Depeche Mode has always had a particularly close relationship with Los Angeles. Staples on the city’s seminal radio station KROQ well before they became ubiquitous in the rest of the country, the Essex group played a massive SoCal concert at Pasadena’s the Rose Bowl in 1988, and later made national news when a planned record signing on Sunset Blvd. in 1990 attracted so many fans that a riot broke out.
So it’s entirely appropriate that the city would finally officially acknowledge the band’s place in Angeleno hearts, with City Councilwoman Monica Rodriguez declaring Dec. 13 as "Depeche Mode Day" in the city. The band’s principle members Dave Gahan and Martin Gore were in attendance at the ceremony at L.A.'s City Hall.
The band is currently in the midst of four Southland performances in support of latest album Memento Mori, split between the Kia Forum and the Crypto.com Arena. In between shows, Gore and Gahan stopped by City Hall for the outdoor ceremony, which honored the band for its “musical genius and message of unity and love.”
“I want to thank you all for coming out to honor a very treasured band that has meant so much to Los Angeles,” Councilwoman Rodriguez told the assembled crowd from the steps of City Hall, thanking the band for “meeting us where we are with their lyrics and their musical stylings that helped to keep us whole when sometimes the world was falling apart.”
Gore acknowledged the band’s “special relationship” with the city in his remarks, noting that “Los Angeles and New York were the springboards, really, for our career in America. ... The first stadium we ever played, headlining, was here in Los Angeles, a big part of our history.” Later he addressed the infamous Depeche Mode record-signing riot of 1990, joking: “Sorry we didn’t sign the records, but thank you. It helped our career a lot because we made nationwide news.”
Gahan only spoke briefly, with a joking seeming nod to his troubled period living in the city: “I could’ve done with this kind of support in the early ’90s as well," he said "It would have been very helpful.”
Though they had enjoyed radio play Stateside for earlier hits “Just Can’t Get Enough” and “People Are People,” Depeche Mode’s true breakthrough as an American stadium band came in 1988, when their show at the Rose Bowl attracted more than 60,000 people, and was captured with a live album and a documentary from acclaimed rock filmmaker D.A. Pennebaker, both titled 101. The band’s next album, Violator, was a smash in the U.S., eventually going triple-platinum. Follow-up album Songs of Faith and Devotion topped the U.S. album chart upon its release in 1993. Depeche Mode were inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 2022.
The Memento Mori tour is the Depeche Mode's first following the death of the band’s late founding member and keyboardist, Andy Fletcher, who died in 2022 after suffering an aortic dissection.
Watch the full ceremony below: