Barrel of a Gun

Album: Ultra (1997)
Charted: 4 47
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  • This song was written by Depeche Mode mastermind Martin Gore, but travails of lead singer Dave Gahan were certainly an inspiration. The song describes a torment and descent into madness that leaves him "staring down the barrel of a gun."

    In the early '90s, Gahan developed a nasty drug habit while embracing rock star excess. After a failed suicide attempt in 1995, he began work with the band on the Ultra album, but in May 1996 he nearly died after overdosing on cocaine and heroin in a Los Angeles hotel room, which halted work on the album.

    Gahan was charged with drug possession, and ordered to stay clean if he wanted to avoid jail. With the threat of prison looming, he got treatment according to court orders while also working on the album. Eventually, he got clean, but it was quite disruptive for the band, which didn't tour to promote Ultra.

    Speaking about "Barrel of a Gun" in a 2017 interview with Entertainment Weekly, he said: "It really describes the way I felt at that time: This creature that was barely existing, but somehow still thought he had it going on [laughs]. Martin was spot-on with his lyrics. I mean, I don't even know if the song was written about me, or for me, or poking at me to say 'For f–k's sake, get your s–t together!' But it worked. I liked it."
  • The video is rather intense, showing Gahan in various states of discomfort as if suffering withdrawal. It was directed by Anton Corbijn, a longtime collaborator of the band.
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