Given the recent legal tussles between the family of late Soundgarden frontman Chris Cornell and the surviving members of the celebrated Seattle grunge rockers, there has been some debate as to whether the final recordings made by the quartet would ever emerge. But in a new interview with USA Today (opens in new tab), Cornell’s wife Vicky says that everything the singer recorded, including those unreleased Soundgarden tracks, will be given an official release, at some point in the future.
“All of Chris' music, including Soundgarden, will see the light of day,” she states.
Questions over the fate of the last set of Soundgarden recordings entered the public realm in December 2019, when Vicky Cornell filed legal papers against Soundgarden’s Kim Thayil, Ben Shepherd and Matt Cameron claiming the band were withholding hundreds of thousands of dollars in royalties from her family.
The documents also described an “unlawful attempt to strong-arm Chris' Estate into turning over certain audio recordings created by Chris before he passed away,” with US gossip site TMZ reporting that the rights to seven specific recordings lay at the heart of the dispute.
Soundgarden reportedly reached out to Vicky Cornell following the move, saying that prior to Cornell’s death in May 2017, they had been "working on the files in a collaborative effort," adding, "The entire band was feeling very positive about their rekindled artistic energy and creativity.”
Tensions between the two camps soured further in May this year, when Soundgarden counter-sued Vicky Cornell. In legal papers filed at the US District Court of the Southern District of Florida, the band denied “every material contention lobbed by Vicky Cornell, who filed her Complaint – rashly and without good cause – with the true purpose of extorting Soundgarden into conceding rights to which she is not legally entitled, and of coercing Soundgarden to prematurely distribute Soundgarden funds to her.”
Soundgarden also alleged that money raised at the I Am The Highway: A Tribute To Chris Cornell charity concert at The Forum in Los Angeles on January 16, 2019, was used by Vicky for “personal purposes for herself and her family.”
In July, however, after Vicky Cornell’s legal team threatened the Soundgarden members with legal sanctions and called their actions “shameful and objectively frivolous,” the band agreed to “voluntarily dismiss the Charity Concert claims.” But no judgement or agreement has yet emerged in the public realm to suggest that the legal battle over the seven disputed songs has been settled.
Now, speaking with USA Today, after the surprise release of Cornell’s covers album, No One Sings Like You Anymore, Vicky Cornell insists that all the singer’s unreleased tapes will emerge in due course.
Asked if there might be more unreleased music from Chris that could ‘see the light of day’, Cornell said: “Yes. All of Chris' music, including Soundgarden, will see the light of day because there's nothing in the world that lifts me most than sharing Chris' gifts, having people speak his name, and having his music out there. He's alive that way and his legacy lives on. So it's the most important thing to me, seeing how much people love him, miss him, respect him, and how much we want more of his music out there. So everything will be released.”
Speaking about No One Sings Like You Anymore, Cornell told USA Today: "This record showcases Chris' vocal abilities and the breadth of what he was able to do. There's a reason why he is one of the greatest voices of his time. What's really special about this is you get to see a different side of Chris. It gives you a glimpse into his world and lets you see him as a fan. Fans have their playlists and this would maybe be Chris' (playlist): what resonated with him personally, and what he thought could be fun and add his stamp on."