Chris Cornell’s Wife Sues Soundgarden Members Over Royalties and Rights to Music

In a new report by TMZ Chris Cornell’s widow, Vicky Cornell has filed a lawsuit that claims the remaining living members of Soundgarden are withholding hundreds of thousands of dollars in royalties owed to her and Chris’s minor children. She calls the move an “unlawful attempt to strong-arm Chris’ Estate into turning over certain audio recordings created by Chris before he passed away.” Interest in new music is said to be high from their fanbase, and the band is currently nominated for entry into the 2020 class of the Rock N Roll Hall of Fame. 

Vicky claims the seven unreleased songs were “solely authored by Chris; contain Chris’ own vocal tracks; and were bequeathed to Chris’ Estate” for the benefit of her and their kids. The band has said publicly there are finished recordings Cornell completed for the follow up to 2012’s King Animal album, but they are not in full possession of all the tapes.

According to TMZ, Chris Cornell’s widow has sued the surviving members of Soundgarden over royalties and the rights to unreleased recordings.

Vicky says that she has offered to share the recordings with Soundgarden, so they can be released in a way that respects Chris’s wishes — including having his producer involved — but that the band refused. She also accuses Soundgarden guitarist Kim Thayil of putting her family in harm’s way by making intentionally misleading comments to Soundgarden’s “loyal, rabid fan base” and suggesting that she is the main obstacle to the band putting out another album.

Last month, Thayil told the satellite radio program “Trunk Nation” that it was “entirely possible” that a new Soundgarden album featuring the final recordings by Chris Cornell could see the light of day. “We definitely have another record in us,” he said. “Stuff that’s written, stuff that’s demoed and recorded — certainly. All it would need is to take the audio files that are available… We can get the producers we want to make it sound like a Soundgarden record.”

Soundgarden was working on new music before Cornell’s death in May 2017, and the singer had laid down some vocal tracks. Asked if there were any obstacles to completing the LP, Thayil said: “There shouldn’t be… other than the fact that we don’t have those files.” He continued, “I think that will happen. It would be ridiculous if it didn’t. But these are difficult things — partnerships and property.”

Thayil did rule out the possibility of Soundgarden touring without Cornell, saying: “I do not see, given the commitments that other band members have, given our sentiments and love for Chris, I do not see us reconfiguring a tour or anything, as other bands have done in the past, without him.”