Chris Cornell’s widow sues Soundgarden over missing royalties

Vicky Cornell claims her husband was owed “hundreds of thousands” in royalties.

Chris Cornell’s widow, Vicky Cornell, has filed a lawsuit in a Florida federal court against the other members of Soundgarden. She alleges that the band have withheld a significant amount of royalties owed to her late husband.

According to the official complaint, the suit concerns the rights to seven unreleased songs as well as “hundreds of thousands” in royalty payments owed to the late Cornell’s widow and children through Chris’ Estate. The complaint states that the lack of royalties is an attempt from Cornell’s bandmates to “strong-arm Chris’ Estate into turning over certain audio recordings created by Chris before he passed away”.

While the complaint states that the creative rights of the unreleased recordings belonged solely to Chris, Cornell’s former bandmates have maintained that the songs were a collaborative effort between themselves and the late singer.


Back in July, Soundgarden guitarist Kim Thayil confirmed the existence of these unreleased tracks in an interview with Music Radar. He also hinted at disagreements regarding how said material was to be handled. “We tried to get this going two years ago, but we’re not in possession of any of the demos that Chris was working on,” Thayil said. “There seems to be some confusion amongst various parties as to what that would entail and how that works, and who that would benefit.”

The lawsuit named former Soundgarden bandmates Kim Thayil, Matt Cameron and Ben Shepherd, as well as the band’s business manager, Rit Venerus. Vicky Cornell also claimed in her legal statement that she had attempted to reach a compromise with the band but was rejected, and that Thayil’s public comments on the matter have led to the perception that she was standing in the way of a future album from the band.

In a post on Instagram, Vicky Cornell stated how she would “not be pushed aside for someone else’s convenience or gain”. “I will do justice by my husband’s work and memory; for our children and for everything we stood for,” she wrote.

See her full post here:

View this post on Instagram

I have been taking time these past few weeks to be grateful for all the good people around me and for those who have lifted me up at the very worst times in my life. The silver lining, during the storm, is finding and appreciating the subtle glow of those who sincerely support you in your life unconditionally. However, sometimes while you grieve the one you physically lost, you realize that you must now grieve the loss of some of those you considered friends and family as well. I am shocked at how often this occurs. It’s not just me, or the rock-star widow, or the political widow; it is the case for the vast majority of women after their partners have passed. It transcends socio-economic class, race, and religion. It is an unpleasant and unfortunately all too common theme. Hard-hearted family members, friends, and business associates; who will exploit a widow’s vulnerability when she’s broken and alone. These other people who have decided that her time is up as well. Through support groups and other widowed friends, and during both difficult and supportive conversations, I have learned that I am not a unique case. This seems to be the inevitable plight of the widow in this world and I cannot help feeling angry, sad and betrayed. I will not be bullied or shamed into silence. I will not accept something so wrong, so lacking in compassion or decency, even with the clear but unspoken threat of social rejection hanging over me. This was not the way I would have chosen to move forward. But I will not be pushed aside for someone else’s convenience or gain. I will not sacrifice our children’s futures for someone else’s greed. And I will not let someone else make me feel shame because the man I loved was taken from all of us too soon. I will do justice by my husband’s work and memory; for our children and for everything we stood for. I want to thank everyone who has stood by Chris and has supported us through this devastating time. Your love and your kindness will never be forgotten. #chriscornell forever ?

A post shared by Vicky Cornell (@vickycornell) on

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