Gene Simmons of Kiss recently pissed off a lot of people when he told depressed people in general: “F*ck you, then kill yourself.” He quickly apologized. But now, Simmons is back with a new opinion. In a recent interview in Esquire with his son, Nick Simmons, he announces that rock music is “finally dead.” Finally! It’s dead, guys.
“Don’t quit your day job is a good piece of advice. 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.”
Who does Simons believe killed rock music? You. You did. You and your damn “file-sharing.”
He tells Esquire:
“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.
The masses do not recognize file-sharing and downloading as stealing because there’s a copy left behind for you — it’s not that copy that’s the problem, it’s the other one that someone received but didn’t pay for. The problem is that nobody will pay you for the 10,000 hours you put in to create what you created. I can only imagine the frustration of all that work, and having no one value it enough to pay you for it.”
He then goes on to imply that no musicians in the last 30 years (“from ’84 until today”) have achieved an iconic status. The interviewer quickly points out Nirvana, and Simmons agrees (“that’s about it”).
Simmons also has a theory on where/why file-sharing began: “My sense is that file-sharing started in predominantly white, middle- and upper-middle-class young people who were native-born, who felt they were entitled to have something for free, because that's what they were used to.”
A musician like Simmons speaking out against downloading is nothing new. But in 2014—when more and more people are switching to streaming services like Spotify, because it’s so much easier than downloading—is it really a relevant reason to declare an entire genre of music dead? Read the full interview on Esquire, and let us know your thoughts. Does Simmons have a point? Or is he just out of touch?