Boston Market ups the pressure… (a.k.a. What now, Panera Bread?)


Insanity.

http://twitter.com/#!/W_a_L_D/status/136910586947715072

That’s right.  Boston Market not only reached out via my contact form thanks to Facebook, but also had the cojones to do this…

Boston Market RT!

Boston Market RT!

I still haven’t received a reply to my email to Mr. Wakabayashi, but what now Panera Bread? What now?  Clearly, this will pan out to be a bigger rivalry than Neil Young vs. Skynrd, or East Coast Rap vs. West Coast Rap.  Maybe even bigger than me vs. the people that think I’m McDonald’s (At Least Mr. Wakabayashi used my contact form correctly!)

http://twitter.com/#!/W_a_L_D/status/137169033266077696

http://twitter.com/#!/bostonmarket/status/137212008138424321

If you have no idea what’s going on, or if you work for Panera Bread.  You can catch up here…

In other news, did you know that they both cater?  I wish someone would have told me.

Panera Bread (Scott Twp. Greentree Road) on UrbanspoonI actually stopped at the local Panera the other night because the wife was sick and wanted some of that cheese-broccoli soup.  I went in to get some to go, and got myself a half of a turkey sandwich and a cup of the chicken noodle.

The employee (a young girl, of course) at the counter was quite friendly, asked if I wanted lettuce tomato or onion on the sandwich, and even asked if I wanted mustard and/or mayo.  Clearly, someone went over new procedures.  Sadly, I asked for lettuce & tomato… and got neither, but I did get mustard and mayo.  I applaud the effort, and shame on me for not checking before I left the store.

I have to say, after my initial complaint, they have totally stepped it up service-wise.  I still call shenanigans on the new soup.  They ought to let sales do the talking… OFFER BOTH.  It’s certainly a popular item.  Let the consumers decide if they want a great-tasting soup… or the crappy flat-noodled healthy soup.  Clearly, as a leader in the Fast Casual industry, you can afford to test the proverbial waters?  I think more changes have been made, but it’s still not the old soup.  Shenanigans.

Also, I counted 3 signs within  a span of about 8 feet on the counter where you wait for your order advertising the catering… and the pop machine still does it too.  I think the receipt may have even said something about it.

I spend far too much time contemplating fast food & fast casual dining.  If only I could save time buy purchasing already prepared meals.  Does anyone out there do that?

New Catering Advertisement Opportunities! (for Boston Market & Panera Bread)


I’m just sayin’.

Panera Bread  - vs. -  Boston Market

Panera Bread - vs. - Boston Market

From: Waldo Lunar <world.and.lunar.domination@gmail.com>
Date: Fri, Nov 4, 2011
Subject: New Catering Advertisement Opportunities!
To: & Cc:  A bunch of Panera & Boston Market Employees

Hello friends at Boston Market & Panera Bread,

I assume that the lack of response to my last email about an all-out catering battle at my house was ill-received.  I didn’t get any interest from either camp, or even any kind of acknowledgement of my email.  Not even a coupon.  Isn’t that the typical response?  “Throw ’em a coupon!”  Color me disappointed.

No reply is rather rude, don’t you think?  Batman movie night has come & gone.  We dutifully provided a favorable dining experience to our guests thanks to an incredible local pizza shop.  Roasted red peppers as a pizza topping?  A hit all around, I tell you!  Subs with a homemade feel cut in to bite-size appetizers were also quite delicious.

I’m not sure why neither Panera Bread or Boston Market was willing to enter my catering battle royale.  It would have been an exciting opportunity for both of you.  I realize now… that you need help with forward thinking.  You missed this opportunity to advertise your catering and fight for my dollar.

I believe that I may have come around to your way of thinking.  Perhaps I need to fight for your dollar.  I previously saw advertisements on the pop machine and all over the windows as borderline obscene… but why stop at the border, friends?  Let’s trample the border, deface it on our way through, and not look back!  I have some ideas that you may find attractive.  I really look forward to your feedback.  (Don’t give me any shenanigans about unsolicited ideas and what-not, we’re all friends here.)

  • Advertising on the napkins.  You already do it on the receipts, walls, & windows.  Subway uses their napkins for nutrition information.  Show them up, advertise!  Think of all that clean wasted ad space ripe for the slinging of your delicious wares.  Were one ambitious, this could extend to the “to go” sandwich wrappings, the fancy new plates that you’re both using, and even the trays.  Hell, why not the drink cups?
  • Guerrilla advertising. You could have employees go into your parking lot at regular intervals, and put flyers under the windshield wipers of cars.  If you really wanna get crazy, try bumper stickers!  People would love decorations on their autos.
  • Me.  Send me a T-shirt that advertises your catering services.  I play in a band.  I’ll wear it to shows.  The throngs of bar patrons who rock out with me on a regular basis will be sure to flock to the nearest Panera Bread or Boston Market location.  I might be able to convince my band-mates to do the same.  If we’d like to get really crazy, may I offer to sell my forehead as a billboard?
  • Paystubs.  Your employees get paid right?  Get that money back!  Advertise your catering services on their pay-stubs, and any communications that you need to send.  There’s room on that W2 envelope for a 10% off catering coupon.
  • Right on the food itself.  This is the one that excites me the most!  You’ve seen the toasters that produce an image of Darth Vader, and the irons that brand your initials on to a steak, right?  There are also printers that print right on things like rice paper & cakes.  Why not take advantage of this technology?  Think about it.  Full color printing on wraps?  Toasty images on buns, bread, & bagels?  Delicious meat branded with confidence, demanding that you pick up a catering menu.  It’s never been done.  It’s opulent.  It’s genius.  (If I do say so myself.)

So, what do you think?  Can I help in this new advertising adventure?  These are the next steps in the evolution of promulgation.  Let’s move onward and upward, into uncharted catering promotional territory.  It will be an onslaught to the senses, and an influx in revenue for all involved.  I’m excited for this venture, and especially excited to get some feedback from everyone involved.

Excelsoir!
-Waldo Lunar
[ -YOUR AD COULD BE HERE- ]

incessant emails / incessant advertising

incessant emails / incessant advertising

Further Reading:

So, do you guys cater?


I recently had some correspondence with Panera Bread (The Great Panera Bread Swindle & Panera responds to my insanity, so I write back…), and I still have no reply to my last email.  I assume they think I’m an idiot and will not continue any further correspondence.  The experience reminded me of being bombarded with catering advertisements when I’m already at a restaurant.  I called out a few other places, but Boston Market does the same thing with the catering barrage.  I have a long history with them & letters, pre-dating my WordPress blogging days even.

At any rate, it struck me that they both seem to be fighting (or at least nagging) for catering business.  If we’re already in the store, and signed up for your mailing lists… we probably know that you will cater if needed.  How about focusing the catering advertising on local businesses around each location?

Or, I have a more interesting solution…

From: Waldo Lunar <world.and.lunar.domination@gmail.com>
Date: Wed, Aug 10, 2011
Subject: So, do you guys cater?
To: RCordova1@bost.com, isabella.contactus@panerabread.com

Ciao Colossal Catering Czars!

I can’t help but feel overwhelmed lately when I visit any of your fine establishments.  I just go there to get a meal, but you have mercilessly force-fed your catering services to me and throngs of other customers in the form of signage on the wall, window-clings, pamphlets, menus, table signage, place-mats, tweets, & emails.  I get it.  I feel like I’m in a giant commercial every time I walk into one of your previously welcoming establishments.  (Bob Evans is highly annoying with the take-out mantra too, but they’re not quite as relentless in their efforts.)  I applaud your tenacity, Panera Bread and Boston Market.  Despite your valiant and exasperating efforts, I have not yet used either of you to fill my catering needs.  In fact, I don’t have any catering needs.  I’m able to make a sandwich spread, some soup, a salad, & even prepare a holiday meal… all for less money than what you can offer, and it has the added bonus of being homemade.

Your incessant plugging of your catering service smacks of so much desperation, that it struck me with an idea.  You’re both figuratively fighting for my dollar, why not an actual fight for my dollar?  I’m not suggesting fisticuffs, although your frequency of mentioning catering services suggest that you may indeed jump right in.  I’m suggesting you each prepare a meal for a party, and I will only pay the not-quite-fast-food chain that makes the best meal.  Fight for my dollar!  Sorry, I can’t really contain my excitement at the prospect of such a tournament.  I bet we could get a reality TV show in on this.  If not, I could certainly get someone with a digital camera, and we could post the contest & the results on YouTube.  I’m sure it would go viral.  Can you imagine the bragging rights?

The judges would be those in attendance to my party.  You can certainly do your own background checks and interviews to ensure no partiality or preconceived bias.  I can even leave myself out of the proceedings, as I find you both equally annoying with the catering propaganda.  I could write up a review/summary at the end of the experience.  The only thing you would have to lose is the cost of catering a small party… but the potential to gain respect and more advertising for your catering services.  I’m enabling you, my friends.  I can feel the hunger dwelling deep within you.

I can assure you of my impartiality, as I have hosted several Chili Cook-off events at my home, and have photos to prove it.  I can provide you with copies of our ballots to show our proficiency in scoring food vs. food on several points.  We would of course have to devise a system to compare the proverbial Boston Market apples to Panera Bread oranges, but you can trust my ingenuity on the matter, and can employ a crack team of analysts.

This would be epic, my friends.  Imagine being  a pioneer in this type of event!  What would be next?  Qdoba vs. the Honey Baked Ham Co.?  The KFC bucket vs. your local grocery store’s prepared foods?  If you don’t like my idea, I may sign you up for my mailing list under the guise of getting coupons for my awesome letter-writing and ingenious idea services… only to solicit and re-solicit this very idea ad nasueam.  Using your own logic, you will have no choice but to comply!

Or, you could just have your CEO’s arrange a fist-fight in some parking lot, and I’ll literally give the winner a dollar.

Thank you for your time, I really hope that you give my idea serious consideration.  I will be ready when you say yes to the event.  We can work out the event and the details quite easily.  I actually have a “Batman movie night” coming up, and it would be great to cater that.  (Although, my wife may be making some Batman logo cookies… but we’ll make sure no one can vote for her catering services, she would most likely win hands-down with Batman cookies at a Batman movie party.)

May the best chain win!
-ERiC AiXeLsyD
Vaunted food contest professional.

Panera wrote back first…

Date: Wed, Aug 10, 2011
Subject: RE: Contact Us [Something not on this list] — MESSAGEID(288118)
To: world.and.lunar.domination@gmail.com

Dear Waldo,

Thank you for taking the time to contact Panera Bread. We are sorry to hear about your disappointment with our catering advertising. The current promotion is simply one way to let our catering customers know that the option is available. We always strive to provide a wonderful meal, great service and a welcoming environment for our all our customers and hope that you will continue to enjoy Panera Bread. I will let our Marketing decision makers know how you feel, so that your opinion will be considered.

Thanks again for contacting us. We appreciate your business and value your comments.

Sincerely,
Isabella
Customer Comment Coordinator

Oh yeah, Waldo?  With Google+ getting all crazy & stuff, I didn’t want to merge my “regular” Gmail address with the fake one, so I change the W(aL)D email name to Waldo Lunar.  So, my email comes as Waldo Lunar, but I still signed it “Eric AiXeLsyD”.

From: Waldo Lunar <world.and.lunar.domination@gmail.com>
Date: Thu, Aug 11, 2011
Subject: Re: Contact Us [Something not on this list] — MESSAGEID(288118)
To: Isabella <isabella.contactus@panerabread.com>

Thanks Isabella,

I’m glad that you understand my frustration at being pummeled with advertising, and that you’re willing to pass the sentiment along to the appropriate parties.  I applaud you for your efforts, and the swiftness with which you replied!  I’m on the fence with Panera bread due to this whole “holding the dressing” thing, and the “healthy” chicken noodle soup debacle.  I mean, those homemade-looking noodles were awesome.  The little square things lying sparsely in the greasy broth are sad little stabs into my heart.  Perhaps I must move on to the broccoli soup.

Has anyone else written to you in regards to the barrage of advertising?  More importantly — Is Panera interested in the catering “battle royale” that I proposed?  If we can get Boston Market on board, I think this will be a stellar time.  You were much more expeditious with your reply.  I trust that you believe in your brand/product enough to put it to the test?  I can try to get some TV people on board once I get confirmation from the principal parties.  I’m sure you can see from my first email that I’ve already put much thought into the logistics.  The prospect of it all has me quite excited.

Thank you once again for your time and diligent response.  Have a great day, and I hope to hear from you again soon!

Hungry,
-ERiC AiXeLsyD
Vaunted food contest professional.

I sort of got a response from Boston Market…

From: <sbrooks1@bost.com>
Date: Thu, Aug 11, 2011
Subject: Boston Market suggestion response
To: world.and.lunar.domination@gmail.com

Good Afternoon

Thank you for submitting your suggestion to our catering department. We certainly appreciate the time you took to write and do value all customer feedback. Upon receipt of this information, I will create a report and forward your comments to the Market Leader for your region and our Marketing Department for consideration.

Again thank you for your feedback

Syrenia Brooks
Guest Contact Center Specialist

Huh?  I smell a standard “please don’t bother us” email here.  I still think my idea has merit, and I want a catering throw-down.  Think I can push it any further?  I’ll certainly try.

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