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Erasure FAQ

The Vince Clarke story

Updated 15 May 2004

Vince’s full name is Vincent John Clarke. He was born on July 3, 1960. His music career started out (much later) in a three-piece synth band called Composition Of Sound, later to evolve into the rather more successful Depeche Mode. (The name came from a French fashion magazine and can loosely be translated as “fashion despatch”.) He left the group in 1981 after the release of their debut album Speak And Spell. Every DM song up till then had been written by him except Big Muff and Tora Tora Tora (both written by Martin Gore, who took over writing duties when Vince left). Vince and Martin went to the same school, and Vince attended Martin’s wedding in August 1994. Alison Moyet (from Yazoo) was there too.

Why did Vince leave Depeche Mode? Probably simply because he didn’t like the group’s musical direction. The rest of the band were understandably unhappy with his decision, but they seem to have gotten over it now; there are reports of Vince hanging out with DM occasionally.

After leaving DM, Vince got together with singer/songwriter Alison Moyet (nicknamed “Alf”). Alison named the group Yazoo after a small American blues record label. In the US, Yazoo called themselves Yaz to avoid confusion (and possibly for legal reasons). Yazoo released two albums. Alf went on to a successful solo career, and Vince formed the Assembly.

The Assembly was Eric Radcliffe and Vince; they intended to recruit different vocalists to suit each song. The Assembly only released one recording: the single Never Never with vocals by Feargal Sharkey was released in 1983. In 1985, Vince Clarke and Paul Quinn released a single, One Day. Later that year, Erasure was born.

Vince lived in Amsterdam for a few years around 1990, but moved back to England in 1994. He likes Sci-Fi movies. He is devoted to analogue electronic instruments and music. He is not gay.

10 responses to “The Vince Clarke story”

  1. Hanna says:

    This is a very good article about Vince.

  2. Felipe Gonzalez says:

    Vince is totally gay. Him and Andy lick eachother every night!

  3. RC Robjohn says:

    I was just looking up details about Vince Clarke and I just saw this post left by Felipe Gonzalez. Words fail me. The fact that Vince is married with a child I suppose has no bearing? If he were gay then so what? It is completely irrelevant unless you get your facts wrong as in this case. I am sure Vince is not bothered but the hidden anger from Felipe is poorly hidden.People’s ignorance never ceases to amaze me. He writes great music and keeps himself to himself and long may that continue. I suggest Felipe is unclear as to his own sexuality and maybe needs to remove whatever is suppressing his true nature. Being cross all your life is no way to live.

  4. D Scully says:

    Robjohn, I would like to say that I took Felipe’s comment as a joke. I laughed. I don’t really think that you need to go off on a tirade about people having issues with sexuality. I think it is YOU who has the issues with sexuality.

  5. Etienne Muller says:

    Vince has an ear for a catchy tune and the fact that he’s a private person is fantastic. He wirtes music, and that does not mean he;s gotta be in the limelight every day. Good on you for doing your own thing Vince, you’re the Kevin Bacon of the music world!!!greatings fom South Africa,

  6. Alia K says:

    Great article thank you. I think Vince Clarke is a very talented musician/synth programmer.

    I think Speak and Spell and Yazoo and Erasure are great (and I do have The Assembly on Vinyl too, but only the one with Paul Quinn which is also excellent). He obviously has great talent for song writing and working with/encouraging great singers.

    I would love it if he released some of the more experimental instrumental synth music he may have made.

    He must be a kind and sensitive guy to be happy to champion gay rights (especially since he is not gay)

  7. L.S. says:

    Vince’s real last name is Martin. “Clarke” is an alias from the days when he was unemployed and was afraid that for his experiments (the very first performances of Depeche Mode in some sleazy pubs) he could loose his dole.

  8. Bennett says:

    Many years ago, this Erasure FAQ listed Vince Clarke’s real name. Vince’s record company (Mute) contacted me saying that Vince would prefer to keep his real name private, so I removed it.

    I guess it’s not an issue now — even Vince’s Wikipedia page lists his birth name.

  9. Erik says:

    Probably not. As it ever was a secret for the real fans..

    Personally I have no problem with stars craving for their privacy, as long as they do their part of sound idol-fans-interchange. It’s based on reciprokacy. Give and take. Simple as that. In the end U get what U give.

    Since I put this in practice I havent bought a disc outside a idol-nanned aside of the concert-shop.

    With a sad exception of pathetic and shy Vince. COME ON FFS! Been with U since the start – why do you loathe us?


  10. Skunk247 says:

    if you google ‘vince clarke gay’ then felipes comment is number 3. And I thought it was fucking funny, I bet Andy Bell just wishes he could lick Vince all night and day!

    As opposed to making shit music with him that is…

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Erasure FAQ Copyright 1994-2005 Bennett McElwee. All rights reserved. Please ask me before copying any part of it. Thanks!