Cornell died aged 52 in May 2017, taking his own life only hours after the band played a gig in Detroit.
Now, Cornell’s surviving bandmates Kim Thayil, Matt Cameron and Ben Shepherd — who left Detroit on a tour bus while Cornell stayed in a hotel in the city — allege that they only discovered he had died via a post on the band’s Facebook page.
Their allegation has formed part of a lawsuit surrounding alleged unpaid royalties, which was filed by Chris’s widow Vicky Cornell.
“Following the concert — as was customary — Thayil, Cameron, and Shepherd made the late night trip in the Band’s tour buses to their next concert destination in Columbus, Ohio, where the Band had a concert on May 19,” court documents state. “Cornell stayed behind at a Detroit hotel with the plan to fly on to Columbus, as was his normal practice because Cornell was unable to sleep on buses.
“As their buses were headed to Columbus in the early morning of May 18, the Surviving Band Members learned that Cornell had been found dead in his hotel room in Detroit after midnight (tragically, Cameron first saw a ‘RIP: Chris Cornell’ item on his Facebook page, called Thayil who was on the other bus, who then woke Shepherd, and they and their crew frantically searched news, social media and called friends and family, until they received the awful confirmation from their tour manager).
“Thayil, Cameron and Shepherd were utterly devastated to lose their beloved friend, brother, and comrade, and were in a state of shock. As they pulled their buses to the roadside, embraced each other, and struggled with what to do next, their tour manager advised them not to go back to Detroit as it would be swimming with police, press, and other media, and there was nothing positive that could be achieved.
“They also had a throng of highly-distraught crew and tour team members already in or headed to Columbus who needed support. So they organised a vigil in a conference room at their Columbus hotel, where they were accompanied by their crew, assistants and friends who hugged, wept and attempted to console each other for many hours.”
It comes after Vicky Cornell first filed legal documents in December 2019 that were reported to concern the rights to several unreleased songs and what is described as “hundreds of thousands of dollars” in royalty payments that the claim says are “indisputably owed” to Cornell’s widow and children.
Back in November, Soundgarden guitarist Kim Thayil said that a new Soundgarden album featuring Chris Cornell’s vocals is “entirely possible” in the future.