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Gene Simmons: ‘Rock Is Finally Dead’

Gene Simmons
Jim Dyson, Getty Images

Gene Simmons is making headlines again, this time for burying rock ‘n’ roll. The outspoken artist says “Rock is finally dead,” in an interview conducted by his son Nick for Esquire magazine. The Kiss singer-bassist also shares his thoughts on the failing record business and how he would not want to be an up-and-coming artist today.

“The death of rock was not a natural death,” Simmons offers. “Rock did not die of old age. It was murdered. 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.”

Simmons also offers sobering advice for young musicians and songwriters saying, “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.” He adds, “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.”

He continues on about how he feels for this lost generation of kids who will not have the same opportunity that he had with Kiss. “It’s very sad for new bands. My heart goes out to them. They just don’t have a chance.” Simmons remarks. “If you play guitar, it’s almost impossible. 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.’ 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? Where are the creators?”

Simmons added that he is not being simply being cantankerous offering, “I’m not the guy to be pouting and complaining about stuff. I make a decent living. I’m very, very lucky. But that’s because we started before the chaos, in the days when people had to buy records. If you didn’t like a band, you didn’t buy their albums, and the people decided.”

Read the full interview at Esquire.com.

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