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Legal dogfight over grunge tapes

Published 12/04/2015

Soundgarden frontman Chris Cornell founded grunge band Temple Of The Dog in 1990
Soundgarden frontman Chris Cornell founded grunge band Temple Of The Dog in 1990

The co-founder of a famed US recording studio is being sued to turn over the master tapes from Temple Of The Dog, a defining album of the grunge era which featured members of Pearl Jam and Soundgarden.

A&M Records filed the action in US District Court last week, The Seattle Times reported. The company said it bought the album from the supergroup in 1991, but Rajan Parashar, who launched Seattle's London Bridge Studios with his brother, will not give up the master tapes.

The band Temple Of The Dog was founded in 1990 by Soundgarden frontman Chris Cornell, who was joined by future members of Pearl Jam, including Eddie Vedder, who had just moved to Seattle.

The album was recorded in just 15 days, after Cornell wrote several songs as a tribute to Mother Love Bone singer Andrew Wood, following his fatal heroin overdose.

In the lawsuit, A&M said that until 2013 it believed the musicians had the master tapes. But a representative relayed that they were being held by the Parashars - something Rajan Parashar's lawyer confirmed on Friday.

"He's had them all along," lawyer Warren Rheaume said. "They're his."

Parashar's brother Rick died last August.

According to the lawsuit, Rick Parashar initially produced Temple Of The Dog on a verbal agreement with the band. After the album's success, the lawsuit said, they memorialised the deal in a contract signed in 1993, in which Rick Parashar agreed to turn over the master tapes and all rights to them for 35,000 dollars (£24,000).

The album was released by A&M Records in 1991 to critical acclaim, but failed to chart. That changed the following year, when A&M realised it was sitting on a collaboration of two of its most popular acts. The album was reissued with a video of the single Hunger Strike and peaked at No 5 on the US Billboard 200.

Rajan Parashar was not part of any agreement between his brother and A&M, Mr Rheaume said.

The Parashar brothers built the studio in 1985 and it became a vortex of the Seattle grunge recording scene. Rick Parashar's credits include multi-platinum releases for Temple Of The Dog, Alice In Chains, Pearl Jam, Blind Melon and Dinosaur Jr.

The lawsuit demands that Parashar turn the tapes over immediately and also asks for damages and legal fees.

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