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Why Is Rock Dead?

Updated on February 9, 2015


Gene Simmons recently stated that Rock is dead, that it was murdered. Other musicians like Dee Snyder, Rob Halford, Dave Grohl, Slash, Joe Perry, Yngwie Malmsteen, Scott Ian and band mate Paul Stanley have all responded with their views on the matter. While rock n roll and heavy metal is indeed alive and well with countless bands springing up all over the world, Simmons point about the support system that once existed in the form of the record companies has indeed been murdered. The question is, can young bands reach the same level of success that bands from the past have done?

During an interview with Esquire Gene Simmons stated "The death of rock was not a natural death. Rock did not die of old age. It was murdered.” Simmons believes that no one values music "enough to pay you for it" anymore. Personally, I can’t fault him on that claim.

"It's very sad for new bands. My heart goes out to them. They just don't have a chance. If you play guitar, it's almost impossible. You're better off not even learning how to play guitar or write songs, and just singing in the shower and auditioning for The X Factor. And I'm not slamming The X Factor, or pop singers. But where's the next Bob Dylan? Where's the next Beatles? Where are the songwriters? Where are the creators? Many of them now have to work behind the scenes, to prop up pop acts and write their stuff for them.

"The craft is gone, and that is what technology, in part, has brought us. Where is the next Dark Side of the Moon? Now that the record industry barely exists, they wouldn't have a chance to make something like that. There is a reason that, along with the usual top-40 juggernauts, some of the biggest touring bands are half old people, like me."

Not long after, Simmons added more to his claims on KSHB's Kansas City Live.

"I'm gonna ask you a question, and you decide, okay? From 1958 until 1988, it's 30 years, name hundreds and hundreds of classic rock acts. Okay, I've got Elvis Presley, The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, Jimi Hendrix, Led Zeppelin… on and on and on. Even Motown… Madonna, Prince, Michael Jackson. From 1988 until today, just give me five. You can't…”

I’ve been asking myself this question for years. Where are all the new stadium rock bands that are going to take over from Ac/Dc, The Rolling Stone, Aerosmith, Metallica, when they all decide to call it a day?

You just need to check through the history of rock n roll to see that each decade has its own bunch of bands that go on to define the era. These iconic bands are now few and far between.

While rock n roll in its very essence has been about rebellion, etc, what all successful bands had in common is professionalism. They take their band seriously, their band is their small business, and like it or not music has always been a business.

While many big name bands may still be able to sell albums and to pull a crowd, and many start out bands can pull a crowd to the local pub, the classic musicians won’t live forever and what will it take for modern musicians, in this self-promoting of self-produced albums, to take things to the next level?

Where are the bands that become a household name, with multiple members who become stars in their own right? It’s not just in rock n roll, musicians like Ray Charles and Elton John seem to be a thing of the past. Charismatic front men like Freddie Mercury and Roger Daltry have been replaced with the likes of Justin Beiber. (Are you kidding me?) Is society just not producing these types of people, or has the mainstream industry been dishing out so much auto-tuned product that young audiences just don’t know what real singing is anymore?

Legends like George Harrison, James Brown, Johnny Cash and John Lee Hooker have all passed on in the past decade, where are the new artist in the same vain? I'm sure they're out there, but as Gene said, there's no support system for them anymore, short of going on a reality TV contest and how much substance do these shows really have?

There hasn't been a new scene like Mod, Rockers, Punk, Disco, NWOBHM, New Wave, Hair Metal, Grunge, Nu Metal, Emo, whatever, and why not? There are countless bands, with amazing talent, springing up all over the world, but none seem to be able to take it to the next level. There's a new wave of Glam / sleaze bands in Sweden, there are a bunch of new hard rock bands in Australia, but very few people know these bands out of the local scene.

Is it even necessary to take your band to the next level? If you’re willing to work for it, you can have a successful career playing gigs but will that be enough to retire on? A young rocker isn’t going to be thinking about their retirement or their pension, but for as many bands who are starting out, there’s almost the same amount who are breaking up. With every local scene being able to self-network within, why would anyone within this scene be interested in the scene on the other side of the world?

Do bands even allowed to take the next step anymore? Metallica have been accused of selling out for decades now, even after their second album. There will always be some who believe that rock n roll and heavy metal should remain in the underground and that bands shouldn’t make any money from their efforts and that the music is only for a select few, and should be free, blah, blah, blah. The ‘metal elite’ hate it when ‘their’ band take things to the next level and achieve some mainstream success and god forbid make some money. What is so band about that? If you’re talented enough to be able to improve as a musician and grow your band and you don’t take this step then you’re crazy. Will this change in direction take away from the album that already exist? Do you really want part 2, 3 ,4 etc. Some bands get criticized for doing the same thing over and over anyway.

Everyone seems to be a critic these days, and an expert in what a band show be doing. The dedication between fans and the bands they love have sadly dwindled in the past years. It used to be a sign of pride to wear your bands merchandise, buy their albums and see their shows. Now through social media there are countless uneducated posts about rock stars actions, and the cost of albums, shows, etc.

Do you think the studio system was better for musicians?

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The Evil Record Companies

I guess it’s cool to dwell on all the horror stories of bands being ripped off, but the flip side of this is the amount of bands who got their albums into record stores, and therefore into the line of site of the record buying public. A lot of music fans are happy with the demise of the record companies. OK. You got what you wanted. Now what? Do you care enough about music to support the bands you love? Are you going to pay for their music? Are you going to buy a concert ticket? Cause ‘that’s where the bands make their money’. Let’s not forget it cost money to put on a show. Travel expenses, freight for equipment, crew, roadies, accommodation, catering, and of course – profit. Why would you do it for free? And now, since the record company system is gone, bands need to self-finance their new albums, so where does this money come from?

Production Cost / Marketing

Twisted Sister front man, Dee Snyder claims that it was greed that killed the business of music. That downloading has given the power back to the people. He stated that when CD's first came on the market the extra cost was to cover the new technologies put in place to manufacture CD's, and that now it only cost $1 to make a CD. This may be the case, but how much does it cost to produce an album? - Studio time, engineers, marketing, artwork, etc. This cost money. Take away the studio system and bands have to resort to crowd funding sites like Pledge Music to help finance their albums. Record companies may have been the 'evil' money makers, but it makes you wonder how any musician ever made any money from their music if the record companies were all about ripping people off.

How many record companies took a chance on an unknown band - The Beatles, Guns N Roses, and countless others? And once they were signed, no radio station or TV show wanted to play Guns N Roses, the record company stuck to their investment and continued to promote the band.

They had their guaranteed sellers, so they could afford to take a risk at times. Without people buying albums, they aren't going to take that chance and will resort to marketing crap to pre-teens like One Direction. It's a business like any other, if their isn't money going in there wont be money going out. You can be as 'cool' and 'rock n roll' as you want to be, but your band is your small business - your brand. Accept it. Music is a business.

Illegal Downloading

Petrol / Gas is overpriced, yet no one will take that for free, yet people seem happy to rip of the bands and artist they claim to love. Whatever industry you work in, whatever goods, service or labor you provide you expect to be paid for it. If you’re in a business you expect to make a profit. Music, whatever genre, is a business.


The average young kid just getting into music isn’t going to know the history of rock n roll, unless he’s lucky to have parents with an awesome record collection. You can search YouTube, Wikipedia, Facebook fan pages, etc, but unless you know what you’re after you’re not going to find it. And let’s face it, while we discovered songs we liked by listening to the radio and watching music video shows or a recommendations from friends, how many of us also checked out a band cause the CD / Record was displayed next to a band we already like?

You no longer need to wait for anything. The anticipation of a release date doesn’t countdown for a new album like it once did, that has been sadly replaced by the camp out for the latest i Phones.

Does music mean as much to people as it once did -- Cultural relevance.

There was once a time when fans would worship the members of the bands they liked. Rock gods achieve mythical status and fans were the T shirts as their colours.

Back in the 50s it was the birth of the teenager. The industrial revolution had brought an end to the depression and many were no longer out of work, resulting in teenagers having not only unsupervised free time, but also a bit of an income of their own either from an allowance or from the odd job or two. It was a time of joy, freedom and rebellion.

The 60s brought more of a need for this rebellion as people started to question society’s leaders on their policies related to war and equality for all races. Music was the prefect platform for people to voice their views and for kids to freak their parents out.

The 70s was more violent and experimental than the 60s, the era of peace and love and given way to uncertainty. Rock bands began to achieve the icon status and arena rock developed from superstar bands.

The 80s was the MTV era. Where image was just as important as the music, and by the end of the decade perhaps more important. This was the era when the ‘style’ became important. Where T Shirts embroiled with band logos and images were an easy way to see who your heroes were. You could be the only kid in school who liked the bands you did, but you knew you weren’t alone. There were others out there who liked the same music you did. Kids would write their favorite band names on their school bags.

The 90s brought with it the back lash to all that was visual about the 80s, though the bands would still follow the same strategies the bands from the previous decade took, still marketed the T shirts and merchandise to promote the albums. The fans still needed the bands and the music to get them through the tough times.

The 2000s brought more aggressive feel to the music and many cross genres and introductions of technology. It was soon felt that just about everything had been done.

2010’s Countless young bands have decided there’s no need to reinvent the wheel. Just lean what their heroes were doing and put their own spin on it. The access to decades of music has inspired young bands to pick up instruments and play. Young kids have grown up with their parent’s music and it’s as much a part of them as could be.

With this multi-generational love for music, is the rebelliousness that once fueled the generation gap there at all? You can’t shock anyone in this world anymore, all you can do is learn to play the best you can, and I can see countless bands doing that. Perhaps there are too many bands and the reason why none can take it to the next level and become ‘the’ stadium rock band of the future is because no one can agree on a stand out.

Competition for attention

But do kids need music like they once did? Music as a support is a thing of the past. The kids who always felt alone in school can just find a chat room on the internet. There’s instant communication and fan pages for everything. We have easy access to any album, movie, TV show, not to mention video games, both from consoles and online. Everything political has been said and broken down. We have equal rights for all genders, races and sexual preferences, and if you do have something to complain about you don’t need to write a song about it, you can just have a rant on a YouTube video.


Every great front man has experienced some form of trauma or loss in early childhood. Bold statement I know, but many came from poverty, or lost a sibling or a parent, or were raised by an aunty or uncle. Some had unknown learning difficulties or ADHD that these days would be recognized early and treated. In times past kids with these afflictions would just be labelled problem child and sent out of class. People are a product of their environment and most kids these days experience very little hardship compared to what people did in times past. It decreases the level of appreciation you develop when you just have everything you want at the click of a button. Simple amenities like running water and heating, refrigeration and instant coffee are taken for granted. But can true art be made without experiencing the highs and lows of life, without real appreciation for what can be lost?

There are some musicians who are at such a level that you could say if they hadn’t died, not only would the popular music have been different, but perhaps the world in general. – John Lennon, Jimmy Hendrix, Elvis.

Is there anyone who has had such an impact of the world anymore? …

Freddie Mercury, John Lennon, Jimmy Hendrix, Elvis, Johnny Cash, Bon Scott, Bob Dylan, Sting, Billy Joel, Elton John, Lionel Ritchie, Kurt Cobain, Axl Rose … The list goes on and on, and everyone has their favorites. If I neglected to mention your favorite I apologies, the question is where are the future legends?

Self Promotion

Sure home recording and self-promoting has opened up a lot of new doors for bands, but a lot of musicians are just that - musicians. They don't know shit about management, promotion, finances, etc. Yeah, there are the horror stories about managers and record companies ripping off artist and bands, but just as many success stories. There's also the young kids who don't know anything about the history of rock n roll who aren't going to, or don't know where to start, doing the research and look for new bands and without albums in record stores or having some form of promotion that gets them into a young kids limited attention span then that kids just going to go with whatever crap is showed down his throat from the mainstream.

Crowd funding avenues have emerged in the past few years but how sustainable is this venture? Fans may be willing to give support to a band to finance the recording of an album or two, or a tour, but how long will fans be willing to give out money… considering people don’t wont to pay for music anymore anyway.

Financial Times

There is an obvious concern about money these day, as there always has been. People may not be as carefree about spending as they once were. People have become slaves to recharging their devices cause the all-powerful Apple told them too (Interesting how everyone criticizes governments, but Apple can do no wrong) and being seen in public with a trendy late. If you think about how much money you dispose of through these things that aren’t necessary is $20 for an album really be too much to ask? Isn’t mobile phone credit overpriced? I don’t hear anyone complaining about that even though a land line is a lot cheaper.

Other Musician's Opinions

Foo Fighters – No

“Not so fast Mr God of Thunder”

Rob Halford - No

I’ve heard that statement a number of times through the decades that I’ve been in metal. I don’t think it is. I think it’s absolutely in incredible shape right now. [It's] never been stronger.” “I think we’re surrounded constantly by new talent and the enthusiasm that surges from new bands of all kinds keeps rock alive and strong and I think it’ll always be that way. So, for me, when I check out the metal sites that I do every day — I check out a dozen metal sites from different places around the world — I see the strength and the power there, and it’s tremendously exciting. It’s a different world now, for sure, in terms of the way the industry side of the business works. That is a whole new perspective compared to how it was even twenty years ago, with the advent of the Internet, which created an enormous amount of… a change of perspective. It affected everybody in a great way. So what I’m saying is rock isn’t dead. It’s alive, it’s thriving, and it’s exciting.”

Slash – the genre is still producing fantastic music.

“I don't think that the file-sharing necessarily is the catalyst to the plight that rock music is in.

"In terms of what popular music is all about in terms of record sales and radio and all of that, rock 'n' roll is probably at its lowest ebb of all time. But I know a lot of it does have to do with the fact that everybody is streaming online.

"But as far as the industry is concerned, rock 'n' roll is very much the ugly cousin. I sort of dig that because it provides a certain sense of rebellion and attitude that was missing. And all the popular so-called heavy metal bands that do make it to radio are so conformist that I can't stand them.

"All the real heavy metal bands, they've been doing the same thing for years and years on the same level, and they keeping putting out music and doing what they do. I like that.

"The quality of commercial music is in the toilet, but the people who do it for real and mean it are still fantastic. They just don't have the outlets they used to have."

Joe Perry – Yes.

"Well, I think (Gene’s) right in the sense that this whole era of rock and roll has dwindled down to literally a cottage industry.

"When we started, being in a rock band was one step away from being an outlaw. No one ever said, 'Oh good, you're playing in a rock band. How wonderful!' But music was so important to the fans, that was our marching music to the revolution. Then to see it growing from that to being the industry that it was in 'the golden years,' as I call them — the '80s and '90s. And then it started to slow down a little.

"But I think that that era of rock bands playing to sold-out arenas and selling millions of records in a pop — yeah, that part of it is dead. I think there are still rock and roll fans. And every time we do a tour, there's a brand-new batch of kids interested in seeing a band that plays all those songs that they grew up listening to.

"But as far as there being another BEATLES? That was Justin Bieber. But did he change the world? Did he change the way we looked at society? No, so that part of it is dead.

"I don't know exactly in what way Gene meant it, but I can certainly agree with him on certain things.

"Stuff moves along, technology moves along. I think there's still going to be an excitement created by seeing your favorite performer live. It might not be the kind of music that you and I like, or Gene likes, but it's still going to be there."

Michael Poulsen of VOLBEAT No, but I get the frustration.

"If you ask me, rock and roll and heavy metal music are the kind of genres that will always survive, because it's played by human beings.

"I believe Gene is just… he just sees the difference now.

"I don't really, honestly believe that he thinks rock and roll is dead. He's still doing really, really good, so I can't see how it can be dead.

"Rock and roll is not about money, rock and roll is a feeling, and since there have been living creatures, human beings on earth with feelings, [there's been] rock and roll.

"[Fans of rock music are like] one huge family. We share one thing and we take good care of it.

"You also have to understand that when Gene was starting his whole rock and roll thing, it was so much different. So I just guess sometimes you can wake up and ask yourself, 'So this is how it works today?'

"I totally get the frustration.

"I don't take his comment that serious. I don't think he really means it. He's just seeing a huge change with technology and the way people are recording and releasing albums, and stuff like that. Some of it I'm not a fan of either. I still miss the tape-trading days, and stuff like that. Jumping on the bike to get to the record store and find that vinyl that you wanna have, I miss that too and the simplicity of it all.

"But it is what it is today, and honestly, some of it I'm not a fan of. And the other way around, [social media is] a quick way of promoting yourself. So it is what it is."

Yngwie Malmsteen – Yes.

"Basically what happened with the Internet was that the money machine was eliminated. When the money machine was eliminated, all these people who had nothing to do with the music, and who used to make millions of dollars, started to do something else. Then everyone went, 'It’s fine, bands are still signed.'

"But it’s not. The reasons bands were signed and new acts could get a shot was because people thought they could make money from these bands. So the fans got to hear new music while the machine was going around investing a million and getting 10 million back. Now when there's no return, no new bands are being signed or exposed and no record labels are acting like they did before.

"People love heavy metal, people love rock and roll and people love guitar players – but there’s no money in it."

"The thing is, if you’re already established, if you’re Judas Priest or Yngwie Malmsteen, you’re fine. There’s no difference, you do what you’ve been doing and it’s the same. But if you’re a nobody and you want to sound really good but you want to start out, you can’t get a tour bus or an opening act slot because there’s no machine to invest in you.

"All the old acts, like Alice Cooper, The Scorpions, The Police and more, they’re bigger than ever. Do you remember the days when there was a new band every fucking week? It’s not happening! Back then, someone could sink a few hundred grand into a band and make millions.

"If you make a product that people steal and it costs money to make that product, you get no say in who’s going to put money into it."

Nikki Sixx - No

“Gene’s not the first to not have his finger on the pulse, and won’t be the last,” “Trust me, new blood is boiling in a garage near you just waiting to be the next biggest band in the world. We need them.”

Duff McKagan

"People did records then. It's, like, what's missing now. We'd think about, 'How does this record go from beginning to end?' And, 'How's the middle part?' And when you flip over the record, what to start the second side with. How do you end the first side? People don't even think in those terms anymore. 'Cause we grew up through records. [We would think] How is the first side gonna sound? How is it gonna begin and end?

"Anybody who is probably under 45 listening to this is probably going, 'What? What are they talking about?'

"But, yeah, if you made a record [back in those days], you would think about the order on each side, and how the first side would end, and how you would open up the second side of the record, and how you would end the whole record, and all of the body of work in between that. You know, does this whole thing tell a story?"

"People don't listen... I don't wanna generalize, but I have two teenage kids. They listen to a song by one [artist], a song by somebody else, a song [by somebody else]. And [I go], 'Don't you wanna listen to the rest of the record?' They look at me, like, 'What's up, antique? What are you talking about?'

"I'm not saying one [way] is better or worse, but we just grew up in a different time when we got to enjoy that whole [experience of listening to albums from beginning to end]… I got a [turntable] back at home now. I got one, like, a year and a half ago. And it's the best…. Going out and buying records and putting a record on, it's so killer."

Paul Stanley -- illegal music downloading is "morally" and "ethically wrong," and laments the fact that new artists "don't have a chance in hell" of "ever getting that pot of gold."

"We'd be fucked, (if Kiss started today) in plain English, because the music industry as it exists today is not even an industry, it's just shambles. And now artists are in a position to have to take what the public, so to speak, is willing to give them. In other words, with this onset of 'file sharing'… well, file sharing is just a fancy way of saying 'stealing.' You can't share what you don't own. The idea that somebody is taking songs or music off the Internet and taking it for free and calling it 'file sharing' is like me saying 'transportation borrowing,' and I steal your car."

He continued: "When people create art with the hope of being not only accepted but also being rewarded so they can pay their rent and send their kids to school and things like that, and that doesn't happen, that's what stealing does. But the person who steals on the Internet somehow doesn't feel the same as going into a store and stealing a cassette — which don't even exist anymore. But if you go into a store, if you go into a Barnes & Noble or some place and steal a book, that's blatantly, and very clearly, illegal. Downloading something somehow skirts the ethical and moral question of taking something that doesn't belong to you and not paying the person for it…

"The truth is what you don't own you can't take for free. You can, but it's wrong. It's morally wrong, it's ethically wrong, and it hurts people."

"Look, for me, it's a question more about morality in my case. It's not gonna change my life any, but it sure bothers me that somebody is taking what they don't own, and it bothers me that somebody who's trying to succeed now and starting off doesn't have a chance in hell, more than likely, of ever getting that pot of gold."

In relation to Metallica filing a lawsuit against Napster in 2000…

"Well, a lot of artists are wondering where their royalties are now. You can't put milk back in a bottle and, unfortunately, things transpired that there's really no getting around at this point. So was Lars out of line? No. He was just saying, 'I should be paid.' It has nothing to do with whether he's wealthy or not. Who are you to dictate that he has enough?"

"Why do I have to meet you in the middle? Why do I have to compromise because of circumstance? You should respect my integrity and you should respect my art instead of me going, 'All right, well, you got me. So I'll take 50 cents on the dollar instead of you giving me the dollar?' Wrong. It's wrong."

"Was it Thom Yorke and his band RADIOHEAD…. Didn't they do an album where they offered it on the Internet and said, 'Just pay what you would like for it'? Well, they got nothing. You know how much they got? Nothing. Look and see what it averaged per album. It was a total stupid move. And I don't think they'll do that again."

Alice In Chains drummer Sean Kinney.

"You have these Spotifys and Pandoras where you get access to almost every piece of recorded music on the planet. And then that's great for the consumer. But for every person who's ever recorded music, it's a fucking ripoff. Because, I think, I hear people are starting to post their [royalty] checks [online for having their music streamed]. You get 10 million plays of your song, and you get a check for 111 dollars."

Steel Panther Stix Zadinia and Lexxi Foxx.

Lexxi -- "How can you say that? I mean, I know — out of his mouth. But… That bums me out, because look at what we've done. And I think that it's really cool that we're bringing heavy metal… when I say 'back,' I mean, there was a period of time when it went away, right? And it's, like, everybody wants to still rock, 'cause we're, like, doing really, really, really bigger shows, bringing heavy metal back. So I think it's proof that people want metal."

Stix -- "I agree with you, Lexxi. It's testament to what's going on. We're with JUDAS PRIEST. We're playing a kick-ass rock and roll show. It ain't dead. You just need to know where to look for it. And all you've gotta do is look right down into Brooklyn, and you can see that tonight rock and roll is very much alive."

Rob Halford

"It is costing record companies and movie companies billions of dollars. At the end of the day, it is a moral issue. If you are real fan of the band, then you want to be associated with the original licensed material. You show your fanaticism by buying the CD and the official merchandise and going to the show. It is still prolific amongst the younger demographic. All of their mates have done it so they might as well do it as well… The choice is there for you to pay for it or not. The inclination is to say, 'Well, it is free.' It is wrong. It is confusing on an emotional level. Fans go, 'Oh, they have millions of dollars. They don't need more money.' That is not the point. You can't walk into a big grocery store and help yourself to everything and then walk out and not pay for it just because they have millions of dollars. There is a trickle-down effect; everyone gets affected by it."

Dave Lombardo.

"It's always been difficult. The music industry isn't an easy industry to be a part of; there's a lot of ups and downs. You've just gotta go with the changes. Let's say… Everyone complains about the record industry and royalties and all this, and Internet downloads… You know, you just have to find other clever ways to sell your music, or use your music, to benefit other things, other ventures — whether it be commercials, television [or] the theater."

On whether he saw the music industry's decline coming before it happened:

Lombardo: "No, I didn't. But you definitely noticed when it happened — in the years following the commencement of the Internet and downloads, and when Napster started, you started noticing a change in your royalty chekcs. So it wasn't something that you were able to foretell, it's just something that happened."

On whether METALLICA drummer Lars Ulrich was right to launch a lawsuit in 2000 against Napster to stop the file-sharing service from illegally distributing the band's music:

Lombardo: "Yeah, he was. He was smart. He tried to fight against it, and that was a brave thing Lars did, and his team. But, unfortunately, it's still going on, and there's nothing really at this point we can do about it."

On people's unwillingness to pay for recorded music when they can just get it for free:

Lombardo: "I see sometimes these little posts of these pictures on either Facebook or Twitter and it shows someone buying a coffee for five bucks and they can't pay for a download that's only 99 cents. So it sucks, but that's just the way it is; that's the way times are now. You really can't dwell on it. You just have to continue doing what you love and moving forward. But the days of, obviously, putting out one record and getting an advance of $500,000, I mean, that doesn't exist anymore. So there's nothing you can do. You just have to, like I said, move forward."

Brian Johnson

“With all respect to the lad, he’s terribly wrong”

“I don’t think anybody should have the nerve to stand here and say a certain genre of music has disappeared ‘because I say so.’

“I’m here to tell you, Gene – you’re wrong. I’m saying it’s alive and kicking. My name’s Brian. How do you do?”

“Kids have got a better chance to get their stuff out now with social media,” he says. “They can buy stuff to record with – we couldn’t buy a four-track recorder. We’d save up to go into a little studio in Newcastle and we’d have to physically take it to London. Now they can literally do it in their garage and put it out.

“But if you’re playing stuff and people are digging it, you’ve started your band. All you’ve got to do now is keep at it – and dodge the people who go ‘Get yourself a proper job.’ Take the path less traveled and take it on the chin.”

Corey Taylor

"This is the problem with technology, [which] is that there was a whole explanation behind what Gene was trying to say that has been filtered out, because people take that one-liner and they turn it into a microcosm, and that just kind of becomes whatever. With all due respect to Gene, I think the old way is dead, but the new way seems to have a foothold and it's allowing bands like ourselves and other bands around the world to use that technology as a new way to promote rock and to promote heavy metal. So I don't think rock is dead, I think the old guard is dead. And a lot of it is because the record label system couldn't figure out a way to live in a system with the technology the way it is. But in a lot of way it's good for the artist, because it puts the power back on them. And now you're seeing more and more independent artists really be able to use the Internet as a tool to get their music out everywhere, whereas before you had to wait for the record label to give you the money to do it, to put the money up for distribution and everything like that. So I don't think rock is dead. I think the old way is dead. We just had a No. 1 album, so if it's dead, then this zombie's swinging for people."

Frédéric Leclercq of Dragonforce

“I don't know… I mean, it's very hard. I was actually talking to a bunch of friends of mine from my hometown, and we were talking about the fact that there's tons of festivals nowadays. And that's gonna come to an end, like, maybe in 10 years, 20 years, the formula's gonna change. So I guess music is evoving all the time, and so is rock and roll. But I don't think it's dead. As long as people still enjoy going to gigs and seeing people playing their instruments, as long as people do enjoy that sort of vibe and atmosphere, it's gonna carry on. Maybe it's gonna change. Maybe in 20 years, rock and roll's gonna be done with… I don't know… cellos and trumpets, and there will be no drums, no bass, no distortion — who knows? — but I think that the energy of a bunch of dudes rehearsing in a garage and practicing all together and they wanna play and get drunk, that's gonna exist for quite a long time. So, no, it's not dead. I don't think it is.

Further words from musicians.

I've interviewed countless musicians, from both established and aspiring bands, young and old and most will say the same thing. Illegal downloading has hurt them personally.

Transcripts are available at the following websites.

In Closing

Chat sites, fan pages, You Tube and Facebook are a cesspool of so called ‘fans’ criticising any musician who dears to say you shouldn’t be getting his music for free. What is so wrong with expecting people to pay you for your work?

There’s no doubt rock n roll is still present in life, with lots of bands touring and fans flocking to live shows. People are still listening to music, but very few are paying for it. Downloading, either illegally or legally has started to give way to streaming.

2014 was close to being the first year since 1976 that no album achieved platinum status. It wasn’t until November that an album did and that was from Taylor Swift, who also pulled her music from Spotify.

What is most interesting about all these comments from bands, even the ones who say no rock is not dead, is none of them are started before a decade ago. Gene Simmons asked ‘Where are the new bands?’ The real question is ‘What is stopping the new bands from taking the next step to become the stadium bands of the future?’ The new bands are out there. What is the answer?

Do you think new bands have a chance of having a long term career like classic rock bands have done?

See results

Do you think bands will become as big, and house hold names, like classic rock bands from the past?

See results


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    • Anna Haven profile image

      Anna Haven 

      3 years ago from Scotland

      Really interesting and detailed. I am a lifelong rock/metal fan and things are very different now than when I was younger. There is definitely a huge gap in music nowadays and I would like to hope and dream that the younger generation will seek out that life giving music! Even if it is buried deep under a neglected industry. Great hub.


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