By Brandon “B-Mac” McCarthy
This year marks the final Vans Warped Tour. I am not 100% sure if the whole festival is cancelled or if it will just be a weekend event, but it is sad to see the end of an era. I never been to a Warped Tour show myself, but I was curious to check it out. So, Matt, Kendra and I headed down to the first show of the tour, Pomona. While there, I was scheduled for a bunch of interviews that day. The sun was shining, the weather was boiling, and I was enthusiastic to get to chatting. One of the first groups I got to talk with was Cockeyed Optimist. A hard rock group with post-grunge flair from the OC, they are also a band who is out to pursue mental health awareness. That is awesome of them. Members include vocalist Cynda Renae, drummer Nick Stone, bassist Hector P., and guitarist Sean Pierce Johnson.
The band’s name comes from a show tune of the same title from the 1949 Rogers & Hammerstein musical South Pacific, which is about being hopeful despite the struggles in life. Renae and Johnson met at the Musician’s Institute in Hollywood and started working on music together, while they met Stone through Craigslist and Hector knew Johnson from before. I was new to Cockeyed Optimist, so I had the group explain what their sound is like. They have trying to get on the Warped Tour for the past 3 years with no success, so since this is the last one, Renae did everything she could to get them on finally. The band also started nonprofit for suicide prevention toward high school students, which is cool of them. Renae shared with her personal experience with suicide and how music helped save her. She has been through a lot, so helping others is also helping her.
That day, Cockeyed Optimist would debut their newest single, “Manotheistic,” which Renae explains it is about our obsession with technology and worshiping ourselves. They have 8 songs written for an album, and they want to release a new single each new season, which is a new approach to releasing music. We would go to discuss who their influences are as musicians, which was all over the place and not necessarily all hard rock.
I loved getting to know Cockeyed Optimist. They are a group on a special mission to rock out and make everybody feel special about themselves. We need more groups out there spreading awareness on mental health and suicide. Lots of bands do that, but these guys are making it their mission. I had fun with Johnson because he was wearing a Garth Algar shirt from Wayne’s World and we were quoting a couple of the lines. It is nice to meet someone who appreciates that movie today. To Cockeyed Optimist, I salute you. Horns up!!!
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