If you’re holding your breath waiting for that new Soundgarden material featuring vocals left behind by Chris Cornell, you should probably take a break. There’s been another setback.
On one side of the long-running dispute, you have the three surviving members of the band. On the other, Vicky Cornell, Chris’ widow and the person who has custody of Chris’ laptop that features his demo vocals for some still-finished Soundgarden songs. The two sides have been fighting for control of the band since Chris died through multiple suits and countersuits.
Now there’s another lawsuit. Vicky is suing the band again, say that her inherited stake in the group–what passed on to her when Chris died–is being undervalued when it comes to the overall net worth of Soundgarden and its assets.
This latest legal salvo came about after an unnamed outside party offered to purchase Soundgarden’s publishing catalogue (a big thing these days) for US$16 million. When the offer appeared, Vicky says the band offered to buy out her inherited share of the band for less than US$300,000.
Vicky claims that this offer is way too low and wants more, something in line with what she believes she inherited as Chris’ widow. Her lawyer also says that she’s being denied access to any documents that might prove this. Meanwhile, she says that she offered the three surviving members US$12 million to buy them out. There was also talk of an offer of US$21 million.
On a (now apparently deleted) Instagram post, she says “My truth stands stronger than your lies. My will stands stronger than your motives. My love stands stronger than your hate.”
The next step is to get a judge to rule on how much Soundgarden is actually worth as an entity and how much her share should be going forward. This includes not just publishing, but the value of the band’s master recordings, merch, and “nostalgia-fueled projects” such as future hologram concerts or “deep-fake renditions of Chris’ vocals drawn from extant recordings by artificial intelligence that could mint brand new Soundgarden hits.”
It’s a mess. The bottom line is that it’s going to be a long, long time before we get to hear Chris’ final work.
You can read all about it in detail at Rolling Stone.