Ad Jerseum 11: McDonald’s Toast To Jersey Girls

McDonald's Jersey Girl Billboard
McDonald’s Billboard after exit 12 on 287 North in NJ


“Toast Your Town” hardly sounds like a slogan to promote Big Macs. That’s because this time, Mcdonald’s isn’t pushing their burgers and fries. They are promoting their various “McCafe” specialty drinks and shakes via an ad campaign popping up throughout the Tri-State area. I’ve seen billboards from this campaign on major highways in New Jersey while there are also other local minded “Toast Your Town” ads around New York and New Jersey.

I pulled over and snapped a picture of this ad with the iPhone while driving on 287 Northbound. The billboard ad shows a hand holding a Frozen Strawberry Lemonade and toasting to “The Original Jersey Girl.” Perhaps I’m reading to deeply into it, but it seems to be attempting to appeal to the girls who lived in Jersey with big hair and listened to Bon Jovi and Skid Row in the ’80s. Oh wait, that was all of them. What I mean is, McDonald’s knows that many Jerseyans are fed up with shows like Jersey Shore featuring a couple of cast members who aren’t even from Jersey. How authentic! Now, if McD’s wanted to be really authentic they would start offering a Lime Rickey, a drink that’s become synonymous with Wildwood, NJ.

With a closer look you’ll notice there is a faint picture of the Statue of Liberty who is apparently the original Jersey Girl they are alluding to. Unfortunately, I have to put the kabosh on this whole idea because even after the hullabaloo that the island she sits on belongs to New Jersey, Miss Liberty is still technically a New Yorker.

As we learn in Anchorman, milk is a bad choice to drink on a hot summer day, so I’m sure the Frozen Strawberry Lemonade that McD’s is touting in the billboard pictured above, is slightly better. It’s not my drink of choice, but it may be yours, so keep in mind that it packs in 250 calories and 65 grams of sugar, but also offers a whopping 154 mgs of Vitamin C.

What do you think? Are advertisements geared to your own home state or city more effective than those that aren’t? Does this make you want to rush out and buy a drink at McDonald’s?

The Monster Van Is On The Move!

Monster Van NJ

Driving cross country has always been on my list of things to do. A Winnegabo is too much real estate for me to be hauling around, I prefer smaller vehicles. A ’70s style custom van is what I need. How about some black lights and a kickass Sexy Armpit mural on the sides? A man can dream can’t he? Until then I’ll admire other people’s cool vans.

I spotted this “Monster Van” heading down 287 the other day. I’ve seen van artwork before but it’s not often you see one plastered with actual photos of classic monster movies affixed to it on the highway. Whoever owns this van must turn a ton of heads. I HAD to snap a picture with my iPhone (as you can see above) and it actually came out amazingly well considering we were driving close to 60 miles per hour! Right after that, the van sped up and disappeared out of sight. Maybe he was heading back to Transylvania via route 287?

*The van had New Jersey plates but I blurred out the plate number. Also, if you look closely at the back window there’s a Frankenstein window cling!

Scarlet Carson’s “Burn It All” Scorches – Review by Jay Amabile

dirty Jersey,scarlet carson,rock,cd,review
Order Scarlet Carson’s “Burn It All” at this link for $10 bucks

Does rock music still exist? Aside from a few newer bands out there, rock music, albeit the good kind, seems to be nearly extinct. Truthfully, the suckyness of new rock music is one of the reasons why I stopped listening to radio almost 6 years ago. Think about how many rock stations folded or changed formats since that time. My main source for new music are blogs, iTunes, Pandora, MySpace, and any other bands space junk that’s floating around the Internet. What’s amazing is that even a routine task such as checking the Starland Ballroom’s concert schedule on their website lead me to discover a surprisingly awesome band, Scarlet Carson, who recently released their 2nd album Burn It All (available here). My curiosity was piqued, but I figured it was probably too good to be true. I gave the album a few in depth listens and in this review I’ll tell you whether Scarlet Carson is another flash in the pan or a force powerful enough to restore my faith in rock music.
While listening to Scarlet Carson’s fearless brand of rock and roll, I couldn’t believe these guys are from New Jersey. Labeling their type of sound as “Dirty Jersey Rock and Roll,” is brave since they are the first ones to step out of the shadow of “The Jersey Sound” i.e (Sinatra, Springsteen, The Rascals, The Jukes, Bon Jovi etc) and play what they want, not just what people think Jersey bands are supposed to sound like. Coming out of Jersey has only helped intensify their mighty ambitions. It’s not like they grew up around the corner from The Viper Room or The Whiskey, so lumping them into the same category as other rock bands is unfair. But, if you need some examples of what other bands Scarlet Carson might share the bill with at a rock festival, it would probably be Saliva, Papa Roach (who they are opening for at Starland on 4/18), and Pop Evil,  They have already played at CrueFest, so one thing is for sure, they are in NO WAY Nickelbacky. Lead singer and lyricist Santino Campanelli has more in common with Californians such as M.Shadows of Avenged Sevenfold and Jacoby Shaddix of Papa Roach than he does with any famous singer to ever come out of Jersey.
Their second release, Burn it All, is a superior rock album. In the first track, Overture, a transistor radio has lost its signal, similar to my search for good rock music, but soon the faint sounds grow clearer. Intense driving guitar chords and primal drum beats establish the scene. Finally we’ve got ourselves some rock and I’m sure as hell ready for it. The adrenalized title track features a ballistic guitar solo that will literally melt your brain and make your eyes go crossed. The song rises to a huge climatic finale and trails off with a soft reprise of the songs guitar riff. It’s a cool little reinforcement trick because it got stuck in my head and I wanted to hear it again already. But, with my senses elevated I couldn’t wait to hear the rest of the album.
All of a sudden, a car engine ignites and screeches off as the headbanger “Gone Baby Gone” erupted from my speakers. It’s all about getting away from a chick who is total trouble. Like most of the tracks here, this modern rocker features another blazing guitar solo and sounds like it should be in the trailer for the next Fast and the Furious film. And, whether intentional or not, “Cherry’s On Top” has a riff that’s reminiscent of Aerosmith’s “Love in an Elevator.” The dilemma in this song is that there is some fine looking chick who is so super sexy. Hitting notes like crazy, frontman Santino wants to cover her “in whip cream cherry on top, I’m gonna lick it all off in all the right spots.” This track reflects the libidinous aspect of rock and is definitely not serious, depressing, or emo. Scarlet Carson shows that they are here to party and admire the finer things in life, like ’80s style red lipstick.
Up next is a resounding build up to what could be Scarlet Carson’s signature crowd interaction song. These guys aren’t only talking shit about “Sex Drugs and Rock N Roll,” they are living it. Their lyrics, liner notes, and full throttle commitment to making their rock star dreams a reality, shows there’s a genuine connection to many iconic bands who have lived this tawdry lifestyle before them. The difference? These guys are the first ones from Jersey to do it. Yeah sure we’ve had Bon Jovi and Trixter, but they were less concerned about the rock star lifestyle. Bon Jovi didn’t want to be associated with bands like GNR and Motley Crue because they feared that women and children wouldn’t come to their concerts. It was more socially acceptable to buy a Bon Jovi record or go to a Bon Jovi concert than it was Motley or even KISS. No matter what they tell you, parents feared bands like that because they heard news reports of sex, satanism, nudity, blood and all the other cool shit that is part of their aura. So I commend Scarlet Carson for being themselves from jump street. They better stay true to themselves though. I wouldn’t want to see them sell out and become Justin Bieber’s touring band or some crap like that. Even worse…don’t make a country album. Hey Scarlet – you’ve been warned!
Next, I used my keen deductive skills to determine that a drink pouring sound effect can mean only one thing: a drinking song, even more precisely “The Drinkin’ Song.” Following in the footsteps of distinguished predecessors such as KISS’ “Cold Gin,” AC/DC’s “Have a Drink on Me,” and Guns N Roses’ “Nightrain,””The Drinkin’ Song,” picks up where those anthems left off. Santino’s voice skyrockets into Myles Kennedy octaves here as he shouts, “Let’s get wasted tonight!”. It’s another standout track with layered vocals in the chorus, fist pumping “hey” chants, and a mesmerizing drum breakdown. Scarlet Carson is here to tell you that when you’re literally feeling like a gigantic heap of dung, a few drinks with your crew can help you “forget your worries, forget your problems…” I’m sure fans will be holding their drinks up during this one at the next concert – just don’t spill beer on me.
Whip out your iPhone, swipe your Zippo lighter app on, and bring down the pace a little bit “For Her Sake,” a surefire addition to Monster Ballads 2010. The low key mood doesn’t last that long because these guys aren’t done pummeling you. Get ready for the supercharged, punked out “P.L.A.D” (paid, laid, and die) that chronicles the nights when you wind up out drinking until 6am and waking up with random girls in random motels. Scarlet Carson’s lifestyle is fast paced, indulgent and in the moment, just like their tunes. Listen for the brass section in this track which proves to be a superb feature of its production.
Now we go from rock and roll revelry and drinking binges, into mind probing. What would a Scarlet Carson song sound like if they actually recorded a song inside their own heads? “My Own Head,” stands out from the rest because it’s methodical, reflective, and dark, but maintains harmonic accents. The remarkable production has helped create a very different mood in contrast to the rest of the album. I appreciate that they were brave enough to challenge themselves into creating a track with such a different vibe, and it worked. “My Own Head,” would make for an intriguing music video. If Tim Burton and Rivers Cuomo were hanging out tripping on acid and had a nightmare, this would be a perfect song to accompany it. Zach Braff will direct, I have it all planned out.
Growing up in Jersey, almost every kid dreams of living in California. The west coast seems so much more desirable and warm, and if the Beach Boys and David Lee Roth were telling us the truth, then the girls were wondrous. Don’t forget the ’80s hair band scene, replete with sexy strippers, liquor, and debauchery. What’s not to fantasize about? POOF! Back to reality and the mundane suburban rat race that defines many parts of the Garden State. It’s fitting that I listened to “West Coast Dreamer” when I was sitting in rush hour traffic on 287. This track provides a unique perspective that I haven’t heard thus far. It’s the story of a band from the east coast, dreaming of rock star status on the west coast. It’s almost as if Jersey is a c-ck blocker. It’s not easy trying to exist as a rock star or an aspiring rock star in NJ. For some reason, whether it’s an unwritten law of nature or whatever, NJ just stacks all the cards against you. Whereas you can head out to L.A and catch great rock bands almost every night of the week, all in a 2 mile vicinity. Come to Jersey and you’ll get a few good beer specials but you’ll be bombarded with tons of cover bands who perform rock versions of whatever songs are popular that weekend.
Just a warning, Scarlet Carson’s songs WILL make you instinctually play air guitar, headbang, and jump around like a madman. It might be a good idea not to listen in a place where you might look like a complete idiot. In the midst of your rock-out session, you might be wondering where Scarlet Carson’s monstrous sound comes from? The band is comprised of Santino’s clean scream, Stone’s slash-like guitar solos, Tommy Licore’s surging riffs on rhythm guitar, Mike O Mayhem’s crushing bass work, and Raab who pulverizes the drums.
Above all, the best attribute of Scarlet Carson’s “Burn It All” is its honesty. Santino writes his lyrics about being a loner focused on the bands dreams, and doing some hardcore partying in the meantime. They aren’t creating songs to market to the NFL or MLB like Bon Jovi, and they’re not formulating the next big wedding song, even though it sure would mean more cash, they are simply doing what they want to do. One of the reasons why rock music has been on the road to extinction is because bands don’t have the balls to highjack the reigns of rock. Scarlet Carson does, and they do it in style as they prove on “Burn It All.” In the immortal words of The Marvelous 3, Scarlet Carson has indeed “…brought back the rock.” www.scarletcarson.com

Upcoming shows
4/17/10 at the Stone Pony for The Break Contest
4/18/10 w/Papa Roach at The Starland Ballroom
4/23/10 at The Wonder Bar in Asbury Park
4/27/10 w/Saliva at The Highline Ballroom in NYC

Kick Out the Jams, Bennigan’s!

Even though it was a cold, bitter Saturday night, my girl and I were up for going out. We agreed on going to see “The Hitcher.” She had some passes to a theater chain that I’ve only been to once but we figured we’d give it a shot. We hopped on 287 to South Plainfield and drove into the parking lot of the theater. I immediately saw a line forming at the box office which was situated OUTSIDE the theater. How many thousands of years ago was this place built that you need Eskimo gear to actually purchase tickets? After declaring this as definite CRAP, my girlfriend decided to nonchalantly drop in the fact that they DIDN’T have stadium seating! This was an afterthought to her because she doesn’t understand that my viewing experience is paramount to me actually venturing outside my domain to go see a movie. The surrounding must be pretty damn good for me to go see a new movie considering it’ll probably be on cable in a matter of months. Add all of that to the fact that there wasn’t a parking spot in sight because the lot only had 43 spots. Needless to say I vetoed the movie theater idea as fast as you can say “What a shitty remake!”

The lady was hungry so Bennigan’s it was. I swear nowadays you cannot go in there without thinking of the movie Waiting. As we pushed through the entrance doors we were greeted by the Bennigan’s guy and he informed us that “they’re running about a 15-20 minute wait.” I though this was completely insane because there couldn’t have been more than 20 people in the entire establishment at that moment. We opted to sit at the bar and tough it out there. As we hung out with our drinks served by the bald, scary, stare a hole through you, pierced, bartender I tried to listen to the nostalgic tunes on coming out of the ceiling speakers.

The variety of music was mostly from the ’90s. There were some memory jogging songs that came on, but it was one in particular that blew my mind. I immediately recognized the first few seconds but I brushed it off as my mind playing tricks on me. As a few more seconds passed, a familiar voice raps “Im back and Im ringin‘ the bell rockin on the mic while the fly girls yell…” It was none other than Vanilla Ice’sPlay that Funky Music White Boy.” Dumbfounded is a word that doesn’t properly describe my feeling at the time. I never thought I would hear this song again since the days of Vanilla Ice on MTV. Perhaps there’s a renewed interest in Rob Van Winkle since he keeps showing up on VH1. Whatever it may be, I’m proud of Bennigan’s for not just playing typical crap. It’s official, the only two places that you can hear Vanilla Ice: Bennigan’s and my iPod.

Crack This Over Your Head

– This morning I enjoyed a great beverage on the way to work. A tall cold can of Arizona Sweet Tea. This is one of those big muotherfuckers. 23.5 luscious ounces of sweet tea. It sounds tame but I don’t even think Sandman from ECW can crack that shit on his head. It’s both sweet and tough at the same time. That’s what I look for in my iced tea. No lame mottos. No bragging. It’s feels like a can of lead. You can probably kill someone if you threw it at their head or spiraled it at their chest hard.

– They couldn’t have casted a cuter actress to play the lead love interest in 40-Year Old Virgin?

– Ever see people driving on the highway with these headsets? I’m not talking a little bluetooth, but actually a full headset with a boom mic that wraps around the top of their head like their some kind of fucking telemarketer. What the F is that? They think they are so cool too. They look ridiculous. Plus I see many of them at 7 in the morning and wonder to myself, “who is on such important calls at that time?”

People are split into categories at that time. They are driving to work, getting ready for work, at work, or still sleeping. Besides business related calls, who is on a “lenghtly convo” at 7 am? People think they are so much more important than they really are. Why don’t you drive your house on wheels to work that way you have access to your PC and your f*cking microwave and shower during your morning commute also? Do we need all of this? I thought a cell phone was pushing it. The other day I saw a guy shaving while driving on 287. When will these people learn? I commend those with headsets for at least attempting to be safe. The shaver guy should have taken care of that prior to heading onto one of the most congested, dangerous roads in our state. Douche. I thought women were bad with putting on their makeup while driving.

Thoughts?