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.
Remember John Lydon (the pre-Trumpfriendly John Lydon) banging on about “ti-rades” and stuff? Why is it that railing against things is so funny and relatable? How likely is it that caveguy, the ur-John McEnroe, must’ve looked round first thing any given sun-up and gone, “You cannot be serious!”? Why do guys—even the sensitive and follically challenged—wear douchebag hats of the fedora and Irish-flat-cap and pork pie ilk? Why do the girls in mom jeans in my horrid and horrifically gentrified neighborhood (Angelino Heights in Los Angeles) look like Coachella’s about to begin every single weekend of the year? Why do the hip dolts down Stories Books And Cafe and the Echoplex think that coffee and/or beer are actual topics of conversation? Jesus/Buddha/Krishna gave us coffee and beer so that we would not have to say anything about them, just drink and enjoy. But nobody told the 20-nothings that. No one. Be quiet about roasting and brewing, OK, Devan, Trevin and Charlie (a girl)? Shut your yap about how the hops in this particular crafts-crafted white beer (who the fuck drinks white beer, anyway—only mouthbreathers, surely?) from Upper Outer Portland (where else?) are “like, so, like, different” from the ones in the pale lager ale stout bock half-pint (yeah, they drink half-pints like candyassed-pappa’s boys!) they had, like, two, like weeks ago, like, before the Neutral Milk Hotel show at Divey’s, The Funk Room, Douche Hall, Stinky’s, The Wally Club or The Rip-Off Arena. Sometimes pure invective, just stringing together abusive terms, is a great motif of satire. Shakespeare knew it. Good old Philip Roth certainly knew it. It’s hard to sound content, as in the Browningesque “God’s in’s heaven, all’s right with the world” way, and make people laugh. Everybody’s so nice and polite these days, dead fearful of offending anybody at all. It’s appalling. The PCness and convenience is killing us. No one knows how to do anything but stare at an app all day. Get the hell off my lawn! I shout that and proudly. I don’t have a lawn, mind you—I live in L.A.—but if I did you had better not get on it or I will in my most stentorian fashion yodel at you to get off it … and come in and have a cuppa tea. Some of the funniest people I know (well, first of all, they’re not professional commedians) are raging right now against the machines, and the ridiculous, and the pretentious, and the young, and the old, and the uneducated, and the self-righteous, and the bureaucracies, and the governments, and the corporations, and the trends, and the technologically snobbish and the know-alls and the ones who’d lead you to enlightenment (while lightening your pocketbook). Give me liberty or give me death-by-caviling against … just about anything I care to bemoan/protest/inveigle against. I’ve been reading Jonathan Swift again. His poems. Brilliant. Everyone cites his late-stage so-called “madness.” The poor old dean. His takedowns are priceless. You’ve read Gulliver’s Travels, surely. Go back to them. Read the startlingly brilliant The Tale Of A Tub, too. Would I kid you? I would. But not about satire and screeds. Now more than ever. Now more than ever.