After Chris Cornell died in 2017, there began a series of legal actions between Chris’ widow Vicky and the surviving members of the band. At the centre of most of these issues were vocal recordings Chris left behind that were destined to be part of a new album.
The first suit was filed by Vicky to both the rights of seven unreleased songs and the disbursement of royalties. Soundgarden filed a countersuit, alleging that Vikcy misappropriated proceeds from a 2019 tribute concert for personal means. (“…representation was false, or exhibited recklessness and negligence as to its truth or falsity, for the purpose and intent of inducing Soundgarden into agreeing to perform at the Cornell Concert without compensation.”) Vicky shot back with a counter-countersuit, saying that Soundgarden did get paid and their suit was “salacious, scurrilous and vicious.”
Things continued to get murky as both sides went to war over things like social media, Chris’ posthumous participation in any band activities (i.e. new recordings or video), and a “ludicrously low” buyout offer. Lawyers and accountants made a mint as each side call in professionals for legal advice and auditing.
There was a complaint filed in 2021 where Vicky said she offered each of the three remaining members of Soundgarden US$4 million each for their interests in Soundgarden. They refused. The offer was upped to US$7 million. They refused. There was also some dispute over the sharing of financial data that could be used to determine Chris’ value to the partnership. Soundgarden replied, “This dispute has never been about money for the band. This is their life’s work and their legacy.”
Of course money is involved. The settlement announced today (April 17) involves revenues from Soundgarden the Business: SG Recordings, SMF, SG Productions, and LLM.
So what happened? No idea. Details of the settlement weren’t disclosed. So where does Soundgarden go from here? No clue, but if they settled, they must have got what they wanted.
The good news is that those vocal tracks Chris left behind will now become full Soundgarden songs for release. Check out the joint Instagram statement.
We don’t know when we might get any new Soundgarden music. When something does appear, it’ll be the first new material from the band since the King Animal album in 2012. Here are the reported titles of songs that Chris recorded in 2017:
- Stone Age Mind
- Road Less Traveled (with Matt Cameron)
- Orphans (with Matt Cameron)
- At Ophians Door (with Matt Cameron)
- Ahead of the Dog (with Kim Thayil)
- Merrmas (with Ben Shepherd)