Rock legends KISS brought 2020 to a close in spectacular fashion, breaking two world records for pyrotechnics during their Dec. 31 Kiss 2020 Goodbye livestream show. The group has pushed back their End of the Road World Tour dates to Spring 2021, and opinionated music icon Gene Simmons is using this time off to get back to one of his favorite talking points: the death of rock music.
Simmons is no stranger to bold statements. Last May, he took to social media to bash food delivery service Postmates. More recently, he chimed in on Twitter about the cryptocurrency buzz, claiming to be a “God Of Dogecoin.”
During a candid appearance on Q104.3’s Out Of The Box, Simmons said that rock music is dead “in all ways.” When pressed to identify who he blames for the current state of the industry, the musician insisted that “the culprits are the young fans.”
The singer went on to address fans directly, saying “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, because when you download stuff, it’s one-hundredth or one-thousandth of one penny. And 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. And 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.”
Simmons went on to draw a contrast between the past era of rock and the present. “So, we’re gonna play a game,” he says. “1958 until 1988, that’s 30 years. During that time, you got Elvis Presley, the Beatles, [Jimi] Hendrix, the [Rolling] Stones, just thousands of bands. You had [David] Bowie, you had Prince, U2, maybe us in the ’70s, AC/DC, Metallica, and on and on and on. And disco, you had Madonna and Motown—great Black music—forever. From 1988 until today, who’s the new Beatles?”
This isn’t the first time Simmons has complained about the current state of music. In a 2014 Esquire interview, the singer proclaimed that rock is “finally dead.” He repeated the talking point in 2017, telling Rolling Stone that the whole industry had died, saying “if the business is dead, rock is dead.”
Simmons may think that rock is dead, but KISS is still pushing boundaries. The band’s Kiss 2020 Goodbye livestream show, filmed in Dubai with a budget of $10 million, broke not one but two world records for pyrotechnics. Ultimate Classic Rock reveals that Guinness World Records adjudicators were present, confirming world records for the highest flame projection in a music concert and the most flame projections launched simultaneously in a music concert.
KISS 2020 Goodbye is available to stream via tixr.com.
What are your reactions to Gene Simmons’ gripes about the death of rock? Let us know in the comments below.