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Customer reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars
4.2 out of 5 stars

on 23 December 2004
I've read some of the other reviews posted here and I'm not sure they've read the same book! I, too, have followed Depeche Mode since the start. And yet I know far more now than I ever did before.
Stripped is an endlessly fascinating and meticulously researched biography. It's huge - not just in terms of the number of pages, but in terms of the scope and detail. If you're not interested in the technology fair enough, but I'd hazard a guess that many DM followers are, and consequently the technical insight into the machinery that helped them get where they are (and were) is both highly relevant and much appreciated.
It starts right back in the Boys Brigade days, and the story of how they got from there to stadium superstardom is an absolute inspiration. The author has perfectly captured the atmosphere of excitement and experimentation of the early days, and the story of how that unfolded through a "golden era" (my term) from the mid '80s to early '90s and subsequent drug problems, internal strife, and resulting solo projects.
It is a fantastic piece of work - equally as gripping as many a bestselling novel, and Jonathan Miller deserves utmost praise and respect!
Very highly recommended indeed...
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on 28 February 2005
I have followed Depeche Mode musically since around the time of the Violator album release, and listened to their early music only retrospectively, and hence I found it fascinating to be able to learn about the early days of the band. "Stripped" paints a detailed background of how Depeche Mode came about, and continues to tell the story of their trials, errors and eventually huge successes.
The real beauty of the book is that, due to the thorough research behind it, it really offers something for every reader, no matter what your interest in the band is. For music technology buffs, there is a goldmine of information in every chapter, bordering on (or well within?) geek territory. However, if this sort of knowledge does not interest you, it is easy to skip these passages without losing any vital part of the story. There are furthermore fair and unsentimental portraits of the respective band members; their upbringing, introduction to pop music, love relationships, ways of dealing with the rapidly increasing fame and expectations... For me personally, the most interesting aspect of the book, which also occupies the most space, is the in depth stories about how the different songs and albums came about, and how the original ideas were translated into recordings, videos and live performances. There are so many fascinating facts about this band, that all I can say is that every fan should read the book, and I can guarantee that each one of you will learn something you did not previously know!
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on 8 January 2004
Given the spectacular antics of the band and the lurid hedlines that accompany said antics, it's a surprise that Mr. Miller makes so little of the human side of the DM story. Whether it's Dave Gahan's trouble with drugs or Andy Fletcher's depression, the human tradegies are passed over, acknowledged, or touched upon rather than really explored in depth, and generally this seems to be in favour of an explanation of the studio set-up, equipment reviews, and descriptions of the sounds used in individual records.
The brief author biog inside the rear cover reveals Mr. Miller to be a 'feelance writer specialising in hi-tech music interviews' and I think the book displays a passion for the hi-tech, then the music, with the people that made it being relegated to something of a third priority. For example, every time a new synth is mentioned in the text, a brief precee of it taken from a buyer's guide is re-printed on the bottom of that page. Taken from page 24, talking about a Yamaha CS5:
"In his Keyfax Omnibus Edition 'synth buyer's bible' of 1996, Julian Colbeck described this diminuitive 37-note analogue monosynth thus: Single-oscillator with clean, more than powerful, sounds. Good panel layout, multimode filtering. Safe bet.'"
All of which I'm sure is very interesting, but I was looking for a book about Depche Mode, not a second-rate 'Which Synth?' guide!
If I compare this to a couple of other rock biogs I've read recently ('Old Gods Almost Dead: The 40-Year Odyssey Of The Rolling Stones' by Stephen Davis, and 'Heavier Than Heaven: A Biography Of Kurt Cobain' by Charles Cross - both available from Amazon!) I see that they focus on the people, and the reader feels that they have made a personal investment in reading the book. It takes an effort of will to read, because the accounts are at times so harrowing, but at the same time the reader cannot actually put these books down.
And that's where Mr Miller goes wrong! Everything feels detactched, at a distance, and passionless. It's well written, polished, but just a little superficial and Mr. Miller's synth 'nerd' side shows up a little too often.
C+ for effort.
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on 16 February 2004
On the whole a rather dull read, especially if you've already read the other books available on Mode but worth it for die hard fans.
I was really looking forward to reading about Gahan's solo album but it is covered in a couple of paragraphs at the end of the book and this reflects the disproportionate approach Miller has taken in concentrating heavily on the band getting together and the early days. Just as they really get their act together and record Black Celebration the pace picks up and we whizz through MFTM and Violator. Not unsurprisingly he dwells on SOFAD and the nightmarish tour that follows but then skips through Ultra and Exciter. The level of detail on the way sounds were produced and the equipment used is really quite boring. The books redeeming feature is that most of the quotes appear courtesy of a sarcastic (and sometimes bitter)Alan Wilder - his account of their Jimmy Saville experience had me crying with laughter. But would any self respecting author really want to quote from"Jackie" magazine?
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on 1 December 2003
I bought this book for my husband and ended up reading it myself.
It is wonderfully written and really takes you into Depeche Modes world.
A must read for DM fans, i found it hard to put down.
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on 13 December 2016
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on 26 August 2017
Amazing book - a must read for every Depeche Mode fan!
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on 12 December 2003
First I thought this was going to really lift the lid on the band but no, it is just a disappointing trawl through old news clippings and a virtual transcript of an old radio one interview. It is a disappointing purchase and really dull, especially to someone who has followed the band for the last twenty years and can remember where most of the quotes come from. Dull, adding nothing new to the story.
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on 12 September 2009
It took me a while to read this book due to how big it is and I'm quite a slow reader! It was thoroughly enjoyable - a complete must for any DM die hard fan!
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on 8 October 2013
Lots of reading.

Very gossipy book.

Good photos.

Would have benefited from more first-hand or original interviews but this is a minor point. x
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