Soundgarden frontman Chris Cornell has entered the fray in the legal battle over the Temple of the Dog master tapes, saying in a statement that the Seattle studio owner currently in possession of the grunge supergroup’s recordings should give them back to the record label. “A&M Records paid for the recordings and the use of the studio,” Cornell told the Associated Press, adding that for the studio owner “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 Records sued London Bridge Studio co-founder Rajan Parashar earlier this month to reclaim the Temple of the Dog tapes. According to the lawsuit, Rick Parashar, Rajan’s brother and the producer of Temple of the Dog, signed a 1993 contract with A&M to hand over both the master tapes and its rights in exchange for $35,000.
However, the tapes remained in Rick’s possession. After the producer passed away last August, they ultimately ended up in Rajan’s possession, who argued that since he didn’t sign the deal with A&M, he’s not bound to return the tapes to the label.
Parashar’s lawyer Warren Rheaume previously admitted that his client was in possession of the Temple of the Dog tapes. “He’s had them all along. They’re his,” the attorney said. A&M’s lawsuit was initially filed in Washington State court, but it’s since been moved to federal court. “Raj made the facility available, he wrangled people over the two-week recording period, and I believe he was the recording engineer,” Rheaume told the AP. “Raj has no agreement with A&M.”
A&M Records long believed that one of the members of Temple of the Dog – Cornell, Soundgarden drummer Matt Cameron and Pearl Jam‘s Stone Gossard, Jeff Ament and Mike McCready (and, in a backup vocalist role, Eddie Vedder) – were in possession of the master tapes, but only discovered in 2013 that the Parashars still owned them. The one-off supergroup formed in 1991 following the death of Mother Love Bone singer Andrew Wood, Cornell’s friend as well as Ament and Gossard’s band mate. They recorded their lone album together over the course of two weeks alongside Rick Parashar, who would later produce Pearl Jam’s debut Ten.