Few things in the music industry are more unintentionally funny than when a curmudgeonly elder statesman of rock and roll throws their weight around in a rant about today’s music. We saw it last year, when Keith Richards minced few words in telling hip-hop and heavy metal just how welcome they were on his lawn (spoiler: they were not at all welcome). And who could forget Eagles frontman-drummer Don Henley finally letting us all know what he really thinks of Frank Ocean (spoiler: it can be summarised as ‘talentless prick’).
Not to be forgotten as one of the pillars of the music community and somebody whose opinion we clearly need to listen to with rapt attention and take nothing but seriously because of his exploits in a now five decade long
merchandise flog classic rock act KISS, bassist and frontman Gene Simmons has made a prediction today bolder and with more hard evidence to back it up than the Mayan Doomsday theory.
I don’t know how to tell you this, but rap music is… going to die.
Yes, we know this is some difficult news to hear and understand but it wasn’t any easier for Gene Simmons to deliver this cold blow than it was for us to have to hear it.
Celebrating the 40th anniversary of Destroyer (one of the two or three KISS albums that wasn’t completely abominable from a back catalogue of 20), Simmons used his platform in an interview with Rolling Stone to lob down truth bombs about the barren wasteland that is contemporary music from the towering pinnacle of Mount Dad-Rock.
Although Dr. Simmons was unable to give an exact prognosis, stating rap would die anywhere from ‘next year, 10 years from now, at some point’, he did admit that he was very much looking forward to it.
Other gems of wisdom from someone whose tongue is probably longer than the time he’s spent actually listening to any music that isn’t his own include:
- Apart from the Foo Fighters, Gene thinks everyone else in rock and roll is as dead as rap is about to be, citing the unequivocal and completely objective statistic that ‘there ain’t no new bands’. Which is as grammatically correct as it is illuminating.
- Lady Gaga should just drop ‘all the disco and the pole dancing and all that stuff and put together a rock band, that would be legitimate’. So your transcendent, award-winning, game-changing pop music is nice and all Lady Gaga, but don’t for a second try and tell Gene that what you do is legitimate because guitars.
- Gene has also cottoned on to the rest of those lying disco divas too. Don’t get him wrong, he loves ‘Jennifer Lopez and Ciara and Shakira and Madonna and all the girls with names that end in ‘a,’ they’re very talented in their own way’. He just doesn’t love that they have a backing track onstage, because that’s just not honest at all. ‘Karaoke is more honest, because you know it’s karaoke’, Gene said as he tipped his fedora and drove the truth home beyond doubt.
- Perhaps all these girls whose names end in ‘a’ should take a leaf out of EDM’s ‘honest’ book. And by ‘honest’, Gene means that ‘Here’s a guy onstage who does fuck-all, he does nothing. He presses a button and puts his hands up in the air. He doesn’t pretend to be lip-syncing to a track. He has a light show and it’s an honest relationship’. So, I guess take that as a compliment EDM. And maybe take some time out from being busy doing fuck all to work on your light show. Shits is uninspired right now.
These remarks are just the latest in Gene Simmons’ noble ongoing crusade against pop and rap and anything that doesn’t use enormous guitars or fire onstage. He once famously said that Grandmaster Flash and Run-D.M.C. didn’t belong in the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame next to him for this exact reason, a culturally ignorant statement at best and a low-key racist one at worst.
He did attempt to justify his dislike of rap music, saying that “I don’t have the cultural background to appreciate being a gangster,” which is, you know, also an almost offensively misguided thing to say but is something people will mostly forget given his age and the fact that we’ve simply become numbly accustomed to Gene Simmons being a self-important prick.
He also showed further humility when he said that no bands from New York City have ever got up on KISS’ stadium-playin’ level. Yes he loves the Ramones and the New York Dolls but they never played stadiums or had gold records until after they died and you must realise that this is THE MOST IMPORTANT PART of making good music and so everything else is irrelevant. Should we really fact-check Gene’s ‘no other New York City bands have ever play stadiums’ claim? Because-
Of course the rest of the world is laughing heartily at Gene’s salty old man routine. Even if I don’t particularly like pop music, I would never have the audacity to suggest that it’s not a legitimate artform simply because it doesn’t always incorporate the big, dumb, loud and live elements that KISS made a living on. Plus, a man who has spent five decades painting his face and wasting God only knows how much money on some of the most outlandishly tacky stageshow fantasies you’ve ever laid eyes upon and the man behind the reality tv clusterfuck Gene Simmons’ Family Jewels, has really no business questioning another performer’s honesty.
As for rap music, the genre has never been bigger and more popular and with a brighter crop of young talent behind it. Years from now there will be far more people talking about what someone like Kendrick Lamar did for not just hip-hop but music in general than there will be talking about how a crazy old fart named Gene Simmons used to spit blood in platform boots rocking out to neanderthal anthems onstage and then talk a lot of shit off of it.
The Demon could be so much cooler if he just acted like a rockstar instead of everybody’s grandfather.
Images: Radio.com, YouTube, Pop Matters, The Rock Corner