Chris Cornell Sides With Record Company in Battle Over Temple of the Dog Tapes
Last week, A&M Records sued the owner of the studio where the 1991 album Temple of the Dog was recorded. Rajan Parashar, whose late brother Rick co-produced the sessions with the ad hoc Temple of the Dog group, refuses to turn over the master tapes.
Chris Cornell has now come to the label's defense, saying that Parashar has no legal claim to the tapes. The Soundgarden frontman, who sang on the Temple of the Dog album, issued a statement noting that the co-founder of Seattle's London Bridge Studios does not own the recordings.
"A&M Records paid for the recordings and the use of the studio," Cornell said, adding that 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."
Temple of the Dog was formed in 1990 by Cornell as a one-off project to pay tribute to his late roommate Andrew Wood, who was the singer of Mother Love Bone. That band's guitarist and bass player, Stone Gossard and Jeff Ament, respectively, brought along another guitarist, Mike McCready, and singer Eddie Vedder, whom they had been working with on a new project that became Pearl Jam. Along with Soundgarden drummer Matt Cameron, the group recorded the Temple of the Dog album in 15 days.
The record became a Top 5 hit after Pearl Jam broke though in 1991. The song "Hunger Strike," which features prominent vocals by both Cornell and Vedder, was a rock radio hit, and the album eventually sold more than a million copies.
A&M's lawsuit claims that the label had a 1993 agreement with Rick Parashar, who also produced Pearl Jam's debut, Ten, as well as other records from the era. The producer, who died last year, was supposed to hand over the Temple of the Dog tapes for $35,000. Rajan Parashar’s lawyer, however, claims that the tapes belong to his client, who co-founded London Bridge Studios and was not included in the deal.
While A&M hasn't disclosed the reasons for wanting the tapes after all these years, there's a good chance that the company is putting together something for the album's 25th anniversary next year.
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