Soundgarden and their legal battle between Vicky Cornell, the widow of frontman Chris Cornell, continues with the band filing a counter lawsuit.
In legal documents obtained by Rolling Stone, the band is suing Vicky Cornell and the estate of Chris Cornell “accusing them of ‘fraudulent inducement’ for allegedly using revenue intended to be raised for charity for ‘personal purposes for herself and her family.'”
The charity funds in question stem from the January 2019 “I Am the Highway: A Tribute to Chris Cornell” concert. The lawsuit says Kim Thayil, Matt Cameron and Ben Shepherd had an “oral agreement” with Vicky Cornell to play the concert for free and that funds would then go to The Chris and Vicky Cornell Foundation. However, the lawsuit then claims, “Vicky Cornell did not have the intention of using some or all of the revenue from the Cornell Concert for charitable purposes, but rather for personal purposes for herself and her family.”
Since news of the Soundgarden’s countersuit, Vicky Cornell shared via Twitter, “You were so wrong to think you’d silence me by lies, intimidation and fear. That you might break me because it’s a gut-wrenching time. He is always with me and you can’t change the truth by lying and for what to stir up crazies and legitimize them while attacking CC’s legacy…”
Legal issues between Soundgarden and Vicky Cornell first began in December 2019. Vicky Cornell filed a lawsuit accusing the band of withholding “hundreds of thousands of dollars” worth of royalties in an “unlawful attempt to strong-arm Chris’ Estate into turning over certain audio recordings created by Chris before he passed away.”
These recordings have been talked about publicly by guitarist Kim Thayil multiple times, with him saying in a November 2019 during an interview, “We definitely have another record in us. Stuff that’s written, stuff that’s demoed and recorded — certainly. All it would need is to take the audio files that are available…There shouldn’t be [issues getting the record done] — there really isn’t — other than the fact that we don’t have those files… And I think that will happen. It would be ridiculous if it didn’t. But these are difficult things — partnerships and property.” Vicky Cornell has accused Thayil of “putting her family in harm’s way” by suggesting she’s being difficult regarding these demos.
In February 2020, Soundgarden responded to Vicky Cornell’s lawsuit claiming that recordings being withheld are actually the property of the band. They also denied Cornell’s claim the band was withholding any royalties and state they haven’t received any royalties either until “the Partnership, by vote of the Remaining Partners, formally elects to make such a distribution.”