Alice Cooper Gene Simmons
[Photos via Alice Cooper/Spotify, Gene Simmons/Toglenn via Wikimedia Commons]

Last month, KISS bassist Gene Simmons stirred up quite a debate again when he said that rock music is dead and fans are to blame for it.

Now, Alice Cooper is disputing these comments and revealing why he thinks rock music is, in fact, still very much alive.

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Obviously, KISS have had quite the rock career over the past few decades. In fact, 2020 marked one of their biggest years yet when they broke two world records for pyrotechnics during their Dec. 31 Kiss 2020 Goodbye livestream show. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, KISS were forced to push back their End of the Road World Tour to this spring.

However, it looks like Gene Simmons has managed to occupy his time by shaking up the rock world again with his own views on the genre. Last month, Simmons told Q104.3’s Out Of The Box that rock music is dead “in all ways.” When asked what caused the decline in the genre, Simmons pointed the finger towards one group – the fans.

“The culprits are the young fans,” he said. “You killed the thing that you love. Because as soon as streaming came in, you took away a chance for the new great bands who are there in the shadows, who can’t quit their day job ’cause you can’t make a dime putting your music out there.”

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He went on to say that streaming is partly to blame. As streaming platforms such as Spotify, Apple Music and Tidal continue to grow in popularity, the industry continues to shift. As a result, new bands don’t have as much of a chance as already established artists because the same opportunities and abilities to earn money aren’t there.

“When you download stuff, it’s one-hundredth or one-thousandth of one penny,” he continued. “So you’ve gotta have millions and millions and even billions of downloads before you can make a few grand and the fans have killed that thing. So the business is dead. That means that the next Beatles or the next whoever is never gonna get the chance that we did. We had record companies that gave us millions of dollars so we could make records and tour and not worry about a 9-to-5. Because when you’re worried about 9-to-5, you don’t have time to sit there and devote to your art, whatever that is.”

Now, Alice Cooper has weighed in on the situation. Mere weeks after confirming he has received the COVID-19 vaccine after contracting the virus, Cooper is now defending rock ‘n’ roll. Cooper recently told NME that the rock genre is far from dead. In fact, there’s a new generation of talented musicians that have yet to be discovered.

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“Gene Simmons – I would like him to do my taxes because he’s a businessman and that’s valid,” he says. “But I guarantee you right now that in London somewhere, in garages, they’re learning Aerosmith and Guns ‘N’ Roses. There’s a bunch of 18-year-kids in there with guitars and drums and they’re learning hard rock. It’s the same with the United States: there are all these young bands that want to resurge that whole area of hard rock.”

Cooper further tells NME that rock music is “where it should be right now.” Even though the rock genre may be going through some changes, it still has the longevity to thrive for years to come.

“We’re not at the Grammys; we’re not in the mainstream,” he continues. “Rock ‘n’ roll is outside looking in right now, and that gives us that outlaw attitude. The one kind of music that started and never ended was hard rock. It went to punk, it went to disco, it went to hip-hop, it went to grunge, but the one thing that went through the middle of it was hard rock.”

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Last week, Alice Cooper contributed to rock music with a new studio album. Detroit Stories marks his first full-length release since 2017’s Paranormal. The new 15-track LP includes the previously released singles “Social Debris,” “Our Love Will Change The World” and “Rock & Roll.”

Gene Simmons’ full interview is available below.

What are your reactions to both Gene Simmons and Alice Cooper’s comments about rock music? Let us know in the comments below.