Way back in 2014, KISS rocker Gene Simmons made the controversial declaration that “rock is finally dead” — a statement that fellow bandmate Paul Stanley takes umbrage with.
The comments were made during a lengthy interview with Esquire, that saw Simmons chalk the death of rock down to music piracy.
“The death of rock was not a natural death,” Simmons explained at the time. “Rock did not die of old age. It was murdered.”
He continued, “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 Simmons has further echoed the sentiment in a new joint-interview with Paul Stanley for Gulf News.
“Rock is dead,” Simmons surmised. “And that’s because new bands haven’t taken the time to create glamour, excitement, and epic stuff.”
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Gene Simmons went on to express that he does not think that despite enormous popularity, artists nowadays are not poised for longevity. “Tell me who the new Beatles is. You can’t. There are popular bands,” he mused. “BTS is very popular. All kinds of bands are very popular. That doesn’t mean iconic and legacy and for all time. It’s different.”
This thesis did not sit well with Paul Stanley, who argued that major scale live performances are still deeply indebted in rock’n’roll.
“Well, it’s very interesting that the only music that consistently sells out concerts on a large scale is rock ‘n’ roll,” Stanley explained. “And, quite honestly, if you go to see any of the more current acts, I would say, they’re doing KISS shows. KISS DNA is in every entertainment venue that you see.”
He continued, “We wrote the book on presentation, and there’s not a band or entertainer out there that I don’t go see and have a little chuckle, and not for any other reason except [realizing] we’ve left our mark.”
Stanley added, “I think it was a wake-up call to audiences of what’s possible, and that they shouldn’t accept less. So as far as rock ‘n’ roll being dead, I would bet the farm, so to speak, that Led Zeppelin will outlast anything that has the No. 1 record today.”