Dave Gahan seemed destined for a life of petty crime in the working class town of Basildon, England, with an extensive juvenile criminal record and a pattern of rapidly losing dead-end jobs, when he finally started turning things around at Southend Technical College. School resulted in a gig as a window-dresser, and shortly after that he joined the New Wave band Depeche Mode, founded by Andy Fletcher, Martin Gore, and Vince Clarke as Composition of Sound. Gahan suggested the name Depeche Mode after a French fashion magazine, and the goth giant began to take form.
Clarke eventually left the band to go on to success in Yaz and Erasure, and Gahan's charismatic vocal delivery became the focal point of the band's videos and promotional materials. Gahan was apparently increasingly frustrated by the fact that Gore was the author of all of the band's music, and starting with Playing the Angel in 2005, he has contributed several songs to each of Depeche Mode's albums. He also has produced two of his own solo albums along the way, Paper Monsters and Hourglass.
While Gahan has remained a member of the band for more than 30 years, there were several periods of time where his heroin addiction threatened both his career and his life. In 1996, he suffered an overdose that resulted in his heart stopping for two minutes, and in 1995 he attempted to take his own life by cutting his wrists. His struggles with his personal demons are well-documented in the band's dark lyrics, as Gore often used his bandmate as a lyrical inspiration.
Lately, Gahan has appeared to be in good health, aside from a bout of gastroenteritis during a tour in 2009. Fans hope to see his trademark high kicks and mic stand spins in concerts for years to come. Depeche Mode continues to have a large fan base that supports the group on their frequent world tours, outlasting most of their peers from the '80s.