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AnneNR

Gene Simmons: "Rock Is Finally Dead"

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AnneNR   

"Rock is finally dead."

So decrees Gene Simmons in a new Esquire interview conducted by his son Nick. Of course, people have been arguing for decades over whether or not rock is still alive, but the KISS co-founder doesn't see any two ways about it — and he knows exactly who to blame.

"The death of rock was not a natural death," he argued. "Rock did not die of old age. It was murdered. Some brilliance, somewhere, was going to be expressed, and now it won't, because it's that much harder to earn a living playing and writing songs. No one will pay you to do it."

The problem, as Simmons sees it, is a widespread belief that file sharing and illegal downloading are no big deal; as he put it, "The problem is that nobody will pay you for the 10,000 hours you put in to create what you created. I can only imagine the frustration of all that work, and having no one value it enough to pay you for it.†And it also doesn't help that rock artists have been crowded out of the Top 40.

"If you play guitar, it's almost impossible," Simmons said. "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."

With the industry's infrastructure decimated by casual greed, Simmons sees no way for younger artists to obtain the support they need to reach a mainstream audience, or the creative guidance necessary to achieve a high level of compositional skill. As a result, he argued, there's a massive generational void in artists whose music has true lasting value.

"There was a 10- to 15-year period in the '60s and '70s that gave birth to almost every artist we now call 'iconic' or 'classic,'" he pointed out. "If you know anything about what makes longevity, about what makes something an everlasting icon, it's hard to find after that. The craft is gone, and that is what technology, in part, has brought us. What 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."

__________

Mr. Carmen, has Mr. Simmons squarely hit the target on this topic?

Do you think Gene Simmons has the real scoop to be able to say this??  ^_^

He points out one very good reason I DETEST the downloading process on any computerized item for music rather than walk into a "brick and mortar" store for songs produced on a physical disc  --- sharing your download with others without them paying for it, thereby robbing the artist of his due. 

The other thing is, the quality of the download, depending on what is sending and what is receiving.  It's too much of a crap shoot and unreliable business as it stands for the time being in my opinion.

AnneNR

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MikeWNY   

"Some brilliance, somewhere, was going to be expressed, and now it won't..."

It would seem to me that great artists create brilliant works because of his or her love for the craft. ("Well I know it sounds funny
But I'm not in it for the money, no...") Think of the many writers, playwrights, composers, etc. that made very little money off of their masterpieces. Even artists today may write some of their best music at a point at which they don't necessarily expect riches from it.

To say that it died only because Napster or other services arrived on the scene in the late 90's seems something of a tortured argument. The more unpleasant possibility is that the Top 40 is the Top 40 because that is what a certain demographic wants or, at least, accepts. Music's prior shifts in taste (or simply industry promotion and output) were not likely "natural" either. There is always a segment that appreciates good music though and that music may be rediscovered in the future.

Anyways, I think the explanation is more complicated than what Gene said. Obviously, those silly music game ("reality") shows don't help. I find it impossible to suffer through most of what is blasted through television or radio currently, but I have always been a bit different! That's my devil's advocacy for today.

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AnneNR   

Perhaps there is something to what MikeWNY states, it seems like more pieces in an overall big puzzle.  And perhaps Mr. Simmons has a good sized piece of that same puzzle --- and that is the only part he sees clearly.

I can't help but think there is more to this than Mr. Simmons' basic observation from his viewpoint, sometimes it can be smaller "details" adding up with the larger ones that lead us to certain conclusions.  I wonder if this is why --- with some frequency --- artists continue to do covers of already written rock music material that others have made popular --- because they lack sufficient creativity to come up with new material, or they too, are feeling nostalgic and are wanting to keep the best of our past rock music history alive??

AnneNR

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Nancy   

In my humble opinion and from looking in through my window, I think there are many factors involved as to "why" "Rock" maybe be dead. First off, it's not just the rock genre, I think it's effected the (whole) entire musical industry, including, rock, pop, country and so on. A lot of our musical genius's are gone for one AND........today IF you want to survive in this industry, as it has always been written that....in order to survive and stay strong, wanted and to survive in this industry, you have to be your own writer AND also sing those songs you've written AND.......also stay current with what's going on today as some bands and artist who have still be able to do THAT today. As a prime example, Bryan Adams, Burton Cummings, Rod Stewart,  Dwight Yoakam and even our own, Eric Carmen!

Society does change along with HOW things are actually process and done today. So with saying that, I think that's actually WHERE the truth somewhere lies. Technology is good as Eric has also stated, IF used correctly and that's kind of what I was trying to say in another topic on here. I also think playing a actual record today is so much better than slapping in a cd because I also miss all the good stuff like posters and what not that use to come inside those album covers and I've never been a supporter of music downloading off the internet because I also realize that, that takes away from the actual artist AND.........in the end, aren't "we" the one's who are suppose to be, also trying to help support THAT artist?...........I think in a nutshell and with all too many factors that go with change, including, your thoughts and mine, these are the things that have slowly but surely has bought the (entire) musical industry down?.........Just my thoughts and comprehension of it all. I'm also thinking in the end.

Bryan Adams said and sang it best by singing and playing......"Everywhere We Go, The Kid's Want To Rock"...........Amen and........that's all!

~~~Nancy.~~~

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I just read an article from the UK wherein Lady Gaga complains of having her art degraded by the "controlling industry."  She says her voice has been auto-tuned so much with the timbre taken out, she is basically sick of the music business. 

Gaga goes on to say she is working on a music project with Tony Bennett who is helping her with her art. 

Go old school! <3

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Gene IS right, but it's not 'rock" that's dead, it's the whole music business. There's an entire generation out there that have never held a CD ( Let alone an ALBUM! ) in their collective hands. The concept of owning  the CD is almost dead.

There are a handful of acts, like Taylor Swift and Katy Perry, who can still sell 3,000,000 units. Their fans are so devoted they WANT to own the CD! But, just watching the charts since the release of the "Guardians Of The Galaxy" Soundtrack, it's easy to see the problem.

A couple of weeks ago, some rapper named Wiz Kalifa debuted his new CD, and knocked the "Guardians" Soundtrack out of the number one slot. I think he sold approximately 90,000 units, and "Guardians' only sold 68,000 that week. The following week, Wiz's sales dropped by 85%, and his album went from number one to number eight or nine. This is how it works in "the 'new' music business. All of the fans of a particular artist rush out and buy their CD the first week, and then sales drop off precipitously in the weeks that follow. Only a few artists have the ability to put five hit singles on an album, and that's what keeps CD's at the top of the charts these days.

I think I mentioned in a previous post that "All By Myself" got almost a million hits on Pandora, during a six month reporting period. That netted me $38.00. Meanwhile, the CEO of Pandora took home a $29,000,000 paycheck last year.

That is what Gene is talking about, and I'm afraid he's absolutely right. Why would anyone want to spend a year writing great songs, and then all the time and money it would take to record them properly, only to have them stolen and receive no compensation for all your hard work. Sadly, if I was thinking about being singer/ songwriter today, I'd probably decide to do something else. And that's why there are very few new records being made by people like me. And that's why there are basically three major record labels left, when there used to be fifty.

If you give away what you do, for free, or people just steal it, how can you make a living? The only answer is touring 300 days a year, and selling lots and lots of merchandise, and there are darn few musicians I know that find that an equitable situation.

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Nancy   

"WHAT" a sad state of affairs. If someone was wise enough they would (try) and bring back the "old school" way of doing things, that's IF that's even feasible, anyways........

~~~Nancy.~~~

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AnneNR   

Even the touring can have troublesome aspects to it. 

My hubby Matt told me a story about Ted Nugent who was on tour at the time.  Mr. Nugent came into the venue through one of the outside entrances and came across someone selling t-shirts or some such with Mr. Nugent's likeness on the items (and did not have licensed permission to do so), which did not go over very well with Ted.  He promptly gathered up all the merchandise the vendor was selling, taking it all away and the vendor had the nerve to complain quite vocally that Mr. Nugent COULDN'T DO THAT!!!  To which Mr. Nugent replied, "SUE ME!!" and walked off with the illegal merchandising anyway.  This sounds like something Mr. Nugent would do, so I believe the basic story.

If the industry can go back to "old school" ways, it can only be done if all the problems Mr. Carmen has detailed in other topics here before that needed to change end up changed for the better --- so I say "Old School Done With Good Ethics" in the processes.  I may be over-optimistic in thinking this way.

AnneNR

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James   

While Pandora doesn't appear to pay a lot to the artists for the use of their songs, it does do a nice job of promoting these same artists.  I listened to Pandora for a couple years and discovered some good music I had not been familiar with.  And as a result I purchased cds from those same artists.  I won.  The artists won.  Pandora won.

I haven't used Pandora for a few years, but if it's the same as it was, it is a great vehicle for the music listening fan, and for the artist whose music makes it to their playlist. I think.

James

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AnneNR   

James, according to this bit of information, it appears that not all is well with Pandora either.  I don't know if it was better when you were originally listening to it, but if this is an example of how the "artist" wins through Pandora ---- SOMETHING IS DEFINITELY OFF KEY HERE.  Mr. Carmen didn't WIN with a mere $38.00 for the amount of hits on his song.  This makes acquiring notoriety an empty undertaking, and no way to be given a just due for one's craft.

AnneNR

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Kirk   

It's all backwards!  Artists used to tour (when tickets were cheap) in order to make money by selling records...now, they have to give away their music to (hopefully) make money on concerts (and ticket prices are sky high)! 

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I figured out the royalty rate Pandora pays for one "hit", which they define as one person, somewhere, listening to a song. It is .00004% of one penny. The justification is that, if the song was played on the radio, thousands of people would hear it, so there should be a higher royalty rate.

But because each "hit" on Pandora represents only one person, the royalty rate is reduced to basically nothing. This philosophy will make the CEO's of Pandora, and Spotify, who are selling millions of dollars in advertising, rich, but it will never produce another Bob Dylan, or John Lennon and Paul McCartney, or Brian Wilson, or Jimmy Page, or Billy Joel.

So, what we get is Kanye West, and Wiz Kalifa, and a thousand other people whose songs will never be remembered next year, let alone in fifty years, and a totally dumbed down audience who thinks these acts are "genius," because they've never been exposed to anything better.

My son PRE-ORDERED a CD by someone named "Earl Sweatshirt."PRE-ORDERED, as if there wouldn't be enough copies of said CD to "go around!" I'm embarrassed, but it coincides with my theory that every generation has to find music their parents hate.

It's just such a strange feeling to know that, somewhere out there, there could be the next Rolling Stones, or Beatles, or Who, and, because of the economics, they will have no reason to try to really "make it," and my son will think Kanye is a "genius." Makes me want to puke.

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Kirk   

Eric, I tried to listen to an Earl Sweatshirt offering, but 5 of the first 10 words of his rap-crap were the "f" word...what a waste of time!  Yikes!!

Our rebellion was rock and roll...I can't believe the kids of today are embracing this!

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The Earl Sweatshirt CD comment: First laugh of the day! Thanks.

My daughter's bent in music rebellion was screamo. She's settled down a bit in the past few years, though, and has even introduced me to a lot of Broadway selections.

We were in the car one day while she was home over the summer. Something was playing from my iPod, and she said, "Enunciate. He should ENUNCIATE."

Excuse me? You want my guy to enunciate? While your guys sound like they're trying to cough up a hairball and pass it off as "singing"? I don't THINK so ...

Cheryl

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Nancy   

It's the next generation, or future, I guess and no doubt, my daughter is the same, however, rap is NOT on her playlist!

Thank GOD! AND as stated above, it's a sad state of affairs and it REALLY does suck! BUT on a positive note. My daughter at 21 years old has been a Eric Carmen AND Raspberries fan for quite some years now! AND that does count!!!.......YEAH!............. :)

~~~Nancy.~~~

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My son is 30, but he grew up listening to and enjoying the music of Frank Sinatra and jazz masters from the 50s, 60s.  I am extremely fortunate Paul was interested in those artists and some rock artists from the 60s and 70s - and he still is. 

His overall listening tastes lean toward electronica now only because he's from the "rave generation" and grew up loving to dance to that music.  What's a person to do?  I can say I also enjoy the music of Daft Punk, so I can't complain too much.

I am saddened by the likes of Earl Sweatshirt but I guess peer pressure factors into the musical tastes of teens and that's the quality of some "artists" today.  :(

As I told a friend recently, we vinyl and Raspberries' people need to stick together because "we're a rare breed." 

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MikeWNY   

I was on some website the other day that was poking fun at a 1981 video of an ABC News report on the increasing popularity of rap. I'm sure you can find it through Google.

The funniest part of it is where the reporter states, listing this genre's many qualities, that "you" don't even miss the fact there is no melody. Really, you don't?! Who is "you"? I would barely consider it music although the news report does allude to it being "street" poetry or something.

It's hard to believe that younger people today think that stuff is edgy or new when Hugh Downs thought it was great in 1981. I'm not sure what some suburban kids think they are rebelling against with it. Eventually, many seem to grow out of it.

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Batman   

I just read last week that all of the Beatles' albums were being released as a box set of vinyl records and in mono, not stereo. Talk about everything old being new again.

Could you imagine (no pun intended, but what the heck!) the Beatles releasing their music without the wonderful album art that adorned the covers? People today don't actually

"own" a physical record or CD, just the digital file of the audio. Something great and important has been lost.

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redd   

Great insight, Batman, I agree!

It IS hard to "Imagine" Beatles' music without the great designs of their album covers. That is just one of the things I miss about the CD replacing vinyl, not to mention how just owning a digital file of the music seems to satisfy.

Also loved the lyrics and photos on the album's inner sleeve. Could hardly wait to tear off the shrink wrap to see.... Aaah, feeling pretty nostalgic now......

redd :)

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I'm with all of you above and miss the actual handling of the inserts, pictures and putting the vinyl down on the turntable within the mammoth 60s-70s walnut console my parents owned.  I tried so hard not to scratch each record (didn't always work) and was so particular about my Rs' albums, I talked friends into bringing over theirs sometimes. 

It was such a continuing "over the moon" joy to see a few of my own E and Rs' collectibles in The Essential booklet.  I believe my feelings can best be described by some song lyrics:  ;)

Got a feeling inside (Can't explain)
It's a certain kind (Can't explain)
I feel hot and cold (Can't explain)
Yeah, down in my soul, yeah (Can't explain)

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