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Gene Simmons Sticks by ‘Rock Is Dead’ Statement

Gene Simmons
Kevin Winter, Getty Images

You didn’t expect Gene Simmons to back down from his recent proclamation that rock is dead, did you?

The Kiss co-founder made headlines when he used an Esquire interview (conducted by his son Nick) to talk about his belief that rock was “murdered” at the dawn of the file-sharing era, destroying the music industry and clearing the way for a time in which “nobody will pay you for the 10,000 hours you put in to create what you created. I can only imagine the frustration of all that work, and having no one value it enough to pay you for it.”

Simmons’ argument was rebutted by some of his peers, including the Foo Fighters and Dee Snider, but he stuck to his guns when asked about it during a recent appearance on ‘Kansas City Live,’ insisting, “Rock ‘n’ roll is dead. I’m gonna ask you a question, and you decide, OK? From 1958 until 1988, it’s 30 years, name hundreds and hundreds of classic rock acts. OK, I’ve got Elvis Presley, the Beatles, the Rolling Stones, Jimi Hendrix, Led Zeppelin … on and on and on. Even Motown … Madonna, Prince, Michael Jackson. From 1988 until today, just give me five. You can’t. Iconic? No. Nobody. How about that?”

And once again, Simmons pointed the finger at technology, saying, “I don’t think it’s the economics. I think it really comes down to when technology outpaces the laws of the land, it’s the Wild West; people just go and grab territory and don’t pay for it. It devalues new bands. It doesn’t affect me — I make a living — but it’s sad, because the next Beatles or the next Kiss, it does not have a chance.”

And as for those who’ve publicly disagreed with his stance? Simmons doesn’t bear a grudge, and he doesn’t intend to stop offering his opinion. “It’s called America. You’re allowed to say stupid things. You’re allowed to voice your opinion,” he shrugged. “And I’m not better or worse than anybody else.”

Next: 10 Most Demonic Gene Simmons Songs

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