From The Desk Of The Black Watch: London Vs. Los Angeles

John Andrew Fredrick has spent the last three decades as the sole constant in one of music’s most perfect and unheralded rock outfits, the black watch. Using the Beatles as a tracing template, Fredrick has applied a kitchen-sink approach to the album at hand since his 1988 debut, St. Valentine, the opening volley in a catalog that would ultimately encompass 15 albums and five EPs, all of which inspired varying levels of critical halleleujahs and a deafening chorus of crickets at the nation’s cash registers. Fredrick will be guest editing magnetmagazine.com all week. Read our band new feature with him.

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Wherever you live, you have stuff you love about your city or town, and stuff you put up with and grin and bear the unbearable about it. That’s why, these days, I try to toggle as much as I can between the two places I love most: LDN and LAX. The realities/myths are that you can’t live either place without a ton of dosh, but that’s just not true and I’m living proof of it. On account of I don’t go out in L.A. (save to the tennis courts and to the studio), and going out in London’s easy peasy because just walking round, taking in the joint, doesn’t cost you anything and rewards you in total wonderment withersoever you roam. You do need to buy a pint or in my case just two per, but that’s manageable. Tennis is another matter, but I do get to play when I go over to The Big Smoke. My friends in the Damn Vandals are keen tennis guys. That’s about all I’ll say about those two cities. As much as L.A. gets slagged, I am chuffed to know many great, ambitious real artists here and cool impresarios. Not just people who think they’re artists just ’cause they go round saying weird things. So many of them. Their name’s legion. In London, you don’t have that. People tell you to piss off straight away. No one tells anyone the truth in L.A. As Pauline Kael rightly opined, “It’s where you can die of encouragement.” It’s hard to be an artist anywhere, really. But those are my cities. I love New York, but I’m not tough enough for you, Big Apple. All my NYC friends can smugly stow that one away. My kid lives there and loves it. But he’s a tough guy. I’m a sweetie, me. With a tart bite.

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