Rocket Must Go

From their unimpressive audition in which they barely managed to muddle through a cover of the Ramones’ Blitzkrieg Bop, one of the simplest tunes ever, we’ve been filled with contempt for the all-girl band Rocket. Peter and I dread all-girl bands from experience. It’s not that an all-girl band is has to be bad: there have been plenty with the talent and style whose music is in my iTunes library. But these days an all-girl band reeks of gimmickry and novelty. After all, I can think of dozens of talented women who are major figures in rock bands, and they don’t need to hang exclusively with other girls. For instance, Eisley is led by two young women: their support is the best musicians they can find, not random girlfriends. Karen O has so much girlpower, it doesn’t matter who’s backing her up, as long as their talent can keep up.

All too often, when we do see an all-girl band, it’s a motley collection of people who can barely play their instruments and who wear dorky matching costumes. Rocket is all that, and hopelessly clueless to boot. We were shocked and surprised that they got through at all, solely on a cover. In the auditions, nearly every other band presented an original song, since supposedly the criteria included song-writing ability, and most of the bands also chose a fairly complex song to show of their musical chops. And now we’ve seen Rocket 2 weeks in a row, struggling through their insipid originals, and struggling even more with the requisite covers. We can only think they got in because The Next Great American Band producers demanded an all-girl band, perhaps to reach out to some desperate demographic of tone-deaf horny hetero men (and lesbians) without a Friday night date.

While the judges aren’t afraid to nitpick the slightest infractions of the talented competitors, at the beginning, they flattered Rocket. There’s nothing left to praise, but the judges clearly want to keep Rocket in, because instead of pointing out how horrible they really are, they’re giving the band the best possible constructive criticism. Repeatedly, the lead singer has been told put anger and vitriol into her lyrics. That is, after all, how punk bands who couldn’t play their instruments and with untalented singers thrived: no one thinks the Sex Pistols, X, or The Dickies were musical virtuosos, but their attitude was so withering, it made the band worth paying attention to. That easy change alone could save Rocket, but the band isn’t listening to the judges any more than they are to each other’s rhythms on stage. The lead singer is absolutely convinced she’s Gwen Stefani, and sings like a mall girl. She just can’t understand that she’s not that good, and if she were, she wouldn’t fit in with the bad musicians behind her.

So we were all pretty miffed that they made it through this week, and presented Peter with exactly the scene he feared: a breathy, out-of-tune cover of “Rocket Man.” Well, we learned from our mistake. This week, we gave every band that wasn’t Rocket, or Light of Doom, at least one vote. I really hope to never see them again.


  1. Dustin

    This is THE reason why middle-aged, cheap champagne drinking, bad haircut having wretches like yourself can’t make it in the music biz. I’ve spent 7 years in the entertainment industry, 3 of those were in music and producing – after seeing Rocket perform numerous times in smaller venues, (which if you know anything – CBS studios has shit for acoustics and the sound engineering was terrible) they were terrific.

    First of all, any band needs good live sound – this is why we shell out big bucks for a solid engineering crew no matter how much coke or fucking around they do. Secondly, when they do sign to a label, hopefully the execs will spend the right money for a good producer – I do feel with a little work they can have a top seller. They aren’t perfect, but thats the great part – diamonds are indeed in the rough.

    The lead-singer isn’t convinced she’s Gwen Stefani, but I’m convinced you’re a moron. I bet if you heard Cyndi Lauper for the first time, unproduced demos, you’d say she sucked – but Polydor signed on and the rest was history.

    I would like to apologize though, I’m not thoroughly negative about your blatantly stupid opinions – I am very happy folks like you sit at home meddling away at whatever lost dreams you’ve had, while people like myself and the girls of Rocket are out there working in this thankless industry. At least we give you something to do besides knit sweaters for your miserable pets.

    Good day to you.

  2. Tom Hale

    This may be the most uninformed, ridiculous and childish tripe I’ve ever read! Are you brain dead? Or just daft? If you send me your address I’ll send you a quarter so that you may purchase a clue! Rocket is OUTSTANDING! One of the best bands to come down the pike in many years. And if you can’t see that, then I can only assume that you’re blind! And perhaps deaf as well! The next time I want your opinion, I’ll tell it to you!

  3. Misty

    While I sit and appreciate everyones opinions on music and take them in with an open mind- well, nearly everyones- I am infuriated with people like you. I guess I will post a lil rant of my own in reference to your uneducated rant above. Like dustin above, I am a part of the thankless and often times irritating music industry. I have tour managed bands on the road for the past 5 years. I have been with bands that have played to 5 people in a shitty bar and bands that have played to 15,000 in Earl’s Court in London. I’ve seen all ends of the spectrum.

    First you rant about girl bands while not referencing any of the ones in your itunes library. I’d love to know what it is that you listen to girl band wise. I also see where you are going with the fact that girls don’t need to cling to other girls to be in a band but…where’s the harm in an all girl band? What’s wrong with showing young women today that to be in the entertainment industry, you can bring your best girlfriends along with you? I like to reference back to some of the most notable girl bands in history on all ends of the spectrum- The Go-Go’s, The Runaways, Sleater Kinney, The Donna’s…how about we go back to Motown and talk about bands like Martha Reeves and The Vandella’s? All of them – incredibly talented and you know what- they had a fucking blast doing it. They got in trouble, they met boys, they drank booze and got to do it all while being with their closest friends. You know what else- I bet they had off nights that they didn’t perform their best. You can reference all the indie rock girl gods like Karen O and Jenny Lewis all you want. I guarantee you- they’re not having half the good time that the Rocket girls are having. And as much as talent is a part of Rock n Roll, so is having fun while you are doing it.

    I will agree with you on one thing. I never thought Rocket should of been on this show but for VERY different reasons that you do. Imagine this show had been made long ago when bands like X and The Ramones were around. Do you think that either of those bands would of had a shot in hell at winning? Hell no. When things aren’t the norm for the general public, they don’t know how to take it. Of course America has no idea what to do with Rocket and of course horny guys and as you so kindly put it- lesbians are gonna vote for them. However, for different reasons than you think. Those people are not know-it-all, jaded, Friday night sitting at home on their ass with no where to go and nothing to do, closed minded hacks. They are people with more brains than to judge a band because you got to see a 3 minute audition tape. I’m not sure if you know this but in reality TV, they edit things (sarcasm). They showed a small portion of each of the bands. The bands didn’t sing just one song. Well, there blows your “they made it by playing a cover” arguement. Oh…something else…all the judges weren’t there for all the auditions…how does that hit ya? There’s so much that you can’t base off of shows like this. That’s why things like the interweb exist or god forbid even going out to see the band play.

    Oh…and I like the way you bag on the hetero horny men and lesbians by calling them a desperate demographic. Somehow though…you sat at home on Friday night watching too…funny. I hope Melissa Ethridge comes and kicks your ass.

    I’m not even sure where to begin with the Gwen Stefani comment. I can’t see the comparison there anywhere. Even if we wanted to do it off of looks alone, theres no similarity except they’re both blond…kinda. But it does make me read a bit more into your blog. Everyone you seem to reference outside of Karen O is either unknown basically (ie: Eisley- can you tell me how many records they’ve sold, cause I know the answer and it isn’t good for industry standards) or gritty punk (The Ramones, X, The Dickies). These girls have influences that go so far beyond that. Glam Rock, Riot Girl, Metal, Warped Tour Punk and good old rock n roll. Good enough influences that after the show was over – famed producer Don Was worked with them on a few songs.

    I guess my main complaint with your blog is that you took no time to actually check them out besides the show. There’s a reason that media exists. Use it. You might find yourself interested in more than your run of the mill mainstream music. And I hate to say it but the Yeah, Yeah, Yeah’s have become mainstream as have the Ramones. I know you’re probably gonna come back at me with some list of things you listen to that you think no one has ever heard of to justify your comments. Try me, I’ve heard it all and seen quite a bit of it.

    So, I guess like Dustin and the Rocket girls, I will also go back to my work in this industry and trying to make a difference in the minds of open minded consumers…the ones that really count…the ones that are influencing the next wave of things that will become mainstream…the ones that as you put it, are not filled with “contempt” by watching a band on a reality TV show.

    btw- is gimmickry even a word? I’m gonna have to look that up…wait, I bet it will show a picture of the Karen O haircut that half the hipster nation has these days…

  4. Sabrina Brown

    Well I am one of those lesbians you mentioned that love Rocket.

    I have had the privledge to get to know them a bit and not only are they wonderful performers, they are lovely human beings as well.

    Compared to the pimped contestests that Nigel Lithgowe had already planted to win the NGAB competition, Rocket was in a class of their own.

    You proabably rushed out to buy Jordin Spark’s album anyway.

  5. Jed

    By the way, Rocket is not a punk band and they have never called themselves that or attemped to be viewed as one. The show classified them as that to represent something in the cast of bands they had chosen. If you view their website, which most informed writers/bloggers ( you don’t really count) should do, then you would know how to truely represent them. It’s ok to not like things and write blogs that are negative, however at least get your information straight before you start to barrage and judge attempts of creativity.

    Also, as a matter of fact, Rocket played an original and a cover during the Vegas Audition. I know cause I was there. Each band that auditioned was required to play two songs, a cover and an original. Those were rules. Get your facts straight.

  6. juliette

    aww, that’s cute. they had their little friends come here to yell at you for not liking them.

  7. Jennifer

    I have to say that I mostly agree with the poster. I heard about Rocket from a friend and watched them on NGAB, and I just cringed the whole time. Their intros were great, but then they started playing. I love music more than just about anything else in the world, and I really wanted to like Rocket, but I just don’t. I like their look, I like their concept, and I even like some of their songs, but the truth is they’re just not great performers. They have the personality, yes, but the sound is just not there. And yes, I have seen them live (playing a show with a band that I love.) It’s one thing to want with all your might to be a rockstar, but it’s another to actually be one, and I’m afraid Rocket falls into the former category. I hate to bash anyone, but the vocals are just terrible. I do think they have potential, but then again I may just be saying that.

    By the way, bashing the woman who wrote this blog doesn’t make Rocket look any better.


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