Dave Grohl has hinted the cover of Nirvana’s ‘Nevermind’ may change. The iconic artwork features the then-four-month-old Spencer Elden naked in a swimming pool reaching out for a dollar bill but the subject recently took legal action, alleging the image is child pornography and insisting his parents didn’t sign a release authorising the use of his image on the cover.
And now, the group’s former drummer has suggested the cover could be “altered” for future reissues, after Spencer requested his genitals be censored in any subsequent releases.
He told The Sunday Times magazine: “I have many ideas of how we should alter that cover but we’ll see what happens. We’ll let you know. I’m sure we’ll come up with something good.”
But the Foo Fighters frontman is trying not to pay too much attention to the legal row.
He added: “I think that there’s much more to look forward to and much more to life than getting bogged down in those kinds of things. And, fortunately, I don’t have to do the paperwork.”
Next month, a 30th anniversary reissue of the classic album will be released and pre-orders are currently available on Nirvana’s website, featuring the uncensored image on the artwork.
Although US law doesn’t typically consider non-sexualised pictures of infants as child pornography, Spencer’s lawyer Robert Y. Lewis has previously argued that the superimposed dollar bill makes the baby seem “like a sex worker”.
It has also been alleged that the group promised to cover his genitals with a sticker, but this wasn’t upheld.
Elden has claimed he has “suffered and will continue to suffer lifelong damages” because of the artwork.
As well as “extreme and permanent emotional distress”, he also claims to have faced “interference with his normal development and educational progress” and received “medical and psychological treatment”.
The LP is one of the band’s most iconic records, and boasting the hit singles ‘Smells Like Teen Spirit’ and ‘Come As You Are’.
He has requested damages of $150,000 (£109,000) from each of the 15 defendants named in the lawsuit, which includes photographer Kirk Weddle, late singer Kurt Cobain’s widow Courtney Love, the managers of his estate, and surviving band members Dave and Krist Noveselic.
In the past, Elden has recreated the cover both as a teenager and an album – while wearing swimming trunks – for the album’s 10th, 20th and 25th anniversaries, and at different times he has described the photo as both “a positive” or something that felt like his “human rights” were revoked.