A chat with Comcast… “This is a rare and complicated issue.”


Comcast Remote Mascot Rubber Suit 2011 Festiva...

Comcast Remote Mascot Rubber Suit 2011 Festival of the Arts June 04, 201124 (Photo credit: stevendepolo)

We’ve all called the cable company, right?  We all know the steps in the process; The unplugging, the replugging, the test signals.  It descends into ridiculousness pretty quickly.  So does my chat with technical support.  This was after trying the unplugging/replugging solution, calling the line and getting the automates system to send a test signal to my cable box & tell me to wait a half an hour for it to take effect, and then talking to a real live person who sent the same signal, told me to wait 45 minutes for it to take effect, and managed to advertise their home phone and internet services… on a technical support call.   That’s more annoying that seeing catering advertisements everywhere in Panera & Boston Market.

chat id: a543eaef-97d5-4dbf-b2ad-9222056467f0
Problem: Not all channels are displaying on 2nd cable box s/n:############. Problem has been occurring all week. I have tried the unplug/replug trick, called the 800# 2x, automated sys & operator both sent reset signal to the box to no avail.
Eric > My Issue: Not all channels are displaying on 2nd cable box s/n:############. Problem has been occurring all week. I have tried the unplug/replug trick, called the 800# 2x, automated sys & operator both sent reset signal to the box to no avail.
Jerand > Hello Eric, Thank you for contacting Comcast Live Chat Support. My name is Jerand. Please give me one moment to review your information.
Jerand > Oh my, I can’t imagine myself having those equipment issues especially that cable TV is part of my daily routine, no worries, we’ll definitely work on a sure fix to resolve this one way or the other.
Jerand > I’m really sorry that you have experienced this issue.
Jerand > I am seeing here that you have problem in getting channels with your box, correct?
Eric > Thank you Jerand.
Eric > That is correct. Not all channels are displaying on my box.
Eric > For example, the History Channel. (#53 regular, 876 digital.)
Eric > I had a similar issue when I first installed these new HD boxes.
Jerand > Are you able to see history channel in channel 46?
Eric > s/n above was somehow replaced by an emoticon… actual s/n: ############
Jerand > How may boxes do you have, Eric?
Eric > No, I try to see channel 46, and it takes it to 47 (AMC), still no picture.
Eric > We have 2 boxes. The other one is working perfectly fine. Watching H2 right now in HD.
Jerand > So you have 2 HD boxes, correct?
Eric > Yes, that is correct.
Jerand > Thanks for clarifying that.
Jerand > I am going to perform a diagnostic check of your services and equipment. This “Health Check” verifies the current status of your equipment and you services. It should only take a minute or two for the results. Would you mind staying on the chat?
Eric > No problem, Jerand. I would like this issue to be resolved tonight if possible.
Jerand > Thanks for clarifying that.
Jerand > I appreciate your cooperation.
Jerand > Thank you.
Jerand > By the way, let me share with you a very entertaining Comcast feature. Did you know you can watch many of your favorite TV shows and movies online at no additional cost with Comcast. Check out http://www.xfinitytv.com to watch the latest TV shows, relive a favorite television moment, or just relax with a movie. All you need to do is to open a browser, type http://www.xfinitytv.com and you can start to witness thousands of fascinating titles and TV shows.
Eric > Thanks for your help, I look forward to the “Health Check” results.
Eric > That sounds interesting, but I don’t watch much TV on my computer.
Jerand > Thank you for patiently waiting. I apologize for it being longer than you expected.
Jerand > I don’t see anything on your account or any outage in your area that would be causing this issue.
Jerand > Can you please check on your box and see if there is any progress.
Eric > Thanks Jerand. Our working cable box did cut out & come back on…but the box that’s not working is still not working.
Jerand > Is that with the same box, correct?
Eric > Yes, that is correct. Box ############ is still not working correctly.
Jerand > Please bare with me.
Eric > No problem.
Jerand > Would you allow me 2-3 minutes to check on this again?
Eric > Yes, be my guest. Thank you!
Jerand > You are most welcome.
Jerand > While waiting I want to introduce to you comcast.com, Comcast.com has an extensive series of Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) that cover all of our products. Customers do not have to sign in to access the FAQs. Quick steps to do it. Open a web browser window and go to http://customer.comcast.com/Pages/HelpNFC.aspx?id=Comcast-Help-and-Support-Cable-TV On the home page, the navigation menus are on the left side of the window and click on Customers then Help and Support.
Jerand > Oh, by the way.
Jerand > Are you having skipping channel issues?
Eric > I’m trying chat because both of my phone calls to 1-800-XFINITY amount to being as helpful as asking my wall to fix the cable box. I’m not sure what you mean by skipping channels?
Jerand > Can you please tell me what channels are you trying to watch?
Eric > Thank you for informing me about the FAQ. You may want to tell your managers/superiors that it’s quite annoying to have Comcast features or other services advertised to you while you’re on chat (or on a phone line) trying to resolve a technical issue. I understand that you’re just doing your job… so I can’t get mad at you. It’s a goofy idea.
Eric > I am trying to watch the History Channel. Either 53 regular definition or 875 HD.
Eric > Actually, the box that WAS working fine… now has “To Be Announced” in every time slot in the guide menu.
Jerand > Sorry about the the advertisement.
Jerand > When you access channel 53 and 758, TCM and HISTORY HD, what can you see on the screen?
Eric > Again, I understand it’s not your fault or decision, Jerand. You are trying your best to help me out.
Eric > I see a black screen (with a temporary blue info box at the bottom) when I try 53 & 758. Those aren’t the correct channels for my area.
Eric > 53 is the History Channel here.
Eric > The menu shows that American Pickers should be on right now, but it’s a black screen.
Eric > No sound.
Jerand > Thanks for clarifying that.
Jerand > Hold on a minute please.
Jerand > This is a rare and complicated issue.
Jerand > This could be a box problem.
Eric > No problem.
Eric > Is there a way that I can get a new box to install?
Jerand > May I know the type of connector that you are using to connect the cable box to your TV? i,e. RCA(yellow, white, red), Component(blue, green, red), Coax(the same wire used to connect the box to the wall).
Jerand > Correct! It is really possible. You can swap your box at your nearest local office.
Eric > Component.
Jerand > Do you have an HDMI wire?
Eric > The TV that I’m connecting to doesn’t have an HDMI input. It’s an older flat screen with only DVI, component, & coax inputs.
Eric > I am able to see some channels with no issues. 802 (local KDKA channel 2 for example) is displaying properly.
Jerand > Can we follow these steps please:
Jerand > 1. Locate one of the following buttons on your TV remote- Input, TV/VCR, Source. Press whichever is available. 2. Select the correct input. Please take note of the following. ***If you are using HDMI cable wire to connect the box to the TV, make sure your TV is on HDMI input. *** If coax cable, it should be on channel 3 or 4. *** If component cables (colored wires), on Video or Aux.
Eric > Yes, I have the component cable connected, and the TV is on the input setting for the correct connection.
Eric > Jerand, I’m really really not an idiot. I’m actually quite technically savvy.
Jerand > I’ve reviewed our systems and we’ve performed the necessary troubleshooting. Obviously there is still an issue so I feel the best method is to open a ticket to report this to our technician team.
Jerand > I believe this is a defective box.
Jerand > You can swap this box at your nearest local office, Eric.
Eric > That would be awesome, but I work on the road & don’t have time to wait at home during the day for a cable technician to visit. Can I get a box in the mail & send one back? That’s how I got the HD boxes before.
Jerand > Sure! I would be glad to do that for you.
Eric > I have no idea where the local Comcast office is, or if I can even get there during their operating hours.
Eric > Jerand, you are a saint. Thank you for your time and persistence.
Jerand > Please give me a minute to process your request.
Eric > When you tell your manager/supervisor that the advertisements are annoying to customers, tell them that you need a raise.
Jerand > Acknowledge, Eric. I am sorry.
Eric > I think we may have a bit of a language barrier here. English isn’t your first language, is it? No matter. We’re arriving at an agreeable solution, my friend.
Jerand > Acknowledged*
Jerand > I am sorry for the typo, I am handling 4 customers now.
Jerand > But you are my first priority.
Eric > Wow, that’s a lot to handle! Thank you for your time.
Jerand > There would be a $9.95 fee for shipping the box, I will do credit this amount for an inconvenience.
Jerand > In order for me to validate this shipping transaction, I need to verify the account completely. For verification purposes, may I please have your account number?
Eric > Thank you, sounds like a plan.
Eric > Sure: ______________
Jerand > I am almost done, please give me 1 more minute.
Eric > Anything for you, my friend.
Jerand > Thank you for patiently waiting. I apologize for it being longer than you expected.
Eric > This is the best customer service I have ever received from Comcast.
Jerand > Here is your order # ______________.
Jerand > You will be receiving the HD box within 3-5 business days.
Eric > The people I talked to on the phone might has well have been robots.
Eric > Thank you, Jerand. Good luck with your other 3 customers! Don’t forget to tell your boss that you deserve a raise. (…and that in-support advertisements are more annoying than nails on a chalkboard.)
Jerand > You are most welcome.
Jerand > Just a quick recap, we have check the input on your box, connections, and since we have detected that this a problem with the box we prefer to change to box. We shipped and I already credited the $9.95 shipping fee.
Jerand > Just to let you know, at the end of this chat there will be a short survey. I would appreciate it if you would take a moment to complete it so we can continue to improve the service we provide to you.
Jerand > Is there anything else I can help you with? I am glad to assist you further.
Eric > Nope, that’s all tonight. I understand that a box is coming to my house, I will be credited the shipping charge, and that I know how to connect the box to my TV and select the correct input with the remote control. I also understand that there will be a survey. Will I get a credit on my cable bill for all the TV that I will miss in the next 3 to 5 business days while I wait for this box?
Jerand > Sure, I will also make sure you will not be billed for the interval where you had no service, so no worries, this is as good as fixed.
Jerand > Yes, you will be receiving that with 3-5 business days.
Eric > Dude, that RULES.
Eric > Thank you for your time & assistance.
Jerand > You are most welcome.
Jerand > Thank you for your patience and understanding as well.
Jerand > Is there anything else I can help you with? I am glad to assist you further.
Eric > Nope that’s all this evening, sir.
Jerand > I would greatly appreciate it if you can spare a few seconds to take the survey. Your favorable answer will inspire us to continue improving our service. Once you click on “EXIT CHAT” it is located on the upper-right corner of the chat box, you can now “TAKE SURVEY” highlighted in red. I am glad that I was able to Resolved your issue, there is no additional steps needed. Your feedback would mean alot to me.
Eric > Rock n’ roll! \m/ I’ll give you high scores on the feedback.
Jerand > You are most welcome.
Jerand > I appreciate your cooperation.
Jerand > Take care of yourself for me.
Jerand > Don’t forget the survey!
Jerand > Thank you for contacting Comcast! We appreciate your business and value you as a customer! If you need assistance in the future, please do not hesitate to contact us through Live Chat or E-mail (available 24 hours a day, 7days a week). Comcast also offers great FAQ and Help forums located at http://customer.comcast.com/help-and-support/ to help you solve many issues on your own. You can also reach us through our Hotline 1-800-9346489 or 1-800-XFINITY. To close the chat, please click the exit chat or end session button now. You take good care always and have a wonderful night!
Eric > You too, my friend, you too!
Outsourced (film)

Outsourced (film) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Apparently being a smartass can save you a couple of bucks off of your cable bill.  It never hurts to ask, right?  I could break down so many of those responses & analyze them… but I thought it was a fun conversation as a whole.

I took a survey afterwards, & left this in the comment box:

I had to call 1-800-XFINITY twice, then do a chat to get a resolution.  Jerand who was the last to chat with me was an exemplary employee… despite what I perceived as a slight language barrier.  Your tech support shouldn’t pretend they’re in the US when they’re not.  Jerand is the man.  Give him a raise.

Also…  STOP WITH THE ADVERTISEMENTS WHILE I’M TRYING TO GET A TECHNICAL ISSUE RESOLVED.  It’s annoying, insulting, and aggravating.  Why would I want to order more services form a company that can’t provide me with ONE service that works properly?

Hope that dude gets some recognition.  Ha ha.

I am computer smart & very good with organization.


Worst resume ever?  Perhaps.  It’s pretty funny though… so maybe if the writer can harness the chaos, it can be put to good use.  I wish I could take credit for writing or even finding this, but I can’t.  It comes from a note posted on Facebook by my good friend Mike.  I asked him if I could steal it to share with a wider audience, and he agreed that it’s too good to not be shared.

So, grab a cup of coffee, and pretend you’re looking to hire someone…

[Mike’s forward: This comes from my pal at a local coffee shop. This kid came in and insisted on including this resume with his application. I have not edited it for content, spelling or punctuation aside from anything containing his personal info. Have fun!!]

 Resume of, AUTHOR.

 Address: (Something, Pittsburgh PA 15219.)

 Best way to contact: E-Mail.(email@college.edu.)

 Attending college at: (College.)

 Major of study: (Graphic Design, moving up to Game & Art Design.)

 Degree earning: (Bachelor’s Degree, “4 years.”)

 Years done so far out of 4: (almost a full 2 years total.)

 Skill’s & Talent’s, which PERSON can bring to this job offer, is as followed:

  • I have both my Adobe & Microsoft skills.
  • I wield the knowledge & understanding on, how to properly function these programs.
  • I am computer smart & very good with organization.
  • I am a hard worker & I get stuff done right the first time around.
  • I am very well, at English & speaking.
  • I understand details very quickly & fluently as well.

 I take direction extremely well & work as hard as I can, in order to guarantee success at whatever it is I am presently doing.

  • I am a team player & can be greatly independent upon my efforts put fourth in my work too.
  • I can give great advice to fellow students, if I do not know an answer to a question I will first try to see if I can figure it out, or guide them to the correct person in position to answer their questions.
  • I am passionate at everything I do, I never waste time I work first & leave the relaxing time for when it can be enjoyed without consequence.  

Background & Job qualifications.

You are probably asking yourself:  

  • “Why should I consider hiring, this college student?
  • What makes him, stand out more than any other college student. who may be applying?
  • Does he have the ambition & determination, to follow through with this job position?
  • Will he ever fail me, or let me down in anyway imaginable?
  • Can he be trusted & reliable, to do this type of work?  

” These are all very good questions & I can inform security, that I can honestly answer them all, both correctly & factually, while backing up everything I am about to explain with evidence. ”  

  • I feel you should consider my employment, cause I am a working type of person almost 95 percent of my time, my life is what I do, in this cause art & employment, I seem to never stop moving or working on something important, while others party with friends I am either figuring out life arrangements, school finances & study, or just creating neat art, cause that’s what I came to an art college for.

I believe what makes me stand out, is my never give up attitude, my spunky side which shines through as a bubbly personality, my humor can be a personality trait in particular settings, I naturally love people & always give my all & best to help them, I would give a homeless guy the remaining dollar in my wallet & I have done that a lot, so I just believe with every good employee, comes a caring strong individual. I am a determined student, with one option only, success. Failure is a given, but I never allow it, it will never be3 a option for me, if I want this dream career & lifestyle I have to want it, I have to live it & most importantly I have to fight for it full throttle. I brought my GPA up this quarter from a 1.7 now is at a peaking 2.4 /2.5 & there are still a few grades that need to placed in their, but I know how I did by communicating with my professors, it will at least be a 2.5 if anything. I can guarantee excellent & efficient work ethic, delivered daily without any questions ask. I am up for change, so if details in the work environment turn to the left or to the right I am on the ball & never respond negatively to a changed course or daily pattern. I am a Full-Time Student, at the COLLEGE, in the Graphic Design Program (Bachelors Degree.) I came for Game & art Design. though my art work from high school, passed in insanely well, my mathematics’ is what I am working on in order to move up & soon enough I will do just that.  

Personal Cover Letter.

I am a very determined person. I believe in promotion, even where it seems, down right impossible. I believe anyone of us, can succeed at what we dream. It’s not where you come from, that makes who you are today, It is what you went through & how you handled it, in order to get to where you are today. I do not believe in using your pass negative experiences, as an alibi, nor do I agree with, failure being an option. I came from a rough life, beofre I became the young successful man I am today. I was the boy on the streets, the boy with no father or mother, nor anyone to love him. I came from Foster Cares, an endless amount & I went through life’s tragedies at an early age. Though my life was difficult, I still dreamed of a brighter tomorrow, with that said, I always said I BELIEVE. I never listened, when family & outsiders use to say, give up that’s a fairy tale dream-life it will never happened I still held my head high & believed, their must be more to this world Everyone can not simply be this horrid, their must be a better life, out there just waiting around the bend, sure enough after 17 to 18 years of my life, I found out that I was in fact very correct. There was a dream-life outside of tragedy & despair & that’s what I found today, for 2 years right out of high school I jumped on the college bandwagon & never stepped off since, still dealing with tragedies sure we always will, but I deal with them, get through them, the mature way, the professional way & I still do what my work & schooling expects of me.

I did have a part time job at the local Dunkin’ Donuts, but ran into, some scheduling details that weren’t that well explained in this case, every week was a new schedule & it began to confuse many employees working on the site. I worked as a very hard worker for a solid month, to the point that, the Assistant Manager taking over soon, said I wish I was in charge right now cause you would still be my employee, he apologized & said you the only one here who cleans, closes & runs this shop like a professional & to the book, like me, everyone else seems to slide on through & slack off, he said my apologize. This was very difficult it hurt very badly to where I cried a bit, I never been rejected in that fashion, so I think we all, get that wake up call, that proves to us even if your doing everything in your power to be the best employee, sometimes life still happens, all we can do is cry, move on & change for the better in the end I am also applying for 2 part times or one Full time position this quarter I have to find a place to live come September 1h & I expect to be okay, come fall something tells me I will. I guarantee, though I work part time, I will have more than enough time to work for you, this is without questioning, I would have never applied if I couldn’t bring the goods to the table, trust me. Many days I sit bored in a dorm silly, cause I don’t work that day or classes are finished, so I have all the time in the world I am a hard worker & I believe living life to it’s fullest, takes effort in order to receive it’s glory

Did he get the job?  Please, share your thoughts!  I’d also love to know how much of this was put through Google Translate.  Think any of it was?  I hope some of it was, anyway.

What’s your favorite line?  There are so many good ones!  This should replace the standard lourem ipsum.

Google Engrish.


So, recently I ordered a CD from Japan that I was unable to acquire anywhere else.  I find myself ordering stuff from Amazon.co.jp every once in a while because apparently I like bands that have a penchant for releasing stuff exclusive to other continents.  (Or I like bands that belong to record companies that have a penchant for releasing stuff exclusive to other continents.)

How/why Amazon.com and Amazon.co.jp are two different companies and why I can’t order stuff from the co.jp through my .com account is beyond me, but I have resigned to that fact and got myself an account with each entity.

This latest find is a split featuring Duncan Redmonds (of Snuff/Guns n’ Wankers/Billy No Mates/Duncan’s Divas and more recently Toy Dolls & Bubble and Squeak fame) called Don’t Wake Up the Kids.  I got an email a while ago from Amazon.co.jp alerting me to it’s release… but I haven’t’ seen it anywhere else since.  Duncan said he’d eventually have copies coming out of the UK, but I’m impatient so I had to order it.

Today I got the tracking email, and I decided to pop over to Google Translate to see what it said (even though I knew what the point of the email was & could see the tracking number).  The result was amusing.  I thought I’d share.

Subject: Amazon.co.jp shipping order (000-0000000-0000000)

********************************
Top Amazon.co.jp has updated hourly!
Most Popular Now check => http://www.amazon.co.jp/topsellers
********************************

News from Amazon.co.jp

Products we have shipped your order from you today.

I let you know your order has been processed.

Welcome to Amazon.co.jp, thank you. And the available
I’ll be expecting you.

We ship items are as follows.
————————————————– ——————-
Quantity Item Price Shipped Subtotal
————————————————– ——————-
Do not Wake Up The 1 ¥ 1,600 1 ¥ 1,600

————————————————– ——————-
Subtotal: ¥ 1,600
Shipping: ¥ 2,000

Total: ¥ 3,600 (USD 40.82)
Credit card payment: ¥ 3,600:  (USD 40.82)
————————————————– ——————

Amazon Total points Maipointopeji please visit:
http://www.amazon.co.jp/MyPoints

For more information, please check Amazon points from the following links:
http://www.amazon.co.jp/points-help
————————————————– ——————

This was sent to the shipping address below.

Eric Carroll c/o XXXXXXXXX Like
XXXXXXXXXXXXX
XXXXXXXXXXXXX
XXXXXXXXXXXXX
XXXXXXXXXXXXX
United States

Shipping: FEDEX

The contact number for shipping this document
000000000000

To check the current delivery status, Amazon.co.jp site account ”
Service “(http://www.amazon.co.jp/your- account) were examined with
Available.
However, it may take some time until the situation is reflected in delivery
Please note.

“Account” (http://www.amazon.co.jp/your-account) Page
If you move, you can check your order status online, still sending out work
You can change the contents of other order has not been started.

If you have any questions, “Help Desk”
(http://www.amazon.co.jp/help) please visit.見Tsukara necessary information
If not, “Help Desk” in the “Amazon.co.jp Contacting” The
Linking E-mail please contact us.

Amazon.co.jp offers, new products to suit your choice, recommended
Commodity stocks 申Shi forward to welcome you and informative articles
And up.

Welcome to Amazon.co.jp, thank you.

————————————————– ——————-
This E-mail address is used only for delivery. If not, please reply to this message
Or
The. Amazon.co.jp thank you to the future.

————————————————– ——————-
Amazon.co.jp
http://www.amazon.co.jp
————————————————– ——————-

I’ve heard this referred to as “Engrish“. I find it amusing.  One of these days though, I really would like to learn some Japanese.  It just seems so completely different, it would be really interesting.

The product description that appears even after I click the “see in English” button on Amazon.co.jp is still in Japanese, so I tried that out too…

Do not Wake Up The Kids!: Split
– Reddomonzu Duncan, Joey Cape horizontal Ken Yamaguchi (Artist), Joey Cape (Artist), Ken Yamaguchi horizontal (Artist), Reddomonzu Duncan (Artist)

Contents Introduction
Sun United States and Britain ★, split album is a dream three teamed to lead the world punk scene!
★ <Acoustic> the original keyword, LAGWAGON vocal JoeyCape, SNUFF vocals / drums DuncanRedmonds, you know, and KenYokoyama recorded a song solo just for the work it each three of his! As a player, a songwriter, punks As punk music can play adult because the real experience and ability!
To celebrate the release of this work ★, coupling Japan tour from Leko determine how the following date! Do not miss the limited time premium dream co-star!! ★ LAGWAGON, COKEHEADHIPSTERS, GOOD4NOTHING and handle Featured illustrator “TMpaint” special jacket with newly written!
Are actively engaged in a solo acoustic set with their previous individual 3 ★, the concept of luxury unheard of movement in response to the first acoustic song by punk artist becoming a major upsurge in the world to see Split decision board!
For Artists
JoeyCape: 90 LAGWAGON was formed in California, more than 10 albums released so far as the front man. FatWreckChords FatMike launched by NOFX’s founding member, and 90 made famous by labels such as the US Hazime Hiroshi the part of the punk movement. She is active in 2004 as a band TonySly (NOUSEFORANAME) and split, 1st solo album in 08 years if it is [Bridge and solo as he announces.
DuncanRedmonds: vocals himself in England in 1986 / SNUFF formed serving as a drum. A lot of attention around the world including Europe and America since its activities are still boasts a perennial favorite of many celebrities, including the cover and supported by sound and full of sorrow that Japanese in Japan. In addition to such KenYokoyama SNUFF with his or BILLYNOMATES TOYDOLLS, DUNCAN’SDIVAS various side projects / solo work is known, its name in 2008 as his first solo album [BubbleAndSqueak implemented its complete .
KenYokoyama: Year 94, Hi-STANDARD began working as a guitarist. After he set a milestone in the worldwide number of Japanese as well, since his solo 04 KENBAND KenYokoyama led three albums as a piece of 2 EP, 2 DVD overwhelming support of the work and announce The proud. At the same time, such as PizzaOfDeath launched his own popular band produced by various labels, there continue to lead the Japanese punk scene literally. March 10 The long awaited 4th album to release Four 』.

What?

Don’t tell me it’s too late… Slash solo album review.


Slash“Don’t tell me it’s too late” is a line from my favorite song on the album, I’m reviewing this well after it came out, and it seems like a running theme lyrically through more than a few songs on the album… so I felt that it was appropriate to work into the title of this post.

If you know my musical tastes at all, you know that Guns N’ Roses is near the top of my list in all-time favorites.  So, with some warning, this may be a little biased.  The basic idea for this record was for Slash to pull in session musicians and do the record he wanted to do that wouldn’t necessarily fit into any other mold.  He’s done session & guest work with everyone from ICP to Rihanna, it’s about time to turn it around.  (I’m sure it doesn’t hurt that Velvet Revolver is on “hiatus” and Slash’s Snakepit seems dissolve after each album.)

Since it’s such a diverse record (with and endless number of releases), I’m going to try to throw out my opinions track-by-track, and then wrap it all up.

  1. “Ghost” – Featuring the vocal talents of Ian Astbury and the only other guitarist to appear anywhere on the album, the venerated and underrated Izzy Stradlin.  The song starts the album with a really nice melodic riff and Izzy’s guitar fills in just like it did back in the Appetite days.  Their work back & forth is unmistakable… and I’d love to hear more of it in the future.  While I like the guitar play in Velvet Revolver with Dave Kushner, Izzy and Slash are like a left hand & a right hand when playing guitar… they’re aware of what the other is doing without thinking about it.  Ian Astbury sounds awesome, and really fit well with this song.  I laugh every time I hear him though, as I once spent the better part of a day convincing a former co-worker that Ian Astbury & Glenn Danzig weren’t the same person.  I’ll never forget when The Cult’s “Fire Woman” was on the radio… he was all “You can’t tell me that this isn’t the guy who sings ‘Mother’.  It’s the same guy!”  At any rate… I hope this is picked up as a single, I’d love to see some live performances of this with Ian, or even a video.  It’s a nice unapologetic 80’s-ish rocker of a tune that doesn’t sound ridiculously dated.  Already you can tell that Eric Valentine‘s production on this album blows any Velvet Revolver stuff out of the water, because you can actually hear the guitar.
  2. “Crucify the Dead” – With Ozzy Osbourne on vocals, and somewhat inexplicably Taylor Hawkins on background vocals., this one starts out somewhat somber and ends up rocking.  It could have easily been on any Ozzy album from No More Tears on.  It’s somewhat odd to hear Slash doing the palm-muted power-chord chugging… and just the way that the guitars are layered.  I think that’s the point of this album though, to hear Slash doing stuff that you wouldn’t hear anywhere else.  It sets that right away with this song.  It would have been cool to have Zakk Wylde on this track too.  The one thing that makes it stand out as an Ozzy song is the lack of Zakk’s style of pinch n’ squeal harmonics.  I really love the melodic guitar lines here though.  I can imagine that Taylor was in the studio hanging out with Chris Chaney who plays bass on most tracks of the album (whom with he currently plays in Taylor Hawkins and the Coattail Riders & they both played with Alanis Morissette once upon a time) and/or Dave Grohl and they just needed someone to do Ozzy backing vocals because he was too tired or didn’t know where he was.  This is the first of many incestuous rock n’ roll band relationships that are all over this album.
  3. “Beautiful Dangerous” – This is the song with Fergie.  Yeah, that Fergie.  Slash has done a bunch of live gigs with her, and she slays on some GN’R songs. In the first few seconds, I get an “oh no” because it starts off like a Rob Zombie song… but that’s quickly eaten by the guitars, bass, & drums.  It’s hard to hear a woman sing a rock song and not compare her to a small list of other rock singers…  This song has a Heart vibe.  I can imagine Fergie wouldn’t mind being compared vocally to Ann Wilson.  She’s got a strong beautiful clear voice… and I can totally hear an Axl influence.  You knew the A-word was coming eventually.  It’s not in the sound of her voice, but in the cadence and delivery of some of the lines… I challenge any GN’R fan to not hear it.  There’s a certain way they Axl holds on to & twists notes… Fergie does this also here… not sure if it was prompted or just came naturally with the style of riffs if she’s a GN’R fan at all.  This song is full of some nice solid riffs, and is one of my favorites off of the album.  My wife likes this one too, and she’s not the world’s biggest guitar-rock fan.
  4. “Back From Cali” Myles Kennedy takes up vocal duties on this song.  The feel of this song reminds me of It’s Five O’ Clock Somewhere, and is definitely a Slash composition out and out.  It’s a pretty straight-up blues rocker, and Axl is again channeled at a mere 30 seconds into the song.  Myles will take vocal duties in Slash’s touring band, he’s probably as notable for being the guy rumored to sing for the Led Zeppelin reunion tour as much as his last band, Alter Bridge.  This guy has the pipes & range to hold it down well, no doubt.
  5. “Promise” – This one starts out a little strange, although this riff could have been on either  of the Illusions albums in a different context.  It really reminds me of Audioslave… maybe that’s why Slash called in Chris Cornell in the first place.  This is the first mellow one… and while it’s not a bad song, I think I have to be in the mood to listen to it.  It’s quite a haunting melody & riff, perhaps it’ll grow on me as time goes on.
  6. “By the Sword” – This is the album’s first US single, I think the video has been shot it’s just waiting for production, and they’ve been doing the lateshow circuit with performances.  Andrew Stockdale of Wolfmother takes the vocal helm on this blues rocker.  This could have also easily been another Snakepit song… but I feel Stockdale does it real justice with his oddly whiny vocals.  Slash’s solo here (starting at 2:45 into the song) reminds me of George Harrison on “While My Guitar Gently Weeps” for some reason.  At first, I wondered why on Earth this was the first single as it wasn’t a straight-up rocker, but the more I hear it, the more I really like the song.
  7. “Gotten” – Having Adam Levine of Maroon 5 on the album is probably as shocking as having Fergie, if not more so.  I have to say, I really dig this track too.  The guitar is surprisingly nice & clean for the most part, a very gentle riff… this could be on top 40 radio if there is such a thing left.  It builds in a “Don’t Cry”-like crescendo, although the strings mayJudgement Day.) be a little much.  (Sorry, Again, you most likely have to be in a mellow mood for this one, but it stands as a good track.)
  8. “Doctor Alibi” – Old school metal fans are going to love this one… or at least I do.  Lemmy takes vocal and “distorted bass” (according to the liner notes) duties on this un-apologetically obnoxious rocking beast.  The opening riff jingles with bad-ass and descends into chaos with Lemmy’s story telling of visiting various doctors until he gets the answer that he wants to hear.  I vote for Lemmy as the next frontman to Velvet Revolver, ha ha ha.  This song is full of rock clichés and that’s OK with me.  This solo rips through you, reminiscent of the rambling in “Nightrain”.  It even breaks down to just vocals and drums before the rest of the bands comes back in.  This one is a keeper.
  9. “Watch This Dave” – I have to admit that I couldn’t wait.  I had to jump to this one the first time I popped the album into the CD player.  (Yeah, I bought the CD that came with the T-shirt from Best Buy on the day that it came out.) Why did I jump here?  Because it features Dave Grohl on drums and Duff McKagan on bass.  On some track listings, it’s simply titled “Watch This”… but my CD adds the “Dave”, so I added that here.  This is a timeless instrumental groove that just smacks you in the eardrums.  I miss Duff’s bass playing on the rest of the album.  No offense to Chris Chaney, but Duff has a definite signature that just fits with Slash’s guitar work like hot fudge on vanilla ice cream or ketchup on fries.  You don’t need it, but it’s always a perfect combo.  Dave pounds the drums like a madman, and they seamlessly string together patches of riffs & guitar wanking that swell an undulate into a heart-pounding mess of a ride that ends by just slamming you into a wall.  Parts of it remind me of the feel of Metallica’s “Call of Ktulu” or “Orion”.  Slash does some shredding work here, something you don’t usually think of when you hear his name.  I for one would love to hear a whole album of stuff like this.
  10. “I Hold On” – This track has Kid Rock on vocals.  It could have just as easily been Myles Kennedy… and may have been better if it was.  It plays out like a mellow country/gospel inspired Kid Rock ballad.  I don’t know, I guess I just don’t feel it.  It’s by no means a bad, song, it just doesn’t make me say “wow” or anything.  Slash’s solo is great, but could have gone over anything with these same chord changes.  I would imagine that this would clean up on country radio.
  11. “Nothing to Say”M. Shadows of Avenged Sevenfold was a surprise guest to me… but I was also really anxious to hear this track.  I must say that i wasn’t disappointed!  I’m an A7X fan, and I remember thinking that they went form a Metallica influence on Sounding the Seventh TrumpetWaking the Fallen to a Guns N’ Roses influence on City of Evil and Avenged Sevenfold.  At first, I didn’t like it, but as time went on, it made sense.  I love both of those bands, why wouldn’t they?  Only AC/DC fans like the same album over & over again.  This was an excellent paring, as the riff is just more evil and menacing than anything  else I’ve ever heard Slash play… and I can’t imagine anyone vocally pulling this off any better. (For reference,  see “Chains and Shackles”.)  I really would have a hard time telling that this wasn’t a straight-up A7X song, and I can typically pick out Slash’s guitar work in just a few notes.  There’s more shredding here, within the blues context that Slash likes to stay in, and within the confines of the song… but again, I would love a whole album of songs like this form Slash.  It’s odd to hear him playing Metallica-styled palm-muted chugging even though I know he’s a big fan of theirs.  Speaking of Metallica… why wasn’t Lars or James on this thing?
  12. “Starlight” Myles Kennedy is the only one to feature twice vocally on the proper US album release.  This is another bluesy/gospel sort of ballad that could have easily went on either Snakepit
  13. “Saint is a Sinner Too” – Yeah.  I’m wholly unfamiliar with Rocco DeLucca who sings for this one… and really, I think I’m glad.  I mean, the guitar work is beautiful and quiet here… and shows great range… but I really can’t regard the vocals as anything more than annoying.  I’m sorry if it offends you, but I hate this kind of crap, and the crap  thatit reminds me of… like Dave Matthews and Coldplay.
  14. “Were All Gonna Die” – Slash dusts off Iggy Pop for this one which acts as the closer to the regular US release.  Iggy sounds bored, and the song is a little slow.  I’d actually love to hear Duff sing this one… and for the tempo to be upped a little bit.  Duff has a great punk sensibility, and like I said Iggy just sounds bored.  You’d think a song that stars out with the line “Gee I really like your tits” would be a little more raucous.  Maybe I just expected more from this pairing?  “Home” off of Iggy’s Brick by Brick album features Slash & Duff, and it hits a little harder than this one.  Still, it’s not a ad tune, and gets better with every listen.

Well, that’s all the normal tracks.  I’ve managed to hear all of the bonus tracks form the various albums, and I’ll give my run-down here…

  • “Sahara” – This one’s from the Japanese release and the iTunes release.  It features Japanese rocker Koshi Inaba of the Japaneze rock band/duo B’z.  This sounds like a Winger or Poison song.  It’s the closest Slash has ever sounded to that… and I love some Poison… but this is super-cheese.  This was the first single overall, released only in Japan.  I bet they loved this one… it’s #4 on the Japan charts according to Wikipedia.  This one can be found with both English and Japanese lyrics.
  • “Chains and Shackles” – I mentioned this before during the “Nothing to Say” review… basically it’s the the same base, with some slightly different ingredients… provided by Nick Oliveri,  of Kyuss/Mondo Generator/Queens of the Stone Age.  Had I not heard the other first, I may dig this one a little more.  This is a heavy hard-hitting song with some killer structures & vocals… but I just liked what Slash & M. Shadows did with it in “I Hold On” more.  Slash also talked about giving this one to Dave Mustane… I’d love to hear that.  This is on the Australian iTunes edition.
  • “Paradise City” – This is an odd collection:  Cypress Hill, Fergie, and Slash covering Guns N’ Roses.  This was a B0side to the “Sahara” single as well as being on the Australian iTunes, Best Buy Exclusive, Napster, and Brazilian versions.  (This is according to Wikipedia… I bought mine at Best Buy, and this isn’t on it.)  This wasn’t really a surprise, as I’ve seen  Slash, Duff, Dave Kushner & Matt Sorum do this with Cypress Hill before.  Fergie rounds out the vocals nicely imitating Axl.  This is Campy and fun, and really shouldn’t be taken beyond that.  I enjoy it.
  • “Mother Maria” – On this song, Slash teamed up with Beth Hart to help Linkin Park’s Music for Relief charity.  I have no idea who Beth Hart is, but she sure can sing.  This is a country-tinged blues song with a real nice groove.  It rides the mellow/rocking line… and feels like it could spill over in either direction any minute.  This track is available on the iTunes version of the album.
  • “Baby Can’t Drive” – This is apparently what happens when Slash, Alice Cooper, Nicole Scherzinger (of the Pussycat Dolls), Steven Adler (classic GN’R drummer & VH1 reality show train-wreck), and Flea all get together.  I know Alice has always been theatrical… but this seems like a Meatloaf song with all the love & sex taken out.  I can see why this wasn’t included on the album.  Flea is known for being a wild/crazy bass player… and there’s no way you can even tell it’s him here.  It’s good to see that Adler can still play drums.  You can get this on the Best Buy Exclusive, Napster, Brazillian, and “Classic Rock Slashpack” editions.

Well, that’s it track-by-track.  Hope it made you more interested in the album if you’re a Slash fan, and certainly I hope I didn’t deter anyone from listening to a track or two.  I didn’t get to mention that Josh Freese is on drums for most of this album… I think he’s the only guy that does more session work than Slash or maybe Dave Grohl.  If you have a band, check and see if Josh Freese is a member.  I bet you he is, and you just don’t know it yet.  Josh holds it down nice & solid.  Oddly enough, he was also in Guns N’ Roses for a while, and played the title track on Chinese DemocracyTeddy Andreadis was on it playing the clavient & wurlitzer too.  So that makes 6 past members of GN’R on one album, 4 of them from the classic lineup?  Can we please, someday get our shit together, guys?  Before someone dies?

Conspicuously absent were Slash’s VR band mates Matt Sorum & Dave Kushner, but maybe that’s calculated and why it’s a “solo” project… although you know Duff  had to make it in.  Also, didn’t Sebastian Bach tweet about being in the studio & on this album?  I wonder if he ever recorded a track, or if he went all “Savage Animal” in the studio?  Also… what ever happened to Gilby Clarke?  I would have thought that Nikki Sixx or Tommy Lee would have popped up here too.  I’d also like to have seen some more guitarists.. but this is Slash’s solo record, not mine.

Here’s the album trailer from Slash’s website

I’m anxious to hear if anyone agrees or disagrees with me on the song analysis… please, let me know what you think!

Nick Oliveri