At the end of 2019, Chris Cornell’s widow Vicky filed a lawsuit against the surviving members of Soundgarden over royalty payments and ownership rights to seven unreleased songs by the late frontman. Now, the band is countersuing Vicky Cornell to regain control of the tracks.
The motion, which was filed on Tuesday, sees Soundgarden members Kim Thayil, Matt Cameron, and Ben Shepherd arguing that Vicky Cornell has no claims to the seven tracks. While Vicky claims the songs were solely authored by her late husband in 2017 at his very own recording studio, the band claims that the material stems from both recording sessions and collaborative writing that date back farther than a decade.
— Consequence of Sound (@consequence) February 4, 2020
The band goes on to detail that five of the songs were cowritten by other Soundgarden members, and have been works in process from as far back as 2011. They even claim that a lot of Cornell’s writing and recording happened in Seattle and on tour.
Soundgarden even cite several emails and texts from Vicky Cornell that sees her calling the recordings the “SG files,” and they highlight both press statements and interviews where frontman Chris Cornell talks about working on new material specifically with Soundgarden.
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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 🖤
“In part, [the band] wanted to confirm the belief that there is sufficient recorded material… for a last Soundgarden studio album – a project that the surviving band members believe they owe to Cornell, the band’s legacy, and fans,” Soundgarden’s lawsuit details. Vicky is currently in possession of the “only existing multi-track versions,” which were stored on Chris’ laptop when he passed.
Additionally, Soundgarden is hoping to regain control of their website and social media profiles.