Twelve years ago, Spencer Elden, then four months old, graced the cover of Nirvana’s Nevermind. The image became a generational landmark — Elden even reprised the shot in a 2001 Rolling Stone tenth-anniversary tribute to Nevermind. Now, the California sixth-grader is appearing on his second album cover — The Dragon Experience, the third solo CD by industrial group Skinny Puppy’s cEvin Key.
The album’s title and cover art reflect a dream Key had thirty years ago, when he was eleven: He found himself surrounded by “3-D dragons,” and envisioned the sound of his future work — “experimental electronic rock,” he says. “I’d never heard of it or seen it yet in my life.”
Key’s search for a young boy to help recreate the dream led him to Spencer Elden. “My girlfriend was his baby sitter,” Key says. For the new album cover (shot by Key’s girlfriend), Elden dons the original T-shirt that Key made after waking from his dream.
After the shoot, Key sent Elden a poster of the Dragon Experience cover for him to hang on his bedroom wall alongside the framed platinum copy of Nevermind. “It’s important to me because I’m maybe the youngest person to ever get one of those,” Elden says of his Nirvana memento. “Every five years or so, somebody’s gonna call me up and ask me about Nevermind . . . and I’m probably gonna get some money from it.”