AEROSMITH guitarist Joe Perry has dismissed the notion that rock is dead.
While rock and roll has been king of the music world for decades, in the past few years, it's been unseated by the growing popularity of hip-hop. This has caused many pundits to proclaim the genre "dead" from an industry perspective, noting that it has been eclipsed in all measures by pop, hip-hop, and EDM.
A few years ago, KISS bassist/vocalist Gene Simmons told Esquire magazine that "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."
A number of hard rock and heavy metal musicians have weighed in on the topic in a variety of interviews over the last several years, with some digging a little deeper into Simmons's full remarks and others just glossing over the headline.
Perry, who is currently promoting his upcoming solo shows, spoke about rock's supposed diminishing status during a recent interview with Andrew Daly of VWMusic. Asked if he feels rock is, in fact, dead, Joe said: "No, not at all… There are some great rock 'n' roll bands carrying the flag too, and one example is Brad's [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 who want to get out there and play rock 'n' roll guitar and play that kind of music. The issue is that there aren't enough fans to hear it, so it's only going to go so far, but there are still people there for them to build a following. These new bands, they still headline places, they open up for other bands, and it's the same thing. It's not like they're at the top of the Billboard charts or like the top of the pop charts, but that's kind of how it was in the late '60s too. All the rock 'n' roll that I liked, they didn't even have a place at the Grammys for it, and there was nothing overly commercial about it. I mean, I saw THE WHO in a small club playing 'Tommy'. It was only a club, but the place was packed, and it was still about the fans there who wanted to hear it. It's the same now, those fans are still there, and that's what's really keeping it alive. I mean, if it wasn't 'classic music,' it wouldn't be 'classic rock,' and it wouldn't be as big as it is. I still see it, people are out there buying artists' rock catalogs, and paying stupid amounts of money because they know that it's going to keep getting bigger, and bigger, and bigger. So that tells me rock 'n' roll is not dead."
The "rock is dead" argument has popped up again and again throughout the years, including in 2018 after MAROON 5 lead singer Adam Levine told Variety magazine that "rock music is nowhere, really. I don't know where it is," he said. "If it's around, no one's invited me to the party. All of the innovation and the incredible things happening in music are in hip-hop. It's better than everything else. Hip-hop is weird and avant-garde and flawed and real, and that's why people love it."
Last month, Perry confirmed three Northeast solo gigs in July for THE JOE PERRY PROJECT: Thursday July 21 at Hampton Beach Casino in Hampton, New Hampshire; Friday, July 22 at Leader Bank Pavilion in Boston, Massachusetts; and Saturday, July 23 at the Atlantic City Hard Rock Casino in Atlantic City, New Jersey. These performances mark the first solo shows for Perry in more than four years (around the release of his 2018 "Sweetzerland Manifesto" album).
Photo credit: Aaron Hirsch