In a story we first reported and have been following, according to a published report by Rolling Stone, the surviving members of Soundgarden have denied Vicky Cornell’s claims that the band is withholding royalties of Chris Cornell’s from her and also denied her claim that she is the sole owner of several recordings Cornell worked on before his death in a new court filing. Cornell died from suicide on May 18th 2017. According to the report, “The motion, filed Tuesday and obtained by Rolling Stone, is a response to a lawsuit Vicky Cornell filed last December against her late husband’s former bandmates, Kim Thayil, Matt Cameron and Ben Shepherd, and the band’s business manager, Rit Venerus. Vicky accused the band of withholding royalties from the Cornell family to force her to turn over a handful of recordings made before Cornell’s death.”
Per Vicky’s suit, Vicky Cornell claimed Chris made seven recordings at his personal studio in Florida in 2017, and there was no explicit agreement that that they were for Soundgarden, making Cornell the exclusive owner. Vicky claimed that she agreed to share the unreleased recordings with Soundgarden, so long as they used one of Cornell’s “trusted producers” (revealed in a new court document to be veteran producer Brendan O’ Brien) and kept her informed about a possible album marketing strategy. She then claimed that Soundgarden eventually decided to bring in its own producer and told her that it wasn’t willing to go “through any type of approval process,” ostensibly in regards to the marketing strategy.
Additionally, Vicky accused the surviving members of Soundgarden of making false statements to the media about who owned the unreleased Cornell recordings, and the reason for the album holdup. She also alleged that Soundgarden was withholding money from her and her family “in an unlawful attempt to strong-arm” her into turning over the unreleased songs.
In the new filing, Soundgarden claimed that the unreleased recordings stem from writing and recording sessions that date back as far as 2015. The band also rebuffed Vicky’s claim that it’s purposely withholding money from her, with the motion stating that no one in the band is being paid at the moment, and won’t until “the Partnership, by vote of the Remaining Partners, formally elects to make such a distribution.” The motion also takes umbrage with Vicky’s decision to file her lawsuit in Florida, claiming she has no real connection to the state and that Washington would be a more appropriate jurisdiction.
“We don’t have possession of our own creative work,” Soundgarden said in a terse statement to Rolling Stone. A representative for Vicky Cornell did not immediately return Rolling Stone‘s request for comment.
You can read the full court document at Rolling Stone. We’ll continue following this story as it develops.