ANTHRAX guitarist Scott Ian has responded further to KISS bassist/vocalist Gene Simmons' recent comment that "rock is dead."
Simmonstold Esquire magazine in September — in an interview conducted by his son Nick — 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."
Simmons went on to elaborate that as a result of file-sharing and other issues, record label support for rock music was not available like it was when KISS was coming up, concluding, "It's finally dead. Rock is finally dead."
Asked to weigh in on Gene's comments, Ian told Ultimate Classic Rock (see video below): "There's a lot right in what he's saying. I disagree in the fact that I don't believe rock is actually dead. What he's saying about the industry will not allow for the next LED ZEPPELIN and things like that, I do agree with that, to an extent, because the industry is not what it was. There is no industry anymore that signs bands to develop them over a course of five records, like it was in the sixties, seventies and eighties, and then that all went away in the Nineties. So for a band these days to get to make five albums until they… Bands don't sell records anymore, so the whole idea of that even is out the window; just the whole model has changed and it has to change, because people steal music now.'
He continued: "If people still bought records, then maybe there would be labels that would be willing to spend the money to develop a band and allow a band or an artist to make five albums until they were selling gold, but it just doesn't exist anymore. And until people stop stealing music, it will never exist. So he definitely hits the nail on the head — some of the stuff he's talking about. But I also think that as long as there's a band out there playing music from their gut, rock will never die. Not everybody on the planet wants what the media forcefeeds them, not everybody cares about the next sixteen-year-old pop sensation. That's for the girls who actually buy music; that's what's scary."
Ian added: "I'm going off on a little bit of a tangent, but it's true: the people buying records are young girls and older people, who buy country and Adele. That's people who buy records, because they don't even know how to steal an album. So the fact that the record labels, basically, are running their businesses on the taste of fourteen-year-old girls, that shows you why the stuff that's big is big, because that's who's spending money. So if fourteen-year-old girls would start buying rock records, everything would change… as they did in the sixties… in the fifties and the sixties.
"I think there is a shift; little by little, you just see it. I mean, look, we're a band that's kind of transcended all this crap since the eighties. Same with METALLICA, same with SLAYER, same with KISS, same with AC/DC and IRON MAIDEN… I could list, from here for the next ten minutes, I could reel off bands that are still doing it the same way they've done it forever and still having success, because we've built it on a different foundation, without radio and without MTV support, when they played music. People come to see us because we make good records and we're a great live band, and they will continue coming to see us, and we make new generations of fans every year. For the newer bands, I understand why it's next to impossible these days to break through and get someone to give a shit; I see how that could be harder than ever."