In a filing as part of their current legal dispute with the singer’s widow, Vicky Cornell, surviving band members Kim Thayil, Ben Shepherd and Matt Cameron claim that drummer Matt Cameron saw the news on his Facebook page after the band’s show in Detroit on May 17, 2017.
The band stated: “ Following the concert — as was customary — Thayil, Cameron, and Shepherd made the late night trip in the Band’s tour buses to their next concert destination in Columbus, Ohio, where the Band had a concert on May 19. Cornell stayed behind at a Detroit hotel with the plan to fly on to Columbus, as was his normal practice because Cornell was unable to sleep on buses. As their buses were headed to Columbus in the early morning of May 18, the Surviving Band Members learned that Cornell had been found dead in his hotel room in Detroit after midnight (tragically, Cameron first saw a ‘RIP: Chris Cornell’ item on his Facebook page, called Thayil who was on the other bus, who then woke Shepherd, and they and their crew frantically searched news, social media and called friends and family, until they received the awful confirmation from their tour manager).
“Thayil, Cameron and Shepherd were utterly devastated to lose their beloved friend, brother, and comrade, and were in a state of shock. As they pulled their buses to the roadside, embraced each other, and struggled with what to do next, their tour manager advised them not to go back to Detroit as it would be swimming with police, press, and other media, and there was nothing positive that could be achieved. They also had a throng of highly-distraught crew and tour team members already in or headed to Columbus who needed support. So they organized a vigil in a conference room at their Columbus hotel, where they were accompanied by their crew, assistants and friends who hugged, wept and attempted to console each other for many hours.”
The filing is the latest revelation to emerge from the legal dispute between Vicky Cornell and Soundgarden. Cornell filed a lawsuit against the rest of the band in December 2019, alleging that her husband’s former bandmates were withholding hundreds of thousands of dollars in royalties from her family as they wanted the rights to seven unreleased songs which Cornell claimed had been written solely by her husband.
The members of Soundgarden have refuted the claims, saying they were working on the songs together.