Soundgarden Issue New Statement Regarding Buyout Lawsuit From Chris Cornell’s Widow

Soundgarden have issued a new statement regarding the latest lawsuit that was filed against them by Chris Cornell’s widow Vicky Cornell. As previously reported, that suit was related to a recent buyout offer.

Soundgarden said the following:

“The buyout offer that was demanded by the Estate has been grossly mischaracterized and we are confident that clarity will come out in court. All offers to buy out our interests have been unsolicited and rejected outright. For more than a year, Soundgarden’s social media accounts have been hijacked; misleading and confusing our fans. Being a band from Washington State since 1984, we are proud of Soundgarden’s musical legacy, work and career. We look forward to completing the final Soundgarden album.”

This news comes after Vicky claimed that the surviving members of the group only offered her $300,000 for Chris’ share of Soundgarden, an amount she says is way lower than the estate’s interests, especially since an outside investor offered the band $16 million for their masters. If you missed it, you can read more from the lawsuit below [via Blabbermouth]:

“The band members have knowingly offered only an infinitesimal fraction of the true worth of Chris’ interest in Soundgarden and certain related entities by making a ludicrously low offer. And, they know it. Before making their absurd offer, Soundgarden had previously received an independent third-party offer from a leading music investor for multi-millions more (even though that offer covered only recorded music and did not include any other Soundgarden assets). Despite having this offer in hand, the band members offered Chris’ wife and minor children a pittance. In fact, the band’s offer is so low that it even falls shy of the royalties that Vicky received for a single year (2018) from a single revenue source (Soundgarden’s master recordings).

This is not the first time that the band members have sought to deprive Chris’ minor children of the hard-earned fruits of his labor and talent. The band has already been sued once by Vicky for refusing to pay monies that they admit are owed to her and Chris’ minor children.1 Now, Vicky, who wanted to avoid this action, has been forced to regrettably file suit based on the band’s continuing pattern of unconscionable misconduct.

In response to Defendants’ disingenuous offer, on December 17, 2020, Vicky counter-offered defendants Kim Thayil, Matt Cameron, Hunter Benedict Shepherd four million dollars each — a total of twelve-million dollars (U.S. $12,000,000.00) — for their collective interests in Soundgarden and the Soundgarden Related Entities.

On December 29, 2020, Defendants summarily rejected Vicky’s twelve-million dollar offer, noting that the Surviving Band Members have no interest in selling their interests in the Soundgarden Partnership ‘because these interests represent their creative life’s-work’ — a statement that both overreaches (because neither Cameron nor Shepherd were original members of Soundgarden) and overlooks (because the vast majority of the band’s works — over 73% — were authored by Chris and because Chris’ interest in the Soundgarden Partnership also represents Chris’ ‘creative life’s work’).

In a final attempt to resolve this matter without judicial intervention (and without the need for yet another litigation), Vicky offered the Surviving Band Members seven million dollars each — a total of twenty-one million dollars ($21,000,000.00) — for their collective interests in the Soundgarden Partnership. Moreover, Vicky’s offer expressly noted that, if the Surviving Band Members were willing to share the underlying information, her twenty-one million dollar offer may well increase further. The Surviving Band Members rejected the twenty-one million dollar offer and, once more, refused to share the underlying data.

The Surviving Band Members’ rejection of an offer of seven million dollars for each of their individual interests underscores the unreasonableness of Defendants’ insulting offer for Chris’ interests in the Soundgarden Partnership.”

A representative for Soundgarden also recently issued a statement to TMZ:

“As requested by the Estate of Chris Cornell and as required by the laws of the State of Washington, the surviving members of Soundgarden submitted to the Cornell Estate four months ago a buy-out offer of the Estate’s interests in Soundgarden calculated by respected music industry valuation expert Gary Cohen. Since then, the band members have continued to try to settle all disputes with the Cornell Estate and in their several attempts to settle, the band members have elected to offer multiple times more than the amount calculated by Cohen. This dispute has never been about money for the band. This is their life’s work and their legacy.”

Marty Singer, a lawyer for the Cornell estate, previously commented as well:

“The band’s contention that this dispute is somehow not about the money for them is absurd and hypocritical. Of course this is about money and their greed. They received a third party offer to buy just a portion of their interests for 16 million dollars, and yet subsequently offered to buy out Chris’ interest for a mere $278,000. And then Vicky offered $21 million for their shares, which they turned down — not because they wanted to preserve their life’s work but because they know that they will make even more off of future exploitation of the music that Chris wrote and the legacy that he created (which has lined their pockets for years).”

The latest legal battle between Soundgarden and Vicky comes after she previously filed a lawsuit against the band in December 2019 over royalties and the rights to seven unreleased tracks. That suit said that the group had been withholding money in an “unlawful attempt to strong-arm Chris’ Estate into turning over certain audio recordings” that Vicky claimed Chris wrote alone while living in Florida. She also said that she offered to share the tracks with the band if they respected Chris’ wishes by releasing them in a certain way and having his producer involved, but they allegedly refused. Vicky also accused guitarist Kim Thayil of putting her and her family in danger by suggesting that she is preventing the release of a new Soundgarden album.

Soundgarden then filed a countersuit against Vicky and Chris’ estate in May 2020 with accusations of “fraudulent inducement.” They claimed that Chris co-authored five of the recordings in question with other members of the band. They also said that their January 16, 2019 set at the Chris Cornell tribute show was done for free to benefit charity, but Vicky never provided them with a full list of donations. However, the latter accusation was dropped in July 2020. As they mentioned in their new statement, Soundgarden have also been taking issue with Vicky having access to their social media accounts.

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