Legal Fight Continues Over Temple of the Dog Master Tapes

Temple of the DogA&M Records is suing the brother of a famed Seattle studio owner, alleging he is in possession of the master tapes to one of grunge’s defining albums, Temple of the Dog. Of course the famed studio owner is the late Rick Parashar, co-founder of the iconic London Bridge Studios.

Rick’s brother Rajan Parashar doesn’t deny that he has the masters but he maintains they are his.

Parashar’s attorney, Warren Rheaume of the Seattle firm Davis Wright Tremaine, acknowledged on Friday his client has the master tapes. He told the  Seattle Times, “He’s had them all along,” Rheaume said, “They’re his.”

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

The project was started by Cornell, who had been a roommate of Andrew Wood, the lead singer of Malfunkshun and Mother Love Bone. Wood died tragically on March 19, 1990 of a heroin overdose, the day Cornell got back from a tour. As he went back on to tour Europe 5 days later, he started writing songs in tribute to his late friend. The result was two songs, “Reach Down” and “Say Hello 2 Heaven,” which he recorded as soon as he got back from touring.

The Temple of the Dog  material was different than the heavy, aggressive sounds that were coming out of Soundgarden at the time and he decided to ask  Wood’s former bandmates, Stone Gossard and Jeff Ament if they wanted to do the project. They were still figuring out how to continue without Mother Love Bone, the loss of Andy was a devastating blow so the Temple of the Dog project turned out to be a part of the healing process for all three of these guys.

The label was apparently under the impression that the band had held onto the master tapes until 2013 when “a representative of the artists contacted A&M and informed A&M that Rajan Parashar  and Rick Parashar” had them in their possession.  The Parashar brothers built the studio in 1985. Led by Rick’s Parashar’s production and recording expertise, London Bridge became the vortex for the Seattle grunge recording scene. Rick Parashar’s credits include multiplatinum releases for Temple of the Dog, Alice in Chains, Pearl Jam, Blind Melon and Dinosaur Jr.

After the sudden death of Rick Parashar, Rajan held on to the Temple of the Dog masters, which his attorney says he’s had all along. A&M says that they paid Rick Parashar for the ownership and rights to the master tapes back in 1993 for $35,000, though Parashar’s attorney says that Rajan was not part of any such agreement, and added that Parashar has “had them all along” because “they’re his.”

A&M’s lawsuit demands that Parashar hand over the tapes immediately, and cover the costs for damages and legal fees.