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Rocci Johnson Goes East

Rocci Johnson Band set to play Japan for New Year's Eve


For longer than some of our readers have been able to read, the Rocci Johnson Band has been rocking the rafters as house band at Humpin' Hannah's. Rocci Johnson is a consummate frontman, as comfortable with banter as she is belting out covers of rock classics, particularly when there are servicemen and women in the crowd.

"[Hannah's has] a lot of Air Force, Navy and Marines come in and we have the Marine Corps Ball every year. We're supportive of troops in general. They've got it pretty tough right now. I don't feel like we're taking care of our veterans... They're the frontline, the people having to deal with what our political leaders decide to do," Johnson said. "If I know there's anyone that's come back from overseas, I make sure to get them onstage or send a song out and acknowledge their service."

It looks like military communication systems are in working order because word of Hannah's military support made its way to the top and Johnson received a phone call that will have the Rocci Johnson Band celebrating New Year's Eve by performing for thousands of troops at Japan's Misawa Air Base, which is about 400 miles north of Tokyo.

When Idaho-based event company Aardvark Entertainment (whose founders met in the Air Force) called on behalf of Misawa to invite the band to perform, Johnson thought her brothers were pranking her. Once she got over the initial surprise, however, she and the band were all in.

"I talked with a retired Air Force colonel and he said they'll 'roll out the red carpet' and treat us like real rock stars," Johnson said, with a laugh.

With security clearance and a replacement band secured--Soul Purpose will ring in 2014 at Hannah's--there was only one thing left to do to make this a trip of a lifetime.

"We want to see the sights, so the agent over there said to put in our rider that we want to take a bullet train to Tokyo," said Rocci. "I did and now we have a bullet train to Tokyo. We already feel like real rock stars."