Leaders, Music

1-yr Later, Gene Simmons was right: Rock is Dead

 (Photo by Daniel Knighton/WireImage)

(Photo by Daniel Knighton/WireImage)

It was just over 1 year ago that Nick Simmons, son of KISS co-founder & frontman Gene Simmons, published an interview in Esquire that he did with his father entitled: Gene Simmons “Rock is Finally Dead”.

It was a great article. In it, Nick interviews his father and asks some great questions about Gene’s views on the state of the Rock business. Gene was very direct and as always backed up his statements with facts and figures. As the title suggests, the article focused on the fact Gene believes that Rock is dead. What sets this article apart is that Gene explained in detail exactly why he believed rock was dead. He did such a great job of explaining his case, which is based on pure facts, that if he were in a court of law he could have ended with “I rest my case” and the ruling would have been a slam dunk in his favor.

The article got a lot of people talking which revealed numerous interesting behaviors of the human psyche. Two of the most intriguing displays to me were 1) the way so many seemed to read only the title and consequently based their views on incomplete information and 2) the way many more justified their own “stealing” of music. Perhaps the biggest surprise of all to me was just how many people didn’t seem to understand the very basic economic principles that proved Gene’s case. In retrospect, it’s probably due to a blatant disregard coupled with a likely sense of entitlement.

Gene said in the article “The masses do not recognize file-sharing and downloading as stealing…”. I believe it’s actually more sinister than that – I think people just don’t care. For some, it’s easy to steel and if they don’t get caught there are no consequences (at least in their own minds). Justification for criminalization.

Gene went on to say that “Rock did not die of old age. It was murdered”. He couldn’t have been any more correct. Case and point: when I was a teenager and wanted to get a new album, I had to go to the record store, thumb through a bunch of albums, pick out my selection, pay for it, then take it home and power up the record player to listen to it. It was a commitment and therefore I only did it when I truly wanted the music. It was an investment in both my time and money. Today, anyone with a computer can easily find the music of their choice and with one click have it downloaded onto their phone. No money, no time, no hassle. That is murder, plain and simple.

To those who think Gene is wrong about his remarks, I would suggest you take a step back and look at the big picture. He never said there were no longer fans of rock, nor did he say there were no longer kids in garages playing their hearts out hoping to one day make it big & nor did he say no one was even recording rock anymore. It’s the business of rock that is dead. Business – that key component that ultimately allows artists to make it their full-time jobs to entertain the public. The entire ecosystem that maintained rock as a viable business entity is without a doubt dead and was murdered by some of the very people that have the arrogance to call themselves fans.

When I acquire music (which I always proudly pay for), I am telling the artists that I believe in & appreciate their work. I recognize they, and everyone involved, worked long and hard to go from a riff in their head to an entire beautifully performed, engineered, mixed, produced and mastered work of art.

In my opinion, not a single person who acquires music illegally has the right to call themselves a fan. A fan recognizes the work an artist has put into a project and would only legitimately acquire their music. THAT is the core of what makes someone a true fan. Fair and honest: the band invests their time in the work and the fan invests their money in the product. If you acquire the music illegally, your are a thief. That is simply a fact.

I understand the economic principle that acquiring something for free is financially better than acquiring it for money. But there is a moral component, a human component that comes into play in the music business. Musicians create a product purely out of emotion – that emotion is as moral and human as anything can be. If they can’t get paid for their work, they can’t continue to do their work. No money, no honey.

If you believe you have the right to acquire music without paying for it, you should tell your employer you would like to reduce your salary to zero and while your at it you should also start adding in lots of overtime. In essence, that is exactly what you are asking your favorite artists to do (and you call yourself a fan).

If you now feel like shit for being such an asshole, good. You deserve it. You are an accessory to murder.

—John J. Simpson

twitter: @johnjsimpson


Donald J. Trump: The Art of the Presidency (part 1)


Donald J. Trump isn’t just another in a long list of people who hope to become President of the United States. He is the only candidate who actually wants to make America great again. And the best part is he knows how to do it.

I don’t know about you, but I find it quite curious that the standard operating procedure for politicians is to hire a staff of experts that do everything from speech writing to public relations and damage control. To me, if you have to hire people to write your speeches & people to make you look good when you are negligent or do something wrong, you shouldn’t be in any office. If you aren’t capable of (or willing to) speak from your heart & directly/honestly tell people what you think without the use of writers, advisers and teleprompters, why should you be taken seriously as a candidate?

The natural rebuttal to my position on this subject would be something like “politicians focus on their strengths such as core issues and strategic processes to best serve the public and therefore utilize ancillary experts whose strengths are best communicating their employers position to the voters”. Professionals call that spinning, I call it bullshit.

Merrian-Webster defines politcal correctness as “agreeing with the idea that people should be careful to not use language or behave in a way that could offend a particular group of people”. “Could offend” is subject to interpretation and as such covers so much ground that it’s impossible to not offend someone at some point. I have always found it ironic that politics is built on this idea that by definition means people may have to dance around the truth. The truth sometimes hurts, but it IS the truth. Under this premise, perhaps the definition of “politics” itself should be amended to say “getting and keeping power in a government regardless of the fact you may not have the best interest of the people at heart“. Just reading that probably offends many of you. If it does, ask yourself why.

Mr. Trump says what so many others want to say: the truth without fear of repercussions. If he doesn’t like you, he’ll tell you why & to your face. If agrees with you, he’ll tell you why & to your face. If he likes a policy he’ll fight tooth and nail for it and if he disagrees with it he’ll not only tell you why but he will back it up with factual data. How could you accept anything less in a Presidential candidate? Perhaps you are insecure and/or maybe you have ulterior motives.

Americans are used to, and obviously widely accept, the practice of spinning. It happens every day in virtually every aspect of life. Politics is no exception and arguably may even represent the mother of all spinning. In fact, politics may be the avenue the spinners who work for celebrities aspire to go to mark their highest career point. I refer to these masters of political spinning as the cirque du soleil of spinning. They can dance, sing, entertain and create a fabulous show with just a few props and water. But at the end of the night, the makeup and costumes come off and we find out they can’t really fly.

Mr. Trump knows how to write and negotiate deals and he has a network of the greatest business minds who want to join him in making this country great again. This country needs a total reorganization from the top down. The traditional political foundation needs to be torn down and a solid business-centric one built in it’s place. If you don’t think this country should be run like a business, don’t complain about unemployment, the deficit or even the fact you may have trouble getting a small business loan.

The buzz words most often thrown around at election time are jobs, opportunity, secure retirement and the military. Politics don’t create jobs, business does. Politics don’t create opportunity, business does. Politics don’t make your retirement secure, business does. Spinners will choreograph great dance moves to convince you otherwise but at the end of the day it is all about business. Therefore, lets quit focusing on the dance and start selling tickets.

The Military needs to file for divorce from it’s political spouse and the military needs to get in bed with business. Politics has lost focus and is quite frankly too far removed from the actual task at hand: making America great again. We are currently so wrapped in the “politics” of war that we are literally giving weapons and infrastructure to those who will one day use them against us.

If Mr. Trump becomes President of the United States, it won’t be about politics, it will be about business. That, in and of itself, is probably the reason some simply can’t comprehend the idea of “President Trump”. The Oval Office will no doubt take an unprecedented turn from an outside-interests structure to an American-interests structure. Decision will be made based on the good of the country and not the good of those offering money for decisions.

Americans as a whole must change their way of thinking. We must be open to new ideas and new ways of doing things. The status quo simply doesn’t work and is not sustainable. And if you’re happy with the status quo, I might suggest you check into the Bedlamite Hotel & Spa (they have padded walls, provide the finest brand-name straight jackets and have the latest in shock therapy equipment).

Donald J. Trump can and will make America great again. I’m all for it. Why? Jobs, opportunity, financial security, a secure United States of America and no bullshit.

Follow Donald J. Trump on the web at https://www.donaldjtrump.com
on twitter at @realDonaldTrump
on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/DonaldTrump
on instagram at https://instagram.com/realdonaldtrump/
and on youtube at https://www.youtube.com/user/trump

Picture courtesy of https://www.donaldjtrump.com