Andrew Watt’s star was rising on the New York club scene when bassist Glenn Hughes took his career up a notch. Hughes and drummer Jason Bonham needed to augment their latest project, and Watts had the vibey chops needed to turn their California Breed album into a reality.
You’re a young guy. Why are you playing with these geezers?
I don’t know (laughs)! I was born in the wrong generation and I’m addicted to rock and roll. I do a lot of songwriting with different people, and I thought it would be cool to write with Glenn. He’s got an obvious legacy – songwriting and voice. When I went to write with him, it was one of those magic moments. It felt like a band after two hours of hanging out.
How did you meet?
Through Julian Lennon, who is a mutual friend. We talked for half an hour and really got along. He asked me to send some music, then wouldn’t stop calling. I was thrilled beyond belief. We wrote a song, and the next day we recorded it. It was all very organic and real, and clicked quickly.
Talk about your influences.
I’m 23, and the internet was a big part of my growing up. I had a lot available, from old records that Glenn and Jason grew up with to new stuff. I’m influenced by the ’90s Seattle era as much as I am by Led Zeppelin, The Beatles, Pink Floyd, and Bowie.
I’ve studied Hendrix and Zeppelin more than anything. Hendrix and Page were virtuosos, but also songwriters. The did guitar layering, and I learned a lot about production. “Ten Years Gone” is my favorite Zeppelin song. It’s like a symphony.
What goes through your mind when you’re compared to Hendrix or [David Bowie guitarist] Mick Ronson?
It’s extremely flattering and touches my heart. Those are my idols. I love what they did. I took it in and I tried to make it my own. My playing is a failed attempt to re-create that (laughs).
Do you feel pressure, following Joe Bonamassa as Hughes’ and Bonham’s guitarist after their work in Black Country Communion?
Not at all. Joe is a friend. We’re different beings and, because of that, the music sounds completely different. I love Joe’s playing. I watch him in awe. But I’m messier, a little dirtier, and inconsistent in the best way. Joe is an extremely consistent player, which is a compliment. Different people want different things out of the guitar. That’s why you can’t say anyone is better than anyone else.
What’s your primary guitar?
A ’62 SG Special with a P-90 in the neck. It has an extremely thin neck. I [installed] a Badass Bridge, and the sound I get out of it is my own.
What’s next for the band?
We’ll tour in September through November – we’re going to be very busy through the fall and winter. We’re giving fans two months to sink into the album and the shows will be more fun because of it.
This article originally appeared in VG August 2014 issue. All copyrights are by the author and Vintage Guitar magazine. Unauthorized replication or use is strictly prohibited.