Garth's alter ego feeble on charts; Music: The country star's bold reinvention of his persona doesn't seem to resonate with listeners.


Garth Brooks' bid to become a rock star has crumbled.

"The Life of Chris Gaines," the country singer's first album recorded under the name of a long-haired, slimmed-down, rocking alter ego, made a feeble debut by Brooks' usual standards, selling 262,067 copies and opening on this week's Billboard Top 200 at No. 2.

Brooks' last album, "Double Live," moved 1,085,000 copies in its first week, which was less than a year ago. His previous work, 1997's "Seven," moved 897,000 in its opening volley.

The country star was beaten this time by Creed, a critically reviled, grunge knock-off band from Florida, whose second album, "Human Clay," snared the No. 1 spot with 315,670 copies. Creed's last album, its debut, sold 3.5 million copies, making it the second-biggest rock album of the last year, after Offspring's "Americana."

Brooks can't claim that his latest effort suffered from inadequate advance exposure or that his fans were confused. He pushed the album, and explained its character, in a prime-time NBC special the week of the LP's release. Also, a single, "Lost in You," released in advance of the LP, went Top 5 on the pop charts and No. 1 on the country singles sales list.

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