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Nirvana Baby Interview Resurfaces Revealing Reasons He Hates Album Artwork

by : Emily Brown on :
Nirvana Baby Interview Resurfaces Revealing Reasons He Hates Album ArtworkKirk Weddle/DGC/Nirvana/YouTube

A resurfaced interview with the man who is suing Nirvana over his appearance on their Nevermind album reveals exactly when his opinions about the cover art changed. 

Showing a naked, four-month-old Spencer Elden chasing a dollar bill in a swimming pool, the Nevermind album cover is one of the most recognised images in the world of music, and over the years Elden has played up to his role by recreating the scene for various album anniversaries.

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It seemed to come as a surprise, then, when Elden filed a lawsuit against the two surviving former members of Nirvana, drummer Dave Grohl and bassist Krist Novoselic, in California’s Central District Court this week.

Nirvana (PA Images)PA Images

Elden, who has a Nevermind tattoo on his chest, claimed the band ‘leveraged the shocking nature of his image to promote themselves and their music’ and that he has suffered ‘lifelong damages’ as a result.

Despite his previous and apparent acceptance of the cover, in 2016 Elden said it was ‘f*cked up’ that people were still talking about the album 25 years after its release.

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In a resurfaced interview with GQ, Elden said: ‘I’m pissed off about it, to be honest. I’ve been going through it my whole life. But recently I’ve been thinking, ‘What if I wasn’t OK with my freaking penis being shown to everybody?’ I didn’t really have a choice.’

Elden said his opinions about the album began to change a few months earlier, after he reached out to Nirvana to see if they wanted to be part of his art show with the photographer who took the swimming pool picture. In response he said he was met with referrals ‘to their managers and lawyers’, asking: ‘Why am I still on their cover if I’m not that big of a deal?’

The artist said he doesn’t ever bring up the album artwork, explaining it’s ‘not like you want to brag about your embarrassing naked photo’ and that he doesn’t ‘have much to show for it’ because he apparently does not receive royalties from the sale of the album.

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Elden added:

Everyone thinks you’re making money from it. You’ll hook up with a hot chick, and then they figure out you’re not making any money from it and they’ll dump you. You have these people who think you’re cool because you’re the Nirvana baby. But it’s fucking weird, man. It’s like that dream where you go to school without your clothes on.

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Nirvana Baby Suing Band Over Alleged Child Pornography

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In his lawsuit, Elden claims his parents never signed a release ‘authorizing the use of any images of Spencer or of his likeness, and certainly not of commercial child pornography depicting him’.

He also alleges to have experienced ‘extreme and permanent emotional distress with physical manifestations’, as well as ‘interference with his normal development and educational progress’ and ‘lifelong loss of income earning capacity’ as a result of his appearance.

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Elden is seeking damages, attorney fees and a jury trial.

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Emily Brown

Emily Brown first began delivering important news stories aged just 13, when she launched her career with a paper round. She graduated with a BA Hons in English Language in the Media from Lancaster University and went on to contribute to The Sunday Times Travel Magazine and Student Problems before becoming Senior Journalist at UNILAD, where she works on breaking news, trending stories and longer form features.

Topics: Life, Dave Grohl, Kurt Cobain, Lawsuit, Nevermind, Nirvana, Now

Credits

GQ
  1. GQ

    The Cover Star Baby Of Nirvana's Nevermind Album, 25 Years On