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Occupation Rock Star

music review  out of 4

Artist: Half Cocked
Genre: Independent, Rock/Pop
Release Date: June 2001

Review by Jazzer
1½ stars out of 4

When Drummer/songwriter Charlee Johnson left 3 1/2 Girls before their debut CD on Curve of The Earth was to be released in early 1997, a lot of people asked why. Why move half way across the country (from Salt Lake City to Boston), put years of work into a project, get a nice deal on a cool indie and then leave the band weeks before its debut release? No one really knows for sure, but maybe it was his wish to be a rock star? Perhaps he needed a more accessible outlet.

Johnson formed that more accessible outlet, Half Cocked, only months after leaving 3 ½ Girls teaming with vocalist Sarah Reitkopp, guitarist Tommy O' Neil, and bassist Jhen Kobran. From the get go Haldf Cocked decided to put image before music and marketed themselves as a band with looks rather than a band with hooks. Johnson even managed to get Curve Of The Earth, the label he bolted on previously, to sign them. Their mission led to their debut CD "Sell Out", which except for a nice remake of a 3 ½ Girls song("Whole New World") lacked in both songs and production. Nevertheless the band stayed together landed some decent gigs, made a nifty personnel change by adding former 6L6 guitarist John Heatley, and have returned with this new CD.

One would think that they would learn and concentrate on writing some good material and forget the "image" angle. Not quite. "Occupation: Rock Star" is consistent with "Sell Out" in almost every way, except for better production and a more integrated drum sound. The song writing has improved a little due to Heatley's input but overall the lyrics are cliché and the results are predictable.

"Occupation: Rock Star" is mediocrity of the worst kind, with lyrics like "I'm the sweetest lover, your cherry bomb." and a tempo that never seems to change throughout the record. Not to mention an arena mix of one of their songs? An arena mix? Huh? Ok, Johnson is a great drummer, and the guitars sound pretty good, but without the songs it's going to be a long ride along the wannabe rock star highway. Maybe they should think twice about quitting day jobs.



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