The surviving members of Soundgarden responded Saturday to a lawsuit filed earlier this week by Vicky Cornell, the widow of Soundgarden singer Chris Cornell, saying a buyout offer they made to Vicky Cornell “has been grossly mischaracterized.”
Attorneys for Cornell described the band’s offer to purchase her share of Soundgarden’s assets as “villainously low” in the lawsuit filed Tuesday in the U.S. District Court of Western Washington.
After largely staying silent since Cornell filed her first lawsuit against the band in 2019, the statement marks the first time Kim Thayil, Ben Shepherd and Matt Cameron have addressed this newest lawsuit.
“The buyout offer that was demanded by the Estate has been grossly mischaracterized and we are confident that clarity will come out in court,” the statement says.
Cornell’s lawsuit comes after she asked the surviving band members to make a buyout offer last year. According to the lawsuit, they returned with an offer of less than $300,000.
A spokesman for the band said, in a statement released Wednesday, that the offer was based on a valuation determined by Gary Cohen, a forensic accountant and business manager who conducts royalty investigations. That statement said, “the band members have elected to offer multiple times more than the amount calculated by Cohen.” It also said, “This dispute has never been about money for the band. This is their life’s work and their legacy.”
That prompted Cornell attorney Martin Singer to issue a statement later in the week, calling that assertion “absurd and hypocritical.” He said, as detailed in the lawsuit, that the band had recently received an offer of $16 million from an unnamed third party to purchase the group’s master recordings, as well as buyout offers of $12 million and then $21 million from Cornell. The band turned those offers 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),” Singer’s statement said.
Band members said in Saturday’s statement they aren’t selling their shares: “All offers to buy out our interests have been unsolicited and rejected outright.”
In addition, the band also expressed concern that Cornell’s control over Soundgarden’s social media accounts have led to fan confusion.
Cornell’s attorneys did not immediately respond to a request for comment Saturday.
Cornell’s lawsuit asks the U.S. District court judge to place a value on the iconic Seattle band. The suit reveals recent efforts by both sides to purchase the band’s recordings and other assets outright.
The division between Cornell and Thayil, Shepherd and Cameron began in 2019 when Cornell filed suit to halt Soundgarden from using recordings made by Chris Cornell before his 2017 death to release a final album. That case remains in play after being moved from Florida to Washington last year.
Though there’s been no official announcement about the future, it’s clear the surviving members would like to move forward. They started new social media feeds last summer on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram under the name The Nude Dragons — an anagram for Soundgarden. And Saturday’s statement hints at what they hope will come next.
“Being a band from Washington State since 1984, we are proud of Soundgarden’s musical legacy, work and career,” they said. “We look forward to completing the final Soundgarden album.”