FULLER UP
HOME
GRIM REAPER
PAGE
CAUSES OF
DEATH
SEARCH BY
NAME
GET IN
TOUCH
SHAMEFUL
 DISCLAIMER
 
 Fuller Up The Dead Musician Directory
John Baker Saunders
John Baker Saunders
 Heroin OD
January 15, 1999
Age 44
OBITUARY 
BIOGRAPHY  
LINKS
 
 
 
 

OBITUARY 

MTV

 
Mad Season Bassist Baker Saunders Dies 

A spokesperson for Curtis Management has confirmed the death of Mad Season bassist John Baker Saunders. Few details were available, but it was thought that the musician may have died of a drug overdose. Baker hailed from Minneapolis.  

Mad Season was a Seattle supergroup originally formed by Pearl Jam guitarist Mike McCready, Alice in Chains singer Layne Staley, Screaming Trees drummer Barrett Martin, and Baker Saunders.  

The band released one album, "Above", on Sony in the spring of 1995, which spawned the radio hit "River of Deceit." Before he could lay down vocals for a second project, which the musicians had already recorded, Staley dropped out of sight. He was scheduled to be replaced by Trees vocalist Mark Lanegan, who had also contributed to "Above." Last year the band announced that they'd be recording under the name Disinformation, but the project apparently petered out before any new sessions could take place. 

Saunders also played with the Seattle band The Walkabouts, a former Sub Pop group.  He joined them as a replacement player in 1996. The Walkabouts most recently issued a record called "Nighttown" in 1997 on the Virgin label. 

 

 

 SonicNet Music News
Mad Season Bassist Dies

John Baker Saunders, 44, bassist for onetime Seattle supergroup Mad Season, was found dead Jan. 15 in the Northwest city. The King County Medical Examiner's office conducted an autopsy last weekend but will not know the results until next month. "Baker was a true bass player who lived it and played it with all his  heart. He'd probably laugh at me for saying that, but I don't care," said Pearl Jam guitarist Mike McCready, Saunders' bandmate in Mad Season, in a prepared statement. 

 
 
 
       
 

OBITUARY
BIOGRAPHY
LINKS TOP
 
 
 
 
 

 
BIOGRAPHY
 
Mad Season

 Layne Staley - Vocals
Mike McCready - Guitar
Martin Barrett - Drums
"Baker" - Bass 
 

Its Sunday, October 16, 1994.  A new band - or so it seems - takes the stage at Seattle's Crocodile Cafe. The audience waits expectantly, curious about what kind of music these newcomers (so new they don't even have a name yet) will provide. But, a closer look at the musicians on stage reveals that these guys aren't newcomers at all. The band features members from some of the biggest groups in rock today: Pearl Jam, Alice in Chains, the Screaming Trees. But the music doesn't sound like any of those groups; the guys on-stage have a clear and distinctive musical identity, one drawn equally from the realms of rock and the back-rooms of the blues.  

Meet Mad Season. A sound that began as jam session among friends a half-year ago has evolved into a startling new album, ABOVE. The group began when Pearl Jam's guitarist Mike McCready set up some informal jam sessions for himself and two friends: Screaming Trees drummer Barrett Martin, and Baker, a bassist McCready had met in Minneapolis, who has played with such blues talents as Little Pat Rushing, Hubert Sumlin, Sammy Fender, and the Lamont Cranston Band. Two of the songs on the record ('Wake Up' and 'River of Deceit') were written instantly when we first sat down and played," says Baker. We knew that a really good spark was happening. It was obvious that we had something good going. McCready then gave Layne Staley, Alice In Chains' lead singer, a call and asked him to join in the fun. Staley arrived, with guitar in hand and a head-full of lyric ideas, and the new band's musical mix got even hotter.  

The next logical step was to play in front of an audience. McCready again took the lead, arranging for an unannounced show at the Crocodile Cafe. The fact that the band didn't have even one complete song prepared (...only jams and beginnings of songs, Martin admits) did not prove to be a hindrance; in fact, one number, Artificial Red, which the band would later record, actually came together during the show itself, evolving out of a jam. Two more gigs followed at the Crocodile, with the band billing themselves as the Gacy Bunch (paying simultaneous homage to John Wayne Gacy, the "Killer Clown" of Chicago, and a beloved sitcom from the 1970's).  

By this time, the guys realized their new group was destined to be more than an occasional gathering of friends at a local club.  We could tell that we had some pretty god songs, says Martin. Recording just seemed logical, really. The band also decided that a name change was in order, and so, the Gacy Bunch became Mad Season, an English term for the time of the year when psilocybin mushrooms are in full bloom. A quick ten day recording session at Seattle's Bad Animals studio (co-owned by Ann and Nancy Wilson of Heart) resulted in the eleven songs on ABOVE, co-produced by the band and Pearl Jam sound engineer Brett Eliason.  

Mad Seasons music is a powerful blend of blues and heavy rock, a potent combination of Staley's lyrics and the bands musical creations. Although they're Laynes words they speak for all of us, says Baker. The lyrics are very autobiographical. They're about changes in the attitude about whats important and what's not. Wake Up kicks off the album on a dreamy note, ushering the listener into a sad, sometimes desolate, world, balanced by songs like River of Deceit," a slow, thoughtful number that offers the hope of salvation. (River was chosen as ABOVEs first single because, as Martin says, the essence of the band is there.")  

Blues influences are apparent on numbers like Artificial Red; the spontaneity of the sessions is captured in November Hotels," an instrumental, based on one of the band's jams, that begins as a deceptively low key piece, before building to a whirling storm.  Screaming Trees lead singer, Mark Lanegan, makes a guest appearance on two tracks, I'm Above and Long Gone Day co-writing lyrics on the latter number). Layne and I had been saying that those two particular songs would lend themselves very nicely to Marks voice, explains Martin. Mark came in and they went into the studio and we left them alone.  

They did some amazing things together. ABOVE stretches all of the musicians in new directions very different from their usual styles. As Layne Staley puts it, "This is a nice band. It's loose, but there's a lot of thought put into it, too. And room to put in pure feeling and emotion."  

After giving their Seattle audience a preview of their sound, Mad Season let the rest of the world listen in, via an appearance on Pearl Jams Self-Pollution Radio worldwide broadcast on January 8, 1995, performing Lifeless Dead and I Don't Know Anything." The band follows up that musical hors d'oueuvre with the release of ABOVE on March 14. (A limited edition vinyl version of the record released a week earlier featured two-disks packaged in a gatefold sleeve, with music on three sides of the album, and an etching on the fourth side.) A short tour is also planned in support of the album.  

And what else lies in Mad Seasons future? Another album, the band members hope, and more good times, either on stage or in more casual settings. As corny as it sounds, we are friends and we like playing together, says Martin. Its fun getting together in the basement and just noodling around. 

 
 

OBITUARY
BIOGRAPHY
LINKS TOP
 
 
 
 

 LINKS
  
 

JBS tribute
Mike McCready Remembers Seattle Bassist
 

 

 
 

OBITUARY
BIOGRAPHY
LINKS TOP
 
 
 
 
 
FULLER UP
HOME
GRIM REAPER
PAGE
CAUSES OF
DEATH
SEARCH BY
NAME
GET IN
TOUCH
SHAMEFUL
 DISCLAIMER
 
 
 
TOP