Correction to This Article
A photo caption with a Nov. 14 Style article misidentified one of the Thomas Jefferson High School students with Ian Anderson of the band Jethro Tull. The student at left was David Zeke.
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'Hey Jude'? Duude.

Ian Anderson
Jethro Tull's Ian Anderson visits with Thomas Jefferson High's classic-rock club, including David Zeke, left, John Sigman and Tom Smilack. (Tracy A. Woodward -- The Washington Post)

They do agree on this: The band Chicago rules. The three students have even gone to a Chicago concert together.

Also, Pink Floyd's "Dark Side of the Moon" is AWE-some . And yes, they know all about the kooky things that happen when you begin playing that album as the MGM lion roars for the third time in the opening credits of "The Wizard of Oz." (Like, you know, how the Floyd lyric "look around" presages Dorothy doing just that. And how she checks the Tin Man's heart as "Dark Side" ends with the sound of a heartbeat.)

The Classic Rock Appreciation Society did the whole Dark Side of Oz thing at a meeting once. Indeed, Pink Floyd seems to have become the focal point of the club -- so much so that a school administrator recently needled Zeke and Basques about the need to branch out. (The club's sponsor, English teacher Emmet Rosenfeld, holds no sway over the student society. Not that he minds the direction: "I'm like, 'Hey, we used to watch Pink Floyd videos in high school!' But not actually in school.")

When the club was founded at the start of the 2004-05 school year, hopes weren't particularly high. "We didn't think anybody would show up," Zeke says.

The first meeting, though, was packed, as 40 students rocked out to a Zeppelin DVD, and the club has been a hit ever since. On a recent, rainy Friday, when even more Floyd was played, Room 222 (for real) was just about standing-room-only, with about two girls and 36 boys sitting in for the session.

"We're not the minority," Zeke says.

The Kids Are Alright

And don't think that the brains behind the old bands don't know it.

"The kids have been coming to this music over the last couple-few years," says Jeff Jampol, manager of the classic-rock band the Doors. "They're discovering it, and they're finding the bands interesting and relevant again."

And, Jampol says, he's doing his part: Mindful of the fact that "Light My Fire," "L.A. Woman" and such "have been exposed to basically the same audience for 38 years, and there's this huge, swelling group that doesn't know the band and the music," Jampol and the band's surviving members began making a youth push a couple of years ago, niche-marketing the Doors through media that might attract young culture consumers.

"Break On Through (to the Other Side)" was featured in the video game Tony Hawk's Underground 2. A remake of "Riders on the Storm," on which Snoop Dogg added his laconic, singsongy raps to Jim Morrison's vocals, was featured in another game. A "Peace Frog" remix was used in promotional spots for ESPN's X Games. The rappers Jay-Z and Mos Def were given clearance to sample the band's music, and various TV shows used it as well.

"It's working, because we're seeing all these new Web sites go up," Jampol says. "We're seeing enrollment on our message boards skyrocket." The manager -- who says the surviving band members "are excited and happy to get that artistic validation again" -- estimates that about 2 million Doors albums will be sold this year. And forget what the sales research might show, he says: "It's not just the old Doors fans buying the stuff."

But it's not Zeke, either.

He's already gone through his Doors phase. Even read a biography about Morrison, the band's charismatic singer, who died in 1971.

The serious kid with the serious classic-rock jones has since moved on to more important things. Like finding a way around the rule against playing R-rated videos during his club's meetings. After all, he says, there's a very important classic-rock film he really wants to show: "This Is Spinal Tap."


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