Happy 2010 (TwentyTen™) to all of you! To ring in the new year, Mr. Alan Wilder himself sent in brief a video greeting for DepecheMode.de wishing fans a happy holidays, with the promise of some “very interesting news” to come with a “we’ll be.. I’ll be back with more news soon.” …Say what?
Something I’ve always admired about Alan, inside and outside of Depeche Mode, is how he isn’t afraid of engaging with fans. Despite the tension related to his departure from the band, he has remained part of the fan side of the timeline in subtle, auxiliary ways. His personal website maintains an extensive question and answer section chuck full of anecdotes. Of course he participated in the making of the remasters of the albums to which he contributed, and last year, he launched a lengthy retrospective editorial on his time with Depeche Mode. His meticulous archiving sense helped the lads dig up “long-lost” demos for the Sounds of the Universe boxset and archival footage from the studio for the aforementioned remasters – it’s no secret the man is sitting on a treasure trove of goodies, for better or worse. Recently, he even went to the London premier of The Posters Came from the Walls and took part in a Q&A session in which he implied he wouldn’t mind working with DM again. For his solo efforts with the Recoil projects, he updates his fans on upcoming Recoil news via video fairly regularly, and has had a more personal presence on the web community than Depeche have.*
Because of this, I wager Alan knows his audience well – he knows that by being intentionally vague, Depeche Mode fans will mess their shorts wondering what he means by it. What DOES he mean? Is he ready to announce the new Recoil album? Maybe he’s going to join the band for their special Royal Albert Hall gig in February? How many licks does it take to get to the center of a tootsie-pop? The world may never know, but seriously folks, we all know Alan Charles Wilder is never coming back to Depeche Mode (not even if Martin gave him a billion dollars).
*I am not someone who thinks Depeche Mode is nothing without Alan, brilliant though he is, but they could certainly take a pointer or two in this area.