Assorted scribblings of a dog-eared music journalist

Melody Maker | Info Freako | 31 October 1992


Could you give me any information about the artwork on the covers of Suede’s “The Drowners” and “Metal Mickey” singles? According to the credits on the back, the sleeves were designed by Peter Barrett and Andrew Biscomb.

Caroline Wilkinson, Newcastle-upon-Tyne

Here’s Suede vocalist Brett Anderson with the full story:

“Peter and Andrew really just put the final touches to ideas the band came up with. The sleeve is an important part of a record or a CD, and we’ve taken care not to get into the sort of situation where the record company decides what the cover looks like and the group doesn’t know anything about it until the day the record is released. We want all our sleeves to have a similar visual feel and to always reflect something relevant to the song or the band in general.
“Although most people think the figure on the sleeve of ‘The Drowners’ is male, it’s actually a naked woman with a suit painted on her body and stubble painted on her face. The cigar she is holding is a strong sexual symbol and the gun in her other hand gives a suggestion of violence. The model is a woman called Veruschka, who appeared in cult movies like ‘Blow Up’ in the 1960s and later published a book of body painting photos. It’s a fantastic book. We could have used any of the 200 photos in there. There’s a bizarre series where she’s painted like a doll which gradually cracks in half and another where she slowly melts into a factory wall.
“The ‘Metal Mickey’ sleeve is also the result of me spending a lot of my free time trawling through second-hand bookshops. We couldn’t locate the bloke responsible for the picture, but the image was so good that we decided to use it anyway. It makes me feel really uncomfortable, especially the bleakness of the girls’ faces. Whereas the ‘Drowners’ sleeve was chosen for what it symbolised, this was more of a gut reaction. At one point, we thought about using a photo of a fat woman in a Marilyn Monroe mask for ‘Metal Mickey’ but, in the end, it didn’t seem right for the song. Maybe we’ll use it on the sleeve of the next single.”

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