Aerosmith's Joe Perry says rock isn't dead, credits fans for keeping it alive

Joe Perry of Aerosmith
(Image credit: Kevin Winter/Getty Images for The Recording Academy)

Is rock dead? Is rock alive and kicking? Is rock alive but in some new, mutated form?  These are the questions that have been thrown around endlessly over recent years, all thanks to Kiss' Gene Simmons' comment in 2014, which claimed that the genre was in fact deceased (a comment he continues to stand by).

Ever since the bassist's statement, fans and musicians alike have been weighing in on the debate, with no end in sight as people are still apparently up in arms over the issue of rock's current standing. Thankfully, Aerosmith's Joe Perry is in disagreement with Simmons, and doesn't think the genre has reached its end.

But, as he explains, it's not entirely the success of individual rockstars that have been keeping rock's flame alight - it's really all down to the loyalty of the fans.

When asked whether he thinks rock is dead, he tells Andrew Daly of VWMusic: "No, not at all… There are some great rock 'n' roll bands carrying the flag too, and one example is Brad's [Whitford, Aerosmith, guitarist] son Graham, who plays with Tyler Bryant & The Shakedown.

"I think they're like kicking ass, and the thing is, there's a lot of guys who want to get out there and play rock 'n' roll guitar and play that kind of music. The issue is that there aren't enough fans to hear it, so it's only going to go so far, but there are still people there for them to build a following.

"These new bands, they still headline places, they open up for other bands, and it's the same thing. It's not like they're at the top of the Billboard charts or like the top of the pop charts, but that's kind of how it was in the late '60s, too. All the rock 'n' roll that I liked, they didn't even have a place at the Grammys for it, and there was nothing overly commercial about it."

Speaking of who or what he thinks is responsible for rock's longevity, he continues, "I mean, I saw The Who in a small club playing Tommy. It was only a club, but the place was packed, and it was still about the fans there who wanted to hear it. It's the same now; those fans are still there, and that's what's really keeping it alive.

Recently, Gene Simmons reaffirmed his opinions in an interview with Metal Hammer, and they're in drastic contrast to Perry's remark. He stated: "I stand by my words: rock is dead. The people that killed it are fans.

"Fans killed the thing they loved by downloading and file sharing for free. How do you expect somebody who loves the guitar to come into this creative process? You’ve got to invent yourself. And so rock is dead."

Liz Scarlett

Liz works on keeping the Louder sites up to date with the latest news from the world of rock and metal. Prior to joining Louder as a full time staff writer, she completed a Diploma with the National Council for the Training of Journalists and received a First Class Honours Degree in Popular Music Journalism. She enjoys writing about anything from neo-glam rock to stoner, doom and progressive metal, and loves celebrating women in music.