Unlike Gene Simmons, I will not be so arrogant as to think I can speak for all of Rock. Gene has pronounced it dead… murdered actually. Gene is not qualified to be rock’s coroner, especially after being its pimp for so many decades.
In a recent interview Gene intimated that the business model, file sharing and fan greed has killed opportunity for new artists.
“I am so sad that the next 15-year-old kid in a garage someplace in St. Paul, that plugs into his Marshall and wants to turn it up to 10, will not have anywhere near the same opportunity that I did,” Simmons said. “He will most likely, no matter what he does, fail miserably.” Gene said.
“thanks to a crumbling business model, including “file-sharing and downloading” by fans who believe they “were entitled to have something for free” — “rock is finally dead.”
The business model of Rock is crumbling. Good. It has crumbled before ad dozen times. Any business model for rock and roll should crumble. Business models rely upon manufacturing and predicting and creating a product based upon marketing lines. And the moment it becomes business, the fans go elsewhere.
Rock is rebellion. Rock is the anguished cry of youth against the hypocrisy of conformity and business models that all want to recraft them into something outside of what they choose themselves to be.
File sharing is not some demon conjured to destroy the good people who altruistically developed CDs an cassettes and 8-tracks. File sharing happened because it was the place where people could get the one good song from an artist that the industry requires the populace buy 11 awful ones to listen to at-will.
That kid in St. Paul isn’t cranking it up to 11 because 10 or 9 is just not rock enough. They crack it up to 11 for themselves, to drown out whatever voices torment them, to be their roar against a world that says they don’t have a shot.
Gene, there is an up and coming generation or artists that turn it up to 11 because they want to shove it in your face that there is lessened opportunity. They don’t need a business model crafted by old men in conference rooms, they have the Internet. And people who will gravitate to their music aren’t crawling at the doors of the music industry asking hem for the next big message. They are going on the Internet.
Twenty years ago, that kid in De Paul had to clamor amongst clubs and shared tapes and bootlegs to try to get the Industry’s attention to get one tenth the opportunity the Internet affords. The no longer need to pander. They can produce professional music from their home and reach more fans.
And they are doing it, and it is glorious.
Rock isn’t dead. But the industry that is relied upon by tired old arrogant rockers like Gene is. Deader than hair metal was the moment Smells Like Teen Spirit hit the college circuit; deader then disco the moment Quiet Riot demanded we bang our heads; deader than do-wop the moment Jimmy Hendrix violated a guitar and became the modern Paganini; deader than then Rock-a-Billy when Dylan strummed folk; and deader than folk Dylan when Dylan went electric.
Rock as never been the popular choice. . Once it is, it is called pop, and in some neglected corner a new voice of the down-trodden is anointed. Rock is the voice of rebellious youth with all the knowledge that its not about winning, its about the fight. Fight authority? Authority wins.
Gene, if donning costumes was supposed to make you immortal, GWAR would have their own Pyramid. Think you’re the best clown rockers ever? The Juggalos would disagree.
That kid in St Paul doesn’t need a business mode. He needs to strum a guitar and get out whatever it is that will make him feel alive. Rock is alive, and it will go on in spite of your proclamations. It will go on especially to thumb its nose at the proclamations of an aging business man whose reputation still feeds off the corpse of a nostalgic gimmick act in makeup and platform shoes.