Back Story


‘It seems like a long time ago now but when Anton Corbijn asked me to work on Depeche Mode’s single ‘Personal Jesus’, I was to say the least, somewhat anxious. In truth, I had never actually designed a record cover before. Even though I had worked for Peter Saville and had been given the task of ‘re-formatting’ New Order and Peter Gabriel albums (amongst many others) from vinyl to cassette and then later to CD, I never actually worked on designing a cover from start to finish. Of course I never mentioned this to Anton! I had, however, developed a close friendship with Anton which came as a result of working with Corbijn tirelessly on bringing his book ‘Famouz’ to life. Also, because I had worked so much with many artists such as Basquiat, Schnabel and Twombly, I had developed an understanding that ‘you never crop the picture’. This ‘attitude’ was very important for Anton as his images, back then, always had this black frame around them. A trademark he was known for, and always distinguished his photos from other imitators.’


Violator – Album


Enjoy the Silence – 7″ Single – 12″ Single


Enjoy the Silence – Ltd Edition 12″ Single


Policy of Truth – 12″ Single


Songs of Faith of Devotion – Album


I feel You – 12″ Single


In Your Room – CD Single


In Your Room – Remix CD / Ltd Edition CD


Walking in My Shoes – 12″ Single / Condemnation – 12″ Single


Songs of Faith and Devotion (Live) – Album


Ultra – Album


Barrel of a Gun – CD Single


It’s No Good – CD Single / Useless – CD Single



‘How the hell did I get here? Honestly I don’t really know – at least specifically.

If I go back, a long way back, there was nothing really that compelled me to aspire to what I do now. I wasn’t interested in art; I couldn’t draw, or paint. I don’t think I even knew what design was, let alone graphic design. My father was an aircraft engineer and my mother was a “retired” nurse. My grandfather, however, on my Dad’s side, was a commercial artist – the forerunner to the graphic designer. But I never really knew him or what he did. So it has nothing to do with that. My Dad was anally retentive (so I’ve been told) – thanks Dad – and occasionally dabbled in set design for the theatre.


It wasn’t really till I was about 14 or so that things started to have a bigger influence on me, and the only thing that really excited me at that time, was music. Of course it was a time when music was going through a huge revolution, around 1975, just as punk in England was “exploding”. It was all very appealing to me, people were disgusted by this vile degenerate culture, one guy even destroyed his TV he was so infuriated by this “filth”. A big turning point for popular culture, at least in my mind, was the notorious “Bill Grundy incident”.

Bill Grundy had a nightly TV news show that aired around 5 or 6pm, before the “watershed” in other words, before the time of day it was okay to say rude words and show a bit of T-&-A for instance. On the night in question Bill had invited the Sex Pistols onto his show who also brought along the so-called “Bromley Contingent” (above). The Bromley Contingent really were the ones who established the punk “style and attitude”, and included amongst others Siouxsie Sioux and Steve Severin, of Siouxsie & the Banshees fame, and Billy Idol, yes the same Billy Idol of ‘White Wedding’ and Generation X. Goaded by Grundy, Sex Pistols’ singer Johnny Rotten used the word “shit”, followed by guitarist Steve Jones calling Grundy a “dirty sod”, a “dirty old man”, a “dirty bastard” and a “dirty fucker”, after Grundy made a rather inept attempt at “chatting up” Sioux.

The rest, as they say, is history.

England at that time was ultra-conservative, the economy was in the doghouse and everyone was on strike. Sound familiar? But for me at least the Sex Pistols and the ensuing punk “movement” became a way to express yourself, a way to explore new ideas, and break down the walls of mediocrity. A way to say “f-off” to your parents, it was a floodgate for many angry young men, including myself.


Truly, many things spawned from this angry time, many new ideas came to life, mostly inspired by music and fashion, or at least street fashion in magazines such as iD and The Face. And this is where I think it started to crystallize for me. Especially the music and the “fashion”. I was never really a punk, as that was my brother’s bag, even though my elder brother and his interest in everything “punk” at that time was a major influence. But I wanted to have my “own” identity, so I decided to be a mod – yes it’s true. Anyway.’

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  1. god bless dave dabner he hasn’t changed in 20 years … and he’s better for not doing so!

    he’s lookin better now than he did in 85 as well!

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