David Gahan Biography
Born in Epping on May 9, 1962, to parents Sylvia and Len, Dave was six months old when his father left the family. Sylvia and Len divorced two years later and his mother moved Dave and sister Sue to Basildon, Essex, after Sylvia met and married her second husband Jack Gahan. The Gahan family continued to grow with the birth of two more brothers Peter and Phil. Dave and Sue were raised under the impression that their mother's second husband, Jack, was their natural father.In 1972, when Dave Gahan was ten, his stepfather died. Gahan recalls how he "came home one day and found this bloke (his biological father) at home". Of the incident, he has said: "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. Since then he had no contact with us. By growing older, I thought about him more and more. The only thing my mother would say, was that he moved out to Jersey to open a hotel". "Mum had kept it back from me 'til there was a need to tell me about my birth father, it's a different generation and you can understand I guess she thought she was doing the right thing".
Gahan compensated for the loss of his father by becoming something of a "real wild boy". His crimes as a youth included stealing cars, vandalism, and spray-painting graffiti on walls. As a result he had visited juvenile court three times before he was 14. Within six months of leaving Barstable School in July 1978, Gahan found and lost something in the order of twenty jobs, from selling soft drinks, working in a greengrocers in Basildon Bus Station, working as a cashier in Sainsbury's petrol station in Savacentre, to working on a construction site. Gahan also 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. Eventually, he earned a place at Southend Art College. After three years, he gained the British Display Society Award, which allowed him to get jobs doing displays in shop windows and shopping centres.
In March 1980, Vince Clarke, Martin Gore and Andrew Fletcher formed the band Composition of Sound, with Clarke on vocals/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 by the name of "Dépêche-mode". Since 1981, Gahan has met the success inside of Depeche Mode, as some of their greatest moments in the Rosebowl, Pasadena , USA for their last show for the "Music for the masses" tour where they made one of their bigger concerts recorded on video by D.A. Pennebaker.
Dave has also gone through quite bad times along the way. In 1991, Dave separated from Joanne, his first wife and long-time love, leaving their only son Jack to live with his mother. Gahan moved to Los Angeles right after that and he married former Depeche press liaison Teresa Conroy in 1993. But his marriage wouldn't last as they would split few years later. On May 28, 1996 Gahan overdosed on heroin in a Los Angeles hotel room. He was was revived by paramedics and was then arrested upon his release for possession of drugs when he came out of hospital. By court order, Gahan completed 9 months of rehabilitation.
Sober now for 13 years, Gahan has put his party-hard days behind him, content to retire to his hotel room immediately after a performance, rather than going out with the band. He currently lives in New York, with his third wife, Jennifer, their daughter, Stella Rose, and Jennifer's son, Jimmy, from a previous relationship. He also has a son, Jack, from his first marriage to Joanne.
In the past, Dave had expressed some resentment about never writing songs for Depeche Mode. In 2004, he said that if he did not get to write half of the songs on the new Depeche Mode album, there would not be one. Eventually there was a compromise, and Dave wrote three songs on 2005's Playing the Angel; "Suffer Well", "I Want It All" and "Nothing's Impossible". Dave has co-written a few songs with Christian Eigner and Andrew Phillpott for the 12th studio album of Depeche Mode, Sounds of the Universe that was released on 20 April 2009. These songs are titled "Hole To Feed", "Come Back" and "Miles Away / The Truth Is". Dave also wrote the lyrics to the B-side "Oh Well" but the music was done by Martin Gore. It is the first and currently only collaboration between the two.
In 1997, Dave contributed to the tribute album "Dream Home Heartaches: Remaking/Remodeling Roxy Music" with the song "A Song For Europe".
In 2003, he released his first solo album, Paper Monsters (which he co-wrote with guitarist and friend Knox Chandler), followed by a world tour (including a performance at 2003's Glastonbury Festival), singing both his new solo tracks and Depeche Mode fan favourites. His touring band included Knox Chandler on guitar, Martyn LeNoble (Porno for Pyros, Jane's Addiction, The Cult) on bass, Vincent Jones (Sarah McLachlan, The Grapes of Wrath) on keyboards, and Victor Indrizzo (Beck, Macy Gray) on drums.
Dave did a collaboration in 2003 with Junkie XL and handled the vocals for a song called "Reload" for this Dutch DJ's album "Radio JXL: A Broadcast From The Computer Hell Cabin".
In 2007, Dave Gahan announced he was working on a new album. The album, titled Hourglass, was accompanied working by Andrew Phillpott and Christian Eigner. The material was recorded at Gahan's 11th Floor Studios in New York City. The material was mixed in July by Tony Hoffer, best known for his work with Beck, The Kooks and Air.
Gahan also had been working with Thomas Anselmi on a project called 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, as well as piano by Bowie favourite Mike Garson, and a monologue by Warhol superstar Joe Dallesandro. Gahan sang vocals on the track "Nostalgia".
Dave 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 released under the artist name of Fryars.
2009 - Tour of the Universe
On May 12, 2009, shortly before the band were due onstage in Athens, Greece for a concert on Depeche Mode's Tour of the Universe, Gahan fell ill in his dressing room. He was rushed to hospital where it was confirmed that he suffered from a severe bout of gastroenteritis, leading to his hospitalization and the cancellation of the Athens concert. While in hospital, further medical tests revealed a low-grade malignant tumour in Dave's bladder, which has since been successfully removed. A number of dates were either postponed or cancelled. After doctor-ordered time to fully recover, the tour resumed in Leipzig, Germany, on June 8.
Gahan later suffered a torn calf muscle while performing in Bilbao, Spain, on July 9, 2009, resulting in two further cancellations. After two-weeks break, he and Depeche Mode returned to the tour for their North American leg. While performing in Seattle on August 10, 2009 Gahan again suffered injury, this time straining his vocal chords. Doctors ordered Gahan on complete vocal rest, resulting in two more cancelled shows. The band returned to the stage in Los Angeles on August 16. According to press and fan reports, Gahan is performing as well as ever, despite the string of health setbacks.