Grunge band star says stu­dio owner has no right to al­bum mas­ter tapes

The China Post - - ARTS - BY GENE JOHN­SON

Soundgar­den front­man Chris Cor­nell said Tues­day that the co-founder of a famed Seat­tle record­ing stu­dio has no le­git­i­mate claim to own the mas­ter tapes of a defin­ing al­bum of the grunge era — “Tem­ple of the Dog,” which Cor­nell recorded with Ed­die Ved­der and other mem­bers of Pearl Jam in 1990.

A&M records sued Raj Parashar, who founded Lon­don Bridge Stu­dios with his brother, in March, de­mand­ing that Parashar turn over the mas­ter tapes. The la­bel says it bought the al­bum — and the mas­ter tapes — in 1991. In a state­ment is­sued Tues­day, Cor­nell agreed.

“A&M Records paid for the record­ings and the use of the stu­dio,” he said. For Parashar “to pre­tend he has a right to keep the record­ings makes no more sense than the owner of a laun­dro­mat claim­ing he owns the clothes you washed in his wash­ing ma­chine.”

A&M didn’t say in its com­plaint why it wants the mas­ter record­ings, but such tapes can be used in re- is­su­ing al­bums. Next year marks the al­bum’s 25th an­niver­sary.

Parashar’s lawyer, War­ren Rheaume, said Tues­day that his client does in fact own the tapes. Raj Parashar helped en­gi­neer the al­bum’s pro­duc­tion, was never paid for his ef­forts, and was not part of an agree­ment that his brother reached with the la­bel in 1993, Rheaume said.

The band Tem­ple of the Dog was founded by Cor­nell in 1990. He was joined by fu­ture mem­bers of Pearl Jam, in­clud­ing Ved­der, who had just moved to Seat­tle. The al­bum was recorded in 15 days af­ter Cor­nell wrote sev­eral songs as a trib­ute to Mother Love Bone singer An­drew Wood fol­low­ing his fa­tal heroin over­dose.

Ac­cord­ing to the law­suit, Parashar’s brother, Rick Parashar, pro­duced “Tem­ple of the Dog” on a ver­bal agree­ment with the band. It was re­leased by A&M Records in 1991 to pos­i­tive re­views, but it failed to chart. The fol­low­ing year, A&M re-re­leased it as a col­lab­o­ra­tion of two of its most popular acts. The al­bum, with the popular sin­gle “Hunger Strike,” even­tu­ally sold more than 1 mil­lion copies.

The law­suit said that in 1993 A&M and Rick Parashar signed a con­tract in which he agreed to turn over the mas­ter tapes and all rights to them for US$35,000.

But Raj Parashar was not a party to that deal and had not given up any rights he had to the masters, Rheaume said.

“Raj made the fa­cil­ity avail­able, he wran­gled peo­ple over the two-week record­ing pe­riod, and I be­lieve he was the record­ing en­gi­neer,” Rheaume said. “Raj has no agree­ment with A&M.” Rick Parashar died last year. The law­suit was ini­tially filed in Wash­ing­ton state court. Raj Parashar had it trans­ferred to fed­eral court last week.

In its com­plaint, A&M said that un­til 2013 it be­lieved the mu­si­cians had the mas­ter tapes, but learned oth­er­wise from a rep­re­sen­ta­tive.

The Parashar broth­ers built the stu­dio in 1985. Rick Parashar’s cred­its in­clude Pearl Jam’s sem­i­nal al­bum, “Ten,” as well as record­ings of Alice in Chains, Blind Melon and Di­nosaur Jr.

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

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