Kiss' Gene Simmons was asked to clarify his 'rock is dead' statement again and you'll never guess his answer

Kiss' Gene Simmons
(Image credit: Adrián Monroy/Medios y Media/Getty Images)

Kiss' Gene Simmons has once again clarified his opinions on the state of the rock scene in a brief interview at an airport.

When spotted by celebrity gossip tabloid X17 Online checking onto a flight alongside fellow Kiss founder Paul Stanley before heading to Europe for their summer 2022 tour, the bassist was asked to shed light on his previous "rock is dead" comments, first made in 2014.

"Rock is dead," he insists once more. "Because as soon as fans were able to download and fileshare for free, new bands didn't have a chance to make a living. And that breaks my heart, because there's so many great talented young musicians and writers who are never gonna get the chance that I got. Anything that is free or a penny when it should cost a dollar or more soon is worthless.

"From 1958 until 1988, we had Elvis [Presley], The Beatles, all the great blues men, Madonna; in disco, you had the great Motown stuff which is unequalled; you had heavy bands — Metallica and Iron Maiden and all that stuff — U2, Prince, David Bowie, all that," he continued. "From 1988 until today is more than 30 years. Who are the new Beatles? Who are they?"

Leaving aside the fact that there hasn't been a new Beatles since, er, The Beatles, Simmons went on to speak of the pressures modern musicians face in earning a living off their music, stating: "Right around '88, Napster and all the rest of that showed people how to get music for nothing and you took away the value.

"Then musicians can't earn a living. Not the old ones who are big and fat and rich. I understand. But the baby bands, it breaks my heart. They're not gonna get the chance. Rock is dead."

When asked if this change has affected Kiss' royalties, he answers: "No. We make more than ever before. So it's not about me. It's about the baby bands."

Simmons' declarations of rock's apparent demise have been repeated on numerous occasions. First made in 2014, the bass player later re-established the sentiment to US Weekly and Metal Hammer, among many others. When speaking to the latter publication earlier this year, Simmons said; "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."

Recently, Simmons confirmed that when Kiss' current farewell tour comes to an end, the band will be retiring out of "self-respect" and "love" for their fans, over concerns that their increasing age will mean that they'll be no longer able to perform to an acceptable standard. 

You can read the full retirement story and more in the new issue of Classic Rock, out now, which features Kiss as cover stars. The issue features interviews with Paul, Gene, Eric and Tommy on almost 50 years of Kiss-story, ahead of what will be their final UK show, at Download.

Also in this issue: Robin Trower, Graham Nash, Church Of The Cosmic Skull, The Sheepdogs, Jimi Hendrix, Steve Jones, Simon McBride, Ghost, and your ultimate guide to the summer of rock.

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.