Soundgarden Countersue Chris Cornell’s Widow, Allege She Used Charity Concert Revenue for “Personal Purposes”
In a new countersuit against late Soundgarden singer Chris Cornell’s widow, Vicky Cornell, the surviving members of the band allege that Ms. Cornell used revenue from a Chris Cornell charity tribute concert for “personal purposes.”
The countersuit is the latest development in the ongoing legal battle between Cornell and Soundgarden members Kim Thayil (guitar), Matt Cameron (drums), and Ben Shepherd (bass). The trio of musicians allege that Vicky is withholding Chris Cornell’s final recordings, which were intended for a Soundgarden album they’d still like to release; Vicky, meanwhile, says that the band has been withholding hundreds of thousands of dollars in royalties due to the Cornell estate (i.e., her and Chris’ children) as an attempt to bully her into turning over the recordings.
Rolling Stone reports that the band’s newly-filed countersuit asserts that the band had an “oral agreement” with Vicky to perform for free at a Cornell tribute concert held in January of 2019. Funds raised by that concert were intended to go The Chris and Vicky Cornell Foundation. Founded in 2012, five years before Chris took his own life, the foundation’s website says that it “supports organizations that provide shelter and resources for homeless, abused and at risk youth, children living in refugee camps and victims of human trafficking.”
But the suit claims that the money never reached the foundation, and that “recipient(s) of the revenue” raised by the show — “believed” to be “many millions of dollars” — “have not been identified.” The suit goes on to claim that “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,” that Vicky knew her charitable “representation was false, or exhibited recklessness and negligence as to its truth or falsity, for the purpose and intent of inducing Soundgarden into agreeing to perform at the Cornell Concert without compensation,” and that the surviving members of Soundgarden consequently “suffered damages” and “reputational harm.”
On top of all of that, the suit alleges that Vicky has taken control of the band’s social media accounts without their permission, and that many of her postings “are intended to denigrate the Band and Surviving Band Members.”
Additionally, the suit calls Vicky’s initial legal filing against the band “an offensive recitation of false allegations and accusations” the “true purpose” of which is “extorting Soundgarden into conceding rights to which she is not legally entitled, and of coercing Soundgarden to prematurely distribute Soundgarden funds to her.” The trio are seeking “compensatory and general damages in an amount to be proven at trial,” as well as injunctions and declarations related to copyright and other ownership claims and punitive and exemplary damages.
Cornell’s attorney, Marty Singer, says that these claims are “salacious, scurrilous, and vicious,” and alleges that the band received $78,000 for their participation in the show.
You can read Rolling Stone‘s entire report here.