The year is 2001. File sharing service Napster enjoys massive popularity, allowing anyone to download virtually any song in recorded history for free. The internet is abuzz with speculation about Depeche Mode’s upcoming Exciter album, and several leaked tracks appear on Napster, spreading like wildfire. Some are clearly fake, but others sound like the real deal. Obviously, that’s Martin Gore singing “Ponytail Girl.”
Or so I was told by several Napster users when I tried to correct the mistake. The song was in fact leaked, not from Depeche Mode, but from my album Life’s Fairytale, released just two weeks after Exciter. A handful of fans had the song on a bonus EP I made to encourage holiday sales on my web site. Even though depechemode.com clearly stated in their FAQ that “Ponytail Girl” was not a Depeche Mode song, it continued to spread and was featured on bootleg releases around the world.
A couple years later I was invited to record a cover version of “I Want You Now” for a Depeche Mode tribute out of the UK. It was quick, easy, and a lot of fun! When it became clear that the tribute was never going to be released, I set out to create something unique: a set of songs and interludes that flow together like a true Depeche Mode album. Rather than cover “Personal Jesus” or “Enjoy the Silence” for the thousandth time, I focused on what I considered unappreciated gems. The inclusion of “Ponytail Girl” served to connect the album with the rest of my catalog, in a tongue-in-cheek sort of way. After all, Color Theory presents Depeche Mode was born out of a mistake.
I’m all out of CDs, but you can download the album in your choice of 320k mp3, FLAC, or just about any other format you could possibly desire on Bandcamp.
I used to have an entire site devoted to the album at dmtribute.com. The highlight was a description of the recording process, complete with samples of my wife’s breast pump (our son Cole was six months old at the time). Experience it for yourself here.