Anthrax guitarist Scott Ian agrees with Gene Simmons that illegal downloading is responsible for the music industry’s inability to support the development of new artists.
Simmons stated that rock is “dead” in a September interview with Esquire magazine, and the headlines generated by that statement overshadowed the specifics of his argument that the industry no longer has the ability to support new artists who need time and space to develop.
The Anthrax guitarist now tells Ultimate Classic Rock: “There’s a lot right in what Gene’s saying. I disagree in the fact that I don’t believe rock is actually dead. What he’s saying about the industry will not allow for the next Led Zeppelin and things like that, I do agree with that, to an extent, because the industry is not what it was.”
“There is no industry anymore that signs bands to develop them over a course of five records, like it was in the sixties, seventies and eighties, and then that all went away in the nineties. So for a band these days to get to make five albums until they… Bands don’t sell records anymore, so the whole idea of that even is out the window; just the whole model has changed and it has to change, because people steal music now.”
He continues: “If people still bought records, then maybe there would be labels that would be willing to spend the money to develop a band and allow a band or an artist to make five albums until they were selling gold, but it just doesn’t exist anymore. And until people stop stealing music, it will never exist.”
“So Gene definitely hits the nail on the head — some of the stuff he’s talking about. But I also think that as long as there’s a band out there playing music from their gut, rock will never die. Not everybody on the planet wants what the media force-feeds them, not everybody cares about the next sixteen-year-old pop sensation. That’s for the girls who actually buy music; that’s what’s scary.”
Ian does see the difference between the worlds of pop and rock.
He says: “For the newer bands, I understand why it’s next to impossible these days to break through and get someone to give a shit; I see how that could be harder than ever.”
The group are nominated for a 2015 Grammy Award for their contribution to the Ronnie James Dio tribute album, This Is Your Life, and have just issued a limited-edition bourbon whiskey named after one of their hit songs.