On New Year’s Eve, KISS played their final show of the year — a massive livestream event held in Dubai in the United Arab Emirates, which set two world records as confirmed by the Guinness Book of World Records. Separately, Gene Simmons also doubled down on his infamous “rock is dead” quote, asserting the notion once more in a new interview.
The ‘KISS 2020 Goodbye’ livestream show reportedly featured $1 million worth of pyrotechnic effects and, considering that both world records were centered around the use of the flaming spectacles, it appears to be money well spent.
New world records were established for “highest flame projection in a music concert” — 35 meters (nearly 115 feet) — and “most flame projections launched simultaneously in a music concert” — 73 — a Guinness Book of World Records representative told the band (via Blabbermouth).
Celebrating the milestones, KISS tweeted the news alongside a flashy video clip from the concert that gives fans a loose idea of what’s possible with $1 million to spend just on pyro alone.
In total, the band spent $10 million on the concert production, which utilized more than 50 4K cameras with 360-degree views as the band played on an enormous 250-foot stage.
Meanwhile, in an interview with Gulf News that preceded the New Year’s Eve festivities, both Paul Stanley and Gene Simmons were asked about the idea that rock is dead, one Simmons hasn’t been bashful about perpetuating in the past.
Stanley argued that “the only music that consistently sells out concerts on a large scale is rock and roll” and that modern acts have essentially co-opted the KISS stage show for their own purposes. “I would bet the farm, so to speak, that Led Zeppelin will outlast anything that has the number one record today,” he said, casting doubt on the enduring legacy of modern mega-stars.
“Rock is dead,” Simmons reasserted, “And that’s because new bands haven’t taken the time to create glamor, excitement and epic stuff.”
In 2014, the Demon of KISS came under fire for stating that “rock is dead,” having distilled his entire argument down to the idea that there have been little to no massively successful rock bands since 1988.
He repeated these claims, nearly verbatim, praising the likes of Elvis Presley, The Beatles, Jimi Hendrix, The Rolling Stones, AC/DC and his own band, KISS, as well as Madonna within disco and the entirety of the Motown music scene.
“From 1988, until today — that’s more than 30 years — tell me who the new Beatles is,” defended Simmons. “You can’t.”
The 71-year-old rocker did take stock of the current music scene and singled out K-pop superstars BTS as a popular modern act, indicating that success in music is still enjoyed outside of rock.
There are popular bands. BTS is very popular. All kinds of bands are very popular. That doesn’t mean iconic and legacy and for all time. It’s different.”
For Simmons, one big difference he harped on was the ability of an artist to write their own songs and play their own instruments. “You know, the modern artists rely so much on technology. You may not be able to recognize the artist if they record themselves singing in the shower. You’d be shocked,” explained the KISS icon, “And none of the rappers play instruments. Don’t write songs. They write words. But chords, melodies, harmonies and stuff. It doesn’t mean that rap isn’t important. It’s very important. But it ain’t the Beatles.”
When pressed about which contemporary artists they enjoy, Stanley named pop singer Arian Grande, Post Malone and Lady Gaga. “I love all the pop artists,” added Simmons. “I think Billie Eilish is fantastic. She’s interesting because she and her brother actually write the material and are unique to themselves,” he continued, later echoing his bandmate while praising Gaga.