“I stand by my words: rock is dead. The people that killed it are fans.” This is what Gene Simmons said in an interview with Metal Hammer published earlier this year. For a rock musician, Mr. Simmons seems to be very adamant about this. But, of course, one could understand where he’s coming from. After all, rock music isn’t exactly the most trendy thing at the moment. It’s not like the masses of teenagers and young adults are obsessed with it.
But just because something’s far less popular than it used to be, it doesn’t mean that it’s “dead.” In a recent interview with LA Weekly, Alice Cooper weighed in on Kiss bassist’s statement, explaining why he believes that the genre is alive and well. On the other hand, his explanation also shows that Cooper is aware of Gene Simmons’ position.
The whole thing started when Cooper was asked about his thoughts on rock music not taking the high positions in the charts, to which he replied:
“Well, you‘ve got your certain bands – you know, Foo Fighters still going. Green Day, things like that. I kind of look at this a little bit differently.“
“There was a time when we first started playing, that rock bands were outlaws. We were on the outside looking into the party and we weren’t invited to the party. It was more pop music and dance music and disco.“
“I think we’re back to that point. I think it’s kind of healthy that rock bands now are not number one, number two or number three. We’re back to the point of being rebels again.”
Further pressed on the issue, Alice Cooper was asked whether not being in the mainstream gives more artistic freedom, to which he replied:
“Gene Simmons said rock is dead but I think he was talking financially. I think there are kids in garages right now learning Guns N’ Roses, learning Aerosmith, learning Alice, learning Ozzy…
“Young 16-year-old kids rocking, just rocking. That’s healthy. That’s really healthy. I don’t think rock is ever gonna die.“
“When you talk about hard rock, like the Stones, The Who, and all that, that’s the only music that’s lasted. Grunge was here for a while.”
“And punk was here for a while. Emo was here and all this, but hard rock bands just kept going. So if you’re in a hard rock band, you can go as long as you want to go.”
Photo: Harald Bischoff (Gene Simmons 7732), Ralph Arvesen (Alice Cooper 2015 (cropped))