LOS ANGELES — Depeche Mode will return next year with a new album, “Memento Mori,” and an accompanying tour of North America and Europe. The announcement comes only a few months after the group’s co-founder and keyboardist Andy Fletcher died at 60 in May.
The album will be Depeche Mode’s 15th studio release (their first as a duo) and first since 2017′s “Spirit.”
The British New Wave band’s surviving members, Martin Gore and Dave Gahan, proclaimed their revival at a news conference in Berlin on Tuesday, with Gore saying of the album, “We started work on this project early in the pandemic, and its themes were directly inspired by that time.”
Gore touched on how Fletcher’s passing influenced the decision to put out new music.
“After Fletch’s passing, we decided to continue as we’re sure this is what he would have wanted, and that has really given the project an extra level of meaning,” he said.
“I’m sure that his absence in the studio in some way changes what we did, and that will happen when we perform on stage as well,” Gahan said to the Associated Press. “We have no intention of replacing Fletch on stage. He did his own thing there.”
When asked what Fletcher might think of the album, Gahan jokingly added, “I’m sure he would have had a lot to say. Probably the first thing he would have said was, ‘Why are there so many songs about death?’”
Depeche Mode announced Fletch’s death via a tweet, which read, in part, “We are shocked and filled with overwhelming sadness with the untimely passing of our dear friend, family member, and bandmate Andy ‘Fletch’ Fletcher. Fletch had a true heart of gold and was always there when you needed support, a lively conversation, a good laugh, or a cold pint.”
According to the 2020 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee’s June 27 Instagram post, Fletcher died of an aortic dissection, a tear in the wall of the body’s main artery that causes blood to rush through.
“We wanted to take a moment and acknowledge the outpouring of love for Andy that we’ve seen from all of you over the last few weeks,” the band wrote. “It’s incredible to see all of your photos, to read your words, and to see how much Andy meant to all of you. As you can imagine, it’s been a strange, sad, disorienting few weeks for us here, to say the least. But we’ve seen and felt all of your love and support, and we know that Andy’s family has too.”
Depeche Mode, which was founded in 1980 by Fletcher, singer Gahan and keyboardists Gore and Vince Clarke in Basildon, England, ascended to become one of the most successful rock acts of its time. (Alan Wilder replaced Clarke in 1981.) Of his role in the group, Fletcher humbly said, “Martin’s the songwriter, Alan’s the good musician, Dave’s the vocalist, and I bum around.”
(Los Angeles Times staff writers Randall Roberts and Kenan Draughorne contributed to this report.)