Another Lawsuit Involving Chris Cornell’s Estate?
Every time a famous musician died young, his legacy is tarnished by lawsuits when a lot of money is at stake. This is especially true for Soundgarden’s frontman Chris Cornell who died in 2017, just after a concert in Detroit. As soon as he died, his wife Vicky Cornell sued his Doctor Robert Koblin for ‘negligently and repeatedly’ prescribing ‘dangerous mind-altering controlled substances’ which impaired his ‘cognition, clouded his judgment, and caused him to engage in dangerous impulsive behaviors that he was unable to control, costing him his life.’ Basically, she made the doctor responsible for his death. But this was just the beginning.
In 2019 Vicky Cornell sued the surviving members of Soundgarden (Kim Thayil, Ben Shepherd and Matt Cameron) over several audio recordings made by Cornell, which the other members claim were intended for a future Soundgarden album. She affirmed that the recordings belong solely to the singer’s estate and accused the other members of withholding royalty payments from her. They countersued Vicky the following year, accusing her of misusing funds from a benefit concert (‘I Am The Highway: A Tribute To Chris Cornell’) held in the singer’s honor. On December 17, 2020, Vicky counter-offered defendants four million dollars each, an offer they rejected. Then Vicky offered them seven million dollars each — a total of twenty-one million dollars, and once again they rejected the offer. Since then, the band members have continued to try to settle all disputes with the Cornell Estate, and despite the large sums of money at stake, both parties have repeatedly claimed that ‘it’s not about the money.’
The same actors are back in the news with another lawsuit involving Chris Cornell’s estate, once again initiated by Vicky. According to TMZ and Blabbermouth, Vicky is not happy (and rightly so) with the $300,000 offered to her for Chris Cornell’s share. She claims that this is way lower than the real value of the Chris Cornell estate’s interests in Soundgarden (the sum doesn’t even represent the royalties that she received in 2018 from a single revenue source (Soundgarden’s master recordings). This is especially true when we know that the band got an offer of $16 million from an outside investor for Soundgarden’s masters.
For many reasons (all these lawsuits included), there is a lot of hatred coming from fans and directed toward Vicky Cornell, certain people even accuse her of the worst… without any evidence. She also has her supporters, but she is also claiming that the new lawsuit ‘is not about money,’ something obviously hard to believe for some.
As everyone knows, Chris Cornell was first married to Susan Silver who was also the band’s manager, but the couple split in 2002 and finally divorced in 2004. And even then, there was misery as Cornell’s life and death seem to be crowded with disputes and lawsuits: he sued Silver in 2005 for a $1million, claiming that she cheated him out of royalties, never returned his Grammys, recordings, and other memorabilia, and booked gigs for Soundgarden without their permission. In 2006, Cornell also sued his former divorce lawyer and accountant for negligence as they had let Silver co-own musical works instead of just giving her a cut of his royalties. In 2008, Cornell was happy to get his guitars back after a long battle with Silver: ‘Speaking of guitars. I was just dusting off the 15 or so guitars that I recently had returned to me after the end of a very long lawsuit where someone had decided that maybe the tools of my trade and guitars I played on my entire catalog should be in their possession forever. It seems to me that some strangely desperate people involved in the music business forget that they are not the ones that write these songs, spill their guts and expose themselves to the public on the most personal level. We invent this s**t and f**king own it and no matter what, nothing will change that,’ he wrote at the time. In 2007, it was also reported that Silver had hired a private investigator who broke into Chris and Vicky’s home in Beverly Hills.
Chris Cornell’s life and after-life are no different, and it’s quite saddening to read through all this, there’s so much dirt! And despite the bad blood between Cornell and Silver, she is often presented as the ‘classy’ one in social media while Vicky is perceived as greedy. Aren’t all these people greedy anyway?
The fact that the life and death of Chris Cornell are so entangled with lawsuits and unsolved disputes is the perfect ground for conspiracy theories. And who could blame people when his strange death surprised so many? When apparently his death is still investigated with the help of some prominent rock star if you believe the gossip sites. Cornell’s death has officially been ruled a suicide, but the fact that his ex-wife, widow, and band members are still fighting over recordings and a huge amount of money opens a lot of doors for discussions and speculations. The Cornell saga is a very deep rabbit hole on the internet, with crazy ramifications, each one crazier than the next one. We are far from being done with this story.