“Every once in a while, an artist comes around and knocks you out of your shoes,” says John Varvatos. “That artist has memorable songs with great hooks, a voice that soars, and the musicianship and stage presence of a seasoned veteran—a new and desperately needed rock hero. You have that and more in Andrew Watt. He’s the real deal.”
Singer, songwriter, and multi-instrumentalist Andrew Watt takes musical undertones from the seventies and the nineties and infuses them into a decidedly modern sound that’s both mysterious and magnetic, putting the guitar riff back into the landscape of popular music. His work in California Breed piqued the interest of John Varvatos Records. Varvatos personally signed Watt in early 2015 as one of the new label’s flagship artists.
The New York native’s kinetic style developed while touring and writing with a plethora of different artists across genres since the age of 16. In 2013, he formed California Breed with Glenn Hughes [Deep Purple] and Jason Bonham [Foreigner and Led Zeppelin], releasing the group’s acclaimed debut and touring alongside Slash and more.
“I never met anyone so excited just to be playing,” says Bonham on working and recording with Watt. “(In studio) he was just on fire, like he was doing this big gig inside his head, running round, soloing, kicking over chairs. I was like, ‘This kid is such a free spirit.’ So cool, he just oozed charisma.”
On his own project Watt entered producer Alain Johannes’s [Queens of the Stone Age, Chris Cornell, Them Crooked Vultures] Los Angeles Studio to record the debut EP, Ghost In My Head. Johannes says, “It’s an immense pleasure to work with Andrew Watt. Not only is he a badass guitarist, singer, and songwriter with an amazing sense of melody and ear for hooks, but his passion and joy in music exude so strongly that he brings out the best in you.”
Watt personally played all of the instruments on the record except for drums. Given the music’s energy, the throne behind the kit beckoned Red Hot Chili Peppers drummer Chad Smith and Joey Castillo—ex-Queens of the Stone Age, Danzig. Smith smiles, “Lotta Watts! Born in the nineties and raised on the seventies, he’s a modern man, but knows where the shit comes from. He’s a truly dedicated musician who’s not only smart, funny, and handsome, but this motherfucker gets it done. Get with it people!”
“Andrew is like my little brother,” adds Castillo. “He’s one of the hardest working and gifted young musicians around today with a great knowledge of classic and modern music.” “Having Chad and Joey play on my record meant more to me than I could ever truly describe.” exclaimed Andrew “These are players I idolized and learned the beginnings of what I do now from. They were just as excited as me to be there …that was really the coolest part for me. The energy exuding from the live room was absolutely insane”
The single and title track “Ghost In My Head” catapults forward on a sidewinder guitar riff before crashing into a stunning and soulful refrain. Meanwhile, “High” shimmies between a striking falsetto, jagged guitar, and syncopated beat. It has a fun, sexy, and bluesy vibe.
On “Ghost in My Head” Andrew says “Anyone who has ever been on tour understands this,” Andrew sighs. “You’re in a fucking bubble. You lose touch with reality and time. I’d get home, and so much of my friends’ lives had changed, and mine was exactly the same. It made me ask, ‘Where did the time go? Where did my mind go? Who are these people in my life? What’s going on?’ It was influenced by this disconnect wondering what I’d become. It’s about being lost in the music and the life of a musician on the road.”
Watt’s road is wide open. However, he’s got one thing that’s bound to move everybody, and that’s the rock ‘n’ roll that he lives and breathes. “I don’t really have a choice” he says. “It’s in my blood.”
“Ghost In My Head” track listing:
02. Ghost In My Head
03. Seeing Red