John Warwicker's name is so closely associated with Duran Duran history, it's hard to believe that we haven't spoken to him sooner! He's an incredible graphic designer and has also worked with the band on some pretty iconic stuff! Here's an excerpt from a recent Q&A he did for the band's fan community website
How did you get involved with working with Duran Duran?
The chance meeting in Birmingham.
Did you know from the beginning that there was something special about the group or was it just a paid job for you at that time?
In a word, yes. And that was before I saw them live. There was ‘something in the air’ and something about John and Nick which told me that there was a determination and understanding about who they were and who they wanted to be that was galvanising. As soon as I saw them live it all fell into place. It just had the feeling of ‘right people in the right place’. The New Romantic movement was fresh and energetic. Although the style and ambitions were totally different the momentum that was sweeping through British pop culture was similar to that of Punk. This was going to be the 'next big thing’. What appealed to me and made me think that they could be successful was the fact that they were a really interesting amalgam of wider cultural interests and really good musicianship. I’ve always felt that Roger’s been under-appreciated as drummer. Both he and Andy grounded the band and the mix between them all was a fascinating dynamic. And, as always in Britain, there was a rivalry. This was between Birmingham and London and between Spandau Ballet and Duran Duran, much of it, of course, trumped up by the music press. Much like Oasis and Blur in later years this competition benefitted both parties. From my perspective Duran Duran had greater ambitions, they were more ‘international' whereas Spandau Ballet seemed to be more centred, at least at the beginning, within Britain. I liked the early Spandau singles, especially as Richard Burgess, who was the drummer and one of the main protagonists in ‘Landscape’ produced these and their first album. I remember going to the studio and sitting in on the sessions. It was exciting, it was fresh but not nearly as exciting as Duran Duran, not because of the music per se but because of its ambition and scope, My early and subsequent conversations with John and Nick have always centred around design, style and taste/aesthetics. To give you an example. I remember agreeing to meet Nick at record store in the city centre to buy the first single of an up and coming band - ‘Electricity' by Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark. Not only were we interested in the music we were rushing to get hold of the limited edition cover designed by Peter Saville (who John, Nick and I admired). Nick got there before me and bought the one copy that remained. I still hold a grudge. So, no it wasn’t about money, it never has been (for any project that I do, it was about the authenticity of creation and the mutual conversation and collaboration.
What was your impression of the band members?
My first impression was that they would all relish the limelight but in different ways at different times. I know John and especially Nick as there is a conversational cross-over. What has always impressed me is their understanding and depth beyond what the immediate conventions of being in a (very successful) band. This wide interest then is translated and distilled into what they do for and in the band. The potential is always greater than reality and that’s how it should be and it’s symptomatic of their tenacity that they still manage to sustain this over so many years. Roger is the quintessential foundation that good drummers often are. Yes he’s quiet, but there’s purpose and he always impresses me. I don’t know Simon that well but from the off he had a presence of a ‘front man’ and has carried that off extremely well. As with all (good) bands it’s also about how these individual become something else and that’s where Duran Duran transcend the sum of its parts.
**John worked with the band on their first album and "Astronaut"