Whatever Happened to Nirvana's Nevermind Baby

The image of a naked baby swimming towards a dollar bill on the cover of Nirvana's album Nevermind is iconic. It represented the thought process of the main man behind the album. Kurt Cobain hated commercialism so much that he came to despise the album's success. "Looking back on the production of Nevermind, I'm embarrassed by it now. It's closer to a Mötley Crüe record than it is a punk rock record," as Cobain told Michael Azerrad in Come as You Are: The Story of Nirvana. The band's drummer, Dave Grohl, called it, "...three guys in their early twenties, well-rehearsed and skinny and tired, doing their best to make a good album." Whether you think it's a commercial mess or a seminal album is a personal choice. For Spencer Elden, it was life-changing.

    By Kraft74 on Shuttershock

Spencer Elden

Spencer Elden was a few months old when his parents took the call from photographer Kirk Weddle. Elden's father used to help Weddle with sets and custom riggings, which is why Weddle went straight to Elden when his first plan failed. The earlier photoshoot took place at a baby swimming class. None of the images were appropriate, according to Geffen Records. The shot of baby Spencer took 15 seconds, and his parents were paid $200, which seems pretty low for the cover artists on a major album, but at the time, Nirvana was a small Seattle band about to release their second studio album.

    By Kraft74 on Shuttershock


Five years ago, at the album's 25th anniversary, Elden told Time Magazine, "Looking back, it feels kind of stupid doing interviews about it because I had nothing to do with it, but a lot to do with it all at the same time. It's a really weird feeling being a part of someone else's momentum—being caught up in this wake of stuff." Elden, who lives in Los Angeles, focuses his time on making art. His love of art was fostered by street artist Shepard Fairey who he interned for, but you can't help feeling that being part of something so artistically revered has something to do with taking his life in an artistic direction.


Elden has a few regrets about his involvement. "Everyone involved in the album has tons and tons of money. I feel like I'm the last little bit of grunge rock." He's never met either of the surviving members of Nirvana, Dave Grohl and Krist Novoselic, but has made attempts to contact them from time to time over the past 30 years.

Not Nevermind

The large Nirvana tattoo he has on his chest says, "Nevermind". That's a nod to the album, but it's not the man's outlook on life. He seems really bothered that he's not met Novoselic or Grohl. "I was trying to reach out to these people. I never met anybody. I didn't get a call or email. I just woke up already being a part of this huge project. It's pretty difficult—you feel like you're famous for nothing, but you didn't really do anything but their album." That bitterness led him to take legal action against the record company for compensation. "It's hard not to get upset when you hear how much money was involved," he said. "I feel like I got part of my human rights revoked." That last statement seems pretty harsh and unnecessary. Here's a man who needs to speak to his parents for the answers. Let's face it, they're the ones who gave permission for him to appear on the album cover. What a shame that the baby chasing a dollar bill grew into a man who's just as money-hungry.

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