Depeche Mode's Dave Gahan recalls the "utter terror" of his two minute 'death' after a heroin and cocaine overdose

Dave Gahan
(Image credit: Lorne Thomson/Redferns)

Depeche Mode frontman Dave Gahan has spoken about the two minutes when he was technically dead, when his heart stopped beating following a heroin and cocaine overdose in 1996. 

Speaking with The Guardian's Alexis Petridis, Gahan recalled the "utter terror" which engulfed him following his collapse at the Sunset Marquis hotel in Los Angeles on May 28, 1996.

“There was complete blackness and this feeling I’ve never felt before of utter terror," says Gahan. "No sound in the room, nothing, but the blackness felt close to you."

"I had the thing that people talk about, the out-of-body-experience, and then the next thing I know I’m sat up in the back of an ambulance being brought around. In that particular time the only real thought I had, which was terrifying, was that I don’t get to decide what happens. I thought I did. I was hellbent on the idea of ‘if I’m going out, I’m going out with a bang’, having what I thought was a good time, surrounded by other fucking sycophantic losers. It’s coming to all of us, but you don’t really know when."

The incident ultimately helped Gahan kick his drug addiction. 

In the same interview, the singer speaks about his memories of his bandmate Andy 'Fletch' Fletcher, who passed away last year, aged 60.

"His personality was huge," says Gahan. "He was the voice of reason if we were going too far out with a song. We’ve been doing this a long time – me, Martin, Fletch. So this is a monumental change. Not a monumental musical change, he didn’t do masterful things on the records, but what Fletch represented within the band was identity.”

Depeche Mode release their new album Memento Mori on March 24 on Columbia Records.

Paul Brannigan
Contributing Editor, Louder

A music writer since 1993, formerly Editor of Kerrang! and Planet Rock magazine (RIP), Paul Brannigan is a Contributing Editor to Louder. Having previously written books on Lemmy, Dave Grohl (the Sunday Times best-seller This Is A Call) and Metallica (Birth School Metallica Death, co-authored with Ian Winwood), his Eddie Van Halen biography (Eruption in the UK, Unchained in the US) emerged in 2021. He has written for Rolling Stone, Mojo and Q, hung out with Fugazi at Dischord House, flown on Ozzy Osbourne's private jet, played Angus Young's Gibson SG, and interviewed everyone from Aerosmith and Beastie Boys to Young Gods and ZZ Top. Born in the North of Ireland, Brannigan lives in North London and supports The Arsenal.