The master recording tapes of Temple of the Dog, one of grunge’s greatest supergroups, are at the center of a lawsuit between A&M Records and the co-founder of a Seattle recording studio. The tapes are currently in the possession of London Bridge Studio co-founder Rajan Parashar, the brother of fellow co-founder and Temple of the Dog producer Rick Parashar. In the lawsuit, A&M Records is demanding the immediate return of the tapes as well as damages and attorneys’ fees.
According to court documents, Rick Parashar reneged on a 1993 deal to give up the master tapes and its rights to A&M for $35,000. Rick Parashar died in August 2014, leaving the Temple of the Dog tapes in his brother’s sole possession, the Seattle Times reports. A&M Records initially believed that the members of the one-off supergroup had custody of the Temple of the Dog tapes, only to learn that they were still under the Parashars’ ownership.
Rajan Parashar’s attorney Warren Rheaume admitted to the Seattle Times, “He’s had them all along. They’re his.” It’s unclear why A&M Records, which is now part of the conglomerate Universal subsidiary Interscope Geffen A&M, are suddenly seeking the master tapes, but 2016 does mark the 25th anniversary of Temple of the Dog.
In 1990, following the death of Mother Love Bone singer Andrew Wood, friend and Soundgarden frontman Chris Cornell recruited Soundgarden drummer Matt Cameron plus two Mother Love Bone members, bassist Jeff Ament and guitarist Stone Gossard, to join him on an album that Cornell was writing in tribute to Wood. Rounding out the band was future Pearl Jam guitarist Mike McCready and a newly arrived singer by the name of Eddie Vedder, who provided background vocals to the album and co-lead on the LP’s breakout single “Hunger Strike.”
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Temple of the Dog was recorded in 15 days at Parashar’s London Bridge Studio; Parashar would later also produce Pearl Jam’s debut Ten at the same venue. Although the album was largely ignored upon its release in 1991, following to emergence of Pearl Jam, Temple of the Dog would eventually go platinum. It’s now considered a grunge classic.
While Temple of the Dog only recorded one album together, the band has reunited onstage a handful of times over the past decade. During Pearl Jam’s October 2014 performance at Neil Young’s Bridge School Benefit, Chris Cornell joined the band onstage for an acoustic rendition of “Hunger Strike.” That marked the first Temple of the Dog reunion since September 2011, when Cornell joined his Seattle brethren at the band’s Pearl Jam Twenty release party.