Back in 2017, fans of Soundgarden were saddened to hear of the loss of the band’s leading front man, Chris Cornell. Since the dust settled, the remaining band members have become entwined in legal trouble with the late musician’s wife, Vicky Cornell. Following Chris Cornell’s death, Vicky Cornell inherited stake in the band. Concerning royalties and interest buyouts, Cornell is claiming that she was offered, on behalf of the Cornell Estate, amounts that were well below industry standard. In terms of evaluating the true value of what the Estate may claim, Vicky Cornell accuses the remaining band members of restricting her access to key financial records and inventory.
Due to the band’s refusal to allow Vicky Cornell to see the financials, the widow has gradually increased her terms. After a third party offered to buy out of a portion of the band’s interests, the three remaining members only offered Vicky Cornell $278,000 of the $16 million offer. Vicky Cornell countered that offer, asking to pay $12 million total to buy out the interests of the three surviving members, Kim Thayil, Matt Cameron, and Ben Shepherd. The trio rejected that offer, which led Vicky Cornell to offer an additional sum of $9 million, raising her total offer to $21 million. Despite the offers, Thayil, Cameron, and Shepherd are relying on the original valuation provided by music industry expert, Gary Cohen.
Regardless of Cohen’s assessment, Vicky Cornell is asking a judge to address all past, present, and future assets when calculating a proper and fair buyout number. The widow has mentioned Soundgarden’s master recordings, future merchandise sales and tours, and hologram concerts featuring Chris Cornell’s vocals. Considering the high value of what Vicky Cornell believes Soundgarden is worth, the surviving band members challenge accusations that greed is delaying resolution. According to Thayil, Cameron, and Shepherd, they are simply trying to preserve the legacy of Soundgarden. Vicky Cornell disagrees and characterizes their motives as financially driven.