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David Gahan

'Paper'back Writer

GahanAfter more than two decades as Depeche Mode's lead vocalist, Dave Gahan is singing a different tune: His own. "Paper Monsters," due this week via Mute/Reprise, 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.

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