Gene Simmons: Rock Is Dead, Rap Is Dying, Pop Is Karaoke, EDM Is All Light Shows
"I am looking forward to the death of rap."
Kiss's stone cold guitar rock classic Destroyer turned 40 this week, and to commemorate the anniversary, Rolling Stone spoke to the band and complied an oral history of the album. Today the mag compiled the juicier tidbits from the Gene Simmons interview that didn't make the oral history. Never one to hold his tongue, Simmons proceeded to sound off on what irks him about modern music, which is, quite frankly, everything.
On the current state of rock: "As far as I'm concerned, rock is dead. There ain't no new bands. Foo Fighters, I love 'em, but they're a 20-year-old band. These are long-in-the-tooth bands: Nirvana, Pearl Jam. They're old bands." (Does he know that Kurt is no longer with us?)
On the future of hip-hop: "Rap will die. Next year, 10 years from now, at some point, and then something else will come along. And all that is good and healthy." He can't wait, either: "I am looking forward to the death of rap. I'm looking forward to music coming back to lyrics and melody, instead of just talking. A song, as far as I'm concerned, is by definition lyric and melody… or just melody."
On modern pop and R&B: "My thing about the disco divas who get up onstage—and I love Jennifer Lopez and Ciara and Shakira and Madonna and all the girls with names that end in 'a,' they're very talented in their own way—but it's dishonest. They have a backing track. It's really a karaoke bar. Karaoke is more honest, because you know it's karaoke."
On dance music: "EDM is honest. EDM says, 'Here's a guy onstage who does fuck-all, he does nothing. He presses a button and puts his hands up in the air. He doesn't pretend to be lip-syncing to a track.' He has a light show and it's an honest relationship."
To review, singing while playing live instruments is the purest form of musical expression, but if you can't do both, don't bother? Simmons also has some curious views on the music of his own generation. Asked about Kiss's come up in early 70s New York City, he snarks the entire scene his band came out of: "other than Kiss, which plays stadiums around the world, there's no other New York band that was ever able to do that," he says. "New York, for all its cultural impact, hardly produced any rock bands at all. There's the Ramones and the Dolls, and that's kind of it. Ramones never had a gold album until some of them died."