Really, Spencer Elden? The Hypocrisy Is Baffling



“Happy early birthday to Nevermind!” 




“Yes, Nevermind! Just one of the greatest albums to ever exist!”


“Oh, Nevermind! By Nirvana?”




“Why early birthday celebrations?”


“Well, it is the beginning of September. That means Nevermind has a whole birthday month celebration since Nevermind turns 30 years old on September 24th.”


Nevermind is old enough to get a job.”


“There is no need for that since Nevermind has plenty of money. Unless … SPENCER ELDEN!”


Unless Spencer Elden? What does Spencer Elden have to do with this? Furthermore, who in the world is Spencer Elden? 


Do not worry because the confusion is understood. Even with gathered information, Spencer’s accusations do not sum up when there is contradicting evidence against his claims. Oh, but what are his accusations? That will be mentioned later, but before dwelling on the horrors that is hypocrisy, the background of how Nevermind met the world nearly 30 years ago shall be told to understand the current dilemma. 


To begin with, who are the geniuses that created Nevermind?


To start off with, the following mentioned people are very important to all of this.  Krist Novoselic was born on May 16th, 1965 in Compton, California. Kurt Cobain was born on February 20th, 1967 in Aberdeen, Washington. Dave Grohl was born on January 14th, 1969 in Warren, Ohio. 


Do those names sound very familiar to you? Or do you know who they are entirely? If you do not know who they are, that is perfectly fine since that will unfold in a matter of seconds. 


Novoselic, Cobain and Grohl are three individuals that changed the world forever in a band named Nirvana. But, changing the world forever did not happen with magic. According to the official Nirvana website, Cobain and Novoselic met in the fall of 1985. They would play in various bands until Cobain and Novoselic formed Nirvana with drummer Aaron Burckhard in Aberdeen, Washington in December 1987. It was not until September 25th, 1990 when Grohl became the fifth and final drummer of Nirvana. 


Grohl the drummer? What do Cobain and Novoselic do then? Cobain was the lead singer, guitarist, and primary songwriter of Nirvana. Novoselic was the bassist of Nirvana.


Voila! Novoselic, Cobain and Grohl are the geniuses that brought Nevermind to life. Now what? 


Well, how was it that Nevermind was born? 


According to the Rolling Stone, producer Butch Vig said, “The week before I flew to L.A. [to produce Nevermind], Kurt sent a cassette, which was done on a boombox. It was really terrible sounding. You could barely make out anything. But I could hear the start to ‘Smells Like Teen Spirit,’ and I knew it was amazing.”


Vig was determined for the songs on Nevermind to not get lost in a cheap production since that occurred with Nirvana’s first album named Bleach. Novoselic, Cobain, Grohl and Vig spent over a month at Sound City Studios in Van Nuys, California recording and mixing the album. 


Vig recalls, “They were living in this apartment complex, and it was chaos. There’d be graffiti on the walls, and the couches were upside down. They’d stay up every night and go down to Venice Beach until six in the morning. I’d go into the studio at noon and they’d wander in around four.”


Vig also recalls that the entire process of recording the album was going great until when certain issues like Cobain going to record “Something in the Way” appeared. 


“No matter how subtly they’d try to play, it was too aggressive. Kurt walked into the control room and said it just had to sound like this – he was barely whispering, and playing the guitar so quietly you could barely hear it. It was mesmerizing. I pulled a couple of mikes in, and we built the whole song around it,” Vig said. 


Another certain issue that Vig expressed was, “Kurt kept trying to bury his voice. I kept arguing, ‘You can’t do that. Your vocal performance is as intense as the drums and the bass and the guitar.’”


Despite Vig’s input, his mixes were not on the album. Instead, Andy Wallace was hired by the band to give Nevermind the incredible sound we all hear today. 


Nevermind changed music forever.



According to the official Nirvana website, Nevermind was certified a gold album on October 12th, 1991. By November 1991, Nirvana began their six-week European tour as the world revolved around them. MTV constantly aired “Smells Like Teen Spirit,” converting the song to “an anthem for a generation.” Nevermind hit number one on the Billboard 200 album chart on January 11th, 1992. 


The rest is history and continues to embark on this journey of nostalgia. Nevermind never fades away as the years go by, so if you want to listen to the full album, you can click here and enjoy.


And if you are someone who likes owning a copy of an album, you can continue adding to the 30 million copies of Nevermind already sold worldwide. That extraordinary number speaks for itself, so just like Nevermind transformed music to the grunge scenery in the 90s, let grunge live on 30 years later and plus. 


It is now time for the part that has been awaited for. Who in the world is Spencer Elden, and what are his accusations? 


Like any album produced, there needs to be a cover. According to Slate Magazine, Cobain envisioned what he wanted the cover for Nevermind to be after he watched a documentary about underwater birth. Cobain wanted to express the idea that “even the most innocent human being can be hooked by money.” 


That is precisely what the Nevermind album portrays. From a birth scene to an unclothed young baby chasing a dollar bill, Cobain brought his idea to life. That young baby in the iconic album cover is no other than Spencer Elden.  


According to The New York Times, Elden was only four months old when he was photographed by Kirk Weddle in 1991 at the Rose Bowl Aquatics Center in Pasadena, California. Weddle paid Elden’s parents $200 for the photograph that was chosen amongst dozens of pictures of babies Weddle had photographed for the album cover. 


Throughout the years, Elden depicted a celebratory attitude towards being a part of the album cover. These times fully clothed, Elden recreated the album cover for the 10th, 17th, 20th and 25th anniversaries. 


In a 2016 interview with The New York Post, Elden said, “It’s cool but weird to be a part of something so important that I don’t even remember.” 


That celebratory attitude has been overturned because Elden, now 30, has filed a federal lawsuit against Dave Grohl, Krist Novoselic, Cobain’s widow named Courtney Love, the estate of Kurt Cobain, and everyone involved that partook of the photographing portion of the cover. Elden claims that all of those people he filed a federal lawsuit against and Geffen Records, the label that released Nevermind, made a profit from his unclothed photo. 


According to the lawsuit filed, “Elden’s parents also never signed a release authorizing the use of the image, and Elden himself never received any compensation.” 


According to NPR, Elden is asking for $150,000 in damages from each of the defendants due to having conducted child exploitation and pornography. Elden also claims to suffer from “permanent harm because of his association with the album, including emotional distress and a lifelong loss of income-earning capacity.” 


Elden is an artist who lives in Los Angeles County, and according to Maggie Mabie, one of Elden’s lawyers, Elden “has gone to therapy for years to work through how the album cover affected him.”


“They were trying to create controversy because controversy sells. The point was not just to create a menacing image but to cross the line and they did so in a way that exposed Spencer so that they could profit off of it,” Ms. Mabie said. 


Ms. Mabie claims that Elden agreed when the band, media outlets and fans asked Elden to recreate the photo as an adult, but Elden regrets that because he “realized” that the mere result was for the “image of him as a baby being further exploited.


According to The New York Times, the moment when Elden changed his celebratory attitude towards the album was “just a few months ago, when I was reaching out to Nirvana to see if they wanted to be a part of my art show.” 


Since Elden’s request was not fulfilled, he states, “Why am I still on their cover if I’m not that big of a deal?”


Call it Elden trying to seek revenge because his request was not accepted, but everything seems suspicious. If Elden truly disliked being a part of the album cover, he would not have recreated the cover for the 10th, 17th, 20th and 25th anniversaries of the album. Despite him being fully clothed in the recreated images, it is a hypocrisy when he claims that he now has to live with the reminder of him being the young baby from the Nevermind album because he would not have placed himself out there in the world for everyone to know he was the young baby from the album. 


Instead, he did make himself known as he grew up by recreating the cover and saying how cool it was to be a part of the album. If he wanted to forget about being a part of the album cover, he would not have tattooed “Nevermind” across his chest. And plus, Elden is not able to deny having “Nevermind” tattooed across his chest when the tattoo can be clearly seen in his recent recreation of the album cover. Therefore, it seems to be that Elden is in need of money and is literally doing what he is in the Nevermind album cover. He is chasing the bill.