Recently, Gene Simmons from the iconic rock band KISS had these thoughts about the state of rock and roll. ROCK IS DEAD. You can read the full article he did with his own son in this link.
In this interview, he stated that file sharing is one of the main reasons rock isn’t popular anymore. He also states there aren’t many acts or performers who stand the test of time because of greedy men in white suits making and shaping bands along with teenagers who think they are entitled to get their music for free. Gene has a point however I don’t think rock is entirely gone.
Is it hard to stand out and be original? Hell yes. Is it even harder for performers to make a living in today’s music industry? Another hell yes. That is true for all genres of music and in any art. It’s also a fact of life that just about everything is regurgitated. I think it’s fair to say nothing we’ve seen, heard, or experienced is original. So, Gene has a point in some cases, however, rock will never truly be dead.
I’m not going to spend a lot of time naming bands that still carry the rock torch. Okay, maybe a few; Foo Fighters, Queens of the Stone Age, The Killers, Kings of Leon. There. They are rock bands, not metal, or pop. They might have a few variations that cross over into other kinds of music but they are basically rock bands. Will they be iconic like a Kiss, Black Sabbath, Hendrix, and so on? Only time will tell, however, I believe Gene has jumped the gun just a bit when blaming file sharing for rock’s supposed demise. And actually, everyone who is a creator of any kind has had to deal with people downloading their work without paying a cent. It’s called the internet. There are plenty of programs and sites that pop up every day allowing people to share pictures, music, videos and the like. Youtube, Google, Instagram, Pinterest and Facebook just to name a few. If anything, any artist who wants to make a name out there for themselves can do so without the help of corporate music types by using these sites and others to their advantage. A lot of the so called popular acts, such as Macklemore, did it DIY. Not a rock example but still a music example showing it could be done.
So Gene, I wouldn’t go as far to say that rock is dead. I’d say that it is hard for artists to stand the test of time but people can still play rock and gain a little notoriety from it. Quit your whining and enjoy the success you and the boys garnered by putting on makeup and scaring the beejesus out of millions with your stage antics. Yes you were lucky and believe me, there will be other performers that will come along, use the internet to their advantage, and be a relevant too.