You're about to embark on your first world tour in five years. Why are you still doing them?
Because we can. We found out while making the album that there are still things we want to do together and one of the aspects I really enjoy about the business is performing. I don't like the travelling or being away from my wife and children - that's the hardest part - but the performing part is something I love.
Do you miss the stadiums?
When I was touring my solo album, Paper Monsters, I played in both tiny clubs and big arenas in Europe - one day it could be 10,000 people, the next day it could be ten - and I found that it's all the same. It gets a lot louder in bigger gigs, you feel the enormity of the sheer amount of people in one place, but I found I just really love performing.
Why have you done another album? You've sold more than 40million - presumably you don't need the money.
No. We've all done quite nicely, thank you. If money was the reason for doing it I don't think we would bother, unless ten years from now we're all broke. After 25 years of making records together it becomes more obvious we're still doing it just because we want to. If you'd asked me ten years ago why the Rolling Stones were still doing it I'd have said: 'I don't know,' but I get it now. It's because they still enjoy it. What's not to enjoy? You see thousands of people celebrating what you've spent your life doing.
Has the electro revival helped bring you back into fashion?
The electroclash thing has come and gone. There's too much attention focused on what's trendy, but bands like us, REM and U2 have created our own worlds and our own platforms to work from and that's quite a special thing. It's much tougher for bands to do that now. They don't get a chance to grow if their first record isn't hit.
You've contributed some of your own tracks to this album. Has it changed the way the band works?
It's changed the dynamics. When we were making the album, we all realis all had things to contribute and it added a feeling of healthy competition between me and Martin [Gore, until now the group's only songwriter]. Our producer embraced the fact we were fortunate enough to be going in with 20 songs we'd demoed. We knew I was going to have three songs on the record and the rest would be Martin's.
60 SECONDS EXTRA!: After waiting more than 20 years was it easier than you thought?
Yes. I don't know why but it was about me personally feeling more confident. The three of us allowed the process to evolve and all mucked in together rather thartin writinthesongs and then me going in to sing them. It felt fresh, like statingagain
You've said being in Depeche Mode is better now than it has been for 15 years.
Well, maybe that's going over the top but it's defitly better than it has been for the last five. That's just due to my own state f mind.
Was that related to your drink and drug problems?
Definitely. I found it difficult to deal with my life. Ten years ago the sh*t hit the fan and I couldn't run any more. I had to stand still and go: 'F*ck, what a mess.'
You had two drug-induced heart attacks. What finally convinced you to go into rehab?
The law - but thank God it did. It was forced upon me and it was either make that choice and change or carry on and go to jail.
Is it difficult to stay off booze?
Not any more. I still go to bars and see bands. There was a while when it was difficult to do that. It became obvious it was a problem because I'd be thinking about it too much. It doesn't work like that any more. Most importantly, I'm not going to be there for my wife and children if I go to that dark place again.
You live in New York. Do you miss anything about England?
I was going to say fish and chips but I've found a great chip shop down the road run by some English guys. It's called A Salt And Battery. There are things I miss but I visit. I like Britain more than when I lived there. Coming from a working-class family I was brought up with the mentality that I wasn't good enough. But I don't give a sh*t any more.
by Andrew Williams , October 3rd, 2005