‘There is no future; it’s over': Gene Simmons declares rock dead — but not Kiss

Gene Simmons is never one to shy way from an incendiary comment, even if it has nothing to do with music. Of course, he has plenty to say about rock, too.

Beginning with its future: “There isn’t one,” the Kiss stalwart tells the Toronto Sun.

Simmons blames this sad demise on the emerging online culture: “The freckled-faced boy who decided to download all his music for free ruined the business,” he says. “As far as rock ‘n’ roll is concerned, there is no future. It’s over. Can you name me one superstar act these days? You can’t.”

That said, Kiss isn’t going away. He describes their on-going tour as one of the most harmonious in memory, and says the group has already started work on a follow up to 2012’s Monster. “We enjoy what we do,” Simmons adds, “and we’re all on the same page, so there’s no reason to stop.”

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  • Kath Galasso

    I fail to see what superstar acts has to do with the death of rock & roll. What rock & roll needs is great music and for it to be embraced. What it doesn’t need are acts who think they are superstars.

    • Jeff Blanks

      For a long time, an anti-rock-star ethos, born of punk, has ruled rock, largely because the business is populated by people who see rock that way. That ethos has always been unlikely to produce truly great music, because it specifically believes that it’s somehow wrong for rock to strive for greatness. Anyway, here in 2014, there are still superstars, but none of them are *rock* superstars–they’re pop (maybe we should call it “hip-pop”) and hip-hop superstars. It turns out that rock *needs* superstars and fun, good-time music (as well as great music) to attract people to it. (IOW, Kanye West was right–rappers are today’s rockstars. I don’t like saying that, but I can’t say he’s wrong.) And you’re not gonna get rock stars without acts who think they’re rock stars–they just have to be pressured to *deliver* so they can *earn* the title, and that’s what hasn’t been happening for most of rock’s history now. Where Gene is wrong is in the idea that downloading should be hurting rock in particular. If he’s right, he might as well say *all* music is “over”, but he’s not saying that–he’s saying rock is over. What is it about rock that downloading would kill it, but not country or pop or hip-hop?