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Wednesday, January 20, 1999 - Page updated at 12:00 AM

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Mad Season Bass Player Baker Dies Of Overdose

Seattle Times Staff Critic

John Baker Saunders, 44, bassist for the Seattle-based rock band Mad Season, died Friday of a drug overdose, a spokesperson for Curtis Management has confirmed.

The King County Medical Examiner's office said toxicology tests are being conducted to determine the exact cause of death. The results will be known in four to six weeks, a spokesperson said.

Mad Season is a side project of Pearl Jam guitarist Mike McCready. It released one album on Columbia Records in 1995 and contributed cuts to several compilation albums, including "Working Class Hero: A Tribute to John Lennon" and "Bite Back," made up of live performances recorded at the Crocodile Cafe in Seattle. Curtis Management represents Pearl Jam and McCready.

Saunders went by the single name Baker while in Mad Season, which also includes Layne Staley of Alice in Chains and Barrett Martin of Screaming Trees.

"Baker was a true blues player who lived it and played it with all his heart," McCready said.

McCready met Saunders in 1994 while both were in a drug rehabilitation center in Minneapolis.

Services have already been held.

Copyright (c) 1999 Seattle Times Company, All Rights Reserved.

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