Depeche Mode founding keyboardist Andy Fletcher dies at 60

May 26, 2022, 2:48 AM | Updated: 4:27 pm
FILE - Andy Fletcher of the band Depeche Mode performs in concert during their "Global Spirit Tour"...

FILE - Andy Fletcher of the band Depeche Mode performs in concert during their "Global Spirit Tour" at the Capital One Arena, Sept. 7, 2017, in Washington, D.C. Fletcher, keyboardist for British synth pop giants Depeche Mode for more than 40 years has died at age 60. Depeche Mode announced the death of founding member Fletcher on its official social media pages. A person close to the band said Fletcher died Thursday, May 26, 2022, from natural causes at his home in the U.K. The person spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak publicly. (Photo by Owen Sweeney/Invision/AP, File)

(Photo by Owen Sweeney/Invision/AP, File)

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Andy “Fletch” Fletcher, the unassuming, bespectacled, red-headed keyboardist who for more than 40 years added his synth sounds to Depeche Mode hits like “Just Can’t Get Enough” and “Personal Jesus,” has died at age 60.

Depeche Mode announced the death of founding member Fletcher on its official social media pages.

A person close to the band said Fletcher died Thursday from natural causes at his home in the United Kingdom. The person spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak publicly.

“We are shocked and filled with overwhelming sadness with the untimely passing of our dear friend, family member and bandmate Andy ‘Fletch’ Fletcher,” the band’s posts said. “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.”

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

The band would break out a year later with their debut album “Speak and Spell,” which opened with the modest hit “New Life” and closed with one of the band’s enduring hits, “Just Can’t Get Enough.”

Clarke would leave the group and be replaced by Alan Wilder after the album.

The group would find international success with 1984’s “Some Great Reward” and the single “People are People,” and their prominence would only grow throughout the 1980s and early 1990s.

Fletcher would lend his keyboards to classic albums including “Music for the Masses,” “Black Celebration” and “Violator.”

The first of these led to a world tour that brought a live album, a documentary, and a legendary concert at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, California, that represented the pinnacle of the band’s prominence.

A fan of soccer team Chelsea FC with a penchant for chess, Fletcher assumed a low-profile in the group. He did not sing or write songs, and his face never as familiar as those of his bandmates.

“Martin’s the songwriter, Alan’s the good musician, Dave’s the vocalist, and I bum around,” he said in the tour documentary, “101.”

But Fletch was a uniting figure and often the tiebreaking vote in the squabbles of his more famous bandmates.

He also occasionally played bass in the band.

Depeche Mode was inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 2020. Gahan, Fletcher and Gore had to accept the honor remotely along with all the other inductees in the pandemic year. As usual, Fletcher let his bandmates do nearly all the talking.

His death leaves Gahan and Gore as the only permanent members.

Fletcher’s musical peers paid him tribute as word of his death spread.

“His keyboard sounds crafted not just Depeche Mode’s sonic approach but shifted the direction of Techno, EDM, Downtempo, Triphop, & Electronica. Crucial loss,” Living Colour guitarist Vernon Reid tweeted.

The Pet Shop Boys said on Twitter that he was “a warm, friendly and funny person who loved electronic music.”

Orchestral Maneuvers in the Dark tweeted that he was a “beautiful person in an amazing band.”

The eldest of four siblings, Fletcher was born in Basildon and raised in Nottingham, England.

He became childhood friends with Clarke, and with singer Alison Moyet, who would form Yazoo (known as Yaz in the U.S.) with Clarke after he left Depeche Mode.

“Since we were 10,” Moyet tweeted Thursday. “Same estate. Class mates to label mates. He who kept faith with all the old gang and they with him. It doesn’t compute. Fletch. I have no words.”

As teens, Fletcher and Clarke would form the short-lived group “No Romance.”

With Gore, who Fletcher met at a pub in Basildon in 1980, they formed the trio Composition of Sound, with all three playing synthesizer. Gahan was recruited into the group later in the year, and the name was changed to Depeche Mode.

Fletcher would remain with the group until his death, though reported struggles with depression in 1994 spurred him to sit out part of a tour.

He started his own record label, Toast Hawaii, in 2002, releasing an album by the band CLIENT.

Fletcher would perform DJ sets at the band’s live shows, which he continued to do at festivals and clubs after he and CLIENT parted ways.

Fletcher is survived by his wife of nearly 30 years Gráinne Mullan, and their children Megan and Joe.

___

Follow AP Entertainment Writer Andrew Dalton on Twitter: https://twitter.com/andyjamesdalton

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

AP

Photo from Flickr...
Associated Press

Respite center opens to families of those who died in combat

A respite center for families in the United States who have lost loved ones in combat since 9/11 will open Friday on Washington state’s Olympic Peninsula.
13 hours ago
Downtown Vancouver Washington Photo from Flickr...
Associated Press

Vancouver City Council bans large fossil fuel facilities

The city council in Vancouver, Washington, has approved a permanent ban on new fossil fuel developments after years of temporary moratoriums.
13 hours ago
Associated Press

Video shows white deputy tell Black woman he’s `blacker’

A white sheriff’s deputy in Michigan was reprimanded after body camera footage showed him tell a Black woman who had just been struck in the face during an altercation that he was “blacker” than she was because he’s from Detroit. The woman, Tracy Douglas, 59, of Temperance, Michigan, filed a civil rights complaint with the […]
13 hours ago
This artist sketch depicts the trial of Oath Keepers leader Stewart Rhodes and four others charged ...
Associated Press

Ex-Oath Keeper: Group leader claimed Secret Service contact

WASHINGTON (AP) — Oath Keepers founder Stewart Rhodes told a member of the extremist group before the 2020 election that he had a contact in the Secret Service, a witness testified Thursday in Rhodes’ Capitol riot trial. John Zimmerman, who was part of the North Carolina chapter, said Rhodes told him that Rhodes had a […]
13 hours ago
The symbol for Twitter appears above a trading post on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange, Tu...
Associated Press

Musk lawyers say Twitter refusing new $44B bid for company

NEW YORK (AP) — Elon Musk’s lawyers said Thursday that Twitter is refusing the Tesla billionaire’s renewed $44 billion bid for the social media company and have asked a Delaware court to halt an upcoming trial. Musk made a renewed offer to take over to company earlier this week to end a protracted legal dispute […]
13 hours ago
Associated Press

Philadelphia apologizes for experiments on Black inmates

PHILADELPHIA (AP) — The city of Philadelphia issued an apology Thursday for the unethical medical experiments performed on mostly Black inmates at its Holmesburg Prison from the 1950s through the 1970s. The move comes after community activists and families of some of those inmates raised the need for a formal apology. It also follows a […]
13 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

Anacortes Christmas Tree...

Come one, come all! Food, Drink, and Coastal Christmas – Anacortes has it all!

Come celebrate Anacortes’ 11th annual Bier on the Pier! Bier on the Pier takes place on October 7th and 8th and features local ciders, food trucks and live music - not to mention the beautiful views of the Guemes Channel and backdrop of downtown Anacortes.
Swedish Cyberknife Treatment...

The revolutionary treatment of Swedish CyberKnife provides better quality of life for majority of patients

There are a wide variety of treatments options available for men with prostate cancer. One of the most technologically advanced treatment options in the Pacific Northwest is Stereotactic Body Radiation Therapy using the CyberKnife platform at Swedish Medical Center.
Work at Zum Services...

Seattle Public Schools announces three-year contract with Zum

Seattle Public Schools just announced a three-year contract with a brand-new company to the Pacific Northwest to assist with their student transportation: Zum.
Swedish Cyberknife 900x506...

June is Men’s Health Month: Here’s Why It’s Important To Speak About Your Health

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, men in the United States, on average, die five years earlier than women.
...

Anacortes – A Must Visit Summertime Destination

While Anacortes is certainly on the way to the San Juan Islands (SJI), it is not just a destination to get to the ferry… Anacortes is a destination in and of itself!
...

Ready for your 2022 Alaskan Adventure with Celebrity Cruises?

Celebrity Cruises SPONSORED — A round-trip Alaska cruise from Seattle is an amazing treat for you and a loved one. Not only are you able to see and explore some of the most incredible and visually appealing natural sights on the planet, but you’re also able to relax and re-energize while aboard a luxury cruise […]
Depeche Mode founding keyboardist Andy Fletcher dies at 60