Depeche Mode Fan Takeover: The Jimmy Kimmel Live! Performance


As you read in my last post, I was chosen to take over Depeche Mode’s Facebook page last Friday. It was a blast but since there’s still a few months left in the year, I won’t get into details on how the whole thing works. I don’t want to give anything away.

What I will say is that I was contacted last Tuesday and I had honestly forgotten I entered the contest. Not only that, I was thinking that with all those entries and only 365 winners (some of them other musicians), what were my chances?

Pretty good, apparently. The folks in charge of the event emailed me and told me to give them a call if I was interested. Well duh, I was interested. So I sat on the patio at work and got the whole rundown of what was going on.

Their reasoning was simple: being I had gone to see them at Jimmy Kimmel Live! in 2009, they thought I’d be a good candidate to see them again on Wednesday since they were the musical guests that night. I jumped at the chance and even let the coach of the company softball team know that I wouldn’t be at the game that night. And I have plenty of vacation time saved up so the time off was not an issue, either. More on our…team at the end of this post.

There were confidentiality agreements to sign, promises to keep, things to do. It’s pretty much like your on assignment for the band. Once all that was approved, I started writing my posts which came to about five total although not all of them were used.

Then came Wednesday, the day of the taping. I had to meet Depeche Mode’s management away from the throng of devoted fans hanging out in the alley, waiting to catch a glimpse of the band. I called when I arrived and they greeted me at the back door, meaning the parking lot.

Photo Oct 04, 4 17 50 PM

By the way, I didn’t drive. This is a shameless plug for Los Angeles Metro, my alternative source of transportation that I use whenever I have to go someplace in L.A. that is near a station. Never drive or pay for parking – go Metro!

Anyway, this would be the only picture I took because photography was strictly prohibited and this was mentioned on the confidentiality agreement. I’ve got a story on that later as well.

Once inside, I was given a purple wristband which meant I was more VIP than the other VIPs in the crowd, who all gathered in the Green Room during the taping of the show (we watched the taping on monitors). I just waved that band at folks and I was in. Ta-daaaa!

During the taping, I mingled with other fans and was greeted by Freddie Morales, aka Devotional Dave from the cover band Strangelove. We follow each other on Instagram and he came up to me and started the conversation – pretty cool! He was telling me about their upcoming shows and their potential setlist which includes some classic songs that I’d love to hear the real Depeche Mode play one more time. Great guy and you should go see them if they are in your town. Here we are after the taping.

Photo Oct 04, 6 32 20 PM

As we waited, a few of the band members – Peter Gordeno and the legendary Fletch – came out of the dressing room and chatted with a few fans. Didn’t expect that but there they were. Once they left, I was asked by management if I wanted to take my picture in the Jimmy Kimmel photo booth which was in a place that only those with purple wristband could go. Who was I to say no?

Photo Oct 04, 4 51 46 PMPhoto Oct 04, 8 38 52 PMPhoto Oct 04, 8 58 26 PM

The magic of the the Purple Wristband!

Photo Oct 04, 6 40 28 PM

It took a sequence of three and for the middle one I decided to make a stupid face for some reason. But as you can tell by the first and last ones, I was genuinely excited to be a part of this. Also, DM management took this shot of me that they used for Facebook.

Photo Oct 05, 12 11 26 PM

I ate hors d’oeuvres. I drank a few White Russians from the open bar. I mingled. I was as fucking Hollywood as anyone could get that night.

As the taping continued, I was notified by management that if I wanted a good view, they would lead me upstairs to the stage – and so I went. I was in the first group of people, all with their purple wristbands, and we got as close as we possibly could to the stage for the performance. Shortly after that, the others made their way up as Kimmel’s hype man got the crowd worked up.

After about 10 minutes, the band took the stage and the crowd lost it. If you don’t know, Depeche Mode has one of the biggest followings in Los Angeles and they are playing an unprecedented four sold-out shows at the Hollywood Bowl starting this weekend — not even The Beatles did that. We love them, the the crowd let them know. You could tell they appreciated it.

Unlike their 2009 performance, where they played a set of about eight songs, tonight there would only be one: their new single “Cover Me.” They did an off-camera rehearsal then after about five minutes, Kimmel appeared to the left of the crowd, the cameras went live, and he introduced them. This one would count and here it is.

In case you’re wondering, here I am in the yellow circle:

Photo Oct 05, 7 25 13 AM

A few notes:

  • I’ve been to my share of shows and I have to say that Dave has never sounded better live. Maybe it was the combination of a small venue with him not needing to strain his voice and the subdued tone of the song but either way, wow. He absolutely killed it.
  • If you watch the video closely, there’s a lady to my left and in front of me looking like she is covering her mouth. I let her squeeze by for a better view because she couldn’t see from where she was. The reason she was covering her mouth was because she was absolutely enthralled by the performance and almost in tears. Remember what I said about L.A. fans? Here’s your proof, and she was extremely grateful that I let her in. I’m taller and could see just fine from my angle.
  • After the performance, a few people tried to take pictures of the stage and when security saw them, they immediately approached them, told them to delete the photo, then delete it from their Trash folder – all while they watched them do it. They weren’t playing.

After the performance, I took my picture with Devotional Dave then lingered around Hollywood Boulevard for a bit. It was then when I was reminded of what a strange and surreal place Hollywood really is. I’m not here too often so I took it all in, looking around and just thinking “Wow, this really is a freaking weird place.”

Then I got on the train and went home, wrote about the performance for the takeover, and my day of working for Depeche Mode was complete. It was definitely fun.

Oh, and our softball team? We played tonight and lost again but I went 1-3 with 2 RBI against a whiny bunch poor winners who complained at the most minor things. Fuckin’ nut up and play. This is for fun and nobody will be taking home any trophies, so STFU and get on the field already. I yelled at them quite a bit as they complained, telling them to hurry up. Bunch of babies.

As for our team, well, I could be the father to some of the players and to hear they were tired after a 7-inning softball game really made me laugh. Here I am wanting to play two and there they were thinking about taking tomorrow off because they were sore. Look, I’m not He-Man but really?

Anyway…yeah! Working for Depeche Mode was something I’ll never forget.

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Depeche Mode Fan Takeover on Friday!


Chances are every person in my social circle is tired of hearing about it but for those of you that only know me from the blog, here’s your official notice.

On Friday, October 6, I will be taking over Depeche Mode’s Facebook page as part of their Fan Takeover. Every day in 2017, a different fan will be selected to share their experiences with the band, their music, etc. and I was selected as one of them for Day 203.

Even got the profile picture for it and a short bio on their website:

1006_PP_Approved

My posts will be shared throughout the day and there may be a few surprises and announcements so if you like Depeche Mode, you might want to check things out!

Now go go go!

Well, not until Friday but you get the idea.

The Return of Slik


In 1995, Alan Wilder stated the following:

Whilst I believe that the calibre of our musical output has improved, the quality of our association has deteriorated to the point where I no longer feel that the end justifies the means. I have no wish to cast aspersions on any individual; suffice to say that relations have become seriously strained, increasingly frustrating and, ultimately, in certain situations, intolerable.

In 2010:

Dave contacted me a few weeks back and asked if I’d be willing to join them on-stage. He assured me that everyone in the band was into the idea. I was very happy to accept, especially as it was all in a good cause and we were long overdue some kind of reunion of this sort. It was great to see everyone again and catch up a bit, and it was also the first time I have actually ‘seen’ Depeche Mode perform!

Now I am by no means going out on a limb with this because for all we know, Alan Wilder’s appearance last night at the Royal Albert Hall benefit gig was just a one-off and something fans might never see again.

But regardless of what may or may not come of it, thanks to the phone-cams, digital cameras and the Intartubes, Depeche Mode fans around the whole wide world can see and enjoy this tremendously, stupendously, goose bump-inducing moment.

Welcome back, Slik, if only for one song 🙂

18 Years Ago Today…


I met Depeche Mode. Here’s the text from an outdated Web page I created, celebrating the event:

I was barely over a month into my 21st birthday back in March, 1990. Considering I never had the notion to drink, I had never thought about going into a bar. My mind would change quickly.

My brother was working at a local radio station that was giving away tickets to a private party with Depeche Mode (it was not KROQ). The event, which took place the night before the Wherehouse disaster, was going to be at a “secret location” somewhere in Los Angeles. Anyway, my brother called me and asked a dumb question: would you like to go?

Is the Pope Catholic?

He had given away so many tickets to listeners who were, more than anything, simply eager to win a prize from a radio station. The last pair, he proclaimed, “needs to go to a pair of real fans.” The only downer was that relatives of station employees could not win tickets to this small event.

But that’s what friends are for.

My brother asked me if I could supply information for my buddy Russ, another DM fan. The two of us had been DM fans for a long time and already had a string of DM concert ticket stubs in our collection, including the best one of all: the Concert for the Masses at the Rose Bowl. I called Russ, explaining the situation, got the info, and called my brother back. Within minutes, Russ was the final winner of the contest. We had to swear not to tell anybody where this event was taking place. In case you are interested, it was at a nameless bar on Melrose across the street from the Astroburger in Los Angeles, near Paramount Studios. If you know the area, you know where I’m talking about.

Alright, the day had come. Russ and I parked across the street and checked in at the door. We were handed a cassette copy of Violator, which was also playing in the background. After about 10 minutes, the band arrived.

They quietly wandered to a table and sat down, were served bottles of Rolling Rock beer (the first time I had ever heard of it), and chatted amongst themselves. After a few drinks, they began to walk amongst the fans.

They shook hands, posed for pictures, signed autographs. I had the band sign three things: a vinyl copy of Music for the Masses, the cover to The Singles 81-> 85 CD and a small photo from the Japanese CD3 for Behind The Wheel/I Want You Now, to which Martin replied, “What in the world did you get this?” I smiled and explained. Wow, to have something the band had never even seen. Russ had a swirled vinyl 12″ of A Question of Lust and a tour program from 101. Also note the Question of Lust button on Russ’ DM cap. It was included in the Question of Lust UK cassette remix along with a booklet. Hard to find.

The entire event lasted only about 45 minutes. When I went to grab my last CD to have signed, they were headed for the door.

Afterwards, Russ and I went down to the Beverly Center Wherehouse and showed Violator to a few hearty souls who were waiting in line for the big event the next day. Needless to say, they were a bit jealous.

Between the two of us, we managed to take the pictures you see below. The quality is not the best; I blame the lousy camera I had that night. I should have brought my trusty Minolta X370 instead.

You can see scans of the images in this Flickr set.

Enjoy!