According to TMZ, late Soundgarden singer Chris Cornell’s widow, Vicky Cornell, has again sued the surviving members of the band over the buyout price for her stake in the band. She had previously launched a lawsuitagainst the band over the masters Chris recorded that were meant to be songs for the final Soundgarden album, which was in progress when Chris died. She may be vying to put these songs out as a solo release from the late signer/songwriter. Cornell died via suicide in 2017 at age 53.
In the lawsuit, which was obtained by TMZ, Vicky Cornell says Kim Thayil, Matt Cameron and Ben Shepherd offered her just $300,000 for Chris’s share. This amount, she says, is far lower than the real value of the Chris Cornell estate’s interests in Soundgarden, especially considering the fact that the band got an offer of $16 million from an outside investor for Soundgarden’s masters.
A Soundgarden representative told TMZ: “As requested by the Estate of Chris Cornell and as required by the laws of the State of Washington, the surviving members of Soundgarden submitted to the Cornell Estate four months ago a buy-out offer of the Estate’s interests in Soundgarden calculated by respected music industry valuation expert Gary Cohen. Since then, the band members have continued to try to settle all disputes with the Cornell Estate and in their several attempts to settle, the band members have elected to offer multiple times more than the amount calculated by Cohen.”
The representative added: “This dispute has never been about money for the band. This is their life’s work and their legacy.”
Cornell was found hanged in his room at the MGM Grand Detroit hotel in May 2017, following a Soundgarden show at the city’s Fox Theatre. His body was found soon after he had spoken with a “slurred” voice to his wife by phone. The death was ruled a suicide.
In December 2019, Vicky filed a lawsuit against the surviving Soundgarden members, alleging the group owed Cornell’s estate hundreds of thousands of dollars in unpaid royalties and the rights to seven unreleased recordings made before the singer’s death in May of 2017.
Responding to Vicky’s lawsuit, Thayil, Cameron and Shepherd claimed that they “don’t have possession” of their “own creative work,” and alleged that “Vicky Cornell has possession of the only existing multi-track recordings of the last Soundgarden tracks that include Chris Cornell’s instrumental parts and vocals. All of the band members jointly worked on these final tracks, Vicky now claims ownership of the final Soundgarden album.”
Thayil, Shepherd and Cameron initially accused Vicky Cornell of misusing funds from the Janaury 2019 “I Am The Highway: A Tribute To Chris Cornell” concert. After being challenged by Cornell’s attorneys with the threat of sanctions, Soundgarden withdrew that portion of its countersuit, while its lawyers wrote at the time that the band believes the claims “remain well-founded.”