KISS’ Gene Simmons: ‘I Blame the Fans’ for Lack of Rock Stars
KISS‘ Gene Simmons stirred up plenty of debate over his “Rock is finally dead” comment, but perhaps lost by some in the context of his overall point was that the bassist was discussing the downfall of the music industry structure and how it’s hurting future generations of musicians. The rocker circled back to the topic during a recent interview with Planet Rock that can be heard here.
When asked if today’s acts give up too easily on the idea of being “rock stars,” Simmons brought the conversation back to the point of the current industry construct and how it plays into the downfall of the “rock star.”
He explained, “I blame … This is gonna break your hearts … It certainly breaks mine. I blame the fans. Because the fans have decided en masse– in other words, the masses have decided — that they should get free music, download, file share … And you’re not hurting KISS; we’ve been around a long time and we make a good living. You’re killing the next Elvis and the Beatles and the next KISS and the next whoever, because you have to give your music away for free. And who did that? Big corporate entities? No, they didn’t do that. Actually, big corporate entities — record companies — gave bands money that they never had to pay back — ever! If the band failed and the records were a complete disaster, the advance money was all [the band's]. What other business would give you that? If you go to a bank and they give you a million dollars, and your business goes under, they don’t care it failed; they want their money back.”
He continued, “Record companies were a gift from heaven. Yeah, they’re greedy, they’re this … but they wanna make money just like you do. But they gave you money — millions! And if it wasn’t for record companies, there’d be no Sex Pistols, there’d be no punk, there’d be no nothing. There would be punk, but it would be in a small club. It would never become huge.”
Finishing his thought, Simmons concluded, “It’s not the industry; it’s the fans … It’s disappointing, because they would prefer not to support a new band. Remember, it doesn’t affect [KISS]. It affects the next great band, who won’t have a chance. Why? Because the talent isn’t out there? It sure is. The fans killed it. They killed the infrastructure. Imagine England existing without the value of the pound, if things were free. You would have chaos.”
What do you think? Does Simmons have a point? Has the advent of downloading, file sharing and free music and the downfall of record companies essentially killed the idea of the “rock star”? Voice your opinions in the Comments below.