Depeche Mode's Andy Fletcher has passed away. VARIETY notes:
Andy “Fletch” Fletcher, keyboardist and one of the founding members of iconic British electronic band Depeche Mode, has died. He was 60.
The news was announced via Depeche Mode’s official Twitter account, which posted the news Thursday afternoon. “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,” the post reads. A cause of death was not confirmed.
Fletcher was 15 in 1976 when punk rock arrived on the music scene. He said this was "obviously the perfect age to experience it...we were very lucky in life". He was then influenced by bands such as Siouxsie and the Banshees, the Cure, Kraftwerk, early Human League, and early OMD. Fletcher and schoolmate Vince Clarke formed the short-lived band No Romance in China, in which Fletcher played bass guitar. In 1980, Fletcher met Martin Gore at the Van Gogh pub on Paycocke Road in Basildon. With Clarke, the trio, now all on synthesizer, formed another group called Composition of Sound. Clarke served as chief songwriter and also provided lead vocals until singer Dave Gahan was recruited into the band later that year, after which they adopted the name Depeche Mode at Gahan's suggestion. Clarke left the group in late 1981, shortly after the release of their debut album Speak & Spell.
Their 1982 follow-up album, A Broken Frame, was recorded as a trio, with Gore taking over primary songwriting duties. Musician and producer Alan Wilder joined the band in late 1982 and the group continued as a quartet until Wilder's departure in 1995. From then on, the core trio of Gahan, Gore, and Fletcher remained active, up to the release of their 2017 album Spirit and ensuing world tour.
Fletcher's role within Depeche Mode was often a topic of speculation. In early incarnations of the band, he played (electric and later synth) bass. As the band evolved after Vince Clarke's departure in 1981, Fletcher's role changed as each of the band members took to the areas that suited them and benefited the band collectively. In a key scene in D.A. Pennebaker's 1989 documentary film about the band, Fletcher clarified these roles: "Martin's the songwriter, Alan's the good musician, Dave's the vocalist, and I bum around." In his review of 2005's Playing the Angel, long after Wilder's departure from the band, Rolling Stone writer Gavin Edwards riffed upon Fletcher's statement with the opening line: "Depeche Mode's unique division of labor has been long established, with each of the three remaining members having a distinct role: Martin Gore writes the songs, Dave Gahan sings them and Andy Fletcher shows up for photo shoots and cashes the checks." Fletcher was the only member of the band who did not receive a songwriting credit.
With the band having not always employed a full-time manager, Fletcher handled many of the band's business, legal, and other non-musical interests over the years. In the press kit for Songs of Faith and Devotion, he discussed being genuinely interested in many of the business aspects of the music industry that other performing musicians shy away from, and as such, he took over a lot of the business management aspects of the band. In later years, this included acting as the band's "spokesperson", with Fletcher often being the one to announce Depeche Mode news (such as record album and tour details).
He was also said to be the member who was "the tiebreaker" and the one that "brings the band together". According to interviews, Fletcher built the compromise between Gahan and Gore that settled their serious dispute following 2001's Exciter album and tour over future songwriting duties within Depeche Mode.
Fletcher was the only member of Depeche Mode who did not sing. Although he can be seen singing in videos of Depeche's past live performances, usually Fletcher's vocals were either mixed very low or heard only through his own stage monitors. From the band's 2013/14 Delta Machine Tour onwards, he no longer had a vocal mic at keyboard station.
Fletcher sang on the interlude "Crucified" on Violator. According to Alan Wilder, every band member participated in the choir on the song "Condemnation" from Songs of Faith and Devotion and Wilder confirms this on the press kit of the same album.
Fletcher, who was born in Nottingham, remained with the band throughout its four-decade history, which included two number one albums, Ultra and Songs of Faith and Devotion.
His last studio album with the band was 2017's Spirit, their 14th, which reached number five in the UK albums chart.
He leaves behind wife Grainne, to whom he was married for almost 30 years, and two children, Megan and Joe.
Closing with C.I.'s "Iraq snapshot:"
Thursday, May 25, 2022. Another attack in Iraq, Jonathan Cook takes on the war propaganda, I take on NPR's hit job against male survivors, and more.
Starting with an attack in Iraq, MEHR NEWS notes:
Local media in Iraq have reported an attack on the US troops in Saladin province in central Iraq on Thursday.
Sources in Iraq told Sabereen News telegram channel that a US military logistics convoy was targeted in Iraq.
The report said that a US Army logistics convoy was targeted in Saladin.
Aren't we all glad that the Iraq War ended? Aren't we all thrilled all US troops left Iraq?
Oh . . . Wait. That didn't happen. Just because CODESTINK and the others walked out on efforts to end the war, the war didn't end. It's not just the hollow words from Barack Obama, it's the hollow words from self-appointed 'leaders' like CODESTINK.
Now we're going to move to something else . . .
kept Johnny Depp and Amber Heard largely out of the snapshots. Largely
because I've had a blind item or two or three or four since the
marriage began. The last was noting what a cold fish she was on screen.
No, the WB reaction was not a surprise to me and I actually provided
feedback regarding that. I know Johnny and I've known him for years. I
do not like her. The marriage was a huge mistake and I said in real
time to both of them. To him that it would destroy him. To her that
she wasn't fooling me and she was clearly in it for herself (after she
responded to my question about how she could promise to stay faithful to
Johnny). I don't like her. I don't believe her.
I don't know any woman who believes her that knows Johnny. Ellen Barkin's an honorary man, after all, Ava and I have long noted her toxic masculinity.
But we get to comment on Johnny today because NPR doesn't know how to play by the rules.
I'm not doing news reports. I don't have to play fair. I also don't take money for this site -- let alone get government money -- US taxpayer money.
Anastasia Tsioulcas doesn't seem to grasp the area of public trust and the responsibility that being a journalist for NP requires.
She has written a piece of garbage that should honestly have her fired. But firing her would implicate those immediately above her so watch them pretend not to notice.
A trial is ongoing currently, is there a reason that she's taking sides?
And I'm sorry but her 'expert' is as ugly in the mind as she is and it's just one expert.
There is no blance, read her garbage because it's as ugly as her face is.
Johnny is an abuser to read the article. Amber is a victim to read the article.
I'm not impartial. I don't pretend to be. Anytime I've written about this -- usually at THIRD -- I've noted that I am a friend of Johnny's.
Why is NPR airing a report that argues Johnny is not a victim of domestic abuse, that this is some nonsense offered by men's right activists?
What a load of garbage.
She needs to be fired. She won't be because that this garbage got posted goes to what a cesspool she's standing in.
I am not in the mood for these people. Those of us who spend out lives raising awareness of abuse know damn well that men can be victims. We've encountered them our whole lives. I've detailed here many times that there are days when I just don't want to open a vein because someone in the room's going to have a trauma and need to talk about it and I just can't do that over and over and over and over . . .
But I do it as often as I can. And with male victims, it is so difficult to get them to open up -- prior to me, apparently, I'm the can opener -- because there are so many judgments and so much shame based on societal expectations. We need to stop it. We are short changing survivors and we are short changing equality.
Anyone can be an absuer. I loved Bob Filner tremendously but when women came forward, I said that they needed to be heard. And they did need to be heard and he issued an apology and stepped down.
We never know everything that goes on and I would never have guessed that Bob would assault and harass.
Could I be wrong about Johnny?
Because I'm not just basing it on Johnny. I'm also basing it on Amber. I'm basing it on how she used women and had physical altercations with them. I'm basing it on how she forced women to hide in the shadows when she couldn't cop to bi. I'm basing it on the rather infamous 2018 fight she had with a female lover that no one's talking about to the press.
Sorry, Amber is the profile of an abuser. And she has abused women and she's abused men. She's a malignant narcissist. After years of fuming over Lindsay Lohan and Blake Lively (she was especially obsessed with Blake), she thought she found a way to have the fame that they had. Johnny was going to be her meal ticket to fame and prestige. And she wasn't happy because people like that are never happy.
Let me stop a second. Johnny was stupid to marry her and I am on the record, to his face, before it imploded stating that. I told him that sometimes you honestly do meet someone who agrees with you about everything but, more often than not, what you've actually met is someone who's going to kiss your ass to get their grip on you and they don't really agree with you. (And I don't believe that happiness is found in a relationship where you agree on everything in most cases) He was blindly in love and if you want to fault him for something then fault him for that.
In the NPR piece, the 'expert' whines and whines and perfect victim and blah blah blah. If you're a known liar, you're a known liar. Now I've stated here before about the woman who thinks rape is sexy, the loon who told that to Anderson Cooper on air on CNN, even loons can be raped, even lairs can be.
I find it hilarious that the NPR reporter and NPR think they can high horse it on Johnny Depp's back when no one has ever had more supporting facts than Tara Reade and yet she didn't get defended, did she?
It wasn't politically smart to stick up for her. (We did -- community wide. And she told the truth.)
Amber isn't Tara. Amber hasn't told the truth.
And she's lied. Doesn't mean she can't be a victim. Ambition's not a crime either. Some can even justify using someone to get their dreams.
But we have a total portrait of who she is and who she is is someone who is not sympathetic, someone who is on a recording -- that I noted here over two years ago, before it was public and before it was ever brought up in a court -- gloating that no one will believe Johnny was abused.
Amber didn't want the life Johnny offered. She thought she could marry him and make her do this and that and her career would get promoted and this would happen and that would happen. Sorry, boys and girls, only Freddie Prinze Jr is more of a homebody than Johnny. When Amber realized what her life was and that she couldn't nag Johnny into making her into Blake Lively, she turned nasty. And she wanted out and she began to plot how she could exist to maximum effect.
After getting around it and having some people start to call her brave and express sympathy for her, she thought she was enough of an actress to pretend to be a domestic violence survivor and she wrote that absurd column.
Johnny gets falling down drunk. I've seen it with my own eyes. And because of that and his drug use, she knew she could paint him as an abuse and some would believe anything.
What she didn't count on was how this wasn't going to work. Johnny is a weepy drunk. He can be a loud drunk, but he's a weepy drunk. He wants to hug you when he's drunk. He does not want to hit you when he's drunk. I've been around him when he was drunk (or worse) more times than Amber ever has. I know his behavior. This is not Johnny. He is not an abuser in his best moments, he is not an abuser in his worst moments.
I try not to use this as a platform to protect my friends. But Johnny's being accused of things he did not do and I'm not going to stand for it.
It's only going to get worse for Amber.
And she's lying and we know she is -- 'we' being the industry.
He's not Kirk Douglas (who raped Natalie Wood, Dorothy Dandridge and so many other women). He's not James Caan who has a long list of 'explosive' relationships. He's not a predator.
As Kate Moss testified, what Amber claimed -- and what many wrongly repeated -- never happened. That's true of so much that comes out of her mouth so it's a shock to read NPR's disgusting and one-sided piece of garbage.
Does Johnny have benefits on his side?
Yes, he's someone the public feels they know. That is a plus in the court of public opinion. Amber's made herself well known though she's not exactly a civilian.
We live in a sexist society, so gender gives Johnny some benefits. We live in a sexist society, so gender gives Johnny some minuses. Like NPR refusing to see that he can be a victim of domestic abuse because he's a male.
Johnny's movie roles have made him well liked. That's a plus. Amber onscreen is a message to the movie goers to run to the lobby and get some popcorn since nothing's going to happen for awhile. That's a minus.
They both have pluses and minuses.
I'm not NPR. US tax payers are not supporting what I write. Nor am I presenting myself as objective in this case. Nor should I since I know both participants. But NPR does have to be objective and there is nothing objective in their so-called report. It is a hatchet job, a smear and it is not journalism to be proud of.
I think I've now weighed in more on the case here than I have previously combined here or at THIRD (and Ava and I noted the case in this week's "Media: We wonder, We wa wa wa wa wonder").
I am offended by NPR for what they did for so many reasons. One, it's not fair to a friend of mine. Two, it's not journalism worth praising and it's not journalism that tax dollars should be paying for. Third, this is a slap in the face to male survivors.
There were many men with real METOO moments and they got ignored. Some were victims as children. Watch as the bitches at the Academy Awards try to turn it into a wage issue and a this issue and erase all the children -- male and female -- that suffered abuse was appalling. The media went along with it. A friend of mine told a very brave story, came forward and talked about how he was abused as a child actor and instead we're focusing on other issues or pretending that, honestly, Harvey came onto a a sleep around -- verbally -- and didn't get his way and she wants to whine when we all know who she slept with to get her break. No one wants to take responsibility and everyone wants to celebrate the female victim.
(The sleep around slept with a friend of mine for a part. That wasn't the deal. The deal was she pretended to be in love with my friend -- who is a woman -- and slept with her and then, when the contract was signed, dumped my friend. And I think we pretty much know who I'm talking about but if you're not sure, Seth worked a visual joke about this into AMERICAN DAD. She has used sex to build the career she once had and that's why people don't take her seriously -- people outside of the press. But a woman like that gets attention while true survivors do not. That's the press.)
Amber played into that and the NPR article -- which is not journalism -- shows why Amber has been able to get away with it.
If NPR doesn't want to recognize male victims of abuse, I want NPR to return all taxpayer funds. And if NPR thinks one-sides hit pieces qualify as journalism, then they need the plug pulled permanently.
Let's note Cynthia McKinney.
There's the conversation that she and Sabby are having and there's the way you can apply it to almost every other topic. We'll discuss it later this week -- tomorrow or Saturday.
We're going to wind down with this from Jonathan Cook (DISSIDENT VOICE):
It was apparently a “gaffe” of the kind we had forgotten since George W Bush stepped down from the US presidency in early 2009. During a speech in Dallas last week, he momentarily confused Russian President Vladimir Putin’s current war of aggression against Ukraine and his own war of aggression against Iraq in 2003.
Bush observed that a lack of checks and balances in Russia had allowed “one man to launch a wholly unjustified and brutal invasion of Iraq… I mean, Ukraine. Iraq too. Anyway… I’m 75.”
It sounded like another “Bushism” – a verbal slip-up – for which the 43rd president was famous. Just like the time he boasted that people “misunderestimated” him, or when he warned that America’s enemies “never stop thinking about new ways to harm our country and our people – and neither do we”.
Maybe that explains why his audience laughed. Or maybe not, given how uncomfortable the laughter sounded.
Bush certainly wanted his mistake to be seen as yet another slip-up, which is why he hurriedly blamed it on his age. The senility defence doubtless sounds a lot more plausible at a time when the incumbent president, Joe Biden, regularly loses track of what he is saying and even where he is.
The western media, in so far as it has bothered to report Bush’s speech, has laughed along nervously too. It has milked the incident largely for comic effect: “Look, we can laugh at ourselves – unlike that narcissist Russian monster, Putin.”
But the focus on the humour of the moment is actually part of the media’s continuing war on our understanding of recent history. It is intended to deflect us, the audience, from thinking about the real significance of Bush’s “gaffe”.
The only reason the media is now so belatedly connecting – if very indirectly – “a wholly unjustified and brutal invasion” of Ukraine and what happened in Iraq is because of Bush’s mistake.
Had it not happened, the establishment media would have continued to ignore any such comparison. And those trying to raise it would continue to be dismissed as conspiracy theorists or as apologists for Putin.
The implication of what Bush said – even for those mockingly characterising it in Freudian terms – is that he and his co-conspirator, British Prime Minister Tony Blair, are war criminals and that they should be on trial at the Hague for invading and occupying Iraq.
Everything the current US administration is saying against Putin, and every punishment meted out on Russia and ordinary Russians, can be turned around and directed at the United States and Britain.
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