When Rob Thomas learns that Bat Boy: The Musical will be in town the same night as his show at the Hard Rock Live (One Seminole Way, Hollywood), his competitive spirit comes out. "Actually," he confides, "my producer and I have a few songs that we hold on to [to write a musical one day]. I saw Hedwig and the Angry Inch and fell in love with it." Broadway-bound, eh? Well... "I never want to act, but I want to do everything behind it. I'm a horrible actor I notice that in my videos. I've got one stock look, like Frankenstein."
Oh, comparing himself to another legend, is he? Why does Thomas gotta get all up in Bat Boy's territory? He does this every time! Just when somebody else has a number-one hit, there goes Thomas, releasing one of his songs (like his solo hit "Lonely No More" or "Smooth" with Santana or any of his gazillion Matchbox Twenty songs) and stealing their spot. Just when somebody else is nominated for a Grammy, here comes Thomas and swipes it. Yes, that's him hogging up every available radio wave! It's gotten so bad that people can't distinguish him from every other rock singer. Even Thomas himself has examples: "This lady asked me, 'Are you who I think you are ?' And I said, 'I think so.' And she said, 'Oh, I love the Goo Goo Dolls!' Another time, I was in Seattle and some guy yelled, 'Hey, Third Eye Blind sucks!'"
Are we all just jealous of his cool life? Thomas grew up in South Carolina, where his grandma ran a general store. "She didn't have a liquor license," so she bootlegged booze; then, "she started selling pot. She needed to make ends meet. I was 8 years old, breaking up nickel bags and dime bags." Thomas moved to an Orlando trailer park, dropped out of high school, got famous, married a model, and next thing you know, he's writing a song for and smoking out with Willie Nelson ("You can't not! Even if you don't smoke pot, you have to when you're with Willie!"). These days, he says, he's successful enough that, to repay his mom, "I bought her a new Airstream with running water!" Showoff! Thomas plays at 8 p.m. Tickets cost $35 to $60. Call 954-523-3309, or visit www.seminolehardrockhollywood.com. Deirdra Funcheon
Can't Fight the Seether
So what if your band hasn't released an album in five years? Who cares if you've got only one original member? Veruca Salt's Louise Post certainly doesn't. More than a decade after she and former partner Nina Gordon made pubescent alterna-rock boys swoon with "Seether," Post is taking a shiny, new, 2005 edition of Veruca Salt out on the road. Well, the time does seem right for a Veruca Salt comeback. 1994 is in the air: Green Day is the biggest band in the world, VH1's I Love the '90s series draws big ratings, and even the story from which Veruca Salt's name was lifted Charlie and the Chocolate Factory was made into a hit movie by Tim Burton and Johnny Depp (both of whom were cutting-edge back when "Seether" was the default soundtrack to getting over Kurt Cobain's suicide). In the words of Dr. Frank of the Mr. T. Experience, "Alternative is here to stay." Get your fix of alternative rock '94-style when Veruca Salt performs Friday at the Culture Room (3045 N. Federal Hwy., Fort Lauderdale). The show starts at 8 p.m. Opening are electro-rockers the Lovemakers and alternative metal act Porselain. Tickets cost $14.99. Call 954-564-1074, or visit www.cultureroom.net. Lewis Goldberg
Martling's a human joke machine
Jackie "The Joke Man" Martling may have the best delivery in comedy. His reedy, high-pitched voice hurls filthy one-liners from the stage, bludgeoning the audience into giggling submission. And all of his jokes are punctuated by a throaty, deranged-sounding laugh that begins about halfway through the punch line. Formerly the head joke writer for the Howard Stern Show, Martling was recently featured in the movie The Aristocrats and has starred in indie films (which, he tells New Times, are fun but probably won't make him rich). Martling's new line of joke gadgets for kids, however, is another story. The comic teamed with Excalibur Electronics of Miami to create a little machine that tells jokes for the playschool set. "The irony of knowing every dirty joke in the universe and getting rich off of 'knock knock, who's there?' is just too fucking funny," Martling says. Hear the legend for yourself Friday and Saturday at the New York Comedy Club (8221 Glades Rd., Boca Raton). Tickets cost $15 to $20. Call 561-470-6887, or visit www.nyccboca.com. P.J. Tobia
Will Rocks for Food
They say if Bruce Springsteen came out of the Nashville of the 1990s instead of the New Jersey of the 1960s, he might've come across a bit like Will Hoge. Hoge's music has that same cinematic scope, sounding as if it came out of a period of Americana that never really existed. The hard-touring Hoge sings deeply personal songs rooted in themes we can all relate to. His band could be your life. Admit it, hipster even you can feel for Hoge in songs like "Not That Cool," from his latest album, Blackbird on a Lonely Wire. Lest you think from that description that Will Hoge is a dusty, No Depression folkie, be assured this guy can rock like hell. His live shows are full of enthusiastic rock 'n' roll sing-alongs, adding considerable bar-band muscle to his twangy roots. Hoge's natural flair for showmanship is rivaled only by his solid material. But it's a tossup that benefits us all. Will Hoge barnstorms Respectable Street (518 Clematis St., West Palm Beach) at 8 p.m. Friday, along with Truckstop Coffee. Tickets cost $8. Call 561-832-9999. Lewis Goldberg