SOUNDGARDEN and Vicky Cornell, the widow and personal representative of the estate of the band's lead singer Chris Cornell, have announced that, effective June 15, 2021, they have come to a temporary agreement that will transfer the SOUNDGARDEN social media accounts and web site to the band's remaining members, Kim Thayil, Matt Cameron and Ben Shepherd and their managers, Red Light Management. This includes SOUNDGARDEN's web site, Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.
"The agreement marks a productive first step towards healing and open dialogue, and the parties wish for the social media accounts to celebrate the Band's accomplishments and music, while continuing to honor Chris' legacy," Thayil, Cameron and Shepherd said in a statement.
Vicky added in a separate statement: "Through our joint social media efforts and our temporary agreement, my family, along with the surviving members of SOUNDGARDEN, hope to celebrate Chris and his music out of mutual respect and love. We all recognize the profound pain caused by Chris's tragic loss and the path it has taken us down."
This past March, Thayil, Cameron, Shepherd and their business manager Rit Venerus filed papers in Washington state U.S. District Court claiming that Vicky Cornell had locked them out of their Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Vimeo, YouTube, Snapchat, Tumblr, Top Spin and Pinterest accounts, as well as SOUNDGARDEN's official web site, and changing all the passwords.
Thayil, Cameron and Shepherd claimed their socials were previously managed by their then-management company Patriot Management. They said they later learned that Patriot had handed over all the login information to Vicky after Patriot was terminated in October 2019.
The band asked a judge to order Vicky Cornell to hand over the passwords or include a final posting stating, "SOUNDGARDEN has temporarily suspended its official social media accounts due to pending litigation."
Earlier today, Thayil, Cameron and Shepherd posted their first message since regaining control of the SOUNDGARDEN accounts, writing: "Hey SOUNDGARDEN friends, fans and family! Our site is intended to celebrate the music, achievements, career and legacy of the band along with news and information about any current and future plans, including relevant solo work. We encourage our fans to share their comments, praise and criticism, but we do expect these to be appropriate, courteous and respectful to each other and to the band.
"We are super stoked to have our socials return to discussions and posts about being in a ring great ROCK BAND!! Remember the guitars, drums, vocals and volume?!!! No more comments about wives, children, exes, significant others, siblings, parents, great aunts, 2nd cousins... etc. of any of the current or former band members... get it?!!
"It should go without saying, to the adults in the room, that there won't be any threats, bullying or mocking of any kind, directed at anyone. Furthermore, don't post discussions or inane conspiracy theories casting blame for harm to Chris Cornell. If anybody's comments are inappropriate in these ways, they will be removed. If anybody's comments are threatening, bullying or abusive, OR if we have to remove more than one of anybody's comments, they will lose the opportunity to continue commenting on our site.
"We admire the character and caliber of all the fans who've supported and grown with us over the years, geez...decades!! Keep us proud! Peace and love to our brothers and sisters!! XO SOUNDGARDEN".
Cornell was found hanged in his room at the MGM Grand Detroit hotel in May 2017, following a SOUNDGARDEN show at the city's Fox Theatre. His body was found soon after he had spoken with a "slurred" voice to his wife by phone. The death was ruled a suicide.
In December 2019, Vicky filed a lawsuit against the surviving SOUNDGARDEN members, alleging the group owed Cornell's estate hundreds of thousands of dollars in unpaid royalties and the rights to seven unreleased recordings made before the singer's death in May of 2017.
Responding to Vicky's lawsuit, Kim Thayil, Ben Shepherd and Matt Cameron claimed that they "don't have possession" of their "own creative work," and alleged that "Vicky Cornell has possession of the only existing multi-track recordings of the last SOUNDGARDEN tracks that include Chris Cornell's instrumental parts and vocals. All of the band members jointly worked on these final tracks, Vicky now claims ownership of the final SOUNDGARDEN album."
Thayil, Shepherd and Cameron initially accused Vicky Cornell of misusing funds from the January 2019 "I Am The Highway: A Tribute To Chris Cornell" concert. After being challenged by Cornell's attorneys with the threat of sanctions, SOUNDGARDEN withdrew that portion of its countersuit, while its lawyers wrote at the time that the band believes the claims "remain well-founded."
In February, Vicky Cornell sued the surviving members of SOUNDGARDEN over the buyout price for her stake in the band. In the lawsuit, Vicky Cornell said Thayil, Cameron and Shepherd offered her just $300,000 for Chris's share. This amount, she said, is far lower than the real value of the Chris Cornell estate's interests in SOUNDGARDEN, especially considering the fact that the band got an offer of $16 million from an outside investor for SOUNDGARDEN's masters.