ANTHRAX: Why You Can't Say 'Rock Is Dead'

September 21, 2019

ANTHRAX bassist Frank Bello has dismissed the notion that rock is dead, saying that the genre "will never die."

While rock 'n' 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.

Bello and his ANTHRAX bandmates spoke about rock's supposed diminishing status during a recent interview with Sweetwater.

Addressing the whole "rock is dead" debate, guitarist Scott Ian said (see video below): "It's funny how that seems to come up every couple of years. It must sell magazines, or these days it's good clickbait, I guess. Every couple of years, the 'rock is dead' thing has to come up. Someone must be profiting off of that; otherwise, it would go away."

Drummer Charlie Benante chimed in: "I have a theory about it. The reason why they say it is because there's been an influx of different types of music that have come in in the last 20 years to almost replace it. Or you have country music, which has taken America by storm — in places that you would never think country music would be popular. You have rap music, which has taken America by storm; you have EDM. So, you have all these different forms of music. So where is rock gonna go? It's gonna be pushed a little bit back to where it should be — the underground.

"When I go see IRON MAIDEN, when I go see SLIPKNOT, when I hear TOOL has a No. 1 record, I don't say rock is dead."

Stated Bello: "You can't say it's dead. It belongs, for me… I want it out there, like the hip-hop stuff. And I think it's cool — it's my thing, underground. And that's always been cool, 'cause it'll rise. Of course, it's all cycles. It'll come back again. There'll be a GUNS N' ROSES one day that'll come back and make this amazing record… There'll be another GUNS N' ROSES, a younger [band]."

Charlie continued: "There is something happening like that, with young bands like GRETA VAN FLEET and stuff like that. So rock is not dead."

Added Frank: "You can't write rock off. It never will die. For people who say that, I think they hear people say that. And do you really know what's going on? Are you listening? Maybe you're just listening to what's out in social media. Don't do that."

The "rock is dead" argument has popped up again and again throughout the years, including late last year 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."

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 couple of years, with some digging a little deeper into Simmons's full remarks and others just glossing over the headline.

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