Apparently emboldened by the controversy surrounding his recent comments about depression KISS firebrand Gene Simmons stirred the pot again in an interview with his son Nick for Esquire saying that “rock is finally dead.” Ever the businessman, Simmons sees a creative vacuum emerging thanks to the proliferation of illegal file-sharing.
“Rock did not die of old age,” he explains. “It was murdered. And the real culprit is that…15-year-old next door neighbor. Some brilliance, somewhere, was going to be expressed, and now it won’t, because it’s that much harder to earn a living playing and writing songs.”
From Simmons’ perspective, this line of thinking makes sense. Given, as he notes, the financial state of the music industry, you’re unlikely to see a rock band the size of KISS (or using his examples: “Elvis, the Beatles, Michael Jackson, the Stones, Jimi Hendrix, the numerous classic Motown artists, Madonna, U2, Prince, Pink Floyd”) tale off in 2014. As he notes, a band like Tame Impala isn’t going to fill out stadiums, but that being said, the vibrancy and diversity of the current rock world flies in the face of his assertion that the genre as a whole has deceased.
As for what advice he can offer to aspiring rock musicians, Simmons says “Don’t quit your day job. “When I was coming up, it was not an insurmountable mountain,” he says of the process of breaking out as a new band. “There are still record companies, and it does apply to pop, rap, and country to an extent. But for performers who are also songwriters — the creators — for rock music, for soul, for the blues — it’s finally dead.”
But not if Dave Grohl has anything to say about it. Though he hasn’t yet offered any official comment, Foo Fighters posted the Esquire interview to their Facebook page with the note “Not so fast, Mr. God of Thunder…” Perhaps they’ll force Simmons to reevaluate once Sonic Highways, their eighth studio album, hits stores on November 10.
— Foo Fighters (@foofighters) September 6, 2014