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There Would Be No Depeche Mode Without Andy Fletcher

Depeche Mode founding member was far from simply being “the guy that stands in the back”

Andy Fletcher Tribute
Andy Fletcher of Depeche Mode, photo by Sergione Infuso/Corbis via Getty Images
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    Throughout his time with Depeche Mode, Andy “Fletch” Fletcher became accustomed to one question more than others.

    “What exactly is it that you do?”

    It was a fair query. Fletcher — who passed away Thursday (May 26th) at the age of 60 — was an enigma amidst bandmates with clearly-defined roles. Dave Gahan holds forth as lead singer. Martin Gore is the band’s primary instrumentalist and prolific composer. Even former members Vince Clarke and Alan Wilder had delineated responsibilities in the group’s operation.

    Fletcher, however, was content to be “the guy that stands in the back.” Tall. Unassuming. Genial, even. Onstage he stood behind a keyboard but could appear as if he’d just happened to wander onto the set. He was the only band member with no songwriting credits, and at a certain point his vocal mic disappeared. Rolling Stone once wrote that “Andy Fletcher shows up for photo shoots and cashes the checks.” Hell, in D.A. Pennebaker’s 1980 Depeche Mode documentary 101, Fletcher himself said that “Martin’s the songwriter, Alan’s the good musician, Dave’s the vocalist and I bum around.”

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    Clearly, however, one doesn’t spend 42 years in a world class, Rock and Roll Hall of Fame band simply by bumming around.

    “People who think Fletch doesn’t do anything are sorely mistaken,” Gore said some years ago. “We all have our roles; his just isn’t as obvious or as public as mine or Dave’s. But nobody should think that he doesn’t pull his weight. He absolutely does.”

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