Who were the two girls on the cover of Siamese Dream by Smashing Pumpkins?
27 July 2022, 08:00 | Updated: 27 July 2022, 11:48
The classic album sleeve is one of the most iconic images from the grunge era… where are those girls now?
Smashing Pumpkins' second album Siamese Dream is one of the key works of the grunge era. Released on 27 July 1993, the record was more commercially successful than their debut Gish, and paved the way for the epic double set that was Mellon Collie & The Infinite Sadness.
In 2018, founder members James Iha and Jimmy Chamberlin rejoined frontman Billy Corgan to release a new Smashing Pumpkins album, Shiny And Oh So Bright Vol. 1. The return of the "classic" line-up (minus bassist D'Arcy Wretzky) evoked nostalgia among many Pumpkins fans.
The cover of Siamese Dream featured a charming photo of two little girls and for many years, fans wondered what had become of the pair. When Corgan announced the 2018 reunion tour, the little girls were back... as adults!
Corgan, via the official Pumpkins Instagram account, tweeted this amazing photo of Ali Laenger and Lysandra Roberts as they were 25 years on.
"On such a special day in SP history, I want to take a moment to thank Ali and LySandra, who you might know were the little girls that I stood by and watched have their picture taken some 23 years ago (on what was a perfect LA afternoon). Never realizing that this moment in time would forever tie us, and go on to become such an iconic image in rock history. What's amazing is their chemistry with one another still leaps through the camera to this day and yet if memory serves they'd never met before that Siamese shoot. Which tells me their coming together, and the beauty that Melodie's shot captures, of youth and innocence, was meant to be SP's own, personal lucky star. So thank you thank you thank you Ali and LySandra, we adore you, and having you be a part of today's launch brings tears to my eyes. For life goes fast, and I can still see you in my mind's eye wearing crisp white dresses in a stranger's backyard, looking like little Mother Mary's, smiling and laughing into the sun." - @williampcorgan 📷: @hellomikeamico
The announcement was accompanied by a promo video of the duo setting light to the Smashing Pumpkins logo with a flamethrower. Of course.
The original cover image was taken by photographer Melodie McDaniel, and Corgan has revealed that the two girls had never met before the day of the shoot.
Billy posted: “On such a special day in SP history, I want to take a moment to thank Ali and Lysandra, who you might know were the little girls that I stood by and watched have their picture taken…
“What's amazing is their chemistry with one another still leaps through the camera to this day.”
Laenger told SetlistFM about the original shoot: “We ate lemonheads (American sweeties) and enjoyed rocket pop popsicles from the ice cream truck that happened to pass by during the shoot all while being dressed up in a cute dress with angel wings of course any 7-year-old would love that.”
Lysandra added: “We were having fun but kind of bouncing off the walls. They ended up telling us that we could keep the shoes if we'd try to settle down and get back to shooting.”
Corgan went on: "Thank you Ali and LySandra, we adore you, and having you be a part of today's launch brings tears to my eyes.
“For life goes fast, and I can still see you in my mind's eye wearing crisp white dresses in a stranger's backyard, looking like little Mother Marys, smiling and laughing into the sun."
Which kind of brings a tear to the eye. Since that day, Ali has worked in nursing and Lysandra now works as a tech support for an IT firm.
And it’s also good, because it clears up an urban myth - and one which Billy Corgan seems to have started.
Corgan added: “She said she didn’t want us to know because she thought maybe we wouldn’t let her in the band.”
The world was either delighted or confused - as they reckoned that Fiorentino (who was born in 1979) would have been too old to be a little kid in 1993. It’s thought now that the whole thing was a Billy Corgan Twitter prank. Doh!