Genius comes in many forms, and form in many different fields. Fields such as science, literature, history, and so on. Today we talk to a musician with an actual Ph.D. Yes, a doctor. Actually, not only does he have a doctorate in English, but righteous education in music and songwriting. I know, I tried to be clever but, listen to his band, The Black Watch, and their new album “The Gospel According to John” and you will see. The songs are beautifully crafted masterpieces and future classics. Check out our review HERE to hear previews.
And now we get to talk with John Andrew Fredrick, the man briefly described above and the mastermind behind The Black Watch as we talk about the new album, the current state of the music industry, guitars, and more. School is in session.
Check out and buy “The Gospel According to John” on Bandcamp HERE.
photo credit Brendan Holmes
About The Black Watch
All bands sit at the end of a heritage line – one that joins together the dots that mark their various influences, musical and otherwise. Trace that and you can see the unique DNA of the music they make. LA-based The Black Watch is at the end of a very long and complex line of influence back through musical history – one that connects the likes of The Velvet Underground, Robyn Hitchcock’s The Soft Boys and The Church, to later bands such as Guided by Voices, Interpol, and The Editors.
In their 30 years of making music, The Black Watch, who USA Today noted “should have become a household name a long time ago”, returns with a new collection of meandering riffs and mercurial lyrical content. ‘The Gospel According to John’ is the band’s 15th album, not including EPs and singles, following up ‘Highs & Lows’ (2015). This is the result of eleven months of recording with none other than Rob Campanella of The Brian Jonestown Massacre handling production, with mixing by Scott Campbell (Stevie Nicks, Shelby Lynne, Carina Round). The arrival of this new album recalls a recurring and unanswered question – Why has the band never made that jump from cult following to commercial concern?
There is a sense of homecoming in anticipation of the album’s UK release, much of the sonic texture, core sounds, attitude and feel of the music seems rooted more in British 80’s post punk as it does to anything found in the rock traditions of the band’s west-coast base. The baroque pop, psychedelia and chiming guitars would have made them the main contender for the support slot with anyone from Echo and The Bunnymen to XTC to Julian Cope back in the day. Perhaps the UK and USA really aren’t “separated by a common language” and maybe The Black Watch is the arch communicators of our era, building a musical shorthand that can serve as a trans-Atlantic common tongue. Perhaps.
The Black Watch – The Gospel According to John (cover)
The driving force of the band is one John Andrew Fredrick, a ceaseless creative, who divides his time between making music, writing books, working as a university English lecturer, playing tennis and painting. As if to ram the point home that Fredrick is nothing less than a latter day Renaissance Man, this new album is not his only new release – his latest novel ‘Your Caius Aquilla’ was released on April 11 and his first non-fiction title ‘Fucking Innocent: The Early Films of Wes Anderson’ was published on July 11th, following up four other well-received novels.
“The response to the new LP has been overwhelming, to say the least, especially considering we had quite modest expectations going into the studio and a very casual approach to recording it,” notes John Andrew Fredrick. “I imagine its significance has to do with the astonishing guitar work of new lead guitarist Andy Creighton, and my incapability of stopping writing indie pop songs, despite the fact that all last year all I did was listen to classical!”
25 years of Los Angeles living has shaped John Andrew Fredrick, whose songs, riffs and lyrics often come to him while traversing the city’s traffic to and from California Lutheran University, forty-five miles north of Los Angeles, where he lectures in the English department. “We’re greatly inspired by the studio experience itself, the fact that we aren’t part of any scene here in Los Angeles and eschew scenes in general, and an addiction to reading mostly English poetry from the 17th, 18th, 19th, and 20th centuries. And always always always T.S. Eliot,” says John Andrew Fredrick.
Here we have a U.S. band who walk effortlessly between cultural divides, who blur the lines between genres and indeed decades, whose lyrics brim with timeless poetic references just as their music is a melting pot of the coolest sounds of recent times. How could they not become your new favorite band?
SOURCE: Official Bio
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