Red Hot Chili Peppers’ Flea says ‘rock is dead’

According to Red Hot Chili Peppers bassist Flea, rock is dead, because now rock ‘n’ roll is a business and a moneymaker as opposed to a philosophy.

Flea said being in a rock band was once a lifestyle that went against the grain, partly because it was so difficult to make money as a musician. Rock ‘n’ roll thrives on rebellion and independence, but in the commercialized music world today, rock is no longer what it once was.

“Nowadays, you decide you want to be in a rock band it’s like, ‘Oh great, let’s get you an image consultant, and a lawyer, and a manager, and let’s see what we can do here. It’s a great money making opportunity for you junior,” Flea told Sirius/XM Pearl Jam’s Radio.

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Some argue rock will only be truly dead once it is no longer a freedom anthem, but others like Steve Miller and contributors to Rocknuts say commercialization and a lack of independence and innovation has officially killed rock ‘n’ roll. While music consumers might have their opinion, when respected rockers — like the Red Hot Chili Peppers — say rock is dead, they might be on to something.

Photo credit: By Leon Wilson from Sydney, Australia (Flea) [CC BY 2.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons

4 comments to “Red Hot Chili Peppers’ Flea says ‘rock is dead’”
  1. I’ll have to agree. While there will always be fans an innovators, there just doesn’t seem to be the fervor that helped deem rock king in the 60’s, 70’s, 80’s, and 90’s. Maybe some day, someone or some thing will come by and take the power back.

  2. Flea is full of it. All artists in all genres must deal with the new business imperatives. All these jaded old artists who seem to have run out of ideas proclaim rock is dead to cover their own ass.

  3. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: As soon as an artist stops capturing whatever portion of the zeitgeist they were fortunate enough to briefly possess, they want to take their ball and go home.

    No, Flea. Your album sales aren’t dropping because your fans are moving on to much more interesting and exciting bands that are actually evolving as artists. It’s can’t be the fact that marketing and promotion for artists is completely different than it was when you were young and remotely viable and now you have no idea what kids want. It has to be the fact that all music sucks now.

    No, there isn’t going to be one band that captures the national attention anymore. When the Beatles were on Ed Sullivan in 1964, they appeared on one of three channels. There was very little competition for the consumer’s attention.

    Even during the heyday of MTV, there was really only one major outlet for hearing about new rock bands. That’s why a group like Nirvana became so famous so quickly. They had the right sound for the time and most of the youth population was getting their music directly from MTV. MTV embraces Nirvana, they sell millions of records. Nirvana’s MTV Unplugged album has become as iconic as the group’s studio output.

    So now there are many more ways to find something that tickles your fancy. The traditional path to becoming a rock star is dead, but what does that have to do with artistic merit?

  4. Also, if anything, it is a thousand times more difficult to become rich as a musician now than it was in the past. Record companies don’t have nearly as much clout as they used to, and they definitely don’t have as much market share. The rise of indie labels became a way for hard-working musicians who don’t attract the attention of record labels to get their music out to the public without relying on traditional means. Making your own scene because the established one is played out? What’s more rock and roll than that?

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