California Breed axeman came with Lennon seal of approval

Glenn Hughes says Julian Lennon introduced him to the young guitar wizard who would go on to join his new band California Breed.

Andrew Watt was introduced to Hughes by John Lennon’s son and he impressed the former Black Sabbath, Deep Purple and Trapeze man right from the off.

Frontman Hughes and drummer Jason Bonham decided to continue working together after their previous band, Black Country Communion, called it a day in 2013 when guitarist Joe Bonamassa walked out. And rather than go down the expected route of calling on one of his many famous guitar playing friends, Hughes wanted to bring in someone relatively unknown and who wouldn’t leave them high and dry to pursue other projects.

Hughes tells Planetmosh: “Julian Lennon, one of my dear friends, was in LA in February 2013, the day before the Grammys and I was with him. He said ‘there’s someone here I’d like you to meet, a young man called Andrew Watt from New York city’. Andrew came over and spoke about his love of how this guy plays, or how this guy writes a lyric. I gave him my email and said to send me some music.

“It was not California Breed’s type of music, but more Americana singer solo songwriter stuff, and I heard a good writer, a good guitar player, and a good singer, three things that are important. So Jason and I thought it would be a good idea to choose him instead of choosing a famous guitar player, who would bring into the band baggage of his own band and the unavailability to play.

“People have said to me before they hear this music ‘Oh you should have got that guy, or that guy’. Well that guy is busy, and I think what’s brave about Jason and I choosing Andrew is that he’s an unknown but uber talented young guy.”

The idea of working as a trio – rather than with a keyboard player as in Black Country Communion – on the new project came from Hughes’ love of great bands without keyboard players. He adds: “We said ‘No more keyboards, lets take it to a trio’. Led Zeppelin was a trio, The Who – trio, Humble Pie – trio, Rush – trio, Free – trio, The Police, Cream – all trios that did wonderful things. I am a key figure from the late 60s, early 70s, that has gone back to my roots – organic distorted guitar, not hammer-ons on the left hand – that would have been wrong.

“It would have been wrong to have an iconic Bonamassa, Blackmore, Iommi player – we had to have somebody new, someone who understood the sound we were after, and when I heard Andrew play, his right hand spoke to me.”

California Breed’s self-titled debut album is released on May 19.

Stef wrote close to 5,000 stories during his time as assistant online news editor and later as online news editor between 2014-2016. An accomplished reporter and journalist, Stef has written extensively for a number of UK newspapers and also played bass with UK rock favourites Logan. His favourite bands are Pixies and Clap Your Hands Say Yeah. Stef left the world of rock'n'roll news behind when he moved to his beloved Canada in 2016, but he started on his next 5000 stories in 2022.