Bio of Dave Gahan
Story of Dave Gahan
©Pimpf 2001-2004

David Gahan was born in Epping on May 9, 1962.

He had a religious upbringing, as his mother's side of the family was closely tied to the Salvation Army.
Dave wasn't much into that kind of stuff. He preferred to spend his time with his friend riding.

Dave was still really young when his family broke up. His father left home and was never to be heard of from again.
That missing father had an effect on Dave as he compensated the loss by everything crazy he could do.
He describes him at that time as "a real wide boy with a chip on my shoulder, a real yob."
He and his best friend mark got into lot of trouble; he was involved into stealing cars, vandalism, and spray-painting graffiti on walls.
All those acts made him visit juvenile court three times before he was 14 years old.

Within six months of leaving St. Nicholas school, Gahan passed through an astonishing twenty jobs, everything from selling soft drinks to working construction.

He got into punk and entered into Southend Art College in 1977, he went into studying windows design, alongside John Lydon (The Sex Pistols) and George O'Dowd (Boy George -Culture Club)

In 1980, he met Vince Clarke who at that time was part of a band called French look. It was only later when he formed a band called Composition of Sound along with Martin Gore and Andrew Fletcher . One day Clarke asked Dave to come at a rehearsal of the band and made him perform "Heroes" a song from David Bowie, that's how the Depeche Mode adventure has started.

Since 1981 , now 22 years, Gahan has met the success inside of Depeche Mode, as some of their greatest moments in the Rosebowl , Pasadena , USA for their last show for the "Music for the masses" tour where they made one of their bigger concerts recorded on video by D.A. Pennebaker.

But Dave has also gone through quite bad times along the way.
In 1991, Dave separated from Joanne, his first wife and long-time love, Joanne, leaving their only son Jack to live with his mother.

Gahan moved to Los Angeles right after that and he married former Depeche press liaison Theresa Conway in 1993. But his marriage wouldn't last as they would split few years later

The most tragic moment was without a doubt on May 28, 1996: Gahan overdosed on heroin in a Los Angeles hotel room.
He was was revived by paramedics and was then arrested upon his release for possession of drugs when he came out of hospital two days later.

By court order, Gahan completed 9 months of rehabilitation and has been clean and sober since then.
Gahan completed the vocal tracks for the Ultra album, while in recovery. The drug charges were dropped and then that was a new beginning for Dave.

Depeche Mode released a compilation of Singles : "the Singles 86>98" followed by a worldwide tour, in which Gahan found back lot of pleasure touring and performing live again.

He went to live in New York and married Jennifer with who he had another child : a girl named Stella rose.

Back in 2001 Depeche Mode released their last album "Exciter" followed also by a worldwide tour in which Gahan took a lot of pleasure touring along.(as you can see on the "One Night in Paris" video recorded by Anton Corbijn)

But he also started to do more things on his own. The first was his presence in a tribute album to Roxy Music to cover a song called "A song for Europe". Then since 2000 he started working with a friend on some songs that pushed him now in 2003 to release his first solo album : "Paper Monsters"
Probably the best result of some of the musical influences of David Gahan and a very good start !

here is an interview from 1985 From No1 Magazine called private lives where gahan speaks of his childhood and how he got into Depeche Mode.
This article is taken from Jakko's Page which feature lot of articles from the press about DM


Depeche Mode are part underground cult, part pop stars.
Despite their success they are still on Mute, a small independent label, and they refuse to compromise with the music business.
The four individuals have stayed out of the glare of sensational publicity that is normally focussed on pop stars.
But in our exlusive series they talk frankly about the forces that have shaped their lives and music.
And they reveal a side of Depeche Mode that is often very different from their clean-living public image...

"I was born in Chigwell but my parents divorced when I was very young so mum moved the family - my sister Sue and brothers Peter and Philip - to Basildon.

She remarried and I always assumed my step-father was my real dad. He died when I was seven.

Then I came home on one day and found this bloke at home who turned out to be my father. I was very upset and we all had a huge argument because I thought I should have been told.

Later I realised what a hard time mim had bringing us up.

I didn't help by getting into a lot of trouble. I wasn't good at school (Bastaple). I couldn't do with being pushed aroud.

You got categorised into grades so I resented the clever kids, started bunking off, got into bother with the law. I was suspended and ended up in juvenile court three times for things like nicking motors, setting them alight and spraying walls.

I left at sixteen, soon as possible. My qualifications in art and technical drawing didn't seem much use.


My best friend was called Mark. We did everything together - got into trouble together, pulled girls together, shared girlfriends.

I went through loads of jobs. In eight months I had twenty occupations from Yardley's parfume factory to labouring Salisbury's soft drink man.

I was bringing home good money, giving mum some, going down the pub, pulling, being general wide boy.

Finally, I realised I had no career so I went for a job as apprentice fitter with North Thames Gas. My probation officer told me to be honest at the interview, say I had a criminal record but I was a reformed character blah blah. Course I didn't get the job because of that.

It cost me a lot of confidence, having been trough so many IQ tests and been shortlisted.

I went back and trashed the probation office.

I was pretty wild. I loved the excitement of nicking a motor, screeching off and beeing chased by the police. Hiding behind a wall with your heart beating gives you a real kick - will they get you?

Eventually I got to Southend Art College. I liked art at school.

The teacher was a nice geezer who let us smoke. After three years I got the British Display Society Award which meant I could get a job doing display in a big store.

That was around the punk period, 1977. Good times. I enjoyed college, I was designing clothes for mates, going off to see Gen X and the Damned. I had original sex shop gear. We used to stick labels on the outside and come down to the gritty London clubs like Studio 21.

People like John Lydon (The Sex Pistols) and George O'Dowd (Culture Club) used to come to Southend. George came to model and nick stuff. He got into trouble for that.

They were flamboyant people, like Steven Linnard (now a successful fashion desinger), a big change after my rough and ready basildon mates. Rowdy but artistic.

A gang of us hung out together all living for the weekend, saving up for a bag of blues (pills), going without dinner all week. We'd go to London all night, end up at some party then catch the milk train from Liverpool Street to Billericay. It was bloody long walk home!

I got bored with that, but for a while it was exciting. I had a double life, mixing with the art school mob then going home to Bas. I'd go to the pub wearing make up, but vos I kneew the local beer boys, the spanners, I was OK.


Vince Clarke I met one day outside a pub in the city centre. He looked up to me because he was a bit scared of the skins. His friends stayed at home.

Vince had a band, French Look, with Martin, Rob Marlowe and Rob Marlowe who mixed sound for.

Then Vince started Composition of Sound with Andy and Martin. The two groups fell out because both wanted Martin. Typically, he couldn't make up his mind, being nice to everyone.

One day Vince asked me if I wanted to sing at a rehearsal. I was quite shy but it was something to do. That was the beginning of Depeche Mode.

We got a residency at Crocs in Rayleigh as resident electronic band, people came from London to see us. (Culture Club also built up an early Crocs following.) Rusty Egan (club socialite then Visage drummer) was one. He introduced us to Stevo (Some Bizarre mentor) who was just a general nutter on the scene.

The group met Daniel Miller (of Mute Records) shortly after our first Venue gig (New Romantic package night). He put out our first single just after the Some Bizarre track. Lots of companies were waving cheque books and promising the earth but only Daniel was honest. He offered us points (a share in the profits). We split everything fifty/fifty.

Even now we have no management deal and no contract. We pay our own salaries and don't have aggressive marketing.


Keeping control is important to us and Mute. We've kept our grass roots following. The fans are so hard core that singles tend to chart quickly without hyping so we spend our money on decent stage shows and recording.

I'm not interested in image making. Depeche Mode has never idealised group pictures on records. We prefer visuals and imagery. Four blokes standing against a wall wearing nive suits doesn't excite me. A look dates.

We've matured at our own pace. When we did 'Speak and Spell' we were very young and naive. We got slaggered off for being teeny bopper because we didn't care what was hip.

Even we knew we didn't have much to say, and the fans still stood by us. We owe them a lot because they never were influenced by the knockers, or by Vince leaving.

As for the group, our working class background keeps us fairly level headed despite the stupid amounts of money to be made.

For now the group is still going up so I'm very happy about the future. Depeche Mode is a group which has good ideas rather than being a great bunch of musicians first. We learn all the time.

I've got other ambitions, like writing songs. I have tried - but Martin is so good at that it would be silly to offer the group something second rate.

We've practically lived together for five years, so you know immediately when someone doesn't like what you're doing.

I'll concentrate on the singing. I think I'm pretty good at that."