Despite his recent induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, Gene Simmons isn’t optimistic about the state of rock music, recently declaring the genre “dead” thanks to online file-sharing. The comments prompted Foo Fighters to respond and remind Simmons that some bands are still carrying the torch.
Speaking to his son, Nick Simmons, in a recent feature for Esquire magazine, the KISS bassist was asked to offer some guidance to young musicians attempting to navigate a music industry that the rocker has long been mourning. “Don’t quit your day job is a good piece of advice,” Simmons Sr told his son.
“When I was coming up, it was not an insurmountable mountain,” he continued. “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… to prop them up and support them.”
While the bassist admitted that such a machine does exist “to an extent” for “pop, rap, and country” artists, “rock is finally dead.” Simmons then expressed sadness for “the next 15-year-old kid in a garage someplace” attempting to start a rock band but finding that he is unable to make a living from it.
“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,” said Simmons. “The problem is that nobody will pay you for the 10,000 hours you put in to create what you created.”
Simmons argued that while previous decades had produced countless talented, singular music superstars, recent decades have failed to produce any “iconic” or “classic” acts besides Nirvana, though Simmons did express an admiration for Tame Impala, who he claimed would’ve been “big” in the ’60s.
“You’re better off not even learning how to play guitar or write songs, and just singing in the shower and auditioning for The X Factor,” the bass player contended. “And I’m not slamming The X Factor, or pop singers. But where’s the next Bob Dylan? Where’s the next Beatles? Where are the songwriters?”
However, Dave Grohl and his mighty crew soon took to social media to declare their disagreement with Simmons’ view. Sharing the link to their Facebook and Twitter channels, the band, who will finally unveil their eighth studio album on 10th November, wrote, “Not so fast, Mr. God of Thunder…”
It’s interesting to note, however, that both Simmons’ and Grohl’s views of the current music industry do converge. While Simmons laments the fact that X Factor is one of the only avenues left for musicians to attain success, Grohl continues to be openly critical of the detrimental effect of reality singing shows.