The Nirvana “Nevermind baby” Spencer Elden filed an amended lawsuit on Monday in Los Angeles court. The new version cites disturbing sections from Kurt Cobain’s journal entries, and removes some defendants, including drummer Chad Channing.
Elden, now 30 years old, continues to allege that the cover image used as the cover of 1991’s Nevermind, which depicts a four-month-old Elden underwater with exposed genitals, was meant to be sexual in nature and “trigger a visceral sexual response from the viewer.”
As apparent proof of this intent, the amended lawsuit states that photographer Kirk Weddle also “produced” ostensibly unused images of Elden dressed as Playboy tycoon Hugh Hefner following the swimming pool shoot.
“Weddle soon after produced photographs of Spencer dressed up and depicted as Hugh Hefner,” reads the amended lawsuit, per Rolling Stone.
As we previously reported, numerous lawyers and third-party pundits called out Elden’s initial lawsuit for its “frivolous” accusations that the Nevermind cover was meant to be pornographic.
In an attempt to underline these accusations, Elden’s team have now brought Kurt Cobain’s journal entries into question.
“Undated journals written by Cobain sketch the album cover in a sexual manner, with semen all over it,” reads the amended suit. “In several instances, the journals describe Cobain’s twisted vision for the Nevermind album cover, along with his emotional struggles: ‘I like to make incisions into the belly of infants then f**k the incision until the child dies.’”
Regarding the controversial cover, Cobain famously said at the time: “If you’re offended by this, you must be a closet pedophile.” His journal entries, albeit indeed disturbing, were often heavily laced with morbid sarcasm and black humor.
As mentioned, the amended paperwork no longer names Chad Channing as a defendant. The drummer, who preceded Dave Grohl in Nirvana, barely played on Nevermind before being let go from the band. In addition, the updated lawsuit also removes Warner Music as a defendant, as well as Heather Parry and Guy Oseary (previously listed as managers of Cobain’s estate). Former Nirvana members Grohl and Krist Novoselic, as well as Cobain’s widow, Courtney Love, the estate’s executor, are still named among the defendants.
Elden claims to have suffered “extreme and permanent emotional distress” because of the cover (despite participating in re-creations of the shoot multiple times and sporting a Nevermind tattoo) and seeks “at minimum” $150,000 from each defendant. He also says neither of his guardians “ever signed a release authorizing the use of any images of Spencer or of his likeness, and certainly not of commercial child pornography depicting him.”
Nevermind recently received a deluxe 30th anniversary box set treatment. Elden had requested the cover image be altered for all future releases, though the original image remains intact for the anniversary edition. Responding to the lawsuit, Grohl commented, “He’s got a Nevermind tattoo. I don’t.”