todd kerns

17 then-and-now photos of Canadian musicians from the '90s

by Mark Teo

July 17, 2013

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Is there something in the water? 17 Canadian '90s music icons who have aged remarkably well.

It may be a disappointment to some, but not every Canadian music star aged as confusingly as Sum 41’s Deryck Whibley. Most, in fact, aged spectacularly well: Sure, there’s the obligatory crows feet. Yes, a few are carrying a spare tire around their midsection. And, of course, there are greys creeping in around those temples. (And look—we feel you, everyone.) But, for the most part, many ’90s Canadian musicians emerged from the decade (and the decade following) unscathed. Here are a few of our favourites.

RUSTY’S KEN MACNEIL

Rusty, a band comprised of ex-Doughboys and One Free Fall members, released one of Canada’s all-time-greatest albums with 1996’s Fluke. And at their NXNE reunion a few years ago, their singer, Ken MacNeil, revealed that he cut his trademark dreads. It’s for the best.

HAYDEN DESSER

Back in 1995, Hayden Desser, decked out in a vintage ringer tee, resembled a Canrock everyman (with a healthy dose of straight-faced Adam Sandler). In 2013—armed with a variety of snap-button shits, a mop of salt ‘n’ pepper curls and a grey beard—still resembles a Canrock everyman. Indeed, the more things change, the more they stay the same: He’s now on Arts and Crafts, but his 2013 LP, Us Alone, is just as captivating as The Closer I Get or Skyscraper National Park.

THE TEA PARTY’S JEFF MARTIN

Back in the mid-’90s, the Tea Party were celebrated for two things: Their industrial- and eastern-tinged alt-rock and singer Jeff Martin’s uncanny resemblance to Jim Morrison. In 2013, Martin still looks like Morrison—but now, he also rocking the whole Robin Hood-meets-Pirates of the Caribbean thing. Can anyone else picture him in a fedora? Ugh.

ALANIS MORISSETTE

Alanis went from being a star on YTV’s You Can’t Do That On Television, to teen idol-hood, to dating Full House‘s Dave Coulier, to being a post-grunge star, to—well, we’ve seen her grow up right in front of our eyes.

JANN ARDEN

Jann Arden basically looks like Jann Arden. The only difference? She’s a heckuva lot more risque than she was in the ’90s.

MOIST’S DAVID USHER

Dang, David Usher hasn’t aged a day since Moist released their iconic stripper-pole classic, Silver. What’s the secret? We’re guessing he treats his body like a temple, fuelling it with the world’s finest dark chocolates and ginseng root, slathering it in water-based lubricants, and massaging it with balm made from the horn of the endangered Sumatran rhinoceros.

THE TRAGICALLY HIP’S GORD DOWNIE

“Poets”-era Gord Downie felt a lot like a high-school theatre kid: He was slightly dandyish, over-expressive, and thoroughly irritating. Now, he looks like an even split between a blues dad and a Muppet. And the look suits him just fine.

JOEL PLASKETT

Is there anyone as ageless as Joel Plaskett? In the video for “The Day We Hit the Coast,” Plaskett looked like Luke Skywalker in a full-length mink coat. Now, he looks like an adolescent folk-rock superstar.

HOLLY MCNARLAND

Holly McNarland built a career around her ballsiness, and that continues to this day. “I was recently asked by a fan why I’m not more successful… I’ll answer with this,” she wrote on her Facebook page. “I have a home, a husband that loves me, a bunch of BS awards that prove that I sold records when folks still bought records, a guitar, the ability to write songs and a voice to sing them but how I really know I have succeeded, I chose babies over music… I’ll be 40 with a 14 year old and a 7 year old, I’ll never regret winning that lottery.” Tell ‘em, Holly.

MATTHEW GOOD

No one is indestructible when faced with the passage of time. Not even you, Matthew Good.

I MOTHER EARTH / CRASH KARMA’S EDWIN

Edwin started off as a living, breathing eyebrow ring—I mean, look at him: He’s a bad dye job clad in Mod Robes and a bowling shirt. Now, he looks like Bono armed with a kettlebell. Feel heavy, bruh.

THE RHEOSTATICS / BIDINIBAND’S DAVE BIDINI

In the Rheos’ glory days, Dave Bidini was the band pugilist, the type who’d feel equally comfortable onstage or in an alleyway brawl. (He was, perhaps, the kind of dude who subscribed to Conn Smythe’s famed mantra: “If you can’t beat ‘em in the alley, you can’t beat in the rink.”) Now, he looks like what he is: A member of hockey’s intelligentsia, an esteemed culture writer, and a National Post columnist.

AGE OF ELECTRIC’S TODD KERNS

Who could’ve predicted that Todd Kerns would convert his time in Age of Electric—and his ample facial piercings—into a two-decade-long career on the international hard rock circuit? Well, he did. Now, Kerns plays guitar in Slash’s backup band—which effectively makes him Estevan, SK’s greatest contribution to the world at large.

LIMBLIFTER’S RYAN DAHLE

Ryan Dahle used to look like you just kicked his puppy square in the ribs. Now, he looks like Ewan MacGregor after Ewan MacGregor witnessed his puppy getting kicked square in the ribs.

ESTHERO

Esthero, the trip hop singer responsible for “Heaven Sent,” went from being a faux-raver to vaguely resembling an anonymous Hollywood B-lister. But anonymous she ain’t. In fact, she’s still in the biz: She released Everything in Expensive, a brand-new LP, in 2012.

SLOAN’S CHRIS MURPHY

Chris Murphy went from being a mop-topped record nerd to, well, a mop-topped record nerd in a hardcore cover band. 

SARAH MCLACHLAN

Sarah McLachlan’s aged gracefully, but make no mistake: She’s still the type of person you’d kick off your shoes with before engaging in a lively bout of devil sticks.

Tags: Music, Cancon, Lists, News, age of electric, canrock, chris murphy, Edwin, Gord Downie, holly mcnarland, Jann Arden, Joel Plaskett, Limblifter, Matthew Good, rheostatics, rusty, Sarah McLachlan, Sloan, The Tea Party, Tragically Hip

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