The surviving members of Soundgarden have responded to a lawsuit filed by late singer Chris Cornell’s widow over alleged unpaid royalties.
Vicky Cornell filed legal documents in December 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.
Later, the complaint said that Soundgarden have “resorted to pressure tactics, harassment, unlawful conversion of royalties, and extortion” by suggesting that Vicky is blocking the release of new music.
Now, Soundgarden’s Kim Thayil, Matt Cameron, and Ben Shepherd have filed their response in a Florida federal court, according to Rolling Stone.
The response’s preliminary statement describes Vicky’s complaint as “an offensive recitation of false allegations and hurtful personal accusations,” and says that Soundgarden “categorically deny every material contention lobbed against them including, most callously, that they were uncaring following Cornell’s death in 2017.”
It also argues that Vicky “is not the owner” of the unreleased songs dating back to 2015 mentioned in her complaint, and that “they are provably Soundgarden’s and intended for a new Soundgarden album.”
They also say that Vicky has “the only existing multi-track versions of the recordings” and “has refused to return” them for over two years.
In response, Marty Singer, attorney for Vicky Cornell and the Estate of Chris Cornell made the following statement:
“We obviously disagree with the band’s blatant mischaracterisation 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.”
Back in November, Soundgarden guitarist Kim Thayil said that a new Soundgarden album featuring Chris Cornell’s vocals is “entirely possible” in the future.
The singer was posthumously awarded with the Best Recording Packaging prize for his 17-track self-titled double LP, which was released in 2018.
“I am grateful to Jeff Ament and everyone who helped create such a beautiful work of art from beginning to end, in loving memory and in tribute to Chris – he would be so proud,” she said.