Andy “Fletch” Fletcher, the co-founder and keyboardist of Depeche Mode, a popular synth-pop and New Wave band, died at the age of 60.
Fletcher’s bandmates announced his death on social media on Thursday, and Rolling Stone verified that he died of natural causes. “With the untimely departure of our beloved friend, family member, and bandmate Andy ‘Fletch’ Fletcher, we are horrified and overcome with enormous sadness,” the band stated in a statement.
“Fletch had a true gold heart and was always there for you when you needed support, a good laugh, or a cold pint.”
Fletcher was a member of Depeche Mode for 40 years, from its inception in 1980 and the release of their debut album Speak and Spell in 1981 to their most recent album, Spirit, released in 2017.
Fletcher and his Depeche Mode bandmates — longtime members Dave Gahan and Martin Gore, as well as former members Vince Clarke and Alan Wilder — were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2020 for their pioneering role in the synth-pop, new wave, and electronic music movements, as well as their influence on heavy metal.
In 1990, Fletcher told Rolling Stone, “The beauty of employing electronics is that music can now be made in your bedroom.” “To practise, you don’t need to gather four people in a warehouse.” You don’t need four great musicians to battle amongst yourselves. It’s all down to ideas, and you can do it in your bedroom.”
The band (and Fletcher himself) often joked about Fletch’s place in the group, despite the fact that Gahan was the vocalist and Gore was the main songwriter. In the band’s 1989 documentary 101, co-directed by D.A. Pennebaker, he said, “Dave is the singer, Martin is the lyricist, Alan is the wonderful player, and I simply bum around.”
Fletcher is recognized for playing on all 14 of the band’s studio albums and innumerable stadium-filling concert performances, in addition to having the unofficial title of a tiebreaker in the event that Gore and Gahan got into creative spats.
In 2017, told Rolling Stone France, “Most of the time we sort of agree with one other.” “However, we have this golden rule that if Martin, Dave, or I are truly opposed to something, we will agree to that [tiebreaker]… It’s a group effort.”
Pet Shop Boys posted on Twitter, “We’re sorry and astonished that Andy Fletcher of Depeche Mode has died.” “Fletch was a pleasant, engaging, and hilarious guy who liked electronic music and could also give good music business advice.”
In a 2009 interview, Fletcher said of his involvement in crafting Depeche Mode’s sound, “Within the band, I provide the element of pop.” (Gore), who wrote the majority of the tunes, is a big fan of American blues and country music. Dave, on the other hand, has discovered jazz on his own. I, on the other hand, will almost certainly always be faithful to simple pop tunes and the joy they represent.”
“Very sad news today,” Lol Tolhurst of The Cure tweeted on Thursday. Depeche Mode’s Andy Fletcher has died. Andy was someone I knew and considered a friend. We shared a lot of the same paths as the younger men. My thoughts and prayers are with his family, bandmates, and DM fans. Fletch, rest in peace.”