Kiss bassist Gene Simmons has displayed some musical ignorance with comments suggesting that artists such as Kurt Cobain and Amy Winehouse, who died relatively young and only released a limited amount of material, cannot and should not be seen as musical icons.
Simmons’ comments are sure to enrage Cobain and Winehouse fans, albeit anyone with an appreciation for music’s non-commercial aspects.
Speaking with Team Rock Radio, Simmons was asked for his perspective on the current state of the music industry. He responded quite bleakly, saying that it’s increasingly difficult for new bands to make it without the supposed “support system” of a big record company pushing them along.
“There won’t be another Beatles or another Prince or another Kiss because there isn’t that support system, there’s no record companies because kids have decided they can download and fileshare and bypass paying the artists what they rightfully should be getting,” he says.
Simmons goes on to detail what is usually deemed by the more nostalgic music journalists and fans to be music’s ‘golden years’, implying that the prolific, money-drenched bands of that time are no longer possible.
“Let me see – Elvis Presley, The Beatles, Rolling Stones, Jimi Hendrix, The Who and just on and on. And through the ’70s – Aerosmith, Kiss, Led Zeppelin. Now from 1984 until today, name one superstar that’s bigger than their music, and not just somebody that’s recorded one or two records, but another Queen or another AC/DC? None, you can’t name one.” Hey Gene, how about Radiohead? How about Nirvana?
The “Radiohead model” of pay-what-you-want (which was used for the band’s 2007 album In Rainbows, and worked extremely well) “doesn’t work” according to Simmons.
As for Nirvana and Amy Winehouse: “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,” he concludes. Fans will know that Nirvana actually had three highly influential studio records, and I think they might have a bone to pick with you now, Mr. Simmons.