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Depeche Mode line up 1st album, tour in over 5 years

BERLIN (AP) — Depeche Mode have lined up a new album and the band's first live shows in more than five years, an announcement that comes months after the death of founding member Andy “Fletch” Fletcher.

The band said in Berlin on Tuesday that the album, “Memento Mori," will be released next spring. The accompanying tour will start with what's billed as a “special, limited series of North American arena dates” starting March 23, ahead of a summer stadium tour in Europe.

Lead singer Dave Gahan said he and fellow band mainstay Martin Gore started talking in January about working on a new project together. Gore had been writing “for a while, through the pandemic,” and came up with the title — Latin for “Remember that you must die."

“I liked that immediately, just because it kinda felt like it was right for the imagery that was already developing in the songs — that life can be so fleeting and just be there and then gone the next minute,” Gahan told The Associated Press.

“Living or not living, and what are we doing while we are living here, that's ... kinda what it's about,” he said. “The album is going to take you on a little trip.”

Keyboardist Fletcher was about to join the team in Santa Barbara, California, when he died in May and didn't get to hear any of the material, Gahan said.

“I'm sure he would have had a lot to say,” he added. “Probably the first thing he would have said was, ‘Why are there so many songs about death?’”

Fletcher formed the group that would become giants of British electro-pop along with fellow synthesizer players Gore and Vince Clarke, and Gahan, in Basildon, England in 1980.

“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. “We have no intention of replacing Fletch on stage. He did his own thing there.”

“Memento Mori” will be Depeche Mode's 15th studio album and the first since 2017's “Spirit.” What will come after that isn't yet clear.

“I don't know what there is for us in the future,” Gahan said. “I never do. We never really plan to do anything beyond what we're doing in the moment.”

Next year's tour will take the band to New York's Madison Square Garden, Chicago's United Center, Los Angeles' Kia Forum and Toronto's Scotiabank Arena, among other stops. In Europe, venues will include the Stade de France in Paris, Berlin's Olympic Stadium and London's Twickenham Stadium.

The Associated Press