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Illustration for article titled Chris Cornells widow sues Soundgarden for trying to take control of unreleased recordings
Photo: Rob Kim (Getty Images)

According to Rolling Stone, Vicky Cornell is suing Soundgarden members Kim Thayil, Matt Cameron, and Ben Shepherd, as well as manager Rit Venerus, for allegedly withholding royalties from a series of recording that her husband—Soundgarden frontman Chris Cornell—made before he died in 2017. Apparently, Chris Cornell made seven “recordings” of some sort in 2017, and Vicky Cornell agreed to hand them over to the other members of Soundgarden with the stipulation that the band would keep her in the loop about a “possible album marketing strategy” and that any potential release would involve only “trusted producers.”


In the time since then, though, Vicky Cornell says the band only wanted to “bring in its own producers and musicians” and that the members refused to use “any type of approval process” that involved her. The lawsuit also says they have “shamelessly conspired to wrongfully withhold hundreds of thousands of dollars indisputably owed to Chris’ widow and minor children in an unlawful attempt to strong-arm Chris’ Estate into turning over certain audio recordings created by Chris before he passed away.”

The suit goes on to say that the other members of Soundgarden have tried to take sole ownership of the recordings, which Vicky Cornell says were not explicitly designated as Soundgarden songs. The band says that they were supposed to be Soundgarden songs, to the point that the other members are apparently co-writers on some of the tracks. Cornell denies this, saying the band can’t prove it has any ownership of the recordings, and she cites an email from her husband a few years before his death in which he refuses to sign a deal that would’ve allowed others to “disproportionately profit from his creative labors”—the implication being that he wouldn’t have wanted anyone to make money off of his work without his direct permission.

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