Kiss’ Gene Simmons doubles down on “rock is dead” remarks

"New bands haven't taken the time to create glamour, excitement and epic stuff"

Gene Simmons has doubled down on previous comments he made about the state of rock music.

In 2014, the Kiss bassist accused record labels of failing to adequately support rock artists and declared the rock genre to be “finally dead”.

Simmons doubled down on the claims in a new interview, saying there are popular bands but that doesn’t mean they’re “iconic and legacy and for all-time”.


“Rock is dead. And that’s because new bands haven’t taken the time to create glamour, excitement and epic stuff,” Simmons told Gulf News. “I mean, Foo Fighters is a terrific band, but that’s a 20-year-old band. So you can go back to 1958 until 1988. That’s 30 years. During that time, we had Elvis [Presley], The Beatles, Jimi Hendrix, Rolling Stones, on and on.

He continued: “In disco, you had Madonna, and then you had your hard rock, you had AC/DC, maybe us, a few others. Motown, all that great music. From 1988, until today, that’s more than 30 years. Tell me who the new Beatles is. You can’t. There are popular bands. BTS is very popular. All kinds of bands are very popular. That doesn’t mean iconic and legacy and for all-time. It’s different.”

Asked if he thinks any of today’s acts will be considered iconic in another 30 years, Simmons replied: “I doubt it. Because the singularity that was The Beatles is a band that wrote their own songs, arranged it themselves, produced it themselves, mostly played all their own instruments. No backing tracks. No digital enhancement. No vocal correctness. Yeah, not gonna happen again.

Kiss. CREDIT: Kevin Winter/Getty Images

“You know, the modern artists rely so much on technology. You may not be able to recognise the artist if they record themselves singing in the shower. You’d be shocked. And none of the rappers play instruments. Don’t write songs. They write words. But chords, melodies, harmonies and stuff. It doesn’t mean that rap isn’t important. It’s very important. But it ain’t The Beatles.”

Elsewhere in the interview Simmons spoke about some of his favourite contemporary pop artists, listing the likes of Billie Eilish and Lady Gaga.


“I think Billie Eilish is fantastic,” he said. “She’s interesting because she and her brother actually write the material and are unique to themselves. Lady Gaga is fantastic in the female category. She writes her own material, she can sing like nobody’s business. But she actually is a musician, writes her own songs, plays piano, she can actually do that.

“The rest of the world reacts to a lot of the pop divas, although mostly they don’t write their own songs and can’t play an instrument. And by the way, that’s okay, too. It doesn’t matter what you like. But it ain’t The Beatles.”

Last week, Simmons shared a photo of the band wearing face masks and urged their fans to do the same.

Simmons posted the picture of the band without their conventional face paint while travelling to their forthcoming New Year’s Eve show in Dubai.

“Wear your masks. Even if it’s only as a courtesy. If you yawn, or sneeze, you don’t think twice about covering your mouth. Do the rest of us a favour! Mask Up! … Besides, it looks cool,” he wrote.

Meanwhile, Kiss have teamed up with Dead Sled Coffee to launch their own coffee flavour, set to arrive this year.

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