Soundgarden guitarist Kim Thayil has made it known that there's a final record with vocalist Chris Cornell, and that the band can't get their hands on Cornell's vocal tracks to wrap up the project. Thayil said at the time that the battle over the tracks has been going on since Cornell's death in 2017, and that Soundgarden has "copies of them" but not the actual files needed for overdubs.
At the time, Thayil said:
"We’ve asked nicely, we’ve suggested that this will benefit all parties, if the band could just have these files, and we could finish the songs we were working on.
“But there seems to be some confusion amongst various parties as to what that would entail and how that works, and who that would benefit. And it’s been tiring, you know. And we can’t move on until some future date when someone realises the value of allowing the creative partners to have access to the material.”
While Thayil has seemingly taken the high road to avoid saying exactly where the roadblock is, today's news sure paints a clearer picture.
TMZ has obtained legal documents filed by lawyers representing Vicky Cornell, the widow of Chris Cornell. Vicky is accusing the other members of the band of withholding thousands of dollars of royalties ower to her and Chris' children and accuses the band of strong arming her.
The legal document accuses the band of "unlawful attempt to strong-arm Chris' Estate into turning over certain audio recordings created by Chris before he passed away."
There are seven tracks at the crux of this dispute, and Vicky argues that these tracks, which are Chris' final recordings were "solely authored by Chris; contain Chris' own vocal tracks; and were bequeathed to Chris' Estate" for the benefit of Chris' wife and kids.
Vicky has noted in the documents the conditions with which she was willing to share the recordings. Vicky claims she wanted to respect Chris' wishes and Chris' producer involved, something the band was not interested in.
Even though Thaiyl has avoided naming her directly in previous interviews, she accused Kim Thaiyl of turning the band's fanbase against her, making it seem like she is the main obstacle in getting new Soundgarden music released, when she argues it is the band which is the obstacle. She claims that Thaiyl knew Chris worked on the tracks solo.
Soundgarden has responded to the claims, saying they and Chris have been working on the files in a "collaborative effort." In a letter to Vicky, they write "The entire band was feeling very positive about their rekindled artistic energy and creativity" before Cornell died.
Soundgarden dispute that Chris was the sole writer of five of the seven tracks, also crediting other band members for those tracks.
Vicky is asking the judge to make the determination that Cornell's estate is the sole owner of the tracks and ato make the band hand over the unpaid royalties.
As a fan, I just hope this gets calmly settled and we could possibly hear new Soundgarden music.