Vicky Cornell, Chris Cornell’s widow, has filed a new lawsuit against the surviving Soundgarden members, Variety points out. According to Pitchfork court documents, Vicky Cornell claims she was offered a buyout of less than $ 300,000 from the band’s remaining members, Kim Thayil, Matt Cameron and Hunter Benedict Shepherd. The complaint, filed yesterday (February 16) in a United States District Court in Seattle, refers to the tender offer as “a viciously low number”. Cornell seeks a judicial evaluation of Chris Cornell’s interest in Soundgarden’s assets, including merchandise and future tour revenues.
The lawsuit alleges that Soundgarden’s takeover bid was not in good faith and that the proposed number “does not match the royalties Vicky received from Soundgarden’s master recordings in 2018 alone”. The complaint added that Soundgarden made a takeover bid to Cornell after receiving an offer from a music investor who offered to buy Soundgarden’s master recordings for $ 16 million alone.
Cornell’s complaint states that she was forced to file the lawsuit after making two counter-offers to the band. On December 17, 2020, she offered Thayil, Cameron, and Shepherd $ 4 million each for their collective interests in Soundgarden. The band then declined the offer and stated that they had no interest in it “because these interests represent their creative life’s work”. Cornell then offered each member $ 7 million, which they refused.
The lawsuit alleges that a good faith valuation “would explain the significant revenue generated by the band’s merchandise sales and account for the lucrative, nostalgic projects that follow the handover of rock and roll symbols – e. B. future tours with a replacement lead singer (as Queen replaced Freddie Mercury with Adam Lambert); posthumous concert appearances through a hologram of Chris (as Tupac Shakur, Michael Jackson and Elvis Presley played profitably); and deeply faked renditions of Chris’ vocals, drawn from existing recordings by artificial intelligence, that could shape brand new Soundgarden hits. “
Since Vicky Cornell and the remaining members of Soundgarden cannot agree on Chris Cornell’s interest in the band’s assets, Vicky Cornell seeks a judicial determination of the buyout price.
Vicky Cornell’s attorney Marty Singer offered Pitchfork the following statement:
The band’s claim that this argument is somehow not about the money for them is absurd and hypocritical. Of course it’s about money and their greed. They received an offer from a third party to buy only a portion of their shares for $ 16 million, and then offered to buy Chris’ shares for only $ 278,000. And then Vicky offered $ 21 million for her shares, which they turned down – not because they wanted to preserve their life’s work, but because they know they will make even more use of the future uses of the music Chris written and the legacy he has created ( who has lined her pockets for years).
A Soundgarden representative wrote:
At the request of Chris Cornell’s estate and under Washington State law, the surviving members of Soundgarden made the Cornell Estate four months ago a tender offer for the portion of the estate in Soundgarden, calculated using the recognized valuation of the music industry expert Gary Cohen.
Since then, the band members have continued to attempt to resolve any dispute with the Cornell Estate and in their multiple attempts at settlement, the band members have decided to offer a multiple of the amount Cohen charged. This argument was never about money for the band. This is their life’s work and legacy.
In December 2019, Vicky Cornell sued the remaining members of Soundgarden for lack of royalties. Last February, the band filed a response stating that the recordings associated with these royalties are owned by the band.