Gene Simmons doubles down on “rock is dead” comments, cites lack of “glamour, excitement and epic stuff”
“Tell me who the new Beatles is. You can’t.”
Image: Kevin Winter / Getty
KISS bassist and singer Gene Simmons has reasserted his previous comments on the state of the rock genre, saying once again that it’s “dead.”
Originally, in 2014, Simmons spoke to his son Nick for Esquire, and said: “The death of rock was not a natural death. Rock did not die of old age. It was murdered,” referring to file sharing and accusing label executives of neglecting artists.
He has since doubled down on the comments, telling Gulf News: “Rock is dead. And that’s because new bands haven’t taken the time to create glamour, excitement and epic stuff.”
“I mean, Foo Fighters is a terrific band, but that’s a 20-year-old band. So you can go back to 1958 until 1988. That’s 30 years. During that time, we had Elvis [Presley], The Beatles, Jimi Hendrix, Rolling Stones, on and on.”
He continued: “In disco, you had Madonna, and then you had your hard rock, you had AC/DC, maybe us, a few others. Motown, all that great music. From 1988, until today, that’s more than 30 years. Tell me who the new Beatles is. You can’t. There are popular bands. 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.”
Simmons was asked if he thinks any of today’s current popular acts will be popular in 30 years, to which he replied: “I doubt it. Because the singularity that was The Beatles is a band that wrote their own songs, arranged it themselves, produced it themselves, mostly played all their own instruments. No backing tracks. No digital enhancement. No vocal correctness. Yeah, not gonna happen again.
“You know, the modern artists rely so much on technology. You may not be able to recognise the artist if they record themselves singing in the shower. You’d be shocked. And none of the rappers play instruments. Don’t write songs. They write words. But chords, melodies, harmonies and stuff. It doesn’t mean that rap isn’t important. It’s very important. But it ain’t The Beatles.”
Despite this, Simmons did speak about his appreciation of contemporary pop artists such as Billie Eilish and Lady Gaga. “I think Billie Eilish is fantastic,” he said. “She’s interesting because she and her brother actually write the material and are unique to themselves. Lady Gaga is fantastic in the female category. She writes her own material, she can sing like nobody’s business. But she actually is a musician, writes her own songs, plays piano, she can actually do that.
“The rest of the world reacts to a lot of the pop divas, although mostly they don’t write their own songs and can’t play an instrument. And by the way, that’s okay, too. It doesn’t matter what you like. But it ain’t The Beatles.”
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