Nirvana’s ‘Nevermind’ Baby Still Swimming 26 Years Later
It was 26 years ago this week that Nirvana released their album 'Nevermind'. I think it's safe to say we all know what became of that album but what about that little baby swimming underwater on the album cover?
That baby is now a grown man and his name is Spencer Elden. In 1991 he was just four months old when he was photographed underwater at the Rose Bowl Aquatic Center in Pasadena, California. Photographer Kirk Weddle was friends with Spencer's parents and asked if he could use little Spencer for a photo-shoot for a new band called Nirvana. They agreed to it and made $200 for about 15 seconds of work.
"They went down to the local pool, drank some beers, threw me in the pool," said Spencer on the podcast. "The cover ended up getting shot, it gets put on the cover of the album and the rest is history. It's been the most iconic moment of my life so far."
That comment from Spencer came from a recent podcast I listened to called "The Odd Podcast with Joe Parisi". As I hit the play button I expected Spencer to have nothing but good things to say about being a part of rock and roll history. What I discovered, however, was that he is not really sure if he loves his celebrity status or hates it. In fact, he reminded me a lot of Kurt Cobain himself only on a much smaller scale fame-wise.
Here is the full interview with Spencer which begins at around the 11:25 mark
In the 2016 video below you get to see what Spencer looks like all grown up:
Spencer has gained quite a bit of attention over the years as you can imagine. After all, he's on the cover of one of the most iconic albums in rock history. Though it's had its benefits it has also has come with its drawbacks.
"At first you're just born with it and you're totally o.k., you wouldn't know any different because you're born with it but then growing into it you have second thoughts," said Spencer. "I find myself in this weird situation where I'm trying to pursue [making money from the Nirvana fame] and then not pursue it. But then it becomes this thing like you're the Gerber baby still alive being, like, 30 years old or something and it's like - How do I parley it into something else?"
In a lighter moment from the interview Parisi asked Spencer if he could have been featured as a baby on a different album cover which one would it be?
"I'd be willing to trade with that girl climbing the stairs from Led Zeppelin," said Spencer referring to Led Zeppelin's 1973 'Houses of the Holy' album cover. "At least she didn't get a full frontal nudity shot."
Though the last 26 years in the spotlight as the Nirvana baby have brought with them some difficulties Spencer remains optimistic about his own future as an artist. He certainly has the talent as you can see some of Spencer's work both on his Facebook page and his website page.
"I think good takes take time, bad things happen instantly so it's just all about the road and getting there," he said. "I just gotta keep swimming and working at it and something will click."
Keep on swimming Spencer. Keep on swimming.