Vocalist Steve "Zetro" Souza of San Francisco Bay Area thrash metal veterans EXODUS is the latest musician to respond to KISS bassist/vocalist Gene Simmons' recent comment that "rock is dead."
Simmons told Esquire magazine last month — in an interview conducted by his son Nick — 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."
Simmons went on to elaborate that as a result of file-sharing and other issues, record label support for rock music was not available like it was when KISS was coming up, concluding, "It's finally dead. Rock is finally dead."
Asked to weigh in on Gene's comments, Souza told the Argentinian radio station Rock & Pop 95.9 FM: "I understand what he says. I think people took that out of his context. I do understand what he means, and I'm gonna explain.
"When we grew up in the '70s, there was all kinds of rock and roll. It's what it was; it was rock and roll. There was really good soul, and there was rock and roll, man. There was Rod Stewart, there was HEART, there was Ted Nugent, there was the ALLMAN BROTHERS, there was LED ZEPPELIN… There was great rock and roll bands. The BEE GEES is a great rock and roll band. Elton John. [Bands] today, they do not play rock and roll.
"So Gene is right. People don't pursue it. And you're gonna tell me rock and roll is MAROON 5. Okay?
"So you know what? I kind of agree with Gene a little bit; I do.
"We were just talking about 'The Midnight Special'. That was a show in the United States on a Friday night at 12 o'clock when they played a rock concert for an hour and a half. And it could be anybody from FLEETWOOD MAC to Helen Reddy to FOREIGNER… Rock and roll bands. Where's rock and roll today? Where is it? You know where it is? Heavy metal. 'Cause we're the only ones that stayed true and the only ones where our fans kept true. We still keep the rebel image [and] we still keep the rebel bit alive."
EXODUS' new album, "Blood In Blood Out", was released in North America on October 14 via Nuclear Blast.