You know the gods of mainstream rock are smiling down on you when your band makes it onto a Now That's What I Call Music compilation. The CDs, sold in grocery-store checkout lines across the country, have now spawned their 20th sequel and four of those discs have featured repeated pop-chart visitors 3 Doors Down. It's a rarity to find a band in that position that knows its roots. Recent rock memory starts to get a little fuzzy right before the grunge scene took over. The newer kids remember Pearl Jam but not Neil Young. They know Green Day and Metallica, but, you know, who the hell's Bob Seger? A band like 3 Doors Down is there for those of us who haven't yet baked our brains clean of any musical references pre-1992.
So what do 12 million albums sold in five years earn a band? Aside from millions of dollars, 3 Doors Down got old-school bragging rights over Metallica. While Lars Ulrich and James Hetfield were content to remake Bob Seger's 1972 "Turn the Page," 3 Doors Down talked Seger into taking time out of his busy schedule of collecting royalties to lay down tracks on the band's original monster ballad, "Landing in London." The song has the same basic woe-is-me tale that Seger sang 33 years ago.
The theme of how difficult it is to be rich and powerful is constant in the band's songs. From its first major hit, "Kryptonite" about the sad life of Superman to its current radio track, "Let Me Go," 3 Doors Down plays off the same theme of them against the world. Because as we all know, having your youth, living the rock-star life, and having access to unlimited disposable income is terribly burdensome. Think Gen-X-friendly alt-rock, somewhere between Creed and Matchbox Twenty. Seger and Metallica made it to rotation on classic-rock stations 3 Doors Down is sure to follow. For now, you can catch the band Thursday at Sound Advice Amphitheatre (601-7 Sansbury's Way, West Palm Beach). Opening are Shinedown, Alter Bridge, and illBreak. Tickets cost $33.50 to $43.50. Visit www.ticketmaster.com. Jake Smith
Just Elkin' Around
The Elks? What is this, some kind of fraternal service organization? Nope. These Elks comprise a six-legged pop-punk machine. Not a Blink-182, major-label-style, pop-punk machine but a totally groovy lo-fi indie collective à la J Church or Apples in Stereo. Based in Orlando and led by one Mike Spiegs (and "whomever will actually play with him"), the Elks have an entire pasture of supershort, supercatchy tunes more fun than a night at the Moose Lodge. Spiegs says he's got hundreds of songs recorded, but at least for now, the only way you're going to hear most of them is to go out and see his band play live. Here's your farm bureau update: Don't miss this herd when they treat South Florida to not just one but two shows this week. First up is Friday at Sonny's Stardust Lounge (5181 Powerline Rd., Fort Lauderdale, 954-776-6082) with the Rulers and Last Year's Heroes. Doors are at 10 p.m.; admission costs $4. On Saturday, the Elks head south to the Billabong Pub (3000 Country Club Rd., Pembroke Park, 954-985-1050), where they join Map of the Universe and the Hideous Idiots. Admission costs $4. Visit www.myspace.com/theelks. Lewis Goldberg
So young, so old
Irish playwright George Bernard Shaw famously wrote that "youth is wasted on the young." Of course, Shaw never got to see the Rolling Stones. Or, better yet, the work of a fellow playwright Athol Fugard's Exits and Entrances. Set in the mid-20th Century, the story follows a young South African playwright and his former mentor, André Huguenet, an accomplished but fading actor who's ready for his final stage exit. While the young playwright goes unnamed, the character is based on Fugard himself, albeit a much younger version. As the wide-eyed young dramatist embarks on the start of a promising career, Huguenet struggles to make peace with his status as a fading star. It's a dilemma every performer eventually has to deal with. OK, everyone but Mick Jagger. Exits and Entrances opens Friday and runs through January 15 at the Florida Stage (262 S. Ocean Blvd., Manalapan). Tickets for opening night cost $75 and cost $42 to $45 thereafter. Call 561-585-3433, or visit www.floridastage.org. Jason Budjinski
A solo stint by the singer of a Slipknot side project might not seem like much of an attention-getter. But most side projects aren't the Murderdolls, and most singers aren't Wednesday 13. Equal parts Rob Zombie and Alice Cooper, Wednesday 13 stirs up sly horror rock with a forked tongue planted firmly in his satanic cheek. Just check out his second album, Transylvania 90210: Songs of Death, Dying, and the Dead. It's loaded with enough theatrical gloom-and-doom aplomb to scare the average 14-year-old's parents but at the same time one-ups the competition by adding humor and wit. Evil hasn't been this much fun since Glenn Danzig and the Misfits stopped trading licks and started trading litigation. Wednesday 13 performs at 8 p.m. Friday with the Genitorturers and Incode at the Culture Room (3045 N. Federal Hwy., Fort Lauderdale). Tickets cost $14.99. Call 954-564-1074, or visit www.cultureroom.net. Lewis Goldberg