Rick Parashar: Record producer whose work with Soundgarden, Pearl Jam and Alice in Chains kick-started grunge

Pearl Jam’s seminal debut album ‘Ten’ became a landmark Seattle record second only to ‘Nevermind’

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The Independent Online

The record producer Rick Parashar helped shape the sound of Pearl Jam and Alice In Chains, two of the biggest rock groups to emerge from the north-west of the US during the grunge era of the early 1990s, and confirmed his talent for crossing alternative, angsty bands into the mainstream with Blind Melon, 3 Doors Down and the British four-piece Longview.

Several of the albums he produced and engineered, including Pearl Jam’s 1991 seminal debut Ten, Nickelback’s Grammy-nominated Silver Side Up in 2001 and 3 Doors Down’s Away From The Sun in 2002, proved definitive, multi-million-selling releases that dominated the rock marketplace and US radio for several years and are now considered “classic rock”.

Born Rakesh Parashar in Seattle in 1963, he was in his mid-teens when he started building his own studio in the basement of the family home with his brother, Raj. They progressed from recording their own music to helping local acts and in 1985 opened their own facility called London Bridge Studio. Within a couple of years he was producing the Seattle thrash metal band Forced Entry and the first demo and the We Die Young EP by Alice In Chains, while welcoming to the studio Soundgarden and Mother Love Bone, the first two Seattle groups to sign major deals.

He assisted Terry Date as he produced Louder Than Love, Soundgarden’s impressive first album for A&M Records, and Apple, Mother Love Bone’s debut for the Mercury label. Following the death of the Mother Love Bone frontman Andrew Wood from a heroin overdose in March 1990, Parashar produced the eponymous album by Temple Of The Dog, the group comprising vocalist/guitarist Chris Cornell and drummer Matt Cameron, both from Soundgarden, as well as the bassist Jeff Ament, guitarist Stone Gossard, from Mother Love Bone, and guitarist Mike McCready and singer Eddie Vedder.

Temple Of The Dog kick-started Pearl Jam, comprising Ament, Gossard, McCready and Vedder (joined by Cameron after Soundgarden’s split in 1997). Parashar proved the natural choice to co-produce Ten, and contributed Fender Rhodes piano, organ and percussion to the brooding “Black” and “Jeremy”, the haunting third single from what became a landmark Seattle album second only to Nirvana’s Nevermind. He also produced “Breath”, Pearl Jam’s contribution to the soundtrack for Singles, the Seattle-set Cameron Crowe film that helped turn grunge into a worldwide phenomenon, and featured another of his productions, the intense “Would?” by Alice In Chains.

With its 5,000 sq ft, tall ceilings, hardwood floors and brick walls, London Bridge had a distinctive sound that also served Blind Melon well, as on their acoustic-flavoured 1993 hit “No Rain” and their self-titled debut. Parashar’s more recent productions for Melissa Etheridge and Bon Jovi took him away from Seattle and he and Raj sold the studio in 2005. He died from a pulmonary embolism.

PIERRE PERRONE

Rakesh Parashar, record producer, engineer and musician: born Seattle 13 December 1963; died Seattle 14 August 2014.

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