Elvis Presley’s swinging gyrations helped usher in rock ‘n’ roll, but the era has apparently died without so much as a final kiss.
At least, that’s the case according to iconic “Kiss” front-man Gene Simmons, who said in a recent interview with Esquire magazine that rock is dead, saying he would not want to be a young artist today.
“Rock is finally dead,” he declared in an interview his son Nick conducted for the magazine.
The outspoken rock legend has been in the news lately more for his politics than his music, but was just as controversial when he blamed the record business for rock ‘n’ roll’s demise.
“The death of rock was not a natural death,” he said. “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 said he was lucky to begin when he did.
“But that’s because we started before the chaos, in the days when people had to buy records,” he said. “If you didn’t like a band, you didn’t buy their albums, and the people decided.”
Simmons advice for today’s musicians and songwriters is “don’t quit your day job.”
“When I was coming up, it was not an insurmountable mountain,” he told his son. “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 said while record companies are still around, “for performers who are also songwriters — the creators — for rock music, for soul, for the blues — it’s finally dead. Rock is finally dead.”
Rock ‘n’ roll and the electric guitar go hand in hand, but Simmons said you may just want to audition for the X-Factor instead of learning to play the instrument.
“If you play guitar, it’s almost impossible,” he said. “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.’
He said he was not slamming ‘The X Factor,’ or pop singers.
“But where’s the next Bob Dylan?” he added. “Where’s the next Beatles? Where are the songwriters? Where are the creators?”
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