Soundgarden deny withholding money from Chris Cornell's widow

5 February 2020, 12:04

Soundgarden in 1997: Chris Cornell, Kim Thayil, Matt Cameron and Ben Shepherd
Soundgarden in 1997: Chris Cornell, Kim Thayil, Matt Cameron and Ben Shepherd. Picture: Michael Tighe/Donaldson Collection/Getty Images

Vicky Cornell has taken the band to court over disagreements about unreleased material...

Soundgarden have denied withholding royalties from Chris Cornell's widow following a legal spat concerning unreleased songs written by the late grunge legend.

Vicky Cornell filed a lawsuit against the remaining members of the band - Kim Thayil, Matt Cameron and Ben Shepherd - and their business manager, Rit Venerus, in which she accused them of trying to force her to turn over seven recordings made by the musician by refusing to give his family money they were owed.

She claimed in her suit that the recordings had been made in Cornell's personal studio in Florida and there was no explicit agreement they were for Soundgarden songs.

Cornell's widow claims he was the exclusive owner but she agreed to share them with the group, as long as they used a "trusted producer".

However, she has alleged the US band brought in a different producer and told her they weren't willing to "go through any type of approval process".

However, Soundgarden have responded that the unreleased recordings date back as far as 2015 and refuted Vicky's claim they have deliberately withheld royalties from her. In a statement, they revealed that all royalties were being held up and wouldn't be released "until the Partnership, by vote of the Remaining Partners, formally elects to make such a distribution."

They explained to Rolling Stone: "We don't have possession of our own creative work."

The band claim that the songs in question were worked from 2015 and sessions continued until April 2017. Cornell took his own life on 18 May that year, following a Soundgarden show in Detroit.

The band insisted Vicky often referred to the recordings as the "SG Files" and in a March 2017 email said Chris was travelling for the "SG record".

Vicky's legal team has slammed the band for their "blatant mischaracterisation of events", adding that they "stand by the truthful facts set forth in our complaint."

The statement continued: "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)."