In December 2019, Vicky Cornell sued the bandmates of her late husband Chris Cornell, claiming that they were withholding royalties from her and her family. Soundgarden’s Kim Thayil, Matt Cameron, and Ben Shepherd have now responded to the lawsuit, as Rolling Stone notes and court records viewed by Pitchfork confirm.
In her complaint, Vicky Cornell argued that Soundgarden were withholding royalties from the Cornell family “in an unlawful attempt to strong-arm Chris’ Estate into turning over certain audio recordings created by Chris before he passed away.” The recordings, Vicky claimed, “were solely created by Chris on his laptop at his personal recording studio” in Florida in 2017, and that the recordings “were bequeathed” to the Cornell family.
In their response, filed in a Florida federal court on Tuesday, February 3, the Soundgarden members claim that the seven recordings date back to 2015 and that they were intended for a Soundgarden album, which they say means they are property of the band. They say that Vicky has “the only existing multi-track versions of the recordings” and “has refused to return” them to the band for more than two years.
Representatives for Soundgarden shared the following statement from Marty Singer, attorney for Vicky Cornell and the Estate of Chris Cornell:
We obviously disagree with the band’s blatant mischaracterization of events, and stand by the truthful facts set forth in our complaint. It is disappointing that Chris’ former band members have now sought to taint his legacy by making numerous false allegations, and that they continue to withhold substantial monies from his widow and minor children (despite using those same funds to pay for their own legal fees). The issue in this case is not who wrote the songs but rather who owns the specific recordings made solely by Chris while he resided in Florida. We are very confident that the Court will vindicate the rights of Chris’ Estate, and that the case will properly remain in Florida, where Chris resided and recorded the songs that are now the lawful property of his Estate.
In addition to the court filing, Soundgarden said in a statement, “We don’t have possession of our own creative work.” Find Soundgarden’s legal response below (via RS).
Originally Appeared on Pitchfork