my early teens. His albums are always my go-to on tour and covering ‘Heroes’ is paying homage to Bowie.”

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The Piano Room interview aired on the radio during the band’s huge North American arena tour behind comeback album ‘Memento Mori’. Depeche Mode are also scheduled to tour in Europe, the UK and Ireland later this year. Find any remaining tickets for the UK dates here.

From then, the duo will head out on a second leg of North American shows between late September and mid-December, 2023 (buy tickets here).

In a four-star-review of ‘Memento Mori’ – Depeche Mode’s 15th studio effort, which follows 2017’s ‘Spirit’ – NME said the record is “comfortably their best album this side of the millennium, and, most importantly, a testament to creativity and friendship. The music world is richer for it.”

Speaking to NME about the album and the band’s ethos, Gahan said: “It’s a ‘get up and do it yourself’ spirit. Do it your way and don’t be told how to. Eventually it will work out for you.”

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