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Simmons says rock is dead

Kiss star cites lack of support from industry and illegal downloading for bleak future

Gene Simmons says rock music is "dead" and adds that is it almost impossible for new artists to make a living from songwriting.

The Kiss star believes the record industry is set up in such a way that there is no support for creative artists who need time and space to develop.

Simmons tells Esquire his advice to young musicians is "don't quit your day job" and adds: "Rock is finally dead. The death of rock was not a natural death. Rock did not die of old age. It was murdered.

"When I was coming up, it was not an insurmountable mountain. 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 was an entire industry to help the next Beatles, Stones, Prince, Hendrix, to prop them up and support them every step of the way.

"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."

Simmons was interviewed for the magazine by his son, Nick Simmons, and he points at Psy's Gangnam Style as an example of what the music industry is looking for in terms of sales and return on investment.

He adds: "I am so sad that the next 15-year-old kid in a garage someplace in Saint 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.

"He will most likely, no matter what he does, fail miserably. There is no industry for that anymore. And who is the culprit? There's always the changing tide of interests — music taste changes with each generation. To blame that is silly.

"The real culprit is that kid's 15-year-old next-door neighbour, probably a friend of his. Maybe even one of the bandmates he's jamming with. The tragedy is that they seem to have no idea that they just killed their own opportunity — they killed the artists they would have loved. 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."

Simmons recently said there was no chance of a reunion of the classic Kiss line-up, saying bringing back Ace Frehley and Peter Criss would be unfair on current members Tommy Thayer and Eric Singer.

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