My Open Letter To "The Demon"

I love Gene Simmons (I truly do), but....

This week, Mr. Simmons, the iconic blood-spitting bass player for the Rock group KISS decided to let all his insecurities (or bitterness) out in an interview with Rolling Stone magazine.

He said:

* "Rap" should just "die" (apparently it is not melodic and is more suited to "novelty records")

* Streaming is robbery (not sure anyone entirely disagrees with this)

* Rock is "Dead" (there are "no new bands" and Foo Fighters are 20 years old)

* Rock could be saved by Lady Gaga if she stopped "Pole Dancing"

Don't Hold Back Demon

I guess I shouldn't be surprised. Crusty stars often forget to put themselves in context.

I am just spitballing here, but I would not be entirely surprised if Lady Gaga's theatrics (the one's Gene is criticizing) were at least partially inspired by the most over the top theatrical band maybe of all time (apologies to Alice Cooper). 

What band was that?

I think they were called....KISS!

Full disclosure here, Sergeant Pepper's was my first album but the KISS album Destroyer was my first purchased album (I even stupidly sold someone my copy of the KISS comic book supposedly created  with ink including some of the blood of Kiss members).

I am a fan.  

Hell, I even watched KISS Meets The Phantom of the Park (not many will admit to that).

I am a fan of Gene Simmons just like I am a lifetime fan of Keith Richards who also often slags hip-hop and punk (despite being a huge influence on punk).

But come on, you do realize who you are right?

Also, they have a name for this, it is called "Rockism."

Just A Slave To The Melody

I must have missed Gene's classic crooner period. Must have been between the spitting blood and breathing fire.

Who knew that deep down, The Demon was, at heart, just a song and dance man.

Perhaps in his music theory class in New York forgot to mention that a melody doesn't actually have to be carried by the vocalist. 

Look, I don't want to spend too much time here but:

* most hip-hop songs have a melody.

* Rock is anything but dead (just listen to my last three Digital BIns + start with Big Ups - they are even from NYC)

* Lady Gaga can sing her ass off - she is one of the only people in that genre that hardly ever relies on backing tracks live.

* KISS is not exactly known for being an amazing band of melodious players.

If I were to have the temerity to address Mr. Gene Simmons, I would say:

Demon, legend, sir,

Remember back when you were in Wicked Lester?

There are tens of thousands of bands just like you were back in 1973, working hard just to get their music heard. It is harder than ever to get music heard these days because the industry consolidates marketing money behind fewer and fewer acts every year.

The problem isn't a lack of quality music, it is a lack of quality media coverage and industry support for new quality music.

I think if you just did a little searching around on Bandcamp or Soundcloud (or find a few bloggers that you trust) you would find plenty of quality music being made (same as it ever was).

In addition, spending all of your time talking about how much better Kiss is when nobody is questioning you comes across as a bit odd given you are crazy rich, in the Rock Hall, and adored by millions.

I mean this with respect, you probably should get to know hip-hop a bit more, you are missing out on some amazing music. You probably should not comment on hip-hop without getting to know the genre a bit more (at least until you get that it has evolved from just a drum machine and an emcee).

Or you can just listen to Talib Kweli, a great hip-hop artist who is a bit more angry about what you said than I am.

Finally, and I mean this with humility, maybe you could be a force for good. You could be a mentor or even start marketing rock bands that aren't getting any support in the consolidated music era we live in today.

With love and respect!


What do you think of Gene Simmons comments? About Rockism? About Talib Kweli's response? Let me know, make this a conversation by sharing or commenting!