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Music a la mode: Depeche Mode returns to Utah

Concert is Aug. 25 at the E Center

It's been nearly 30 years since Depeche Mode was formed.

And, with the exception of the departure of Vince Clarke in 1981 and his replacement Alan Wilder in 1995, the core has stayed the same.

And through the years, Depeche Mode — Andy "Fletch" Fletcher, guitarist Martin Gore and vocalist Dave Gahan — have stuck together through thick and thin.

"We formed the band while were kids still in high school," said Fletcher during a phone call from New York City. "We got a lot of flack from the rock critics because we were an electronic band.

"But we used the modern way to make music," he said. "And today, most pop music is made the way we made it back the way we used to.

"But it was an exciting time because we could buy a keyboard synthesizer for $450. Before that, there was nothing but those big awkward Moog synthesizers."

Technology aside, Fletcher said the secret of longevity in the music business is "writing good songs."

"We are lucky to have good songwriters," said Fletcher. "In the early days, we were lucky to have Vince write for us. And Martin is truly gifted, and lately, Dave."

Another secret of success is working with good people.

"We have been surrounded by people who care about what we do," Fletcher said. "We've been with Mute Records from the beginning and have a great relationship with (Mute founder) Daniel Miller."

Last April, Depeche Mode released its 12th studio album, "Sounds of the Universe."

Fletcher said making a new Depeche Mode album is always an exciting experience.

"We don't like to look back at what we've done when we're getting ready for a new album," he said. "We're not interested in the past for this purpose. We try to be relevant with what is happening in the present."

Fletcher said some of the band's memorable moments have happened thanks to the records.

"Obviously, the first was hearing our song on the radio for the first time," he said. " 'Violator' was a big album for us because it was a top 10 in the United States. And 'Ultra' was another because at that time, Dave was very ill.

"So for us to be able to come together for that one was very good for us."

Fletcher noted the band is getting older. And it has had to pace itself in order to make sure it puts out quality albums.

"We have a nice little system going right now," he said. "We record and tour for a couple of years and then take a year off because we have families.

"We don't make as many albums as we did in the past, but we are continuing to make music, and luckily for us, people still come to our shows."

With that said, Fletcher said the hard part about being in the band is creating a set list that is comprised of only a fraction of the band's 200 songs.

"Also with the way Dave performs — all out — we can only perform for a couple of hours," he said. "So that puts some constraints on our choices, as well.

"I do know people want to hear certain songs that we don't play. I'm just grateful they come to the show anyway."

If you go...

What: Depeche Mode; Peter, Bjorn and John

Where: E Center, 3200 S. Decker Lake Drive

When: Aug. 25, 8 p.m.

How much: $41.50-$71.50

Phone: 801-325-7328 or 801-988-8800

Web: www.ticketmaster.com

e-mail: scott@desnews.com