John Baker Saunders

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John Baker Saunders
John Baker Saunder,Mad Season era photo.jpg
Background information
Born(1954-09-23)September 23, 1954
Montgomery, Alabama
DiedJanuary 15, 1999(1999-01-15) (aged 44)
Seattle, Washington
GenresAlternative rock, grunge, blues
Occupation(s)Musician, bassist
InstrumentsBass guitar, Upright bass
Associated actsMad Season, The Walkabouts, The Lamont Cranston Band

John Baker Saunders, Jr. (September 23, 1954 – January 15, 1999) was a founding member and bassist for the American grunge rock supergroup Mad Season, as well as a member of The Walkabouts.


He was born on September 23, 1954 in Montgomery, Alabama to John Baker Saunders, Sr. and Charleen I. Greer. He attended North Shore Country Day School, Rye Country Day School, Fay School, New Trier High School (East), Cabrillo College and Providence College.[1]

Saunders began his career as a blues bassist, working with traditional blues artists in Chicago, such as Hubert Sumlin and Sammy Fender. He recorded and toured Europe with the Seattle-based band, The Walkabouts. Saunders also worked with The Lamont Cranston Band, in Minneapolis.

In 1994, Saunders went into a Minneapolis drug rehabilitation facility, where he met Pearl Jam's Mike McCready. After completing treatment, Saunders and McCready returned to Seattle and formed a band called The Gacy Bunch, with vocalist Layne Staley of Alice in Chains and drummer Barrett Martin. They soon changed the band's name to Mad Season. Mad Season's 1995 album Above was awarded a gold record for sales in the United States. It was the only album that Mad Season would record.

In 1997, when Mad Season vocalist Layne Staley left the band, the remaining members tried to revive the band by finding a new singer.

Saunders had a relapse with heroin and died on January 15, 1999 from an overdose.[1][2]


In 2002, Mad Season vocalist Layne Staley would also die of an overdose, leaving Mark Lanegan, Barrett Martin and Mike McCready as the only members of Mad Season still alive.[3]


  1. ^ a b "Baker Saunders". New York Times. 1999-01-26. Retrieved 2011-07-21. Saunders-Baker, 44, born September 23, 1954 in Montgomery, Alabama, died January 15, 1999. Survived by his father John Baker Saunders, his mother and stepfather Charleen and Peter Edge; his brother, Joseph H. (Katharine); his sister, Henrietta (Richard Day) Saunders and nephews and niece; Richard and Charlie Day, Joey and Julia Saunders and many friends. He attended North Shore Country Day School, Rye Country Day School, Fay School, Cabrillo College and Providence College. ...
  2. ^ "Mad Season Bassist Baker Saunders Dies". 1999-01-19. Retrieved 2011-07-21.
  3. ^ Orshoski, Wes (May 4, 2002). "Staley Mourned as Heroin Casualty". Billboard. Retrieved July 23, 2010.