Gene Simmons – who kicked off a large-scale debate when he said rock was dead in 2014 – accused a “pathetic” music industry of preventing artists across all genres from achieving their best work.

The Kiss icon made his latest comments after being asked to pick the “10 tracks that blew his mind” by MusicRadar.

“You asked me to pick 10 tracks … I could have picked a hundred, a thousand,” Simmons said. “That was what it was like to be a music fan in the ‘50s and ‘60s. You had the Beatles next to Zeppelin next to Hendrix next to Yes next to James Brown next to the Kinks.

“Every week, there seemed to be another 20 new songs that just stopped you dead in your tracks. Can you imagine hearing ‘Waterloo Sunset’ for the first time? Or ‘Twist and Shout’? Or ‘Tutti Frutti’?”

He noted that "these days we have the talent – [Lady] Gaga, Bruno Mars, Adele, all great artists – but they’re handcuffed by the industry. The industry sets the rules and says rap has to sound like this; soul has to sound like this; EDM has to sound like this. Fucking pathetic! I don’t want to sound like one of those miserable, moany guys that says, ‘Man, everything was better back then.’ But when it comes to music … shit, it was so much better! When I heard it, it changed my life forever!”

Selecting the Beatles’ “I Want to Hold Your Hand” as his first of 10 tracks, Simmons said, “Like so many American kids, I first saw the Beatles on The Ed Sullivan Show in 1964. … These thin, weedy guys seemed so much smaller than American artists, almost like little girls. This was the era when everything in America was big! Then there was the strange, Scouse accent.

“In my eyes, these guys were outsiders. Just like me. I didn’t look like all the other kids at school; I had a funny accent. But the Beatles showed me that you could be an outsider and still reach for the stars. And you could still be fucking cool!”

 

 

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