Chris Cornell’s Widow Sues Surviving Members of Soundgarden Over Buyout Offer

Vicky Cornell claims she was offered less than $300,000

vicky cornell chris cornell
Chris Cornell and wife Vicky Karayiannis arrive at the premiere of "Machine Gun Preacher" at Roy Thomson Hall during the 2011 Toronto International Film Festival on September 11, 2011 in Toronto, Canada.
Getty Images

Chris Cornell’s widow Vicky Cornell has filed a new lawsuit against the surviving members of Soundgarden claiming a recent buyout offer she received from the musician’s former bandmates was a “a villainously low figure” and seeking a judicial valuation of her late husband’s interest in the group’s assets, including merchandise and future touring revenue.

The suit, filed on Feb. 16, claims that Kim Thayil, Matt Cameron and Hunter Benedict Shepherd offered Cornell less than $300,000 for her stake in Soundgarden, alleging that the offer “does not amount to the royalties that Vicky received from Soundgarden’s master recordings in 2018 alone.” Cornell also claims she made the band several counter-offers. On December 17, 2020, she reportedly counter-offered them $4 million each for their collective interests in Soundgarden but was turned down because the group said “these interests represent their creative life’s-work.” She then upped her offer to each member to $7 million but was still rejected.

“The band’s contention that this dispute is somehow not about the money for them is absurd and hypocritical,” Cornell’s lawyer Marty Singer said in a statement to Pitchfork. “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).”

Thayil, Cameron and Shepherd responded with a statement of their own, writing, “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.”

The InsideHook Newsletter.

News, advice and insights for the most interesting person in the room.