Biography



Table of Contents
Summary
Beginnings in Basildon
Starting Depeche Mode
Solo Career
Personal Details
Other Details
Magazine Snippets
Quotes


Summary

Birth name:
David Callcott
Birthdate:
May 9, 1962
Birthplace:
Epping, Essex, England
Parents (biological):
Sylvia Ruth Gahan and Len Callcott
Siblings:
Sue, Peter, and Philip Gahan
Marital status:
Married to Jennifer Sklias-Gahan



Beginnings in Basildon



Table of Contents
Is Dave the oldest among his siblings?
When and why did Dave change his last name to "Gahan?"
When did Dave find out about his biological father?
What was Dave's youth like?
Did Dave go to college?


Is Dave the oldest among his siblings?

No, he is the second oldest child. Sue is older while Peter and Philip are younger.



When and why did Dave change his last name to "Gahan?"

Dave took the surname, Gahan, from his stepfather, Jack Gahan, when he was young. Len Callcott is Sue and Dave's biological father and he left the family when Dave was a toddler. Sylvia remarried, this time to Jack Gahan, an administrator with Shell Oil, and they eventually had two more children together, Peter and Philip. The whole family moved to Basildon at this time, as well.



When did Dave find out about his biological father?

Sources put Dave's age around 7-11 when he first found out about Len, his biological father. When Dave was 9, his stepfather, Jack, died, and a little bit later, his biological father, Len, returned.1 This was a turning point for young Dave, as he previously did not know or remember who Len really was. However, Len didn't stick around for long. About a year later, he left and disappeared for good. Though he did look for him, Dave never saw him again.

"I came home one day and found this bloke at home who turned out to be my father. I was very upset and we all had a huge argument because I thought I should have been told."2



What was Dave's youth like?

Dave was a wild child. He constantly got into trouble at school. He got suspended and even ended up in juvenile court three times for things like stealing cars, setting them on fire, and spraying walls with graffiti. He eventually dropped out when he was 16 years old. He worked at numerous jobs in his youth, but his most notorious moment in employment came when he applied as an apprentice fitter at North Thames Gas. Having a criminal record, his probation officer told him to just be honest about it during the job interview, which he did, but was rejected in the end. He ended up trashing the probation office in retaliation.2

"I hated school, from day one I wanted to get out of there, y'know, I really hated it. So I just knew I was going to do something else. Compared to my other mates I didn't fit in very well with any kind of... I moved around a lot, put it that way. I had a lot of mates, a lot of people I could go to hang out with that I could pick for different sorts of moods. Violent ones, druggy ones, just girls."3



Did Dave go to college?

Yes. Dave ended up going to Southend Art College where he studied art and fashion. He seems to have fond memories from this period.

"That was around the punk period, 1977. Good times. I enjoyed college, I was designing clothes for mates, going off to see Gen X and The Damned. I had original Sex shop gear. We used to stick labels on the outside and come down to the gritty London clubs like Studio 21...I had a double life, mixing with the art school mob then going home to Bas."2



References

  1. "Facing My Monsters", Daily Mirror (June 27 - July 3, 2003)
  2. "Private Lives: The Depeche Mode Story Part 1: Dave Gahan: The Wild Boy", No1 magazine (May 4, 1985)
  3. "Tattoo Unlimited", NME (September 25, 1993)



Starting Depeche Mode



Table of Contents
When and how did Dave join Depeche Mode?
Did Dave write any Depeche Mode songs?


When and how did Dave join Depeche Mode?

Sometime in 1980, Dave met Vince Clarke, whom had started a band called Composition of Sound with Andy Fletcher and Martin Gore, and Dave was asked to sing with them. Apparently, it was after hearing Dave sing "Heroes" by David Bowie that Vince and his band got turned on to him. After joining Composition of Sound, it was Dave who had suggested changing their name to Depeche Mode after seeing the French magazine of the same name. It was also around this time that he was kicked out of art college. Thus, from here on out, Dave's history became very closely intertwined with Depeche Mode history and lore.

"When the band first started, I was at college studying fashion. I loved it — the lecturers, the people there — but my heart was in music. So I was forever missing days and disappearing off to rehearse with the rest of the band. This went on for ages, until I was hardly ever in college. So in the end, there was only one thing the principal could do — expel me. I was pretty upset at first as I enjoyed the course, but I know it wasn't totally right for me."1



Did Dave write any Depeche Mode songs?

Not until 2005 when Playing the Angel came out did any of Dave's songs get included on a Depeche Mode album. Thus, for the first 25 years of the band's career, the lead singer served only as the interpreter of lyrics written first by Vince Clarke, and then after his departure from Depeche Mode in 1981, primarily by Martin Gore. Alan Wilder contributed the lyrics to a few songs that were also sung by Dave.



References

  1. "We're In The Mode", Oh Boy! (October 24, 1981)



Solo Career



When and how did Dave's solo career come about and what became of it?

In 2003, Dave finally broke from the confines of his long-running band and released his debut solo album, Paper Monsters, whose lyrics were all written by him. To read more details about this album, visit the Paper Monsters section. Right after releasing the album, he went on a tour around the world, with one show being professionally filmed and released on a DVD called Live Monsters. In 2007, Dave recorded and released another solo album called Hourglass. To read more details about this album, visit the Hourglass section.




Personal Details



Table of Contents
Is Dave married?
How many times has Dave been married?
Does Dave have any children?
How did Dave get "The Cat" nickname?
Did Dave have cancer?


Is Dave married?

Yes, Dave has been married to Jennifer Sklias-Gahan, an actress and scriptwriter from New York, USA, since February 14, 1999. They first met at a spa in Arizona in the mid-1990s.1 He was living in Los Angeles and she was living in New York at the time. He eventually moved to New York to be with her in 1998 and they were married in a traditional Greek Orthodox wedding ceremony on Valentine's Day, 1999. One funny tidbit is that Jennifer refuses to call him "Dave" and only calls him "David."2



How many times has Dave been married?

Counting his current marriage, Dave has been married three times. From 1985 to 1991, he was married to Joanne Fox from Basildon, Essex, England. From 1992 to 1996, he was married to Teresa Conroy from Los Angeles, California, USA.



Does Dave have any children?

Yes. Dave has three children- two sons and one daughter. Jack Gahan is his son from his marriage to Joanne Fox, James Rogers-Gahan is his stepson and biological son of Jennifer Sklias-Gahan, and Stella Rose Gahan is his daughter from his marriage to Jennifer.



How did Dave get "The Cat" nickname?

After multiple brushes with death and visits to the hospital during his drug years in Los Angeles, California, paramedics there gave him the nickname, "The Cat," in reference to the joke that a cat has nine lives.3 But it was no joke- Dave came close to dying a few times during the 1990s- once by suffering a drug-induced heart attack at a Depeche Mode show4, another time when he attempted suicide at home by slashing his wrists5, and the most infamous incident taking place on May 28, 1996 at the Sunset Marquis Hotel where he injected a lethal mix of cocaine and heroin that caused his heart to stop for two minutes.3



Did Dave have cancer?

Technically, yes. In 2009, doctors found a malignant tumor in his bladder which they subsequently removed.6 Dave had fallen ill right before a Depeche Mode show and was rushed to the hospital where they eventually discovered the tumor. Doctors operated on it the very next day and had it removed. Since then, Dave has been cancer-free.



References

  1. "Facing My Monsters", Daily Mirror (June 27 - July 3, 2003)
  2. "Peter Robinson vs Dave Gahan, Depeche Mode", NME (September 29, 2007)
  3. "Dead Man Talking", NME (January 18, 1997)
  4. "Just Can't Get Enough", Uncut (May 2001)
  5. "Dave Gahan Slashes Wrists in L.A.", NME (September 2, 1995)
  6. "Depeche Mode frontman Dave Gahan opens up about his battle with cancer", NME (May 1, 2013)



Other Details



Table of Contents
What is Dave's astrological sign?
What is Dave's Chinese zodiac sign?


What is Dave's astrological sign?

Being born on May 9, Dave is a Taurus. astrology-zodiac-signs.com has the following nice and concise summary on the strengths, weakness, likes, and dislikes of a Taurus:

Strengths: Reliable, patient, practical, devoted, responsible, stable
Weaknesses: Stubborn, possessive, uncompromising
Taurus likes: Gardening, cooking, music, romance, high quality clothes, working with hands
Taurus dislikes: Sudden changes, complications, insecurity of any kind, synthetic fabrics



What is Dave's Chinese zodiac sign?

Dave was born in 1962, the Year of the Tiger. According to thechinesezodiac.org, people born in the Year of the Tiger are among other things, "brave," "bold," "warm-hearted," "open," and "honest."




Magazine Snippets

Below are snippets from various magazines that profiled Dave.




Quotes



Table of Contents
By Dave
By Others


By Dave

[On drugs] "'More' was the key word with me. My mother used to say, 'David needs a lot of love.' I know what she means now: more than everyone else."1

"I'm a good example of somebody with an over-inflated ego but an incredibly low self-esteem and they really go hand in hand. I'm the greatest thing since sliced bread on one hand, and the lowest creature from the black lagoon you can possibly imagine on the other."2

"I get lost in songs, on-stage, making music, and others' music too if I'm lucky. It's the reality of life that I struggle with."3



References

  1. "The Survivor", FHM (June 2001)
  2. "New Life New Life", 9 to 5/MW (June 2, 2003)
  3. MOJO (May 2013)


By Others

"Gahan is a veritable puppy dog, almost too energetic to be contained by his chair, ready to ramble your head off on any subject that prompts his enthusiasm (and it's not hard to find one)." -Chris Willman1

"Dave was the most open of all of them. Dave can tell you about his feelings for hours and he'll burst into tears..."2

"He's a really nice guy and a brilliant singer." - Tony "Doggen" Foster, who played guitar and harmonica on Soulsavers album, The Light the Dead See3

"Dave has a really cool voice, and he's a great singer, which are two different things, but combined it's compelling." - Mark Lanegan4

"He's achieved so much over the years, an incredible front man, with such a soaring voice and presence, but with no trademark tone of celebrity or ego whatsoever. Very humble, gentle and giving." - Rob Marshall5



References

  1. L.A. Times (March 21, 1993)
  2. Depeche Mode: A Biography by Steve Malins, Page 48 (2001)
  3. "Interview", pennyblackmusic.co.uk, (December 14, 2013)
  4. MOJO, (May 2013)
  5. "Depeche Mode's Dave Gahan on new Humanist collaboration and his 2020 plans", NME (January 13, 2020)