Friday, September 5, 2014

Gene Simmons claims rock is dead

In a newly-published Esquire interview with his son, KISS bassist Gene Simmons makes the claim that rock is dead.

Nick Simmons sat down with his 65-year-old father to discuss the current state of the music industry.

“Don't quit your day job is a good piece of advice,” Gene begins. “When I was coming up, it was not an insurmountable mountain. Once you had a record company on your side, they would fund you, and that also meant when you toured they would give you tour support. There was an entire industry to help the next Beatles, Stones, Prince, Hendrix, to prop them up and support them every step of the way. 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. Rock is finally dead.”

“I am so sad that the next 15-year-old kid in a garage someplace in Saint Paul, that plugs into his Marshall and wants to turn it up to ten, will not have anywhere near the same opportunity that I did,” he continued. “He will most likely, no matter what he does, fail miserably. There is no industry for that anymore. And who is the culprit? There's always the changing tide of interests — music taste changes with each generation. To blame that is silly. That was always the exciting part, after all: ‘What's next?’ But there's something else. The death of rock was not a natural death. Rock did not die of old age. It was murdered. And the real culprit is that kid's 15-year-old next-door neighbor, probably a friend of his. Maybe even one of the bandmates he's jamming with. The tragedy is that they seem to have no idea that they just killed their own opportunity — they killed the artists they would have loved. 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. No one will pay you to do it.”

Gene, who this past week voiced the audiobook version of his forthcoming marketing advice book, "Me, Inc.: Build An Army Of One, Unleash Your Inner Rock God, Win In Life And Business", is now suggesting kids give up trying to learn instruments or attempt to make it in the music industry.

“It's very sad for new bands. My heart goes out to them,” he says. “They just don't have a chance. If you play guitar, it's almost impossible. You're better off not even learning how to play guitar or write songs, and just singing in the shower and auditioning for The X Factor. And I'm not slamming The X Factor, or pop singers. But where's the next Bob Dylan? Where's the next Beatles? Where are the songwriters?
Where are the creators? Many of them now have to work behind the scenes, to prop up pop acts and write their stuff for them.”

The only new information revealed in the Esquire session is that the elder Simmons has changed his opinion of Nirvana and their place in music history.

Last year, he told Team Rock Radio that the Seattle band’s legacy wasn’t important, saying "Kurt Cobain - no, that's one or two records, that's not enough. Amy Winehouse - that's one or two records, that's not enough. What, just 'cause you died that makes you an icon? No, no."

Now, the bassist tells his son that the group are the only act in the past 20 years to have a lasting impact. “Nirvana. That's about it. They are the notable exception,” he said.

Nirvana were inducted in the Rock & Roll Hall Of Fame alongside KISS earlier this year.

Last week, Simmons and KISS wrapped up their summer tour of North America with Def Leppard.

See also:

KISS to expand 40th anniversary tour
Gene Simmons of KISS sued over confetti stage accident
VIDEO: KISS and Def Leppard wrap up summer tour in Houston
Ace Frehley scores US Top 10 debut with Space Invader
Search KISS at hennemusic