Gene Simmons has finally found an ally to back his claim that Rock Is Dead – in Anvil frontman Lips.
The Kiss bassist repeated his often-used comment on the music industry last year in an interview with Esquire magazine, suggesting that it is almost impossible for new artists to make a living from songwriting.
The headlines generated by 65-year-old Simmons’ soundbite created an uproar from several corners of the rock world – including Dee Snider, Slash and AC/DC, among others.
Anvil have been fighting the good fight in metal’s name since forming in Toronto in 1978. The band have released 15 albums through the years, and had their career re-energised following the success of the 2008 documentary Anvil! The Story Of Anvil, which recounted their struggles in the hard rock music industry.
Frontman Steve ‘Lips’ Kudlow tells Horns Up Rocks that he’s unsure how he would launch Anvil as a new band today given the current state of the rock industry.
He says: “I don’t know how you make it. Maybe Gene Simmons is right. Maybe rock is dead. I don’t know. Certainly the business of rock is dead. But I really don’t know you would tackle getting known in today’s day and age. I just don’t know.
“I don’t think there’s anything that can be done differently. You know, there is no music industry as such. Starting out today, you might as well not bother. There’s no industry. How can you start? I don’t even know. I wouldn’t even know how to begin tackling that problem today.
“I’m a very fortunate and lucky man that I’ve created a brand name back in the early 80s. That’s why I’m able to exist today and people know who I am. But if I had to start again today all over without anybody knowing? Forget it. How do you do it? How do you do it? Someone tell me. I don’t know. I have no idea, no clue.”
Lips adds that young bands often have to work for free in the hope of getting noticed – a situation he says he has witnessed first hand with acts that have supported Anvil.
He says: “There are newer bands that are hungry enough to keep it going, like the half a dozen bands that are opening for us tonight. Probably none of them are getting paid. That’s what you have to do. You have to get seen, and hopefully somebody likes you enough to buy your t-shirt to help you pay for your recordings.
“There’s no radio play for the music that we do, there’s no record companies to put ads in magazines, there’s no infrastructure.”
Anvil parted ways with bassist Sal Italiano last year and brought in road crew member Chris Robertson as his replacement.
The band have written the follow-up to 2013’s Hope In Hell but won’t be able to record it until autumn after touring extensively in 2015 – including a recent performance on the 70,000 Tons Of Metal cruise.