L.A. GUNS singer Phil Lewis has dismissed the notion that rock is dead, saying fans can look forward to “a thriving, crazy rock scene like we’ve never seen before.”
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.
Lewis, whose band released a new album, “The Devil You Know”, last month, spoke about rock’s supposed diminishing status during a brand new interview with Music Legends.
Addressing the whole “rock is dead” debate, Lewis said: “That phrase ‘rock is dead,’ Gene Simmons [KISS] has been bandying that around for a while now, thinking he’s really edgy and how astute he is.
“If Gene Simmons had made an album as good as [L.A. GUNS‘ 2017 LP] ‘The Missing Peace’ or ‘The Devil You Know’, he wouldn’t be talking that stupid shit. Because it’s not dead. And I’m optimistic, I’m thrilled that GRETA VAN FLEET won a Grammy. I love those guys. Not just the music — just the fact that it’s that generation, it’s inspiring of 12- and 13-year-olds to pick up a guitar. And I’ve been waiting for that for so long.
“There’s nothing cooler than being in a band,” he continued. “There’s nothing cooler than being able to pick up a guitar and play for people. And chicks just dig that. And the sooner that these guys in their late teens and early 20s realize that… They don’t wanna sit and watch you play a fucking video game. They want you to play ’em a song. Learn to play a fucking song — even if it’s one song, learn how to play it. And you’ll be amazed how it improves your life.”
As for where he sees rock going in the future, Lewis said: “I think it’s gonna be a thriving, crazy rock scene like we’ve never seen before. It just comes in cycles — whether it’s gonna be five years, 10 years, I don’t know. But it’s not done, I can guarantee that. It’s definitely not over.”
The “rock is dead” argument has popped up again and again throughout the years, most recently 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, 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.