Soundgarden’s surviving members Kim Thayil, Matt Cameron and Hunter Benedict “Ben” Shepherd have responded to Vicky Cornell’s lawsuit regarding a buyout offer regarding the shares of her late husband, Chris Cornell, in the band. At the center of this controversy are seven recordings known as the SG files, which Cornell currently has in her possession. According to the band, these were recorded in numerous cities while touring making them Soundgarden’s, however Cornell alleges that these were recorded at Chris’ home studio, masking them part of the estate’s.
In the lawsuit, Cornell alleges that Soundgarden’s members only offered her $300,000 for her husband’s shares in the outfit, which was called a “villainously low figure.” Cornell then allegedly offered the band $16 million, then $21 million, however the band allegedly declined both offers. Her lawsuit also alleges that Soundgarden’s members contacted an outside investor for the rights of the band’s master recordings, a claim they vehemently denied. Cornell’s lawsuit also named a number of ways that the band’s surviving members could profit from Chris’ likeness following his passing, including the use of holograms (such as Tupac at Coachella) and deep-fakes.
“Despite having this offer in hand, the band members offered Chris‘ wife and minor children a pittance. In fact, the band’s offer is so low that it even falls shy of the royalties that Vicky received for a single year (2018) from a single revenue source (Soundgarden‘s master recordings),” her suit reads.
In their response, Soundgarden’s members expressed concern about their lack of control over the band’s social media profiles, which they allege was “hijacked.” They reiterated their stance that they want the recordings for a final Soundgarden record and added “that clarity will come out in court.”
“The buyout offer that was demanded by the Estate has been grossly mischaracterized and we are confident that clarity will come out in court. All offers to buy out our interests have been unsolicited and rejected outright,” the group said in a statement to Consequence of Sound. “For more than a year, Soundgarden’s social media accounts have been hijacked; misleading and confusing our fans. Being a band from Washington State since 1984, we are proud of Soundgarden’s musical legacy, work and career. We look forward to completing the final Soundgarden album.”
The legal drama between Cornell’s estate and Soundgarden’s members goes back to 2019, following Cornell’s lawsuit over allegations of unpaid royalties. Soundgarden’s members fired back with a countersuit, where they made allegations that Cornell allegedly misappropriated funds for a charity concert dedicated to Chris for personal use. This suit was eventually dropped.
Photo Credit: Raymond Flotat