Recently world renowned rock and roll legend and former KISS bassist Gene Simmons stated and explore the idea that rock and roll is dead. When asked, “You once said the music business isn’t dying — it’s dead. What would you say to young musicians and songwriters today trying to navigate this new terrain?” Gene replied, “Don’t quit your day job is a good piece of advice.”
He elaborated on the subject by bringing up how well more recent music has done in comparison to rock music. Gene contunued, “From ’84 until today, name some. Just give me a few artist that, even after their passing, are or will be inescapable.” To which I would reply with bands like Tool, Radiohead, Primus, Dream Theater, Pearl Jam, Nine Inch Nails, Phish, and Dave Mathews Band. However, Gene’s point does not escape me. I get it, rock is not mainstream anymore. It hasn’t been for a very long time. Was it ever meant to be though? For a short time sure, however, the general population doesn’t have a very long attention span does it?
For me rock and roll has always represented a counter culture of the sort that does not seek the approval of the masses. I honestly don’t like many of the bands he mentioned as much as I do the one’s I mentioned. I realize those names are inescapable by the numbers he’s bringing up. But to me, that doesn’t matter. There are bands waiting to be heard out there. Bands waiting for people to identify with them, cheer for them in stadiums, and remember them for the rest of their lives.
Gene has this to say about the internet and file sharing, “The masses do not recognize file-sharing and downloading as stealing because there’s a copy left behind for you — it’s not that copy that’s the problem, it’s the other one that someone received but didn’t pay for. The problem is that nobody will pay you for the 10,000 hours you put in to create what you created. I can only imagine the frustration of all that work, and having no one value it enough to pay you for it.”
To which my reply is, Yes, certainly the industry is not what it used to be. However, it has allowed artist to further explore their hobbies and passion in music with much more freedom than before. I cannot count how many times I typed in “Progressive Rock” into Youtube and found bands I never would have heard of before and while I didn’t buy all the albums I heard I have bought quite a few and I really enjoy that. I feel that because I buy the bands I really enjoy and don’t share or listen to the bands I don’t like so much that I am helping the bands I do enjoy and feel that other bands that other people like are being supported as well. Perhaps not on the same level Gene Simmons is referring to which would also be really awesome to see by the way, please don’t misunderstand, I am not disagreeing with the sentiment Gene is bringing up.
My entire point is inspired by Gene’s concern for rock music in general. If you are going to share music from artist and help people find out about them the least you can do is buy a damn album from them. I often find myself buying entire discographies of the bands I really love. I believe that some how rock and roll can revive itself and in some ways I feel it already has.
Those are just feelings though and I do believe Gene when he states his concerns. It’s just I can’t let my favorite music die silently. Please support the bands you love and support the artistry and hard work you find out there that inspires you to get through your day. There is plenty of good music out there, I just hope who ever reads this feels my sentiment and does so today if possible.
Now get out there and listen to some damn good rockin music folks. And if you are a musician, well, you know what you got to do. Keep on rockin baby!