Pioneering English electronic rock band Depeche Mode’s keyboardist simply known to his contemporaries and fans as “Fletch” has passed away, just under two months shy of his 61st birthday.
There have been no details released around the circumstances surrounding his death, and his bandmates have requested his family’s privacy be respected.
Born Andrew John Leonard Fletcher in Nottingham, the high-energy pianist’s driving synth work became a hallmark of Depeche Mode’s unique sound, which saw them climb to the top of the US album charts in 1993 with Songs of Faith and Devotion.
The band issued a statement earlier today.
— Depeche Mode (@depechemode) May 26, 2022
Fletcher met lead guitarist Martin Gore in Basildon sometime in 1980, and after the addition of frontman Dave Gahan shortly afterward, Depeche Mode was born.
He was regarded as the “manager figure” in the band, using his savvy business sense to look after the financial side of things for the band, not an easy task when you have sold over 100 million records worldwide.
Their debut album, Speak & Spell, peaked at #10 on the UK charts, a placing which all their following 13 studio albums would surpass in their homeland.
Fletcher’s keyboard work was singled out as a highlight on the band’s breakthrough album in the US, 1990’s Violator, which peaked at #7.
Depeche Mode have scored eight Top Ten albums in America, and six Top 40 hits.
Fletcher is survived by his wife Gráinne (whom he was married to for almost 30 years) and two children; Megan and Joe.
He was also inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2020 as a member of Depeche Mode.
In a 2013 interview, Fletcher surmised his role in a self-deprecating but slightly confident way that sounded, at times, like his work on the keyboard for one of the great English bands.
“I’m the tall guy in the background, without whom this international corporation called Depeche Mode would never work,” he said.
The music world knows that Andy Fletcher was a lot more than that.
Here’s a music video showcasing some of Fletcher’s best work on one of Depeche Mode’s most recognisable songs: