Alice Cooper has once again dismissed the notion that rock is dead, saying that “rock and roll is just too much fun to let die.”
While rock and 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.
A few years ago, KISS bassist/vocalist Gene 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 several years, with some digging a little deeper into Simmons‘s full remarks and others just glossing over the headline.
Cooper, who is promoting his new album, “Detroit Stories”, spoke about rock’s supposed diminishing status during a recent interview with the 95 KGGO radio station. Addressing the whole “rock is dead” debate, Alice said (hear audio below): “I think what’s gonna happen is you’re gonna see a total resurgence of hard rock. There’s gonna be a very young bunch of kids out there that are gonna show up, and they’re gonna be snotty, and they’re gonna be arrogant — just what rock should be — [like] when you saw THE [ROLLING] STONES for the first time or you saw any of those bands. Because every generation rebels against the last generation, and the last generation was very high tech — techno this and techno that.
“Why are teenagers buying records?” he asked thetorically. “They’re buying vinyl, and they’re buying turntables. I think that’s right there an indication that there’s kids right now in garages all over the world learning AEROSMITH and Ozzy [Osbourne] and Alice — they’re learning those songs. Because rock and roll is just too much fun to let die.”
Circling back to Gene‘s comments, Alice said: “I think what Gene was talking about was financially, rock and roll is not what it used to be. Well, yeah, I agree with that. But maybe rock and roll now is where it should be — outlaws looking in rather than being the apex of the pyramid. Now we’re kind of the outcasts, and I think rock and roll kind of lives on that.
“There’s bands out there now that are just kind of getting used to the idea of guitars. ‘Man, turn these things up. Let’s be loud. Let’s play music that’s gonna irritate people. [Laughs]”
The “rock is dead” argument has popped up again and again throughout the years, including in 2018 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.”