Late singer Chris Cornell's widow Vicky has sued the surviving members of Soundgarden over royalties and the rights to unreleased recordings. In the lawsuit, Vicky claims the musicians are withholding hundreds of thousands of dollars in royalties owed to her and Chris's minor children.
She claims that the royalties are being withheld as part of an "unlawful attempt to strong-arm Chris' estate into turning over certain audio recordings created by Chris before he passed away." Vicky claims the seven unreleased songs were "solely authored by Chris; contain Chris' own vocal tracks; and were bequeathed to Chris' estate" for the benefit of her and their kids.
Vicky alleges that she has offered to share the recordings with Soundgarden, so they can be released in a way that respects Chris's wishes -- but that the band refused. She also accuses Soundgarden guitarist Kim Thayil of putting her family in harm's way by suggesting in interviews that she is the main obstacle to the band putting out another album.
Thayil has said in several interviews that the band has been unable to get access to the audio files Chris was working on before his death in order to complete what would have been the group's seventh studio album, telling Music Radar, "There seems to be some confusion amongst various parties as to what that would entail and how that works, and who that would benefit."
A letter from an attorney representing Soundgarden claims that Cornell had been working on the songs "in a collaborative effort" with the rest of the band, and that various members are listed as co-songwriters on five of the seven recordings. The letter notes, "The entire band was feeling very positive about their rekindled artistic energy and creativity" before Cornell took his own life in May 2017.
The letter claims that "any music content (instrumental and/or vocals, demos or rough recordings) stored on the hard drive by any or all members of Soundgarden (including any recordings containing only the performances of Chris Cornell intended for Soundgarden) constitutes Soundgarden partnership property."
Vicky claims that Soundgarden has not produced any documents to counter her argument that the recordings are her late husband's "sole and exclusive property." She posted a lengthy statement on Instagram about the matter, saying in part, "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 do justice by my husband's work and memory; for our children and for everything we stood for."