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Black Sabbath’s Tony Iommi on “rock is dead” theory: “I don’t think rock is going to die”

For years, Gene Simmons of KISS has voiced his opinion — on several different occasions — that “rock is dead.” In a feature in Esquire magazine in 2014, the blood-spitting bassist-singer provided such quotes as “Rock is finally dead” and “The death of rock was not a natural death. Rock did not die of old age. It was murdered.” However, fellow rock legend Tony Iommi has a different opinion on the state of rock music.

At the beginning of this year, Simmons reiterated his “rock is dead” claim in an interview with Gulf News, and then fully explained his theory in an interview with Heavy Consequence. He told us, among other reasons, “That kid living in his mom’s basement, decided one day that he didn’t want to pay for music. He wanted to download and file share. And that’s what killed the chances for the next generation of great bands. The fact that the music was for free. So nowadays new bands don’t have a chance.”

He also added, “The point is, yeah, rock is dead because if we play the game from 1958 until 1988, which is 30 years, you had Elvis, The Beatles, The Stones, Pink Floyd, and on and on and on. And you can go to the heavy part of it, which is Metallica, Maiden, if you want to put KISS in there, that’s fine. AC/DC, on and on and on. Even U2, Prince, Bowie, Eagles. And then you get to disco stuff, and Madonna, and that stuff, and Motown, of course. And then from 1988 until today, who’s the new Beatles?”

Heavy Consequence also recently caught up with Black Sabbath guitarist Tony Iommi, dubbed by many as the “godfather of heavy metal.” When we asked him his thoughts on Simmons repeatedly saying “rock is dead,” Iommi told us, “I don’t think rock is going to die. That’s been said for years. I mean, how many times I’ve heard that statement over the past 50-odd years? It’s quite a lot, really.”

He continued, “I think good music is not going to go. There’s always going to be a market for it. There are going to be an amount of bands that fall by the wayside — as there always is, there always will be. But there are certain bands that are going to stick out and going to be there. You’ve got Metallica up there — they’re not going to go away. They’ve got a lot of fans and they’ve got a great fanbase. There are a lot of bands out there. No, the music is not going to go away.”

In previously published segments from our interview, Iommi also spoke with us about the recent Dio-era Sabbath reissues of Heaven and Hell and Mob Rules, and offered his thoughts on the eccentric cover of “Paranoid” by King Crimson’s Robert Fripp and Toyah as part of their viral “Sunday Lunch” YouTube series.


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