Is Gene Simmons Not Hearing The Words Coming Out Of Cube's Mouth?
I actually like Kiss. "Destroyer" was the first album I ever purchased with my own money as a kid. I had the original Kiss comic book. I was happy that they got into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
I originally thought when Gene Simmons made his original comments about how he wished hip-hop would "die" that he was just being a grumpy old man rock star. I am starting to think now that he is kind of being a dick.
This is the article I wrote when Simmons first made his comments about Hip-Hop (HERE).
I am starting to believe that he is going out of his way being a dick to NWA and hip-hop just because he can.
This makes me sad.
NWA's Classy Thoughtful Response
NWA could have been childish about the whole controversy, instead during their induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame a few days ago Ice Cube said the following:
'The question is, 'Are we rock 'n' roll?'" Cube asked the crowd. "And I say -- you goddamn right we rock 'n' roll.
"Rock 'n' roll is not an instrument. It's not even a style of music. It's a spirit that's been going on since the blues, jazz, bebop, soul, rock 'n' roll, R&B, heavy metal, punk rock, and yes, hip-hop."
He also said:
"Rock 'n' roll is not conforming to the people who came before you, but creating your own path in music and life. That is rock 'n' roll and that is us."
Thoughtful, smart, and 100% true. I feel like he was reading from the piece I wrote in response to the LA Weekly's stupid article about Punk Rock a few months ago.
The Demon Responds?
So, how did Gene Simmons respond? He said, and I quote:
Yes, he responded as if he had not listened to a word Cube said.
Also, he kind of used "respectfully" like people use "my best friend is black" IMHO (using Jimi Hendrix doesn't help him much here).
Why? Because Cube made a much more historically accurate argument, it all comes from the Blues. It is all urban roots music. And it all comes from people using the tools at hand be they guitars or turntables to howl at the world. And in the beginning, those hands were not white or wearing demon makeup.
Mr. Simmons, Ice Cube was making a much more nuanced argument about what Rock means.
He was saying that all music is fluid and that it changes over time and that the same spirit that made Robert Johnson supposedly "sell his soul" at the crossroads also induced you to breathe fire (as much as it burst out of Compton through NWA).
Rock and roll music has always been a rebel music, it has never not about acceptability and following rules. It is about opening a secret club where people can go listen to Jazz where the police won't interfere. Rock has always been an answer to the old men who try to lecture people about what music is.
Lenny Bruce was rock and roll, BB King was rock and roll, and NWA are pure rock and roll.
And, let me be clear, as much as I like Kiss, where do you get off? Did I miss when you became Jaco Pastorius? Yes, I get that you are saying "Rap can have its own HOF" but you are missing the point, Cube made a nuanced and thoughtful argument about what Rock is. You made a snide response which didn't even try to refute his argument.
If this isn't simply you ghettoizing NWA, I would love to hear what your definition of rock is.
Update - Gene doubled (tripled) down again, saying basically the exact same thing (sigh):
What do you think of Gene Simmons comments? What "Is" Rock and Roll? Let me know what you think, leave a comment!