What is your earliest memory?
It’s in the place I grew up in – Basildon – and it’s me and my sister. We had a barrow load of sand and we tipped it accidently over someone’s lawn and the man was shouting at me. It’s hazy but That’s my earliest memory.
Where is your favourite place in Essex, and why?
I like Leigh-on-Sea. I’ve got lots of friends who like there now and I like all the pubs and restaurants, especially those by the front on old Leigh.
Are the Essex roots still quite strong?
My sister lives in Basildon. My niece lives in Basildon. My mum lives in Billericay. So yes I guess they are.
Speaking of family, what’s it been like for your children having a famous dad?
They’re just normal. They’ve always been used to it. From when they were babies they were used to being in concert halls and travelling around.
How do they feel about you still performing?
They love it. My daughter and son they are older now and work, so they only have a particular number of holidays, but they come when they can.
What is your favourite Essex story or memory?
Just really growing up in Basildon, playing football in the fields and running in the woods. I don’t think any of the woods have survived. Do you know over 40 years ago I used to deliver the Evening Echo? When I was 18.
So from Echo paperboy to top international rock star hey?
You’ve got to think if I can do it anyone can!
When are you at your happiest?
When Chelsea win a football match!
What are you working on now?
Well we’ve released our new album [Spirit] and now we’ve got a big tour lined up, all over the world. We’ve been locked in a recording studio for most of last year, so it’s good to get out, tread the boards again. People can expect a great show.
Do you have a secret vice?
Yeh I smoke. I’m not telling how many a day. My mum might read it – it’s a secret you see! Well, it was…
What is something people might not know about you?
I play online chess. I’ve got a pretty good rating. It’s good for when you’re travelling.
If you could only live in one place in Essex where would it be?
I’ll say Basildon. I have soft spot for the old Basildon. I think a lot has changed since I grew up there mind.
Who do most admire and why?
Tom Watson, deputy leader of the Labour Party. Why? Well I actually only met him the other day and he was a nice guy. A nice geezer. He was more of a geezer. A really nice geezer.
What is the best piece of advice anyone has ever given you and who was it?
Er. I just can’t think straight. I can’t think of anything. I can’t answer everything!
What one thing has your mum or dad taught you that you still live by now.
Good manners I suppose. You can put that.
Where do you see yourself ten years from now?
I’m sort of hoping it won’t be different to what I’m doing now!
Do you and the guys still get along?
Yes, we’re still good buddies. One of the great things about Depeche Mode is that we all came from the same town, we’ve got the same friends, we’ve got the same sense of humour. I think that’s helped us to stay together.
How have things changed since you started out in 1980?
The way records are sold has definitely changed, but I think as an artist the way you make music is still the same. It’s harder for bands at the moment, because regular record sales are quite low. Downloads, obviously you don’t get any money from that. But still think that bands should try. There’s still space up there with the biggest bands.
Would you change anything?
No. It’s been a dream come true.
This feature was first published in the Echo newspaper on Thursday, May 4, 2017: www.echo-news.co.uk