Kiss bassist Gene Simmons has said that artists like Kurt Cobain and Amy Winehouse, who only released a handful of albums, cannot be seen as music icons.
Simmons was speaking about the current state of the music industry, in an interview where he discussed the importance of major record labels in supporting artists to have long-term careers.
“The internet’s a fascinating experiment, but ultimately it’s a very sad state of affairs for the new bands,” he told Team Rock Radio. “There won’t be another Beatles or another Prince or another Kiss because there isn’t that support system, there’s no record companies because kids have decided they can download and fileshare and bypass paying the artists what they rightfully should be getting.”
Simmons then compared the music industry between 1958 and 1983 with post-1984 era, naming artists of each time that can be considered as definite music icons. “Let me see – Elvis Presley, The Beatles, Rolling Stones, Jimi Hendrix, The Who and just on and on. And through the ’70s – Aerosmith, Kiss, Led Zeppelin. Now from 1984 until today, name one superstar that’s bigger than their music, and not just somebody that’s recorded one or two records, but another Queen or another AC/DC? None, you can’t name one.”
He then added: “Kurt Cobain – no, that’s one or two records, that’s not enough. Amy Winehouse – that’s one or two records, that’s not enough. What, just ’cause you died that makes you an icon? No, no.”
Simmons then concluded, saying the many bands are currently adopting the “Radiohead model” where fans pay whatever they want for an album. “But it doesn’t work, doesn’t it?” he said.