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Buzz Bands

December 13, 2007|Kevin Bronson

Their 15 minutes of fame on prime-time television ended in ignominy rather than glory, but the members of the L.A. quintet Rocket (pictured) are neither broken nor bowed. In fact, they regard their short time on Fox TV's "The Next Great American Band" -- an "American Idol"-like show -- as marketing they could not have bought. "What better way to promote our band?" singer Lauren White says. "We have no regrets whatsoever." Adds guitarist Lauren Clark: "For us to be onstage with the lights and all those screaming people -- I couldn't even believe it was happening to this little local band we put together before I could even play guitar." Indeed, Rocket began before its members were musicians, with White, Clark and another friend joking to Teenacide Records honcho Jim Freek in the Spaceland parking lot one night in 2005 that they were "in a band." Freek made it so, and since Rocket's debut EP of largely ghost-performed cover songs, the band has grown to five members who play and write their own music and have toured tirelessly behind it. So when the "American Band" judges slagged White for her singing, she talked back. "Yes, the criticism was harsh, but we know it was television and we know what television does is create drama. We're a little smarter than that; we didn't take it personally," she says. "Besides, a vocalist like Cyndi Lauper was loved and she was hated -- and I'd rather be that than just blend in and be forgotten." Since the show, interest in Rocket's girl-group stylings has rocketed; not only are MySpace plays up, but the group has recorded tracks with, separately, producers Don Was and Beau Dozier and plans to have an album ready in 2008. They've lost neither their persistence nor their sense of humor. "That's us," Clark says with a laugh, "best fake band ever formed in a parking lot." Live: Rocket headlines Safari Sam's on Wednesday and opens for Sugarcult next Thursday at the House of Blues Anaheim. More on the blog: www.latimes.com/buzzbands--

Kevin.Bronson@latimes.com

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