Alice Cooper has dismissed the notion that rock is dead, saying that "rock and roll is where it should be right now."
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 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 NME. Addressing the whole "rock is dead" debate, Alice said (see video below): "Gene Simmons — I would like him to do my taxes, 'cause he's a businessman, and business-wise, [his claim that rock is dead is] valid. But I guarantee you right now, in London somewhere, in garages, they're learning AEROSMITH, they're learning GUNS N' ROSES — a bunch of 18-year-kids are in there with guitars and drums, and they are learning hard rock. It's the same with the United States — there's all these young bands that wanna resurge that whole area of hard rock and outlaws. So, in some ways, rock and roll is where it should be right now. We're not in the Grammys; we're not in the mainstream. Rock and roll is outside looking in now, and I think that gives us that outlaw attitude. And I think that's very good for rock and roll, 'cause that's how rock and roll started; we were all outlaws at the time, and then we became mainstream. But now, hey, FOO FIGHTERS, GREEN DAY — a lot of great hard rock bands out there."
He continued: "The one [kind of] music, if you think of it, that started and never ended was hard rock. Because it went to punk, it went to disco, it went to hip-hop, it went to grunge — it did all these things — but the one thing that went right to the middle of it was hard rock. THE ROLLING STONES were still THE ROLLING STONES; AEROSMITH was still AEROSMITH; Alice Cooper was still Alice Cooper. We survived those things because guitar-driven hard rock is the only thing that will still be going 30 years from now, 40 years from now. And I think music will go all over the place, but you're gonna find those hard rock bands still there."
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."