THE Q100 INTERVIEW: Dave Gahan
- How the devil are you?
Very well, thank you very much to anyone out there who cares. I know my
mum does. And my son does. And my wife does. I'm very well. To be honest,
at the end of the tour I wasn't very well. But now I'm a lot better.
- What do you think of when you read Q?
I really love it and I'm not just saying that. Probably bought every
issue, and on Melrose (Avenue, LA) it's about 20 bucks! It's probably the
only magazine that hasn't got as big an ego as the people it writes
about. I like the re-issue stuff, reading loads of stuff about John Lee
Hooker or whoever.
- So, what about the tour? There were a lot of rumours...
I just pushed myself a bit too hard in lots of ways. There was a lot of
debauchery. Primal Scream were on the road with us. That didn't help!
- It's said that you don't have a manager any more, you have a guru.
"Spiritual adviser" (laughs). We have a spiritual adviser whose name is
Jonathan Kessler. A dear friend. If it wasn't for Jonathan, I don't know
where we'd be.
- Primal Scream used to have a spiritual adviser. Excellent sort of '60s
"gentle cat", always carried a Sky Saxon album...
Gentle cat! Oh, that's classic (laughs). Yeah, I've probably met him.
Bobby's so classic. He's so "tragically beautiful", Bobby.
- What's _your_ spiritual adviser like?
Looks like a hippy. Hair down to here. Big muscles. He started out as an
accountant and turned out to be the only person who became a real friend
of every member of the band and could work between us. He has nothing to
do with the music. Just "karma" stuff, if you like.
- You've re-married to a girl who is famously fond of long hair, beards
I don't know about beards. She likes long hair and tattoos. My back's
completely covered in one tattoo. Eight hours of tattooing, two four-hour
sessions. I'm totally covered in them now. I've even started having some
removed (lifts left sleeve to reveal unsightly scar tissue).
- Have you had the old "Prince Albert" done?
No. The Guishe. I'm pierced in the Guishe, which is supposed to be the
- You have a ring through your _scrotum_?
Right underneath there, yeah (laughs)! I can tell you it was the most
painful a couple of seconds. I got it done the day after Teresa and I got
married. We got back to LA and I wanted to go and kind of do something
special. I thought, I really want to get a ring, you know, but I don't
want to _wear_ a ring. So... (shrugs, expression of pride coupled with
excruciating pain). I guess I'm a kind of weird chap, really. I'm
constantly surprising myself with my mentality!
- What difference does it make?
I'm able to laugh at myself a lot more.
- No I mean the ring through your scrotum.
Oh, this (points)! I'm sorry. It makes a lot of difference. There's quite
a lot of things you can do. You can use other apparatus. You can hang
- (Legs crossed, horrified) What are we talking about here? Weight-lifting?
The old bar-bells?
Not bar-bells, no! (Mysteriously) Small is good. Small is big... You
know, I just went off to LA and did all the classic guru-meeting,
re-finding my spiritual things - or _finding_ my spirituality - and all
the classic debauched things as well. Experienced every side of
rock'n'roll you've ever heard about.
- On the scale of nought to Led Zeppelin...
Oh, I probably went a little bit further. I think I pushed myself to the
point of becoming this caricature of a rock star that was so good he was
in danger of killing himself.
- The promoters were worried you wouldn't turn up. Is that true?
Yeah... I mean there were things going on in the press - which one of
Bobby or I would be the first to croak? - which we laughed at. But at the
same time, Bobby would tell press people, Look, please don't give Dave
any more problems, he's having enough trouble getting through customs as
- You apparently had a doctor on tour?
Yeah, we've had doctors. And we're probably the first band to have a
full-time full-paid psychiatrist on the road with us.
- So, straight offstage and on to the couch?
Well, _I_ didn't, but just about everybody else did
- You had doctors to ensure you got on stage?
Anything to get you into the spirit to get up there and do that thing.
What happens is it starts to regress. If you're not having fun doing
anything - whether that be singing in a band or taking drugs or whatever
- and it's becoming a chore, and you're not enjoying what you're doing
then don't do it. Stop it. That's what I decided to do in every way. I
came away from the tour with two broken ribs, haemorrhaging from the
inside. I mean, it was 180 shows! I pushed myself too far. My body was
going on nothing. I landed on the crash barriers and cracked two ribs. It
took me 24 hours to feel anything as I was so drunk. Next day I was in
incredible pain. I told the spiritual adviser, Jonathan, and we went off
to a hospital and they wanted me to stay in for a while. And I said,
Look, I don't want to go into one of those places, I'd rather go and do
this on my own. So I got a little cabin up in Lake Tahoe and just kind of
disappeared. I was all strapped up for three weeks...
- This was a clinic, a drying-out place.
Yeah, it was everything. And mentally as well, trying to get back down to
earth really. It was an incredible amount of fun but it took its toll. I
didn't realise how much till I stopped, 'cos your body can take an awful
lot of damage and pain
- So Primal Scream turning up was a real help.
(Laughs) Yeah, I like to party. And they were fresh people to party with.
We had fantastic times, sitting up till seven, eight, eleven in the
morning, in my room, with Mick Jones yabbering on at me, You gotta eat!
You gotta eat!
- That must be worrying - when Mick Jones tells you you're too thin.
Yeah! But the guy's a lot weller now than he's been in the past. We'd be
all sitting around, classic, all in little corners of the hotel room,
Bobby there. But it was getting silly. Basically, if you're getting to
places everywhere you're going and the first thing you're trying to do is
score, if that's your priority then you've got to stop... _I_ think.
- Is this all of Depeche Mode?
Nah, just me! (Smiles wearily) All on my lonesome, now.
- How do they feel about this?
Really upset I'm sure.
- Were they worried you wouldn't turn up on stage?
I think some of the times, yeah. I think they'd probably look at me and
think, Is he going to die tomorrow? It doesn't matter if it's a bottle of
vodka or if you're banging a needle into your arm, at the end of the day
you're going to the same place - which is oblivion - and it's going to
kill you in the end. Fifteen years of partying and having fun, it takes
its toll, and I'd like to think I've kind of got away with it.
- Tell us a joke.
I think the joke is probably that I'm still here.