Long ago, in the far away time of 1990, before the nu metal movement had even started and right as the Shoegaze scene was reaching it’s peak in the UK, Grunge was just starting to bloom in Seattle. One of the biggest musical movements of the 90s, and the stage from which artists like Kurt Cobain, Eddie Vedder, and Dave Grohl achieved legend status. It’s always interesting to see how and where these artists got their start, and how they were all connected at some point.
The crowning example of this was Temple of the Dog, who only released one record, but who’s lineup contained people from Soundgarden, Mother Love Bone, and the not even formed Pearl Jam. The official lineup ended up being Soundgarden’s Matt Cameron, Mother Love Bone’s Jeff Ament and Stone Gossard, and Pearl Jam’s Mike McCready and Eddie Vedder. The one album that the band released together is considered a grunge classic today, and ended up hitting platinum status. Now, 25 years later, the band’s CD is still being fought over.
The master recording tapes for the supergroup’s self-titles album, that you’d expect to be owned by some member of the band or even the label, but that’s not the case with this defining grunge record. Somehow, it ended up in the hands of the co-founder of London Bridge, the studio that recorded the album, Rajan Parashar. How it ended up with Parashar is kind of odd, as it was passed down to him from his brother, Rick Parashar, who wasn’t even supposed to have the tapes in the first place. Rick Parashar was supposed to turn over the master tapes, as well as the rights to them, in a contract with A&M records, the label who issued and reissued the album, for $35,000 in 1993. The Label, now a subsidiary of universal, is now suing Rajan Parashar for court fees, damages, and the master tapes themselves. The full lawsuit, in all it’s legal gibberish, said:
"Pursuant to Section 3 of the Producer Agreement, Rick Parashar and the [band] agreed to the following terms regarding compensation: 'In full consideration of any and all services rendered by [Rick Parashar] with respect to the Masters and for any and all rights granted by [Rick Parashar] to [the Artists] with respect thereto, [the Artists] shall pay to [Rick Parashar] the sum of Thirty-Five Thousand Dollars ($35,000), payable promptly after [Rick Parashar's] execution hereof. [Rick Parashar] hereby acknowledge[s] that [he is] not entitled to any royalties, fees or other compensation whatsoever with respect to the services performed by [Rick Parashar] in connection with the Masters or any exploitation thereof except as expressly provided herein.'"
It’s a shame this has to happen over something that seems so silly. The issue should have never gone to court in the first place, if a member of the band was able to keep the tapes, like normal. The album was recorded in 15 days, anyway, so maybe the commercial success just wasn’t that important to the band. So, with such a complicated issue, there’s really going to be no one who wins in all this. The most that anyone can do is reflect on the great songs that they released 25 years ago: