Strummer was the final run of about five covers I wrote in seven weeks for SOUNDS, a world exclusive, which prompted the NME to call me and offer me a staff job. Life changing moment. Years later Strummer told me “you were the only one who wanted to interview me then, I’ll always remember that.”
Wicked Willie was the England Rugby Union Captain. I hadn’t been sure whether to feature him as he was a very GQ sort of character but we had an amazing amount of good luck at loaded and this was one case. Halfway through the interview an aide walked into the room at a gym where the production editor, Christian, and Will were chatting and announced the tabloids had just discovered he’d been having an affair with Princess Diana. The great photographer Steve Pike who went from loaded to the New Yorker had already shot him with that red glow and suddenly we were able to make the whole piece quite devilish.
The Art Director and I really liked this Lauryn Hill cover but the MD seemed to find something wrong with it. We put it on the American import cover instead.
It was very rare we went to press at loaded without there being two or three potential cover stars, but we found ourselves short one month and I saw this brilliant photo of Cindy Crawford. When the picture editor called the American agency who owned the rights they were really sniffy, had never heard of the mag and said “you won’t be able to afford it, it’s £15,000.” At this point we were making about that much in two hours worth of newsstand sales so I gave him the go ahead. As much to allow him to go back and shock them as the quality of the shot.
Weller was my first cover for GQ, the office was so off the pace when I took over one of the staff asked me who Roy Keane was. Manchester United’s captain.
One of two NMEs I edited. I was 24 years old. It didn’t need a cover line as at that moment it felt like everyone in England was on E, or X as the American’s called ecstasy.
My favorite loaded cover where we got Homer and Bart to sort of break the fourth wall. “Look Bart we’re famous.”
Read our profile interview with James here