Chris Cornell’s Widow Sues Soundgarden Over Royalties
Chris Cornell’s widow is suing the surviving members of Soundgarden. According to TMZ, Vicky Cornell has filed a lawsuit against the band over the rights to seven unreleased recordings.
The suit claims that the band is “withholding hundreds of thousand of dollars in royalties” owed to Cornell and her and Chris’ children who are minors. Vicky Cornell says that the band wants the rights to the material, which she calls an “unlawful attempt to strong-arm Chris’ Estate into turning over certain audio recordings created by Chris before he passed away.”
According to documents obtained by TMZ, the seven tracks are “solely authorized by Chris; contain Chris’ own vocal tracks; and were bequeathed to Chris’ Estate for the benefit of her and their children.” Vicky Cornell claims to have offered to share the recordings with Soundgarden so they can be released in conjunction with Chris’ wishes, including having his producer involved, but she says the band refused.
Meanwhile, Soundgarden are claiming they worked on the tracks with Chris. The band states they were “working on the files in a collaborative effort,” and the “entire band was feeling very positive about their rekindled artistic energy and creativity” before Cornell passed away. The group also claims that various members of the band are co-songwriters on five of the seven disputed recordings.
Vicky Cornell claims the opposite, that Chris Cornell Estate is the sole owner of the unreleased tracks. She is also accusing guitarist Kim Thayil of putting her family in danger by suggesting she is the main hurdle to Soundgarden releasing another album.
Back in October Thayil said, “There are still catalog issues to address," in regards to releasing new Soundgarden music. He added, “There’s still things we want to release — old tapes, some live performances.” Thayil alluded to the current legal issues saying, "We definitely have another record in us. Stuff that's written, stuff that's demoed and recorded — certainly. All it would need is to take the audio files that are available." He added that it would be "ridiculous" if these recordings didn't see the light of day after the group polishes up their parts, using the vocal files Cornell recorded before his death.
Vicky Cornell posted about her experience on Instagram. You can read the full text below:
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.
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