Soundgarden was one of the most influential and successful rock bands of the 1990s. They pioneered the grunge movement along with Nirvana, Pearl Jam, and Alice in Chains. In 1984, singer and drummer Chris Cornell, lead guitarist Kim Thayil, and bassist Hiro Yamamoto founded the band in Seattle, Washington. They later added drummer Matt Cameron and bassist Ben Shepherd to complete their lineup. Soundgarden released six studio albums, two live albums, six compilation albums, eight extended plays, 24 singles, and 23 music videos. They won two Grammy Awards and sold over 30 million records worldwide. But how much is Soundgarden net worth?
How much did the band members earn from their music career? And who is the richest member of Soundgarden? In this article, we will try to answer these questions by estimating the net worth of each member based on their album sales, royalties, tours, merchandise, solo projects, and other sources of income.
Soundgarden Net Worth: $100 Million
Soundgarden was one of the most successful rock bands of the 1990s, selling over 30 million records worldwide. They also earned money from their tours, merchandise, and royalties. Soundgarden made $12.5 million in 2012, ranking No. 28 on the list of “The World’s Highest-Paid Musicians”. This was mainly due to their reunion tour, which grossed $22.5 million from 30 shows.
However, the band’s earnings were not evenly distributed among the members. According to a lawsuit filed by Chris Cornell’s widow Vicky Cornell against the surviving members of Soundgarden in 2019, the band offered her only $300,000 for her husband’s share of seven unreleased songs, which she claimed was worth at least $16 million. The lawsuit also alleged that the band withheld hundreds of thousands of dollars in royalties from Cornell’s estate. Both parties settled the dispute in July 2021, agreeing to donate proceeds from the songs to charity.
Soundgarden net worth is estimated to be over $100 million, based on their record sales, tours, and other sources of income.
Matt Cameron Net Worth: $70 Million
Matt Cameron was the drummer of Soundgarden from 1986 until their breakup in 1997 and reunion in 2010. Playing drums for Temple of the Dog and Audioslave, he became the sole member to participate in all three bands Cornell was part of. Cameron was also a member of Skin Yard, Hater, Wellwater Conspiracy, and Pearl Jam. He holds a reputation as one of rock history’s most influential and versatile drummers. He has a style that blends hard rock, punk, metal, jazz, and funk influences. Rolling Stone ranked Cameron as No. 52 on the list of “The 100 Greatest Drummers of All Time” in 2016.
Matt Cameron released two solo albums: Cavedweller and The Nighttime Gardener. He also contributed to the soundtracks of the films Singles, Hype!, Malfunkshun: The Andrew Wood Story, and Pearl Jam Twenty. He also appeared as a guest musician on albums by Alice in Chains, Geddy Lee, Jack Endino, Mark Lanegan, Queens of the Stone Age, Smashing Pumpkins, The Prodigy, and others.
Soundgarden drummer, Matt Cameron has an estimated net worth of $70 million. He earned most of his wealth from his work with Soundgarden, Pearl Jam, and Temple of the Dog, as well as his solo projects and collaborations. Cameron also owns several properties in Seattle and Los Angeles. Since 2000, he has been in a marriage with April Acevez and has two children.
Chris Cornell Net Worth: $40-60 Million
Chris Cornell was the lead vocalist, rhythm guitarist, and primary lyricist of Soundgarden. He also had a successful solo career and contributed to numerous movie soundtracks. Cornell was the founder and frontman of Temple of the Dog, a one-off tribute band dedicated to his late friend Andrew Wood. He also joined forces with the core of Rage Against the Machine to form Audioslave, another popular rock band. Cornell earned widespread recognition as one of the greatest rock singers of all time, thanks to his nearly four-octave vocal range and a powerful belting technique.
Chris Cornell released four solo studio albums: Euphoria Morning, Carry On, Scream, and Higher Truth. He also released a live album, Songbook, and two compilations: The Roads We Choose and Chris Cornell, the latter released posthumously. Cornell received a Golden Globe Award nomination for his song The Keeper, which appeared in the 2011 film Machine Gun Preacher. He also co-wrote and performed You Know My Name, the theme song to the 2006 James Bond film Casino Royale. His last solo release before his death was the charity single The Promise, written for the ending credits for the 2016 film of the same name.
Soundgarden vocalist and guitarist, Chris Cornell has an estimated net worth of $40-60 million. He earned most of his wealth from his music sales, royalties, tours, merchandise, and movie deals. Cornell also owned several properties in Los Angeles, New York, Paris, and Rome. He was married twice and had three children. He died by suicide on May 18, 2017, at the age of 52.
Kim Thayil Net Worth: $30 Million
Kim Thayil was the lead guitarist of Soundgarden. He co-founded the band with Cornell and Yamamoto in 1984. He remained as one of the original members until the band’s breakup in 1997 and reunion in 2010. Thayil was known for his innovative guitar playing style. He incorporated heavy metal riffs, alternative tunings, feedback, distortion, wah-wah effects, and psychedelic influences. Rolling Stone named him the 100th greatest guitarist of all time in 2010. SPIN ranked him as the 67th greatest guitarist of all time in 2012.
Kim Thayil did not pursue a solo career after Soundgarden’s breakup. Instead, he collaborated with other artists such as Dave Grohl, Krist Novoselic, Jello Biafra, Tom Morello, Wayne Kramer, Mark Arm, Steve Turner, and others. He also played guitar for MC5’s reunion tour in 2005. He joined them again in 2018 for their 50th anniversary celebration. Thayil also appeared as a guest musician on albums by Pigeonhed, Presidents of the United States of America, Probot, Sunn O))), The Afghan Whigs, The Coup, The Crystal Method, The Prodigy, Titãs, William Duvall, and others.
Soundgarden lead guitarist, Kim Thayil has an estimated net worth of $30 million. He earned most of his income from his work with Soundgarden and his collaborations with other artists. Thayil also owns a house in Seattle that he bought in 1994 for $447,000. Since 1996, he has remained married to Kate Zapata, the sister of Mia Zapata.
Ben Shepherd Net Worth: $20 Million
Ben Shepherd was the bassist of Soundgarden from 1990 until their breakup in 1997 and reunion in 2010. He replaced Jason Everman, who briefly filled in for Hiro Yamamoto after he left the band in 1989. Shepherd was also a singer, songwriter, and multi-instrumentalist who contributed to the band’s songwriting and vocals. His aggressive and melodic bass playing style, influenced by punk rock, metal, blues, folk, and country music, added depth and complexity to the band’s sound.
Ben Shepherd released two solo albums: In Deep Owl and Don’t Sleep. He also played with several other bands such as March of Crimes, Hater, Wellwater Conspiracy, Devilhead, The Desert Sessions, Mark Lanegan Band, Mondo Generator, Screaming Trees, and others. He also appeared as a guest musician on albums by Blind Melon, Eleven, Nirvana, Sound City Players, Tad, The Afghan Whigs, The Gutter Twins, and others.
Soundgarden bassist, Ben Shepherd has an estimated net worth of $20 million. He earned most of his income from his work with Soundgarden and his other bands and projects. Shepherd also owns a house in Seattle that he bought in 1994 for $265,000. He divorced Stefanie Sargent in 1998 and has one child.
The Bottom Line
Soundgarden net worth is estimated to be over $100 million. Matt Cameron is the richest member of Soundgarden, with an estimated net worth of $70 million. Chris Cornell, who had an estimated net worth of $40-60 million at the time of his death, follows him. Kim Thayil is next, with an estimated net worth of $30 million. Ben Shepherd is the least wealthy member of Soundgarden, with an estimated net worth of $20 million.
Each member of Soundgarden has made a significant contribution to the music industry. They have left a lasting legacy for their fans and peers.