Smashing Pumpkins pay tribute to Depeche Mode

Depeche Mode, the 17-year-old British electro-pop band that has sold more than 35 million records, is being honored by a motley crew of musicians. Smashing Pumpkins, The Cure, Veruca Salt, God Lives Underwater, Rammstein and Gus Gus are among the 16 groups covering Depeche Mode songs on a tribute album that will be released Aug. 4 on 1500 Records/A&M.

A sneak advance listen to the album offers the following notable moments: Billy Corgan and company sounding eerily dark on a stripped-down version of “Never Let Me Down Again”; the ladies of now defunct Veruca Salt backed by a lone cello and harmonizing (sort of) on “Somebody”; and a campy, lounge-ready version of “Master and Servant” by the Belgian ensemble Locust. Foo Fighters and Marilyn Manson volunteered for the tribute album but couldn’t find time to record tracks on short notice, according to an A&M source.

Those fans preferring their Mode firsthand can catch the band live this fall in Europe, with tentative U.S. dates to follow in Nov. and Dec. (This will be the group’s first tour in five years.) Or save the plane fare and surf the Web: DM is honored by more than three dozen sites, including some in Russian, Italian and French. One loyal fan, Elyssa Lee, has posted her explanation for the band’s lasting appeal: “They don’t follow the latest musical trends — they compose only for themselves and their own musical integrity.”