Is the rock dead? Is rock alive? Is rock alive but in a new mutated form? These are the questions that have been asked endlessly in recent years, all thanks to Kiss’ Gene Simmons’ 2014 comment that the genre was in fact dead (a comment he continues to defend).
Since the bassist’s statement, fans and musicians have weighed in on the debate, with no end in sight as people are still seemingly angry over the question of where rock is today. Fortunately, Aerosmith’s Joe Perry disagrees with Simmons and doesn’t think the genre has reached its end.
But, as he explains, it’s not entirely the success of individual rockstars that has kept rock’s flame burning – it’s really all about fan loyalty.
When asked if he thought rock was dead, he told VWMusic’s Andrew Daly: “No, not at all… There are also great rock ‘n’ roll bands that carry the flag, and an example is that of Brad. [Whitford, Aerosmith, guitarist] son Graham, who plays with Tyler Bryant & The Shakedown.
“I think they’re like kicking ass, and the thing is, there’s a lot of guys out there who want to go out and play rock ‘n’ roll guitar and play that kind of music. The problem is, he There aren’t enough fans to hear it, so it’ll only go so far, but there are still people out there for them to build a following.
“These new bands, they’re still headlining, they’re opening up to other bands, and it’s the same thing. It’s not like they’re at the top of the Billboard charts or at the top pop charts, but that’s kinda how it was in the late ’60s too. All the rock ‘n’ roll I loved, they didn’t even have a Grammys spot for that, and he there was nothing too commercial about it.
Speaking about who or what he thinks is responsible for rock’s longevity, he continues: “I mean, I saw The Who playing in a little club tommy. It was just a club, but the place was packed, and it was always the fans who wanted to hear it. It’s the same now; those fans are still there, and that’s what really keeps him alive.
Recently, Gene Simmons reaffirmed his views in an interview with Metal Hammer, and they contrast starkly with Perry’s remark. He said: “I stand by my words: rock is dead. The people who killed it are fans.
“Fans killed what they loved by downloading and sharing files for free. How do you expect someone who loves guitar to enter into this creative process? You have to invent yourself. And so rock is dead.”