Kiss’ Gene Simmons on why he thinks rock is dead: “The business model doesn’t work”

"Rock is dead, you bet your ass it is, because the business model just doesn’t work"

KISS frontman Gene Simmons has clarified his recent comments on why he believes that rock is dead.

Simmons initially courted controversy with similar comments in 2014, before doubling down on the remarks in a new interview which arrived last month.

He claimed that new bands haven’t taken the time to create “glamour, excitement and epic stuff” and claimed that they lacked the ability to develop a legacy and lasting impact.


Speaking on the subject once more, Simmons explained to Consequence how modern bands had failed to live up to the game-changing impact of The Beatles in the 1960s.

“The point is, yeah, rock is dead because if we play the game from 1958 until 1988, which is 30 years, you had Elvis, The Beatles, The Stones, Pink Floyd, and on and on and on,” Simmons said.

“And you can go to the heavy part of it, which is Metallica, Maiden, if you want to put KISS in there, that’s fine. AC/DC, on and on and on. Even U2, Prince, Bowie, Eagles. And then you get to disco stuff, and Madonna, and that stuff, and Motown, of course. And then from 1988 until today, who’s the new Beatles?”

Simmons’ latest comments come after he was criticised by Alice Cooper, who recently told NME  that a new generation of rock stars are currently preparing for greatness in their own homes.

Gene Simmons of Kiss
Gene Simmons of Kiss. CREDIT: Kevin Mazur/Getty Images

While the Kiss singer conceded that boy bands such as One Direction and BTS have achieved huge success, he likened their impact to sugar – claiming that “it gives you that little energy boost, and then it’s gone forever and you don’t care”.


Simmons then criticised the modern music business model and said that it had prohibited rock bands from scoring modern success.

“The reason for that is not because there’s a lack of talent, but because young folks, that kid living in his mom’s basement, decided one day that he didn’t want to pay for music,” he said.

He wanted to download and file share. And that’s what killed the chances for the next generation of great bands. The fact that the music was for free. So nowadays new bands don’t have a chance.”

Simmons added: “It’s like flowers — people water them and make sure there’s enough sun and all that stuff. And as soon as you take your eyes off and you don’t water the flowers, they will die. And people wonder why there aren’t beautiful flowers. Well, because you don’t water them.

“You get what you pay for. So nowadays, if you download a song, the artist will get 1/100th of one cent. Even Spotify … the artist sees very little of that. So you get what you pay for.”

He concluded: “‘Rock is dead’ — you bet your ass it is — not because the talent isn’t there, but because the business model just doesn’t work.

“And so that leaves live performances. And I really hope once this vaccine takes hold — you better get shot up twice — that people go out to the local clubs and see all the new bands and support new bands. Like a baby that’s on the floor, go up there, pick that baby up and coddle it, give it love, because those new bands need your love.”