Dave Gahan Makes Solo Bow

Excerpted from the magazine for Billboard.com.

After more than two decades as Depeche Mode's lead vocalist, Dave Gahan is singing a different tune: His own.

"Paper Monsters," released June 2 on Reprise Records, marks Gahan's debut as a solo artist and his first stab at songwriting.

"This is my story," he says. "I'm finally getting to reveal who I am and what I'm about."

Three years ago, after Depeche Mode finished touring to support "Singles 86-98," Gahan's friend, drummer Victor Indrizzo, introduced him to guitarist Knox Chandler, who has worked with the Psychedelic Furs and R.E.M. The two started writing songs together in Chandler's home studio in New York's East Village -- a short trip from Gahan's home in the West Village.

"It felt so natural, I don't know why I hadn't done it before," Gahan says.

When Gahan stopped to work on Depeche Mode's "Exciter" weeks later, he had already written a dozen songs.

"He's incredibly musical," Chandler says. "He's not just a singer in a band."

After "Exciter" was finished and the accompanying tour ended, Gahan returned to his solo project. With producer Ken Thomas (Sigur Ros) at the helm, "Paper Monsters" was recorded in 10 weeks last summer at New York's Electric Lady Studios.

The songs range from such dreamy, slow tracks as "Hold On" and "Stay" to harder, darker fare like "Black & Blue Again" and the set opener and lead single, "Dirty Sticky Floors."

"The song is about somebody slowly destroying themselves," Gahan says of the single, noting that the lyrics draw on personal experience. "But there's a lot of hope in there... and a sense of humor as well."

"Dirty Sticky Floors" is already getting airplay at U.S. triple-A and modern-rock radio stations, and a maxi-single featuring club remixes of the song was released May 27.

The first 25,000 copies of "Paper Monsters" include a limited-edition DVD that features the "Dirty Sticky Floors" video, footage of acoustic live performances of "Hold On" and "A Little Piece" shot in New York, a photo gallery, and a behind-the-scenes film about the making of the album.

Gahan's European concert tour starts in June, and it will cover 18 markets. After that, Gahan will return to the States for a 20-city tour, kicking off July 18 in Atlanta.

During his shows, Gahan will perform a few Depeche Mode songs -- including "Personal Jesus," "I Feel You," and "Never Let Me Down" -- in addition to his solo material.

Gahan is not the only Depeche Mode member pushing a solo project. "Counterfeit 2," a collection of covers sung by guitarist/songwriter Martin Gore, was released April 29, also on Reprise.

The solo projects do not portend the end of the group, Gahan assures.

"I'm sure there will come a time when Depeche will go back in the studio and make another record. But for the moment, Paper Monsters is where it's at for me."

Excerpted from the June 7, 2003, issue of Billboard. The full original text of the article is available in the Billboard.com Premium Services section.

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