By Alexandria Sage
PARIS (Reuters) - Depeche Mode, the British synthpop pioneers whose hits "People Are People" and "Master and Servant" cemented their status in 1980s New Wave and beyond, are planning a 2013 worldwide tour to follow the release of a new album.
The band, which has sold over 100 million records since its 1981 debut album, launch the tour in Tel Aviv on May 7, followed by 34 shows in Europe and a leg in North America.
"To be making music for more than half our lives ... it's pretty incredible to still be able to do that," lead singer Dave Gahan told a press conference in Paris on Tuesday.
Dressed all in black, the three members of the band - Gahan, Martin Gore and Andy Fletcher - acknowledged their longevity in the music business while making off-hand jokes about their ages, now 50 and 51.
"I've got some notes here -- memory's not so good," quipped Gahan, who made passing references to his past substance abuse problems and the "ups and downs" of the band, which last toured in 2009-2010.
"Performing onstage is really what it's all about these days," he told the crowd of press and fans. "It's very different from what it was 20 years ago. You get the energy from the performance."
Gore, the band's principal songwriter, revealed little about the upcoming album, their 13th studio album for which Depeche Mode recorded 20 tracks. But he let slip a teaser for fans.
"I think there are three or four songs that are up there with some of the best we've ever done," confessed Gore.
Five of the songs were written by frontman Gahan, whose rich baritone has been the band's hallmark through the decades.
Performing today is "really an emotional thing," said Gahan.
"It's really raw and emotional to the point where at the end of tours, it's hard to say goodbye," he said.
Depeche Mode's textured sound, a blend of synthesizers, industrial samples, driving percussive and moody lyrics, made them one of the most popular bands to emerge from the British New Wave in the early 1980s.
Later successes, from 1989's "Personal Jesus" to 1997's "Barrel of a Gun" earned them fans among Goths and club kids around the world.
One reporter in the crowd cited the prevalence of synthesizer music today and the many musicians who have cited Depeche Mode as an influence, asking whether "You think you're still the best at this genre?"
"Yes, naturally," deadpanned Gahan, without missing a beat.
(Additional Reporting By Pauline Mevel, editing by Paul Casciato)