Stars Of Album Covers… As They Look Today

Ah, 1999. The year Dawson’s Creek was still cool, the year Christina Aguilera released ‘Genie In A Bottle’, the year Napster hit the web… and the year Blink 182’s ‘Enema Of The State’ came out, featuring that hot nurse snapping a rubber glove onto her hand.

But what ever happened to porn star Janine Lindemulder? She decided to become a kindergarten teacher, married Jesse James, returned to the glamorous world of porn, divorced Jesse James, and was arrested several times for assaulting Jesse James, amongst other felonies. That hot nurse? Here she is today…

Janine Lindemulder today


That depressing image got us wondering – what ever happened to all those icons who graced some of our favourite albums? I decided to do a little bit of digging and got in touch with some of the photographers and the stars themselves to find out how they ended up being captured on CD cases worldwide, and where they are today.

Placebo – ‘Placebo’

Coincidentally, just as I was starting to work on this blog, David Fox decided to sue Placebo for the inclusion of his image on their debut album cover. Why? Well, in his words, it’s because he claims he was bullied in school for appearing on the cover, after his cousin gave the band the rights to the image without Fox’s consent, and that his life was destroyed because of it.

The reality? Well, judge for yourselves. But he’s currently an unemployed chef who was, according to The Times, scraping together his mother’s money to file a lawsuit against the trio (for an album cover that was released 20 years ago…).

And in case you’re wondering what that little boy looks like nowadays, take a gander below:

David Fox today

Photo credit: Asadour Guzelian
Van Halen – ‘MCMLXXXIV’/’1984’

You may recall the somewhat controversial album sleeve, created by Margo Z. Nahas, for Van Halen’s ‘1984’, which featured a painting of a smoking angel-baby. Though it’s a painting, it’s actually based on a photograph of four-year-old Carter Helm (not a picture of David Lee Roth as a baby, as many people often think).


At the time, Nahas’ husband Jay Vigon was a designer and art director who was helping a friend at Warner on the album release. According to Nahas, the original concept centred around an image of four dancing chrome women, but the realities of creating it were more complicated than anticipated, and she declined. But when the band spotted the original photograph of Margo’s friend’s son in her portfolio, they decided that was the picture they wanted to represent ‘1984’.

Carter Helm today

So where is that smoking baby today? Well, he’s 37 years old, lives in San Francisco and works as an ocean cargo and inland marine insurance writer. “It was not until I was in third grade when it kind of hit me that being on that cover was something special,” Helm told me.

It probably was not until a few years later that I realised how incredibly popular and iconic that album really was. It felt, and still feels pretty damn cool. But it did feel just a little weird when I realised that my image is potentially in the homes of millions of people.

Barenaked Ladies – ‘Born On A Pirate Ship’

And then there’s that little boy donning a newspaper pirate hat on the cover of Barenaked Ladies’ 1996 album ‘Born On A Pirate Ship’.

Snapper Neil Prime-Coote told NME that the little boy (Marcus Priest), who came from a British family that had just moved to Toronto, was the son of his aunt’s boss. “I wanted a ginger-haired kid,” he said. “I shot about seven different kids, but none of them worked well. I had diner with my aunt who told me her new boss had two ginger-haired kids. I shot both of them together and apart, but the band felt the single shot worked well.”

Here’s an outtake from the shoot, featuring both of the children:

And a rather disturbing photo of BNL he shot, just for the hell of it:

And what does Marcus remember from the day? He told me in 2012:

My brother and I simply turned up. I think the photo shoot was in a local park, we wore some crazy clothes and messed around in pirate hats. My brother and I were more excited about the $50 we received for the photo shoot.

And what’s he up to today? “I moved back to the UK from Canada with my family when I was 12. I’m now 27, living just outside of London in the UK with my beautiful wife and two amazing children (six months and two years old). I graduated from university and have used my psychology (undergraduate) and human resource management (post graduate) degrees to support my career in Human Resource Management, currently within the Pharmaceutical sector.”

Marcus Priest today

Nirvana – ‘Nevermind’

It’s probably one of the most iconic album covers ever – but at the time, photographer Kirk Weddle hadn’t a clue who Nirvana were, or what a success the band and their album would become. Kirk tells me that, “I knew this would be a great cover because the concept was so strong, but I had no idea the band would be so good or get so hot.”

So how did he get involved in such an iconic photoshoot? Not many photographers at the time were shooting underwater commercially, and that was his specialty back then. “They found me in a source book. I immediately fell in love with the concept of a naked baby underwater, with no air, going after a dollar on a fish hook,” he says.

And it was pretty much just that – a four month old baby, with no air, underwater. “It’s hard to shoot a four month old under water,” says Kirk.

They can’t talk, you can’t bribe them. They can’t breath when you are shooting. It was his first time in the water and he wasn’t swimming, he was drifting. I set up a camera in an underwater housing on a tripod. I did per focus and pre light using a baby doll. Spencer’s mom dunked him in and he drifted into the zone of the camera. I shot about 10 frames and Spencer’s dad pulled him out. We did one more pass and he started to cry and I called it. The shoot lasted about 5 minutes. Shot 1/2 a roll of film.

So what’s that baby up to today? Spencer Elden is now in his late 20s, living in LA and working as an artist (trying to make some money off of his work since he and his father never asked for any royalties from the album sales) with Shepard Fairey.

The baby featured on Nirvana’s “Nevermind” album cover recreated the iconic shot 25 years later

— New York Post (@nypost) September 25, 2016

You can watch a video interview with him below, where he chats about how everyone in the world has seen his “baby penis” and talks about how his parents, who went to art school with Weddle, got involved with the shoot. And if you want to take a look at some of his artwork, which is actually pretty great, head to
Led Zeppelin – ‘Houses Of The Holy’

Spencer’s not the only kid who has to look back at naked pictures of himself as a kid on an album sleeve – Stefan and Samantha Gates spent 10 days on the Giant’s Causeway in Northern Ireland with photographer Aubrey Powell to complete Led Zeppelin’s now famous (and controversial) album sleeve.

Both Stefan and Samantha continued to do a bit of child modelling following the Led Zep shoot, including some TV commercials and such. But today, Stefan presents Cooking In The Danger Zone, a TV documentary in which he explores strange food stories in dangerous places across the globe (ie, trying some fat-tailed sheep testicles in Afghanistan).

Stefan Gates today

Sam (click here to see what she looks like these days) lives a bit less adventurously, residing in Cape Town with her husband and her daughter Tallulah.

So, nice to see not everyone’s ended up like Ms. Lindemulder, then.

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