The KISS frontman famously said “rock is dead” and has recently doubled down on the assertion with new clarifications. Gene Simmons originally told Esquire in 2014: “Once you had a record company on your side, they would fund you, and that also meant when you toured they would give you tour support. … There are still record companies, and it does apply to pop, rap, and country to an extent. But for performers who are also songwriters — the creators — for rock music, for soul, for the blues — it’s finally dead.”
Now in a new interview with Consequence of Sound, Gene has pointed out how he thinks rock died in 1988 and since then there’s been no one with the same kind of talent or legacy as Elvis Presley, The Beatles and the Baby Boomer bands and artists they directly influenced.
The 71-year-old said: “The point is, yeah, rock is dead because if we play the game from 1958 until 1988, which is 30 years, you had Elvis, The Beatles, The Stones, Pink Floyd, and on and on and on
“And you can go to the heavy part of it, which is Metallica, Maiden, if you want to put KISS in there, that’s fine. AC/DC, on and on and on.
“Even U2, Prince, Bowie, Eagles. And then you get to disco stuff, and Madonna, and that stuff, and Motown, of course. And then from 1988 until today, who’s the new Beatles?”
To be fair, Gene pointed out the talent of some bands since 1988, but kept saying “don’t kid yourself” about their lasting impact.
The KISS star continued: “I’ve heard a reaction of Foo Fighters, one of my favourite bands, but you’re kidding yourself.
“There’s also the boy bands: NSYNC, One Direction, BTS, and [sarcastically] XYZ, PTA, and good for them that they’ve got success. Don’t kid yourself.
“As soon as those girls are gonna grow a little bit older, that’s going to go away. It’s like sugar: you taste it, it gives you that little energy boost, and then it’s gone forever and you don’t care.”
But, to be fair, Elvis was one man and The Beatles were four who were heavily influenced by him.
The five met only once on August 27, 1965, when The King invited the Fab Four to his Perugia Way home in Bel Air, Los Angeles.
Last year, Sir Paul McCartney described what it was like to meet the star, who died in 1977 at just 42.
Appearing on The Adam Buxton podcast, the 78-year-old was asked who the coolest person he’s ever met was.
At first, Sir Paul said: “My wife, I hope she’s going to listen to this. She is very cool!”
Before remembering: “I have met Elvis Presley, who was darn cool. This was pre-Las Vegas and the rhinestone suits. This was when he was in Beverly Hills, so he was really cool!”
Famously, The Beatles were totally in awe of The King when they met him, so Elvis had had to break the ice by saying he’d have to go to bed if they just said staring at him.
In the end, The Beatles and Elvis ended up playing pool together and having a jam session. Just imagine witnessing that!