One Hundred Seventy-Four.
Thursday, 2013.10.17, 2:48 PM CST.
Depeche Mode's "But Not Tonight."
Current Mood: Not as productive
as I'd like, but surviving.
Current Scent: A*Men Pure Coffee by Thierry Mugler.
WARNING: This blog post contains possible spoilers for those
of you who are still looking forward to shows on Depeche Mode's current
Delta Machine Tour. ***
yeah... There's this song called "But Not Tonight" by
Depeche Mode. Last month, it became one of my favourite DM songs
of all time. Here's why.
many of you know, I first "got into" Depeche Mode when I heard
the single "Never Let Me Down Again" in late 1987. I
received a copy of Music for the Masses as one of my stocking
stuffers for Christmas, and then I started collecting Depeche Mode's
earlier albums, starting in very early 1988, all on cassette at first.
1986 album Black Celebration quickly became a favourite, and
the closing track - "But Not Tonight" - was beautiful.
It was an uplifting song, unlike most of the rest of the album which
was much darker and somber in tone. What I didn't realize at the
time was that Sire, their US record company, had made the choice to
stick "But Not Tonight," a B-side, onto the end of the album.
The album was actually meant to close with the cynical "New Dress."
"But Not Tonight" was the B-side to "Stripped,"
the first of the three singles from that album and a track generally
considered by fans to be one of Depeche Mode's masterworks. Countries
around the world got the "Stripped" single. It was released
in the UK, Germany, Japan, Spain, Australia, and even Zimbabwe, among
the US didn't get a "Stripped" single. We got a "But
Not Tonight" single.
why would Sire release a US "But Not Tonight" single with
"Stripped" as the B-side, as opposed to the other way around?
Well... "But Not Tonight" was featured in an American movie.
Martin Gore explained it thusly:
VOX Magazine, "Devout Moded" by Martin Townsend, February
...although their boss at Mute Records, Daniel
Miller, will drop by during recordings and offer advice, neither Gore
nor the others are bullied by record company interference.
"The last time that happened at all, I think, was in 1986 when
our American record company (Sire) made us flip 'Stripped', which
we'd spent three weeks perfecting - for the B-side, 'But Not Tonight',
which was a throwaway thing we did in a day, because there was some
naff film, called Modern Girls, that wanted to use it.
It bombed, they lost our respect and that was it."
That last line was important. They lost our respect.
The band thought so little of the "throwaway" track "But
Not Tonight" that Sire Records "lost respect" by using
it as the A-side.
it didn't seem like the band merely weren't big fans of the song...
from all indications, they really didn't like it.
didn't stop them from recording a music video for it, though.
their disdain for it, it really was a damn good song... and a lot of
the really longtime, hardcore fans loved that oddly uplifting B-side.
we knew that we would never get a live performance. That would
just be preposterous! Although they never said it, it was pretty
much common knowledge that Depeche Mode would never perform this song
that they disliked so much, not under any circumstances.
on April 26th of this year, over twenty-seven years after the
song was originally released, at a tour promo performance at the tiny
Troubadour club in Los Angeles, this happened:
Gore came up for his slow song of the evening and announced with a laugh,"We've
never played this one before... probably for good reason."
What followed was their first live performance of "But Not Tonight"
in their history - only performed as a ballad, with Martin on vocals,
as opposed to Dave Gahan, who had sung the studio version.
you can hear in the video, the crowd FREAKED OUT when they realized
what they were hearing.
this was a special promotional performance, though, fans weren't sure
if "But Not Tonight" was going to be repeated over the course
of the band's 2013 Delta Machine Tour.
tried my best to avoid tour spoilers, but I heard about at least one
or two cities during the tour who got to hear "But Not Tonight"
before DM got to their Houston/Woodlands performance, where my once-estranged
college friend Tiff
and I got to see Depeche Mode perform together on September 18th.
I explained in my last
blog entry, the first slow song that Martin performed at the Woodlands
performance was the rather terrible new song "The Child Inside."
Tiff and I endured it.
the second song started, I was beyond thrilled, and so was she.
She had been a Depeche Mode fan for as long as I had (possibly even
longer) and knew the song very well. I stood there in amazement,
listening to Martin perform this right in front of my own eyes, and
tears just started rolling down my face.
looked over to my left and saw that Tiff was crying, too. Considering
the history of our friendship - two very close friends brought together
by our love for this band's music, then torn apart, then reunited after
not seeing each other in twenty years - this point of the concert was
the pinnacle of the experience for us.
if I were not lucky enough, at their next performance two days later
in Dallas, Martin chose to perform "But Not Tonight" AGAIN,
with my wife, my older
son and myself in attendance! I couldn't help but get teary-eyed
all over again. It was beautiful, and reminded me far too well
of those old days in which I had first started collecting DM's work.
it ended up, "But Not Tonight" was performed at a great number
of the concerts on the "Delta Machine Tour," but not all of
them. I feel very fortunate to have been able to hear it performed
twice in person.
song has earned a place among my absolute favourite Depeche Mode songs,
which are now as follows:
Let Me Down Again."
"Walking in My Shoes."
"But Not Tonight."