Andy “Fletch” Fletcher, keyboardist and one of the founding members of iconic British electronic band Depeche Mode, has died. He was 60 years old.
The news was announced via the official Depeche Mode Twitter account, which posted the news on Thursday afternoon. “Fletch had a real heart of gold and was always there when you needed support, a lively conversation, a good laugh or a cold pint,” the post read. A cause of death has not been confirmed.
— Depeche Mode (@depechemode) May 26, 2022
Fletcher formed Depeche Mode in 1980 with Dave Gahan, Martin Gore and Vince Clarke, who was initially considered the band’s songwriter before leaving abruptly after their debut album and leaving Gore as main songwriter ever since. “Fletch” was the less flashy of the core trio, often wearing sunglasses as he stood behind the keyboards while the more demonstrative Gahan and Gore roamed the stage, but still raised their arms to wake up the rabble.
Speaking about his role in the band, Fletcher said in an interview published in Electronic Beats that he was “the big guy in the background, without whom this international company called Depeche Mode would never work. There’s this big misunderstanding that In guitar bands, real men work real instruments – night after night – whereas in a synthesizer band like Depeche Mode, no one works, because they’re all machines. But that’s bullshit. … A Apart from the vocalist, the public doesn’t really know what role has which musician within the band. But bands like Kraftwerk or Depeche Mode actually function as divisions of work collectives. Everyone’s contribution remains invisible. And because I don’t push me to the fore, many take me for the fifth wheel.
During Fletcher’s tenure with the band, they sold over 100 million records worldwide and had 54 songs on the UK Singles Chart. As a member of Depeche Mode, Fletcher was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2020.
“We are a democracy. If somebody doesn’t want to do something, we won’t,” Fletcher said in a 2017 interview with The Skinny in the UK. “Martin and Dave live in the US and I live here, but that doesn’t really affect our relationship. Me and Martin are very close. Dave is more like a brother to me – if that makes sense. But what makes bands better than solo artists is the electricity that is generated. Sometimes a band can’t stand each other, but that electricity makes great music. It’s the same with Depeche Mode; we have moments when we don’t love each other, and moments when we love each other. It is the electricity that is generated between all of us that produces good music.
Fletcher explained that the band wasn’t taken seriously by the press at first, dismissed as just another synth-pop band until sold-out shows at venues like the Rose Bowl forced the world to take Depeche Mode seriously – but even then credibility sometimes came more easily in America than in their native country.
“The UK is the country from which we have received the most criticism. The press never really took us seriously, it seems…until this album,” he said in 2017, when the band’s latest album, “Spirit,” was released. “The problem with Britain is that the press is always looking for the next big thing, and they forget about the last big thing. In America and Europe, they tend to be more loyal. But, he added, “These days most of the interviews we do, almost everyone seems to like us.”
In a 2009 interview with German newspaper Die Welt, Fletcher explained, “I’m the opposite of Dave. I am a musician but in the street no one will recognize me. Within the group, I bring the pop element. (Gore), who writes most of the songs, loves American blues and country. And Dave discovered jazz on his own. However, I will probably feel eternally faithful to the simple pop melodies and the lightness they represent.
Fletcher spoke about their stamina, telling The Skinny it had been “an incredible dream come true. I always tell this story, but we had these accountants when we started making some money, and they came up with a plan – that we only last two or three years. And yet, we were becoming more and more popular; we had to reject this plan.
“We seem to be more popular now than we’ve ever been. We’re not a big media group, and it’s never been our ambition to be the biggest group in the world – it’s just the way things have been. I think being on Mute Records has been a big help. At first we had offers from big labels, and they promised us a lot of money, but instead we chose a man who didn’t offer us any money.
Fletcher took part in a pre-recorded acceptance speech when Depeche Mode was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame during the pandemic in late 2020, but in his typical way of staying in the background he had a lot less to say. say either Gahan and Gore. He said that “it’s too bad we’re not doing the gig” (it would usually be part of a Hall of Fame induction); that “you would have stolen cars again, Dave,” if the group hadn’t been successful; and a cheerful “Let’s go to the pub!” at the conclusion of the acceptance.
Speaking with Die Welt in 2009, Fletcher said the band had been quiet for many years. “As a rock star, you’re king for a night every time you walk into a city, especially in the United States. For one night, we’d own the saloon, the gaming tables, the booze, and girls. And the next night another city was at our feet. … Everything changed. We all have a family and children now. I’m the only one in the group who wants a drink. A vice after the another is going too far. You can’t stick to this lifestyle forever.