Now that the Prodigy's Keith Flint is the top dog in electronica, does he ever stop to remember who threw him a bone?
While the importance of trailblazing techno-rockers Depeche Mode is certainly reflected in their record sales -- 35 million albums worldwide in the past 17 years -- the band's artistic prowess is now being celebrated with a tribute album titled For the Masses, which will be released next week.
"It's a great honor," says Martin Gore, songwriter and founding member of Depeche Mode, while in New York for a video shoot. "It's about the biggest compliment a band can get. Everyone in the band loves it."
For the Masses has been a three-year project for co-producer Jeff Turzo, who also plays guitar and keyboards for God Lives Underwater. "We chose bands we'd like to see on it," he says. "We thought it would be cool not to have any electronica bands. I mean, it wouldn't make sense to have Camouflage on it," he jokes about the Depeche Mode imitators.
To that end, the Smashing Pumpkins, the Cure and Veruca Salt are but a few of the names that show up on the tribute. In addition, a rocking version of Violator's "Policy Of Truth" is delivered by Dishwalla. "We wanted to change it around by making it as heavy as possible and taking it away from the techno thing," says Dishwalla frontman J.R. Richards. "I was a big fan growing up, so I was really into doing the tribute. They're great songwriters."
Los Angeles' Failure also contributes a standout track with the 1990 hit "Enjoy The Silence." "The Smashing Pumpkins was an especially big honor, but I really like the Failure version best," Gore says about the bare bones acoustic track that explodes with effects mid-song.
With 16 covers total, did Gore find it odd that "People Are People" didn't show up on the compilation? "That's about my least favorite song I've ever written," he says of the '80s mega-hit. "I'd be upset if someone had chosen to record it."
Depeche Mode's The Singles: 86-98 will be released this October in conjunction with their first U.S. tour in five years.