The “Nevermind” Baby Turns 20, and Other 90′s News That Will Make You Feel Old
Throughout the early 90s, it seemed like you couldn’t turn around without seeing a music video or album cover featuring a baby, toddler, or tween in a starring role. What are those pint-sized cultural icons up to today?
So, we’ve all spent this past week celebrating the 20th anniversary of Nirvana’s “Nevermind.” But guess who has also just turned 20 years old? That’s right, the baby from the cover of “Nevermind”! That’s right, holy shit YOU ARE OLD! SO VERY, VERY OLD!
What was it about the 90’s that made so many bands slap members of the Still-In-Diapers Club on their album covers? A sense of pre-millenial innocence? A feeling of sloppy rebellion against uptight Reaganite values? Or are babies just kind of hilarious-looking? Regardless of the reasons, the important thing to remember is that you are incredibly, unbelievably old.
After you stop freaking out about how old you are (Frances Bean Cobain is now a stone-cold 19-year-old fox, that is how old you are), please read on for a look back at the kids who were an essential part of the album covers and music videos of the early 90s.
Goo Goo Dolls, “A Boy Named Goo”: Carl Gellert’s dad took a pants-less photo of his toddler son for a book of art photography. Years later, after that toddler had grown into a seventh grader, the photo was used as the cover of an extremely successful album. Carl Gellert’s pants-free, toddler self was plastered on t-shirts and billboards far and wide. I’m sure that didn’t make an already awkward life phase a hundred million times more painful and unpleasant or anything. Today, Carl is in grad school for art history in Minnesota, and still responds to the nickname “Goo” (seriously).
Nirvana, “Nevermind”: Spencer Elden, the “Nevermind” baby, now attends art school in Pasadena. He has appeared on TV and radio shows, but he does not appear to have a blog, which is so crazy, because who wouldn’t read his blog? But Spencer Elden’s not having a blog is hardly the most shocking revelation of this story—that honor goes the fact that baby Spencer was actually underwater during the album cover’s photo shoot. I had always assumed some sort of trick photography was used, but nope, dad just dropped him in the pool for “two seconds” while a photographer quickly shot a roll. That was the 90’s for you: just dump a baby in some water, take some pictures, and assume that everything will work itself out. It’s true, kids today really are coddled.
The Notorious B.I.G, “Ready to Die”: Though numerous rumors claimed that this cover photo was a shot of young Biggie himself, in early 2011 the New York Daily News revealed that Keithroy Yearwood was in fact the cover model. Yearwood, a high school senior from the Bronx, was a child model hired due to his resemblance to Biggie, and received a paltry $150 for the photo. An aspiring business student, he is wearing his hair short these days, which is a serious shame.
Sebadoh, “Bakesale”/ Everclear, “Sparkle and Fade”/ Nas, “Illmatic”: Okay, these covers are just childhood pictures of Sebadoh frontman Lou Barlow, all the members of Everclear, and Nas, respectively. All of which you had probably already guessed. But now you know for sure! What a relief, right? Now you can finally relax, and maybe take that eco-vacation to Costa Rica that you’re always talking about.
Smashing Pumpkins, “Siamese Dream”: Billy Corgan and co. pwned us all last year when he claimed that new Pumpkins bass player Nicole Fiorentino was one of the little girls featured on this classic album cover. But the numbers did not quite add up—Fiorentino seemed too old to have been in the shot, and also, that is obviously a ridiculous thing to say and a total lie. Don’t pee on my leg and tell me that it’s cover-model-from-an-alt-rock-masterpiece raining, Billy Corgan! Ali Laenger, who has actually been confirmed as one of the girls on the cover, later contradicted Fiorentino’s supposed “memories” of the shoot to TMZ. Laenger is still a model, and has pretty hair. The album’s other cover model, mysteriously credited only as “LySandra R,” has yet to make herself known to the public at large.
“The Bee Girl” from the video for “No Rain” by Blind Melon: Though the “bee girl” on the cover of Blind Melon’s self-titled album is actually a 1975 photo of band member Glen Graham’s younger sister, aspiring actress Heather De Loach played the delightful pre-teen dork in the video. De Loach has since appeared in several episodes of “Reno 911!”, “ER,” and something called “The Beautician and the Beast,” although she appears to have been laying low professionally for the past few years. Wouldn’t “Bee Girl” be a good Halloween costume? Get on it, people!
“Jeremy” from the video for “Jeremy” by Pearl Jam: What became of the charismatic young man who starred in this viscerally shocking video (which was based on a true story)? Okay, I failed on this one. We know that the actor is named Trevor Wilson, and that’s about it—he’s one 90’s rock ‘n’ roll icon who does not want to be found. There is a “Trevor Wilson” listed on IMDB who showed up in two late-90’s episodes of “Goosebumps” (“My Best Friend is Invisible” and “The Haunted Mask II”) who seems about the right age, so if you’d like to make your own call, pause this video at 00:25. Does blonde kid with the floppy hair bear any resemblance to the one who once spoke in class toooooooday? If I said, “No, ‘Jeremy’ was way cuter,” would that be really gross? Wait, don’t answer that.
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