Out of the Black County Communion ashes, another awesome power trio has formed to blow your mind. When you think of California and you think of brilliant color and bright sunlight. Think of a breed and it’s all about bloodlines and brotherhood. Put the two together as California Breed, and you have the most exciting new band of 2014, built around the foundation of legendary vocalist-bassist Glenn Hughes, drummer extraordinaire Jason Bonham and 23-year-old newcomer guitarist-singer-songwriter Andrew Watt. Mixing massive riffs, gutsy vocals and gale force rhythms, this powerful three-piece band will release their self-titled debut album May 20th on Frontiers Records. It was produced by Dave Cobb (Jamey Johnson, Rival Sons, Shooter Jennings and more).
Glenn Hughes, “The Voice Of Rock,” is a true original, a legendary icon whose credits include Deep Purple and guesting with everyone from Black Sabbath to Earth, Wind & Fire — up to his most recent collaboration in rock supergroup Black Country Communion. No other rock musician has carved such a distinctive style blending the finest elements of hard rock, soul and funk. That astonishing voice is Hughes’ calling card. The legacy of Led Zeppelin lives on in Jason Bonham, British drummer and son of Zep’s legendary John Bonham. He has inherited the best of his father’s skills while mastering his own distinctive and dynamic technique. Jason has followed his own distinctive path over the years, fronting his own successful outfits like Bonham, and playing with Led Zeppelin, Foreigner, Heart and, most recently, movie composer Hans Zimmer. Andrew Watt is a soulful singer/songwriter & multi-instrumentalist whose high-energy aggressive style & creative spirit are synonymous with New York City. Hughes says: “I live in the moment, it’s all about NOW, California Breed is exactly where I live, breathe and where my freak flag flies.”
California Breed was recorded at Cobb’s Nashville studio and features equal co-writing credits among the three-man lineup. “It’s proper rock,” Hughes says, “but at the same time it’s very now. Andrew is as influenced by Mick Ronson as he is Jimmy Page.” “This kid is amazing,” says Bonham. “The first time we met I thought he looked like the white Jimi Hendrix. And he plays in the studio likes he’s onstage!”
“I grew up listening to all the grunge bands,” says Watt, “but my dad always played me The Who, the Stones and Led Zeppelin so that became my music too.
“This kid is amazing,” says Bonham. “The first time we met I thought he looked like the white Jimi Hendrix. And he plays in the studio likes he’s onstage!”
The three-man line-up got together as California Breed for the first time last year after Hughes was introduced to the newcomer from New York by their mutual friend Julian Lennon. “Julian was having an exhibition of his photographs at the Morrison Hotel Gallery in LA,” Glenn recalls, “and he said, ‘You must meet this guy, he’s the most fantastic guitarist – who turned out to be Andrew.”
Reconvening at Hughes’ Hollywood home a few days later, “The chemistry was just instant,” says Hughes. “We immediately wrote two songs together, Chemical Rain and Solo, both of which have ended up on the album. That’s when I called Jason and said you’ve gotta come down right now.”
“The energy when I walked in the room was crackling,” recalls Bonham. “I was so pleased. Glenn and I had not only really locked in as a rhythm section in BCC but we’d started writing together and we both really wanted to keep that good feeling going.”
Recording with Dave Cobb at the producer’s own studio in Nashville, added all the finishing touches, says Glenn.
“I’d gotten into Dave’s work via the Rival Sons, who I know and really love. But Dave has done a lot of great stuff. That whole Nashville trip which Dave is a part of. Well, me and Jason don’t want to sound like anyone else, we already sound like ourselves, but we felt we needed some fresh energy – and Dave absolutely brought it.”
At Cobb’s insistence, every vocal was recorded live as the band was playing. “Totally the reverse of what I’m used to,” says Glenn. “But I went into that aggressive rock soulfulness and everything down to the whispers, it was all done live! I enjoyed myself so much, just going for it.”
For what is on paper a three-piece, the sheer range of sounds and melodies you get from California Breed are breathtaking.
“I’m the oddball of the group but I’m the thing that makes us different from any other classic rock band. I grew up loving grunge music,” explains Andrew. “But my father always played me The Who and The Beatles and Led Zeppelin. I always felt like I was in the wrong generation. I used to make rock music on my own and I’d play all the instruments because I could never find anyone my age that really got it the way I heard it. Then I got to play with Jason and Glenn and I haven’t picked up anything but a guitar since!”
“What we’ve got here is a kid who isn’t a hammer-on, virtuoso,” says Glenn, “but a whole new entity. This kid grew up listening to Mick Ronson on Bowie’s records, as well as Jimmy Page in Led Zeppelin. He has a completely different take. And it’s fresh and bold and so exciting. It just gets into your blood.”
California Breed’s track listing:
1. The Way
2. Sweet Tea
3. Chemical Rain
4. Midnight Oil
5. All Falls Down
6. The Grey
7. Days They Come
8. Spit You Out
*Deluxe Edition includes Solo bonus track and a DVD including 2 video clips (The Way and Sweet Tea), plus documentary
California Breed will be available as a CD, digital download and a Deluxe Edition CD + DVD featuring the bonus song Solo, two video clips and a documentary. Fans that pre-order the digital download on iTunes will receive an instant download of the first single, Sweet Tea upon ordering. It is also available as a pre-order from Amazon in CD format and as a CD Deluxe Edition CD + DVD.
California Breed online: