I read an article this week in which Gene Simmons, frontman of the rock group KISS, also known for his reality TV shows and now owner of an arena football team with bandmate Paul Stanley, declared rock and roll dead.
“The death of rock was not a natural death. Rock did not die of old age. It was murdered,” he said.
He blamed the death of rock music, in his opinion, on lack of industry support, music piracy and a lack of appreciation for the “creators.”
My feelings about rock are similar. I think the internet has, as with other industries (newspapers included), done a great deal of damage to music in general.
I think the industry has put a lot of new, young talent out there and have used them up quickly to make a few bucks. These artists are never allowed to grow, they are just spoiled and pampered until they have hit the end of their run and they are discarded. In a disposable society, even people have become disposable.
Without encouraging young artists to grow musically, they never reach their full potential and because of this rock music has slipped to a sub-genre, in my opinion.
The music world is dominated by pop, hip hop and rap. Heck, even country music gets better play than rock and roll in many cases. There are songs and artists from these other genres I enjoy, but rock has been the mainstay of my musical taste for many years.
There are good rock music performers out there, but much of today’s rock has been infiltrated by whiny men lamenting over some lost love or how they want a woman to notice them.
As much as I agree with Gene Simmons, I’m also not sure he is in a position to make such a declaration. Nor am I, for that matter. To me, as a rock fan, I find myself less and less open to new music as I cling to the life raft of rock and roll. I have even taken some comfort in country (gasp!) music which has some underlying rock and roll appeal these days.
KISS was a great band, known for its flashy and outrageous costumes, and black and white makeup. And Gene may have great talent, but he also has a knack for inserting his giant platform shoes in his mouth.
In the 1970s KISS was awesome. They were scary looking enough to shock parents and yet produced some of the greatest music of the era. There are still great bands out there, some old and some new. But in general the state of rock music is worrisome.
Alternative rock and the aforementioned genres have taken a big piece of the pie where rock and roll once ruled. Still I see glimmers of hope once in a while.
This summer I came across a Genesee County band made up of teenagers who call themselves Overdrive. They are the real deal and I think if they stick with it, they could aspire to be great rock musicians someday.
So maybe rock is dead, or maybe it’s just in its slumber waiting to awaken and rise once more. Time will tell. firstname.lastname@example.org