The Grown-Up Nirvana Baby’s Lawsuit Against The Band Has Been Dismissed—For Now

Posted inDesign News

The Nirvana Baby is all grown up and jonesin’ to sue your ass. If you’re in the band, that is.

You might not know the name Spencer Elden, but chances are you know what he looked like as a baby. Elden was the 4-month-old baby featured on the famous cover of Nirvana’s 1991 album, Nevermind, placidly floating naked underwater with a dollar bill on a hook. Dare we even say iconic?

But now, as a 30-year-old, Elden is acting more infantile than ever. The painter who apparently once interned for artist Shepard Fairey is suing those behind the cover to the tune of $150,000 on the grounds of child pornography, even after previously relishing their use of the image and profiting from it. Elden has been paid to re-create the photo as an adult many times, has made talk show appearances parodying the cover, has sold autographed copies of the album on eBay, leveraged his celebrity from the cover to pick up women, and has the album title tattooed across his chest. He even proudly refers to himself as the “Nirvana Baby.” Call me crazy, but this doesn’t seem like the kind of behavior from someone who genuinely believes they’re the victim of commercial child sexual exploitation.

It seems Elden is once again trying to figure out a way to make a quick buck off of the Nevermind cover.

Spencer Elden recreating the Nevermind cover 25 years later. Photo by John Chapple.

The grown-up baby is suing Nirvana drummer Dave Grohl, bassist Krist Novoselic, Kurt Cobain’s widow and executor of his estate, Courtney Love, the photographer who took the image, Kirk Weddle, Universal Music, Geffen Records, Warner Records, and MCA Music.

For now, at least, Elden’s schemes have been thwarted, with the case just getting dismissed by the Central District Court in California on a technicality. The defendants filed a motion to dismiss the case last month, which Elden’s legal team failed to respond to by the December 30th deadline. Elden now has a chance to refile by January 13th. If the defendants file another motion to dismiss in response, both sides will meet in court on January 20th to duke it out.

Riveting stuff!