New Soundgarden album delayed over rights to Chris Cornell’s demos

"We can't move on until some future date when someone realizes the value of allowing the creative partners to have access to the material"

Chris Cornell Demos Delayed Album Soundgarden, photo by Michael Lavine
Soundgarden, photo by Michael Lavine

    A new Soundgarden album is in the works, but whether it ever sees the light of day is unclear. Apparently the band was working on the record in 2017 at the time of Chris Cornell‘s death. Now, surviving members Kim Thayil, Matt Cameron, and Ben Shepherd want to finish the album, but they’re facing a few major roadblocks preventing them from doing so.

    In an interview with MusicRadar, Thayil revealed that Soundgarden is sitting on a trove of well-recorded demos from before Cornell’s passing. Cornell and Cameron would demo a song, usually with the latter playing drums to a riff Cornell had captured, before they passed it along to Thayil and Shepherd to add guitar and bass, respectively. The whole thing would be recorded by an engineer or tech. “They were demos, but the demo quality was pretty good, because both Chris and Matt had become very interested in their home recording technique,” Thayil explained.

    (Read: Soundgarden’s Top 20 Songs)

    However, following Cornell’s death, Soundgarden lost access to Cornell’s demos. “Right now, that’s all kind of stalled,” Thayil admitted. “We tried to get this going two years ago, but we’re not in possession of any of the demos that Chris was working on with them. We have copies of them, but what we need are the files, so that we’d be able to overdub and finish the record. We are not in possession of those.”


    “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 realizes the value of allowing the creative partners to have access to the material.”

    (Read: Remembering Chris Cornell)

    For now, members of Soundgarden are focusing on archival releases. Next week, they’ll release Live from the Artists Den, a live album and concert film capturing a 2013 concert in Los Angeles. Additionally, to celebrate the band’s 35th anniversary this year, they’ve partnered with The Sound of Vinyl to launch an Album of the Month series cataloging their influential career. The special reissues are pressed on limited-edition colored vinyl. They’re available for purchase now.

    (Read: Live Review: Chris Cornell Immortalized by Family and Friends With Tearful Five-Hour Tribute)

    Sometime in the near future, we will have a new documentary to enjoy, too. Brad Pitt and Peter Berg are working on a documentary about Cornell. His widow, Vicky Cornell, has apparently given the entire project the green light, which suggests she will be able to provide exclusive insight and details into previously private details of his life.